Wednesday, December 18, 2013

1 Down 1 2 Go.

Hey Abyss,

The last Christmas Break of my educational career has started and it has come at the perfect time. I have  been looking forward to having this time to myself. I need this time to focus on how I want to move forward in the new year and become stronger. I feel like everyday is an opportunity for me to learn how  to become better and more wholesome as a person, and sequentially and actor. I want to move on from the things that hold me back and just leap into life. I have a tenancy to dwell on things that are in the past or are beyond my control, but in the last few weeks I have experienced a surge of freedom. This surge has helped me to have a more positive and carefree outlook on life and I am loving the feeling.

I had my term evaluation with Alisa Palmer on Friday and we talked about a lot of things. Both of the directors I worked with this term (Ravi Jain & Tadeusz Bradecki) had some critical things to point out in me. Although I was initially confused by what they had said about me as an actor, Alisa was able to translate it and help me to understand how I can move forward with their feedback in mind. We came to the conclusion that I am a performer, first and for most. There is a significant difference between a performer and an actor, it is the actor that I am struggling to find. I know that the combination of both performer and actor is ideal, and is what I want to achieve more than anything.

I have always known and been most alive and explorative WITH an audience. In the rehearsal process I tend to do one of two things: I bring it in the reading and throw out all of my offers so that after weeks of rehearsal things become bland and static. Or I limit myself by judging myself before I let the work happen. Both of these things are detrimental to the process. The only aspect that ends up saving me is that I come alive in front of an audience, which is the nature of a performer. This is my talent. But I am here to learn how to be an actor, my performance abilities have and always will be with me.

Alisa suggested to me that I work with myself to go deeper in the work, to really let it affect me to open myself up to the process and avoid judgement. All things I am aware of but not sure how to do. So, my challenge for next term is to focus on cracking myself open in the rehearsal room and building myself back up in time for performance. I know that in order for me to go deeper in the work and in myself I have to give up my judgement and perceived judgement of others. This is something I have been struggling with since first year. It psychs me out so much. I mess up lines and over analyze situations to the point where I become catatonic. Self doubt and frustration is my kryptonite. When I get to those points I creatively stop and there is nothing that will push me out of that state except for time and re-evaluation, and in a short rehearsal period I don't have those luxuries.

I know that I can sometimes come off as harsh and self deprecating but that is not my intention. These posts are for me to create a marker for myself, a period in time to be accountable to. If I have written how I can progress it makes me that much more motivated to change. The more diligent I can be with myself about progression the better I can become.

To go back to my point about actor vs performer and the combination of the two; I want to clarify that I have felt truly in the work as an actor many times at the school.  And during those moments I wasn't judging myself or self conscious, I was just living with the written text and the emotions in front of me. It was extremely liberating and cemented the idea that I have the ability to be as good an actor as I am a performer. In the coming months I just want to feel these moments more frequently and gain access on the regular to this compartment. I need regular practice, and I think this can relate to what I said a few posts back about Colm Feore; I need to constantly be working towards what I want. The lazier and closed off I am, the less of a change I will experience.

And there we have it: Logged.

Now to implement and move forward.

Happy Holidays!

Night, Abyss.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Back to the Hood of Things.

Hey Abyss,

I want it to be known that I have attempted to write entries throughout these last few weeks chronicling the process of working on Our Countrys Good. Needless to say, my computer either messed up before I could save the entry, or I was tired, or I just couldn't think of anything reflective to say, etc. What I also want to be known is that this process has cracked me open in a way that I have been waiting for since second term of first year.

Better late than never.

Perhaps it was exactly what I needed; to be MIA for this process and really just allow it to permeate my brain and body rather than trying to put it into words. We have our preview tomorrow at the Monument National and I'm really excited to finally show an audience what we have been working on. As you may have read, I was extremely excited for this process to begin and I can honestly say I am not disappointed at all.

In short, I feel like I rediscovered why I love what I do. I found the fun in performing again. The freedom that comes by truly existing as another person, and how that momentary escape is addictive.

In long, it has been quite the journey so far and I am so happy that I am coming to terms with many of the issues I have had here. These last two years have been a struggle for me personally and artistically. I was recalling how confident I felt auditioning for the school and how I knew that I had something to offer, and that no one was going to stop me from achieving my dreams. Soon after getting in and meeting my class I saw how talented everyone was and became extremely judgmental and self-abusive. This kind of attitude stopped me from doing the work I loved, I would spend all of my energy in a competitive headspace and avoid looking inward and seeing how I could improve.

This summer I had many breakthroughs, which I have spoke about in previous posts. It was a very reflective and educational period for me and it has thankfully bled into this term. I am still in a state of reflection, as I am still discovering how to use every situation to discover something about myself and allow it to feed my work. There was a moment during this process (working on Our Countrys Good) where I became frustrated with myself because I knew what Tadeusz (our Director) was trying to get out of me, but for some reason I could not pull it out. It came down to the simple fact that I was over thinking and analyzing everything he was suggesting, rather than revelling in the ideas he had put forth. I was making my performance too precious. It was like I was holding an animal, but instead of just cuddling it I was squeezing it and it became uncomfortable and attempted to escape. It was only a few weeks ago I started to loosen my grip on the character and really let him live, but also loosen the grip on my expectations. It was then that I started to discover the pleasure in being him, and it has serendipitously brought back my passion and love for theatre, live performance, and attempt at being truly entertaining.

I feel so blessed to have had this moment and I can't wait to spend all week with Robert Sideway, but I can't help but ask myself, "why did it take me so long to rediscover what I had before coming to this school?" The conclusion I have come to is simply that I needed to be blown apart before I could be built back up. I had come to acting as a kid as a form of escapism and avoidance of difficult times in my life. And now that I have sunk to the lowest point, thus far, and re-evaluated who I am as a human I can approach acting from a healthier more self aware way. I never used to care about judgement or failure before coming to school, and I deeply want to exit it the same way.

My mom once said to me, "How can you play another person if you don't know yourself?" It has taken me until this point to truly feel what this means. Of course people want to be aware of themselves and confident in who they are, but to actually get on the path that will lead you there is hard to find. The month of November was a difficult one for me to get through in many facets, but at the same time it has been the most transformative and insightful this year. The progress that I have been wishing for is finally starting to happen and I am greeting it with open arms.

I apologize for not being more explicit with my process throughout the rehearsal, but I felt that the above was something that I really needed to say.

If you are going to be around Montreal for the next week I highly recommend paying 9 bucks to see Our Countrys Good playing from the 10th-14th at the Monument National.

The premiere of Bone Deep was moved from November 16th to an unknown date. Hopefully a new date will be reassigned soon. I am really excited to share it.

If you have yet to see Blackbird you can now buy or rent it on iTunes.

Now to get some rest.

Night Abyss.

Photo Credit: Stephen Tracey

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Hey Abyss,

Tomorrow I, along with my class, will be heading into rehearsal for the second show of our graduate season: Our Country's Good by Timberlake Weretenbaker. I am not really sure why, but I am extremely excited for this process. My class and I had the opportunity to see Tadeusz Bradecki's work at the Shaw Festival earlier this year, as he also directed Guys & Dolls. I had a blast at the show, and perhaps that is why I am so excited to work with him. Although, there is a difference between a 1950's musical and a historical piece that is set in 1788, Australia.

This week we were working with Jackie Maxwell, who is the Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival, on scenes from Three Sisters. The class was intended more for the 2 directing program students, and focused on balancing crowds on the stage through dynamic and relationships, which in turn continues to feed the actors. It was an interesting experience and helped me to not just see my relationship to the other characters, but also the big picture and how there can be a domino effect. Working with Jackie was great. She is super chill and really easy to talk to, which surprised me. Personally, I have always been rather intimidated by AD's, so that fact that she was extremely approachable and kind made working with her a breeze and began to debunk my theories.

Her class was the only one we had which made it a pretty lax week, in terms of NTS. We finally got a full two day weekend after  Lion in the Streets and we had another one this weekend, which I assume was to be used to prep for Our Country's Good. Needless to say, I used the time to breathe and actually get some of my "everyday" things done.

This past Friday, the student body went to the Monument National to be privy to the reception of this years winners of the Gascon-Thomas Awards: Colm Feore and Suzanne Lebeau. Both of them are extremely inspiring and talented artists and if you don't know who they are, I recommend clicking their names and finding out.

Colm said some really pertinent things, in his seemly improvised speech, that have continued to resonate with me over the weekend. He spoke about preparedness in the young actor, and how it is essential for survival to be constantly honing your craft. How at any moment one must be ready to do what is asked. That is the key to getting work and having longevity. One must invest and prove that they are capable and ready. 

Honestly, I couldn't agree more with him.

But as I nodded my head in compliance with his bold and energetic speech, I came to the realization that I needed to work harder. Now, I always work hard in the moment, that has never been a problem whether on stage or behind the camera. The work that Colm was speaking about was when no one is looking, when there is no one to be accountable to other than yourself and your bank account. And in that moment listening to Colm, I saw how lazy I can be. In the past, I have blamed it on the busy schedule we have at the school, or that I am tired and have other things that need my focus. But actually, nothing needs my focus more than my career. And that is the truth.

Along with this acceptance of my lazy tendencies, I have also accepted that I need to stop doubting myself as an actor. It is a continued process of relinquishing control, and now running along side that is my abandon of self doubt. There is nothing wrong or arrogant with knowing that I have something to offer, that I have talent. I can accept that I may not know what my artistic vision is yet, or what deeply motivates me to create, but I do know that I have something unique to bring to the table and I am good at what I do, which is being an actor. And accepting that is a huge step. I have doubted my abilities and strengths since first year, and it is only now that I can see that I do have them, and I am special, despite the cliché of that sentence.

Heading into Our Country's Good with this state of mind, and my excitement for the work that is to be done with this show makes me feel extremely confident about the next few months and my progression in my final year at NTS.

As my conversation ended with Colm he said to me, "When we meet again, make sure to remind me that we met here in the lobby of the Monument." I replied, "Don't worry, I will."

Great News: All the Wrong Reasons had it's Canadian theatrical release and is playing in all the major cities make sure you get out to see this amazing film featuring the Canadian talents of Karine Vanesse, Emily Hampshire, Kevin Zegers and the late Cory Monteith. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for yours truly. You can check locations here --> Showtimes

Also, as a reminder, on Novemeber 16th, BONE DEEP will premiere on CBC for your watching pleasure, and it will be uploaded to iTunes later that day if you don't have cable. I was nominated for an ACTRA award for my performance, so if you like me, you might like the film!

Night Abyss.

Monday, October 21, 2013

It's Morphing Time.


These last few weeks have been insane with getting Lion in the Streets up, so I apologize for the lack of inner thoughts from me lately.

Not to worry, you will get your fill right now!

We had our preview tonight and it went well, considering how nervous I was. I am really looking forward to the run this week, I feel like my classmates and I have really risen to the challenge of this piece and are doing phenomenal work. I'm really proud of the show. I find the longer I spend with something, a play, a character, the more love I feel towards it. This play is a really hard one to love because of all the atrocity, but I have grown really fond of it. Ravi has been excellent to work with, his young energy has been really refreshing in the room. He has really made this show work visually, his confidence in his ideas really allowed us to play, which I, personally, don't feel we have had the opportunity to do in a show yet.  I really wouldn't have wanted this process to be anything than what it was. It has been an amazing opportunity to work with Ravi, and I hope it isn't the last time.

Starting out this year, I was really aiming to open myself up to processes and just be calm. I am discovering success in both of theses avenues. It has been such a relief to stop worrying about things I cannot control, of course there are going to be things that bother me, or irritate me. But, overall it's just been so relaxing to leave school at school and come home and live my life for me. Before, I found myself needing to do all this meaningless research and putting my energy into stressing about class drama instead of actually working and focusing on what was needed at that time. This year, I come home and I work for a bit and then I relax and enjoy. It seems simple but it has given me so much freedom. I will always have control issues, I am an Aries, but that doesn't mean that I can't let go of the things that I really have no say in. And accepting that has been a huge step for me.

I feel really happy and healthy this year, I promised that I would take care of myself Mind, Body, Spirit and I have been! It has been so great to simple focus on those things, when you take care of yourself: eating well, exercising regularly, etc. you feel the benefits quickly, seriously. It has feed my work and made me relax in a lot of departments. As cheesy as it sounds, I am becoming the person I have wanted to be for the last 2 years. And I cannot think of a better time to come into my own. This year is already blazing by and I can honestly say I am only worried about one thing, and that is what happens after.

Over the last few weeks, I have been asked, "So...what are the plans after you graduate? "This is a pretty normal question, but the problem is I seriously don't have an answer. I have no sweet clue what is happening after I graduate. There are obviously things that I am interested in and projects I would love to be a part of, but once this year ends I have to uproot myself from Montreal and pick where I take my stuff. It is daunting. I'm aware that I can only take it one day at a time and just keep sending out my antenna for possible opportunities, but it is the one thing that is regularly on my mind and what truly worries me most. In the end, all I can do is good work,  and eventually someone will take notice. What's encouraging is that I am good at something that I feel passionate about, and all of the other students that graduate this year are in the same boat "What happens after?"

So, at least I am not alone.

Speaking of not being alone, if you have live/know anyone who lives in Montreal, please spread the word about the show. You can get all the details from the link above. The more people we have at our performances the better an experience this year will be. I am so excited to see how the run goes and what things will change and grow. This year is shaping up wonderfully. I am blessed.

In recent news, I was nominated for Best Actor in a Short Film at the ACTRA awards a few weeks ago, I felt so honoured to be up against some veterans in the industry and that people thought highly enough of my performance in Bone Deep to nominate me. It would have been nice to win, but losing so someone who inspires you isn't really a loss. In my eyes, it was an honour, and I still have many more opportunities to show my skills ahead of me.

Bone Deep is premiering on CBC November 16th, and will be uploaded to iTunes to rent or purchase later that day!

All the Wrong Reason's played in Montreal last week and I was so upset that I had to miss it, but tech week for the show was extremely demanding (time-wise). It is so wonderful that it's getting attention, it is truly deserving of it. Also, if you missed the opportunity to see Blackbird, my previous film, you can now buy it on iTunes by clicking here:

If you live in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia you can see Blackbird on the big screen as part of the Parrsboro Film Festival this weekend!

That is all for now,

Night Abyss.

Monday, September 16, 2013

What is My Life?

Hey Abyss,

These last two weeks have gone by faster than a jar of  Kraft Crunchy Peanut Butter in my cupboard.

As you may know, last weekend I had the opportunity to go to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) premiere of All the Wrong Reasons and had an absolute blast. I took a bus up on Saturday evening after class and arrived Sunday morning at 1:45 a.m. Then I slept at my friends place, caught up with another friend of mine for lunch downtown, then went down to the premiere, which was playing at the Scotiabank Theatre. I have never seen a bigger movie theatre, it was huge and sold out to boot. I took my seat with the rest of the cast and crew and proceeded to watch the film that had been a year in the making.

All the Wrong Reasons was a beautiful exploration of real relationships and issues and how they affect  every day people and their lives. Gia Milani executed it so gracefully, I found myself getting completely invested into the lives of the characters, despite having read the script previously. Karine Vanesse's performance was stunning as a woman who is suffering from PTSD and trying to keep her marriage together. She is married to the late Cory Monteith, who completely pulls off the middle aged store manager longing for a change in his life.  Kevin Zegers also surprised me with his ability to transform into a recently injured fire fighter working to get his life back. They all did a phenomenal job bringing life to the screenplay Gia had written.

After the film, Karine, Gia, Emily Hampshire, Denis Theriault and myself headed out to the after party, but not before seeing James Franco getting his photos taken right in front of us! The after party was at this swanky place called the C-Lounge and as we entered Adrian Brody was leaving with his entourage. Looking back, the best part about the party (besides the amazing free food and open bar) was that there were so many Nova Scotian's there. At first, I felt like I fish out of water surrounded by all these people associated with the Film & Entertainment industry, but as I walked around and investigated (while continuously eating sliders and sushi) I found my community! It was so wonderful to see so many familiar faces and made me ease right into the situation and have an absolute blast. The whole evening was surreal to me and made me feel like Cinderella, especially since I had to dart off back to Montreal at midnight.

I arrived in Montreal around 7 a.m. Monday morning, and went to class still wired off the events that had happened only a few hours ago. That week we worked with Andrew Shaver for 3 days on creating our Voice Over demos. He is an extremely cool guy, and the voice of Subway, and brought in a lot of his friends including Danny Brochu (The voice of Buster Baxter from Arthur) from the Radio, Television, Video Game and Animation world to answer our many questions about the industry and how to transition into it. I really hope he is able to come back to teach us later this year, I had a blast getting in the studio and messing around with voices sound effects. After working with Andrew and his friends I am seriously considering Voice Over work as an endeavour.

This morning I arrived back with my classmates, we just spent two days in Niagara-on-the-Lake seeing 5 shows at the Shaw Festival. I really enjoyed myself and the vibe I got from the Festival. We had the chance to speak with a panel of actors from the company who were extremely inspiring. They had such great advice and really made me feel positive about the choices I am making as an emerging actor. We had the pleasure of seeing Major Barbara, Peace in Our Time, Trifles, and Guys & Dolls. 

Tomorrow we begin rehearsals for out first show; Lion in the Streets by Judith Thompson. I have been looking forward to this moment since I returned to Montreal, the play is a gritty, psycho-sexual piece that is raw and unforgiving and I cannot wait to sink my teeth into the text and bring it to life with my classmates and Ravi Jain, our Director. I have spent most of my Sunday preparing my script and readying myself for the week. Lion in the Streets is premiering in the Hydro-Quebec Studio space at the Monument-Nationale, October 22nd.

Also, BONE DEEP opened at the Atlantic Film Festival on the 14th to a sold out crowd, and I have received a lot of praise for my performance. I am extremely proud of the film, a lot of heart went into it. I hope that people continue walking out feeling just how much.

I need to sleep.

Night Abyss :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Live Big. Be Big.

Hey Abyss,

I'm back in Montreal!

It's surreal to me that school is back in session tomorrow. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone again and finding out more about the first show: Lion In the Streets by Judith Thompson. We have already been contacted by the costume designer and my classmates and I are getting our measurements taken tomorrow, which is just -- nuts. I remember sitting in 1st year watching the 3rd years and thinking that I had such a long road ahead of me before I could grace the Monument stage.

And now, here I am!

Shift --> Towards the end of last week I was fortunate enough to grab a coffee with Cory Bowles after he wrapped up his directorial duties on the Trailer Park Boys, Season 8. A few weeks ago I had never had the chance to meet Cory, we had only really talked via Twitter and Facebook, but I am so glad that he agreed to meet with me. See, we are both from Truro, Nova Scotia and he has accomplished a lot in his career (take a gander above) and I continue to be inspired by him and his dedication to making outstanding work.

In our conversation we talked a lot about how when artistic communities start to get sedentary it inevitably lowers the standard of artistic output which then alters what the general public considers "worth their money". This then leads the artists into a decline in commitment to the work and therefore no need to do challenging work, which is extremely dangerous. This conclusion lead us to talk about Cory's career and how he always strives for the top. Every project he involves himself with he aims to win. He puts a copious amount of time and work into making sure that it is his best output possible in that moment. Now, of course no one can achieve complete perfection but what is the harm in trying!

This brings me to my post-point: Why not just set an impossible goal for yourself and strive toward it every day? That may seem ludicrous...but in fact if you keep your standard of work and goals up consistently, then you simply can't fail. You only have to try harder then you did yesterday, make more connections, dedicate more time to challenging yourself artistically, challenge yourself to dedicate more time to your art. And then when people tell you it won't work, prove them wrong.

The only way we can fail is telling ourselves that we will.

And likewise for the opposite.

It is this ideology that I am trying hard to implement in myself, because at the end of my life am I going to be happy that I half-assed a lot of things and only cared about a few. Or am I going to have a fuller life by dedicating every ounce of myself to every project I choose? I, think the latter. Of course, I am realistic and there are going to be things that I loathe and complain about, but in those instances I should prove to myself that I may be cutting myself off from learning something from those experiences. I would rather walk away educated than depressed and mentally exhausted from complaining.

So, if we want big things to happen to us, then we have to think big and do what we want, not what everyone thinks might be best. Surprise ourselves, take chances, learn from our mistakes, laugh at ourselves and STOP OVER-THINKING because that only leads to making excuses for not trying. And I am the living example of that. I have cut myself out of so many experiences because I needed to analyze every potential outcome and ended up missing the boat and ticking off everyone around me.

But alas, things will change!

Right now, I want to bring attention to the fact that All the Wrong Reasons is premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival to a sold out audience on the 8th! And, for those of you who may have missed it,  I am featured in the trailer for the film which was uploaded by Entertainment Weekly earlier last week.

All the Wrong Reasons Trailer!

Also, the short film BONE DEEP, which I am headlining, premieres next week at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia!

That is all for now, got to get some sleep before school tomorrow!

Night Abyss.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

He Can Be Taught!

Hey Abyss,

I am currently looking over all the posts that I have written this summer and am surprised at how quickly it has all gone by. It seems like just yesterday I was leaving for Ottawa and now here I am leaving for Montreal in 8 days!

The older I get the quicker time passes.

As I am reading and recalling these last 4 months I am really proud of what conclusions I have come too, and the goals I have set for myself going into my 3rd and FINAL year at the National Theatre School of Canada. No longer will I be able to say, that's where I am going, or that I have one more year left.

Now, life as a "Big Actor" begins.

Everything we do this year is in preparation for us moving into the real world, away from our protective walls where we always have opportunities and roles to play with. Where people are constantly supporting us regardless of our behaviour and flaws. Where we have the freedom to fail and retry until we understand and make progress. It all comes down to these last few months, we will never have these beautiful and gracious times again.

Things change and become necessity rather than compliance. Discipline has to start coming from within, not from watching everyone else. The abilities that we have perfected (or neglected) become our meal ticket. Huge studio spaces now transform into small bachelor apartments, and collaborators go back to their community instead of coming to ours.

This all might sound depressing and morbid, but for me it is a realization and a motivator to take advantage of every opportunity I have left this year. To learn as much as I can from every person who walks through those doors, to be open to change and possibility. To expand the way I think and work. To hold that certificate in May and know that I did everything I possibly could to get the education I deserved. Now, I know that this school is not the end all and be all. I know that I will continue to learn from every team and person I work with until the day I die.

But I have goals, as usual.

To summarize: Upon completion I want to have a strong idea of what I am capable of and where I still have room to grow, I want to listen and hear everything. I want to stay positive, even in the desperate times. I want to encourage and promote my classmates instead of bringing them down. I want to create strong and compelling work with every role I get, not just the ones I like. I want to make good impression and stay connected with the people who inspire me. I want to continue working on my self discipline and making sure I will always take care of myself in Mind, Body and Soul.

I know for those of you reading this you are like, "Wow, this kid is really setting himself up for disappointment...that's a lot of goals to fulfil in 8 months..."

I am aware. I like having a check list to work from. I have had so many great (and no so great) experiences this summer that I feel like I have, deeply, changed for the better. I have come to some huge realizations about myself and cannot wait to put them into action in a setting that I have known for two years. This is my time to prove that I am more than capable of this career and I that I will fight to keep it.


Also, great news All the Wrong Reason's will be making its world premiere at TIFF this year! If you are in the area check me out as the Laughing Clerk. And, this weekend I was able to see a rough cut of BONE DEEP (the short film I was in towards the start of the summer) and I am really impressed with how it turned out and cannot wait for it to premiere here in Halifax at the Atlantic Film Festival

That's all for tonight; I'm on a Digimon kick. Thanks Netflix.

Night Abyss.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Hey Abyss,

I just got back from Guysborough and teaching at Mulgrave Road Theatre's Drama Camp. I always forget how peaceful it is there. Everything is so calm and serene, it is quite relaxing and I loved the moments when I would just watch the water move the docked boats around on the marina. Simplicity is slowly becoming soothing for me.

I am in Truro, now, for three weeks to teach at the Marigold Centre and also spend some much needed time with my friends and family. I have really missed them over the last few months. Teaching at the Marigold is one of my favourite parts of the summer because it brings me back to my home town and I have been teaching most of the kids for the last couple years. Being able to see them grow both physically and artistically is always a joy.


I have been thinking a lot about artistry, and what mine could potentially be, especially as I am coming to the end of my educational career (for now). I suppose what I am trying to figure out is what my voice is. What do I want to say? How do I want to affect people, what projects specifically interest me, rather than leaping at every opportunity that comes forward? Perhaps I am not at the point where I can choose what things to be involved in, perhaps I need to be exposed to more projects and people before I can start to define my vision. And that, of course, brings up the idea of, "Do I really need to define myself, can't I just keep doing what I'm doing?"

I was given a book, called Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon, by my friend Sebastien Heins before I left Toronto a few weeks ago. Although it's a small book, it really got me thinking about what I want to do as an actor. Do I want to just keep auditioning for everything and never form a true artistic vision for myself? Or do I wait to have an artistry before I choose my next project?  The book did not answer any of these questions specifically, but the book did bring up the point of nothing being original, everything is inspired by something. And if something is said to be truly original "then they are not citing the inspirations properly". I like this idea, it takes off the pressure of having to be "different" or "original". See, as artists we gather inspiration from other mediums and it is the combination of the mediums that make something "original" or "different".

This idea makes me feel a lot less intimidated.

I have to make the art that I don't see, by combining the things I love and putting them into the world. I feel like success comes from when a particular combination of artistries connect with the public, or the audience. When I think about all the extremely influential artists to myself, either famous or not, most have a pretty defined artistry.

Because I have been on a Beyoncé jag for the last two months, Imma just keep goin'. Beyoncé, in my opinion, is an artist. Her music, as I have said, isn't that deep. Lyrically its very simple and usually about loving someone, leaving someone, being a strong woman or impressing YO' MAN. But the brand that she has created for herself has been, frankly, making her iconic. People just respect her, they know how hard she works, they see her dedication and her vocal abilities. Most people aren't even die hard fans, they just know what she monopolizes and no one else can touch it.

Cause she da QUEEN.

But in all seriousness, most of the artists that have or are leaving an impact on the world have specialized in something specific that we (the people) haven't seen before. But this is because they are combining different combinations of mediums and showing them to us in a new and original way.

So, conclusively I think I need to do just this. And on that journey for the bait I think I will discover what my artistry is and what I want to say.

I just finished reading the first show we are doing this year, Lion in the Streets by Judith Thompson, and I so stoked to see how Ravi Jain makes it come alive!

It has also come about recently that All the Wrong Reasons will be playing at TIFF 2013! For those of you keeping track this is the second film I have been part of that is an official selection at TIFF; pretty exciting.

Night Abyss!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Hey Abyss,

Finally being able to spend some ample time in Toronto was probably the best thing I could have done for myself all summer. Simply walking around and familiarizing myself with the city, as vast as it is, was gratifying.  For some reason, I had fabricated this daunting image of Toronto, I pictured myself drowning in a sea of people and getting locked into a public restroom over night... I concluded that these thoughts were completely irrational as I felt so alive in a city with that much opportunity. There is something beautiful to me about being a stranger in a new place, big or small, I feel like anything and everything can happen. Needless to say, I had a solid week there and had some wonderful experiences with both old and new friends.

I had an absolute blast with the kids in Aladdin Jr. they all did such an amazing job and brought a beautiful energy to the show. They only got to perform it once and I really wish they could have done it again, there is nothing like performing after a successful show. I was extremely proud of the work that we as a team accomplished over those two weeks, they really stepped up and restored my faith that anything is possible with dedication and hard work. Thank you guys :)

While in Toronto I was able to see the Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare in High Park. I loved it. The set was phenomenal and the cast was really strong and seemed to be having a blast despite the 45 degree heat wave that plagued Toronto for the week. CanadianStage collaborated with the Production grads from York university for the show, which I thought was a brilliant idea and really surged a young and contemporary energy into the piece.

I wish I could have seen MacBeth because a friend of mine was in the lead and it was apparently a very dark rendition of the show (I love dark, and macabre things).  Before I left on Saturday I managed to get rush tickets to the Part One premiere of Angels in America at Soulpepper, which simply blew my mind. The cast was so strong and really made me go, "Oh! those are what good theatre actors are like..." as juvenile and naive as that sounds. Being at a school where we are all training you see several stages of development in performance so it was refreshing to see actors who have been doing this at an extremely professional level for years. It just brought things into perspective for me, as most of the trip did.

I was able to stay with my friend Sébastien Heins and his very gracious family who esentially treated me like their son for the week. I felt so taken care of and informed in all of their hands, I really could not have asked for a better place to stay. I continue to be amazed by the work ethic of Sébastien, he just never seems to stop creatively. I admire this so much because he makes the art that he cares about, and people see this in him and offer him more opportunities to show his skills and talents. It is the creative life in its purest form, constantly producing. I feel that I am still finding out what makes me creatively tick, what makes me excited about acting, what I am looking to accomplish or work towards. And as always those ideas are constantly shifting.

I also got to hang out with my mentor Brendan McMurtry-Howlett who is the Artistic Director of Shakespeare in the Ruff and as always he had some really poignant and blunt answers to all my questions and concerns. I was worried about what was going to happen after I graduate, whether I should head right to Toronto or whether I should stay in Halifax for a year then go to Toronto or all of the other copious amounts of possibilities. His answer was simply to, "Stop planning things out and let them happen." Now, this seems basic but I really needed to hear it from someone other than my mother. That's not to say he is against planning, considering he is an AD, but when it comes to this career there isn't really a way to create a definite path.

This quote comes to mind: "Do what you can, with what you have, right now".

I think there is a large difference between control and organization. I am currently looking for that balance.

Brendan also brought up a point which I hadn't previously thought about: I usually talk, "all about my process" and I have been doing this "process" for many years it has become my fall back plan when working on a show because I feel most comfortable doing it compared to new processes that are introduced to us. This is a bad habit I intend to break this year. Brendan's point was that you shouldn't put your process on a project, but that the project should inform your process. This was huge for me because I have dealt with so much frustration this year regarding directors simply not letting me do "my thing" and it was because they didn't work that way and they didn't care. They were asking something specific from me and I was bucking the system, which resulted in me not rising to the challenge. If I had of simply let myself be open to the process they were showing us I would have learned exponentially more. So, I move forward with this thought in my mind into the new year.

On Monday of this week I went by myself to the Mrs. Carter Tour in Montreal featuring Beyoncé herself. I was blown away by the show and how hard she works at being completely flawless, and I mean that in the best way. Every step was on point, every problem or blip was met with complete confidence and a smile setting us, the audience, at ease. She was so professional and gracious to everyone who helped her put on the show from the technicians to the back up singers. Watching her reminded me of how much work needs to be put into everything before it can be at a place of comfort and flow. There was no hesitation or worry on her face at any point throughout the show, even when her weave got sucked into a fan.

I'm not joking.

Her confidence seems like an obvious thing, "of course she would be confident, she is Sasha Fierce!" But for me seeing her doing a live show, not some edited version, proved to me how little I actually work in preparation for a show. Joe Ziegler's floating head started to incircle mine repeating what he said to me, "You have a lot of talent, but you don't understand the work that it takes to become an actor..."and it finally made sense. Since being at the school I have always, more or less, flown by the seat of my pants when it comes to the lines and homework that is needed on the text. I have managed to get by on looking over the text a few times and running it in rehearsal, but as the roles and responsibilities grow so does my need of dedication.

Now I know most of you are probably thinking, "Wayne, stop beating yourself up! Everyone has to learn!" And I want you to know that's all this post is (as long as it is). I am learning about myself as an artist and a human and I want to progress, and progress happens when you can identify what needs to change. This year, for me, is about listening and changing for the better.

This last month has been extremely cleansing and has shed a lot of light on some of my biggest problems creatively and personally and I am extremely grateful to each an every person who continues to support me as I change for the better.

And speaking of support you can do me a solid by checking out Bone Deep, a film I am in in the Atlantic Film Festival. Directed by the very British Jeremy Webb and written by the delightful Jessica Marsh.


Night Abyss.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Hey Abyss,

I finished my first full week of the camp I am directing/teaching at this Friday, leaving me with one left. I will be heading back to Montreal and then busing straight to Toronto for a week before seeing Beyoncé and flying back to Nova Scotia on the 23rd.

I am commuting so much in the next few months and although I am happy to be doing all that I am this summer, there is a part of me that wishes that I could be home with my family and friends. The older I get the more important they are to me. And this year is going to be the hardest for me, as far as seeing people goes. There is no sense dwelling on it though, because after this year I am a graduate!

Every so often I come to the conclusion that I always work better under pressure. For the earlier part of the summer I had so much time to do whatever I wanted that I didn't dedicate anytime to anything, other than going to the gym. Now, I am super busy and I have found copious amounts of time to read! I don't usually like reading, this is mostly because I only like specific things, but recently I have been reading a lot of nutrition based literature and have completely fell in love. I am zooming through, and really learning about people and the supposed lifestyles we think are convenient.

Upon reading these books, I find myself coming to the question of: If actors work so hard on being physically and mentally healthy why don't actors take care of themselves nutritionally? I ask this because I have seen so many of my classmates become ill or suffer from physical issues that could all be resolved from having a better diet and lifestyle. This includes myself. It's not just about being flexible and speaking loudly, its about having the body that enables these attributes. If one isn't giving the body what it needs nutritionally then how does one expect it to live up to the energy requirements ones needs to be an actor?

I found I struggled a lot this year with the physical side of things, not because I didn't understand it's benefit but because I still felt like shit afterwards. So, in my mind it wasn't actually helping. Sure, I could touch my toes easier at the end of the year but I was still exhausted and lethargic so even if I was technically stretchy I wasn't able to bring the energy that was needed to class. And I know that I was not the only person in my class to feel this way.

Conclusively, I am starting from scratch! (Once I get settled back in Nova Scotia, because the next few weeks are way to insane) I am going to cleanse my body on a cellular level and then start to develop my body both mentally and physically to that of what I imagine a well oiled actor should be. I remember in first year we had this very gruff, physical teacher who was extremely blunt about getting our bodies to peak condition. He said that the actor should be like the athlete, our bodies should be able to do whatever is needed at any time. This has really resonated with me over the last few days while I have been reading.

To me acting is not imitation or learning lines quickly, it is truly becoming someone. A physical representation of a person. This requires truly athletic impulses and actions. To be able to hold positions for extend periods of time, to be able to project is strange and unforgiving actions, to carry weight and maintain balance. All of these qualities not only require physical but mental and nutritional strength, if you are missing one piece of the puzzle you will cause damage. Athletes eat certain foods and do specific training to power the way they have to move and react. Why is this any different for actors? This is the question I am asking myself, and truly want to experiment with this year.

Conveniently, when one stabilizes the body chemically and hormonally every aspect of oneself begins to improve. All of these issues that I prattle on about (Listening, focus, work, etc..) will all start to file into place once I get my body to where it should be. So, ultimately this is my goal, all of the other minor ones will fall into place once this level is achieved. Now, this blog is specifically about acting, but this rule can be applied to anyone. Everything in your life will become better and more efficient if you start with your body. The sad thing is that today people feel they don't have the time to dedicate to their health, when they do. We all do.

And I intend to be living proof.

Night Abyss.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Work it Out.


I am sitting here watching the opening to Beyoncé's I Am...World Tour and am just speechless. One because I am going to be seeing The Mrs. Carter World Tour in less than a month and two I am continually in awe of the dedication to her work. Over the past few months, I have watched her HBO special Life is but a Dream a few times and was continually blown away by her work ethic and sheer perfectionism in her performances.

Now, some of you are probably wondering; "Whoa whats with the Beyoncé kick?"

I am gettin' to it.

She gives herself over to everything that she does, every fibre of her being is left out on that stage after she does a show. You may be saying, "Uh...Yeah, that's her job isn't it. To entertain?" And I would reply, "Yes. It is." In my opinion she is one of the best performers of our generation, lyrically her songs aren't the deepest, and are usually about having sex with Jay Z, but it is her showmanship that makes her tours and live performances what they are. She will spend hours in the studio perfecting every dance move to the point where she outdoes her own dancers, and I know she is no skipper on the vocal side either. When she locks into Sasha Fierce, she just is.

I know my enthusiasm is probably freaking some of you out, but there is a point to this fangirl-ing.

The reason I am prattling on about Beyoncé is rather anecdotal. I have been thinking a lot, as I tend to do, and have started to pin point the issues I have with my work. And as I have talked about before, this year for me is about unlocking and putting into practice the things that I suck at, which to me is this "work" I have identified.

I pride myself in my ability to connect with people, both socially and via social networking. I try to go to as many shows/events as possible in an attempt to foster professional relationships with my fellow artists. I like meeting new people who are in the same boat as I am, we can help each other, teach each other. I find it is an invaluable skill to be able to connect with people in a way that isn't aggressive or invasive but complimentary.  I am also a very curious person, so I ask a lot of questions (sometimes to a fault). This natural curiosity that I have enables me to find enjoyment in researching a new script, finding different takes on the story, bringing in evidence, comparing, discussing, learning, and ultimately building a character from the ground up, which is my passion and what I have been doing for as long as I can remember.

I am good at it, they are the things that I love about acting, why I got into this gig in the first place.

What needs an overhaul is my ability to dedicate myself to simple things like reading the script and memorizing it. I find I will distract myself with trivial actions, like continued research or checking facebook for the millionth time that I don't spend time with the words and the story. I tend to brush it off by telling myself that I will memorize in rehearsal, or after simply reading the script once "I get the story". This attitude is so crippling to any performer and something that will ruin me if I can't integrate it into my rather stiff process.

Another example: I saw a show at the Ottawa Fringe the other day that was basically a guitarist who imitated other guitarists that he liked. Very simple concept. He was a brilliant player. At one point in the show he talked about one of his idols practicing for 5-9 hours every day, and this just hit me. Obviously I have heard of people practicing for insane hours every day before, but at this particular moment it made sense to me that the performers I look up to all dedicate immense amounts of hours to rehearsing and creating. And this is the "work" I am in pursuit of.

One of my teachers this year said that I didn't understand the amount of work that is required of me to be an actor. I know this isn't entirely true because I have a lot to offer, but they were right in the sense that I tend to avoid the things that actually need my attention, I convince myself that I am working when clearly I am not. Conclusively; If acting and performing is truly something that I want and cannot live without then I must do anything and everything in my power to make it a realty.

Perfection comes from practise and the only way that this will work is if I dedicate all of my time to making myself better and stronger. Physically, verbally, and mindfully. I have always fell back on the things I am good at rather than seeking the things I am not so good at, and now I have to step up and take what has been offered to me. I have to be honest with myself and LISTEN to what I need to do. I can't keep sliding through on my talent, I have to fight to have a place in this world.

I will now leave you with one of my favourite Beyoncé songs:


Night Abyss.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Jet Setting.

Hey Abyss,

Just got back from the auditions for Aladdin Jr. being put on through Stabback Music Studio; the company I am working for over the next three weeks. It was great to be in the room with a slew of new kids and the different energies they bring. I have been feeling quite exhausted and lethargic over the last few days because of all the travelling I have been doing. I flew from Halifax to Montreal yesterday and had to race to my apartment and switch bags before catching the bus to Ottawa. I didn't get in until 11:30pm, which doesn't seem late but since I have been commuting for the last fews days it has started to take its toll on me physically.

Despite me complaining about my sore butt, I am stoked for the next few weeks. I have two of them to direct a full musical production, which is a challenge I have gladly accepted. The last time I directed this particular show was at Truro Junior High School and we had about 4 months... Needless to say, this will be exponentially different. It is a great team of people though so I have no doubts we can pull it off and make sure the kids get the most out their time with us.

These next two months are going to be extremely busy for me, but with all the downtime I have accumulated since May I figure it will be a good balance for my last summer. It is so much healthier for me to be constantly doing things. The most exciting part about this summer is that I am spending a lot of time in places that I have either never been or haven't been in a while, and I am all about new experiences. After I finish up here in Ottawa I am spending sometime in Toronto getting to know the city and hanging out with new and old friends. Then before I return home to Nova Scotia I am seeing Beyoncé live in concert on the Mrs. Carter World Tour in Montreal.

Pretty Solid.

The Ottawa Fringe is this week and I am going to try my best to see as many things as possible. There is a lot of compelling work in the line up and I haven't been to a Fringe Festival in a while, so where better to start then where I am located! My friend, who is ironically from Ottawa, is currently in Calgary performing in the show Girls, Girls, Girls! with Major Matt Mason Collective (despite all the flooding) and when she returns we have plans to put together a double bill of our Solo Shows here. I am looking forward to performing it again for a completely different community.

The more I can do it the better.

On that note: most of my class, this summer, have also performed their Solo Show more than once. It is such a great feeling to have a piece of theatre that you can just whip out and is only 15 minutes long. Truly a wonderful project, and my class put together some amazing work.

I had coffee with Jonathan Torrens on Friday morning and he had some really great advice for me as a performer from the Maritimes. He is a stand up guy and I am grateful he could take the time to hang out with me for a bit. I love being able to talk to other artists and hear their stories and successes, it makes my dreams obtainable.

As time goes on I find myself continually coming to conclusions about myself and my goals as a developing artist and I feel blessed to be surrounded by people who continue to guide me in the right direction. As many struggles and hardships I run into, there is always a lesson to be learned. I am really excited about my third and final year and what lies in store for myself and my classmates. It's been quite the journey so far.

Night Abyss.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Hey Abyss,

This week has happened.

I head to Ottawa in 9 days and I feel like I don't know where the time has gone. It hasn't really hit me until this year; time just escapes when you aren't looking. I am preparing for the second stage of my summer which is going to consist of a lot of plane rides, directing, performing, meeting new people, exploring, watching Beyoncé and of course teaching. Basically in that order. The first part of the summer was supposed to be "down time" time to recollect on what has happened to me this term and how I can improve going into this year. Although I have done some recollection, I feel like most of the things I have been grappling with are going to fall into place once I am utilizing them all again.

It is so scary how quickly I can become lazy and abandon the practice they teach us at NTS, now this of course is due to a compilation of things; me being tired, lazy, wanting to escape...and so on. Lately my body has been giving me signs that is misses the schedules and the regulation. It craves the stretching and the warming up, despite how much I loathe them. I feel like this is part of the process though, if you continue to work on the things you hate eventually they become things you enjoy. The hardest part of this cycle is not just running away, but sticking with it, as hard as it is. Believing in the system.

The biggest challenge for me as a person/actor is listening. Frankly, I just don't do it. And by listening I mean all aspects: scene partners, myself, situations... I spent the weekend with one of my very close friends at my cottage which has no running water or electricity. All we had was a wood stove, a propane light, and clean water in a Gatorade cooler. The place is the epitome of serene. There was a moment, one evening, where he was very quiet and I asked him what he was thinking about, and he replied that he was purely listening. I asked him, "To what specifically" and he said, "All of the sounds. And each of them individually. The wood stove, the light, the clock, the ocean.." With that, I laid my head back on my chair and started to just listen for the sounds he mentioned. Almost instantly my mind cleared, like someone had taken a chalkboard eraser to my mind. It was peaceful, finally.

All year my teachers, my family, and my psychologist have all repeated the same things to me; LISTEN! And it took my closest friend in my cottage to actually let that hit for me. It was a revelation. If one can listen without judgement, to all things, then one can exist authentically. Everything that pours out of them is truth. There is no indulging, no pretending, just living. This word is my word for life, whenever I feel overwhelmed or chaotic, I have to take the time to simply listen.

I watched Inside the Actors Studio yesterday and it featured the cast of Mad Men. It was a great episode, all of those actors have come from such diverse backgrounds and have had extremely different routes to the show, it was inspiring. The one thing that stuck with me the most was Jon Hamm's response to a girls question from the audience. She asked him about how much rehearsal they get before shooting a scene. And he replied, "None. You are expected to come onto set knowing your lines and having done your research. You are coming into a well oiled machine and if you junk it up with tripping over your lines then you are replaced." He was talking about TV, but I think the rule applies to all mediums of acting. His frank statement really drove home what happened to me earlier this year in Snap Back to Reality, also this quote by Tom Hardy has resonated with me the last few days:

''Surviving is one thing. You can get through, you can white-knuckle. You can do the bare minimum. But there comes a time when life stops rewarding potential. If you want to participate on a certain level in anything, you cannot just turn up and be respected." 

These instances have really impacted me, and how I need to change up my approach. The things that have been working for me over the last 22 years are not going to work forever it is time to reevaluate.

On a lighter note I had an audition yesterday with a very nice girl. I felt okay about it, but who knows what will come of it. And Blackbird opened on over 50 screens in France yesterday!

I feel truly blessed to have the amount of support I do, thank you to all the readers for letting me unload my brain and evaluate myself in front of you. This blog is coming up on is 3rd year anniversary!

Night Abyss.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Hey Abyss,

First of all I want to thank everyone who came out to support me at SOLO-icious last weekend, I truly felt the love. My mom was able to come and see LIONESS and this was the first time she had seen me perform in a couple of years. She was thrilled, and of course had some notes for me afterwards; as she does.

This was the second public performance of LIONESS, my definite third will be happening in Ottawa next month, and I learned so much this time around. The audience was obviously different than the audience at The National Theatre School, albeit just as special. The catch with SOLO-icious is that the audience doesn't know what they have signed on to see, they just buy a ticket for the evening and take the ride. So the audience is intently gathering information about each piece as it comes out, because they are completely unrelated.

All day I had been extremely nervous about how the audience would feel about LIONESS, and my nerves ended up getting the best of me at the start of my piece. As "Wayne" I have a tendency to be very hard on myself and make judgements, for other people, about myself. I create these big personalities, which are my characters, and I have a difficult time letting them live in front of an audience. I lose faith in my abilities sometimes, and it is venomous.

I know the show entirely. Maria is inside of me. I know how she moves and how she thinks about everything and everyone. That's not a question. Granted, what I learned from performing the show last week was that I truly need to let "Wayne" fade to the back when I am playing a character. Of course there are going to elements of myself in everything that I play, but as soon as MY nerves and insecurities filter into the character in suffocates them and they can't do what I have created them for: To be an expression of me as an artist, to tell the story that we develop together. Thus, my performance isn't what it could be and ultimately, I let the character down.

Due to the fact that I also wrote the piece there is more at stake in my mind when I let my nerves get the best of me or I stumble. It is an odd feeling when you trip over the words you wrote. But even the best actors mess up, and even the best actors have bad performances where they feel they didn't do what they are capable of. As self deprecating as this all may sound, I think it is part of this journey as a young actor.

Over the last few weeks I have been talking to some very influential people about my journey into third year, and about my career. A lot of things that happened to me in last semester are starting to drop in and make sense. Somehow over the last two years I have lost sight of aspects of myself and I am looking to reclaim them in the next few months. I want to graduate from NTS as strong as possible. And the only way I can do that is to face my weaknesses head on. This summer so far has been about digging and recalling those weaknesses and thinking about how I can make then strengths.

This stuff is all old hat, I just need to reiterate it for myself. Keeps me accountable.

No auditions of late, the next big thing on my plate is a Personal Training Course that I am preparing for. Other than that I am trying to expose myself to as much inspiration as possible while enjoying my downtime. I head to Ottawa to direct Aladdin Jr. with Stabback Music Studio in 18 days!

Over the weekend my grandfather gave me his Father's wristwatch. It is a self timing watch, which means that it stops ticking when it is not on my wrist. I like that each time I take it off, before I put it on I have to set it. I think it is going to be a great way to teach me how to slow down and enjoy the simple things. Getting my first adult watch makes me feel so grown up, as cheesy as that sounds.

Life is the time we have left, and what we choose to do with it.

Night Abyss.

(Disclaimer: I am not a drag performer. Maria is simply a character who has a story to tell. And I am a man who is choosing to tell it, authentically. I have a lot of respect for drag performers but that is not the point of LIONESS.)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Show Must Go On.

Hey Abyss,

Since my last post I went to see The Great Gatsby. I thought Carey Mulligan blew it out of the park. And, well, Leo is just Leo. I also forgot how much I like Tobey MacGuire. It was an extremely solid cast and the visuals were, well, very Baz Luhrmann. All in all I enjoyed it.

I haven't had any auditions since the short film a few weeks ago, but that is perfectly fine considering I haven't had that much downtime with SOLO-icious hanging in the balance. For those of you who may not know what I am talking about, SOLO-icious is a solo festival that took place in Halifax last year and has expanded and come back this year. I have the absolute pleasure of being part of both years. This year, on Sunday May 26 @8pm to be exact, I will be performing my piece LIONESS which I wrote and star in. It is about a Lower Manhattan Latina single mom that goes in for a parent teacher interview regarding her 8 year old son.

I also wear a leopard print jumpsuit.

If you have been following my posts you will know that I performed this piece at The National Theatre School earlier this year as part of an assignment. Now that I am performing it outside of the school I am extremely nervous, but I think it will be a learning experience. A fresh audience is something that is so educational especially in these early stages of development for solo work. I know I am completely supported and every artist scheduled for the evening is in the same boat as me, so we just have to go and knock it out of the park. I have my tech time today and then I am supporting the first half of the performers tonight!

After my performance on Sunday I am taking a break and just chilling out for three weeks before I head to Ottawa/Toronto for a month. I am looking forward to just relaxing and taking time to read and sit outside. I am a proactive person when it comes to projects and finding things to do, but after talking to a fellow artist yesterday I realized that I have a tendency to become lazy with my technique. In other words, I am not keeping up with the training over the summer. I tend to let it fall to the waste-side, which is not good. I really have to get into the habit of being diligent in my work in and outside of school, I find myself becoming so distracted with making projects or connecting with people over a project that I am not ready for when the project is actually here!

Everything is a process and I am still pushing my way through to find what truly benefits me and how I can keep practicing self discipline. I don't think these struggles ever stop, but I do want to get into a routine with them, because the worst thing would be to become so apathetic that it all just falls away from me. And as I have said numerous times before, I need to start getting better at the things I am not so good at.

I have met some awesome people over the last few weeks and they had some wonderful insights for me.  I feel so blessed to have knowledgeable and kind people in my life who are willing to share their struggles in attempts to make me better. It is so selfless and I am entirely grateful. I find honesty and reality to be the most important things when talking to people about their careers, no one wants to be lead down a road of lies. Tell me upfront. If you can't handle the truth then you aren't ready for the life, that's my opinion.

If you are in Halifax this weekend check out SOLO-icious!

Here is an interview with Sebastien Heins the Artistic Director of the Festival:

I have to get ready for my tech time, thanks for listening.

Night Abyss.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Education Vs Entertainment


If you have been following my Facebook and Twitter updates you will know how busy this weekend has been regarding the premiere of Blackbird across Canada. The film opened this past Friday in 4 theatres, and will be expanding to more over the next few weeks, so if it has not come to your city yet, check out the future screenings here: Screening Info.

Today was the last event on the docket for opening weekend here in Halifax, it was a Q&A with some of the local actors from the film (including myself). It was a fairly small audience but this was most likely due to One: the Rain, which is of biblical proportions and Two: the fact that Iron Man 3 and The Great Gatsby also happened to open this same weekend. Nonetheless, the audience was extremely supportive and curious about the film and its journey. Something that has been talked about, at most of the screenings I have had the pleasure of attending, is how relevant the film is to youth and the effects of social media today. As teenagers and even as young adults we sometimes underestimate the severity of what we can put out online, via text message or even Skype! Things can become misconstrued because there is a piece of technology between us and the receiver, and these things can lead to extreme situations.

For those of you who have not heard about the film or are still on the fence about taking time out of your schedule to see it, the aforementioned is the situation that is dealt with in the film. How one teenage impulse is blown completely out of proportion and proceeds to damage a whole community. A situation that is all too relevant to what we have all seen in the media of late, with all the cases of bullying and suicide I think that there is absolutely no better time for this movie to be surfacing.

This afternoon we were discussing the fact that Iron Man 3 was sold out in both theatres, and Blackbird only had about 30 people in it. Here is a film that people are walking away from learning something about themselves and the children around them, and yet it can't pull in audiences like a movie about a bionic man, it is mildly upsetting. The fact that this film is Canadian means that it already has a bad rap before it even gets out of the gate, people don't want to see it because there is no explosions or hot celebrities in it and its not American. This is a sad but true fact. There are extremely talented people involved with this film, at least 90% being local. It is filmed in Nova Scotia and it is about Nova Scotia, and it is educational on all levels. I find it strange that more people would not want to see something like this.

There was couple that talked to me after the Q&A and they said they want to bring there son so that he can see how the path that he is on will only lead to destruction, and that there is hope for him. My question is when did entertainment become more important than education? I mean, I am all for the beauty and escapism that comes from films, hell my girlfriend and I can't wait to see The Great Gastby next weekend, but when there is something in your community, about your community, and could educate you or bring awareness to a situation you haven't been privy too -- why wouldn't you want to see something like that? Is it really that much of a hassle to make time to see that film first? It is certainly cheaper than seeing Iron Man 3 in 3D!

I am not going to try to figure out peoples motivations for what they see and don't see, I just would hope that the question is left to sit in your mind. Film can be so many things, but don't let the educational part of art be passed by for simple, mind numbing entertainment. The more we can learn and educate ourselves about one another the more we can help change the world around us, and film is such a beautiful starting place for change. Do yourself a favour and walk away from the theatre thinking, its only 12 bucks worst case scenario.

Audition update: Didn't get the part; I am too short and didn't look enough like a stoner. But they liked me and if they can get the money for a pilot they are thinking of writing something for me, which is sick!

I am going to drink some tea and and read about Prince.

Night Abyss. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013



I landed in Halifax on Monday morning.

Summer has officially started in my mind. I am looking forward to what the city has in store for me for the next little bit until I head off to Ottawa/Toronto/Montreal in July. I have just been relaxing with my beautiful GF over the last few days. But we both got back to our routine's today and I have started to put out my feelers for surfacing work.

Tomorrow I have an audition for a comedic short film that I am excited about, its been a while since I have auditioned for something funny. This weekend is shaping up to be chock full o' fun, mostly because Blackbird is having its theatrical release across Canada. In Halifax there are many events planned including a Q&A session with yours truly and some other local actors from the film!  The first weekend is extremely important for Canadian films, if there is a huge interest then the theatre can keep it playing for longer. Keeping it running for as long as possible is the goal. So, if you are reading this spread the word and buy your tickets here: Tickets for the theatre close to you.

I am also excited about seeing Scott Nicks and Jennah Barry live at The Company House on Saturday, they are two local and extremely talented musicians, who I unfortunately haven't seen live yet! Check them out if you are in the area.

The last few days at school were very informative, and gave me a solid goal to marinate with and bring into next year. Although the school is a wonderful foundation for my career, I still have much to learn about life and the industry when I graduate. Thus, I want to make sure I use my final year to my full advantage and make the breakthroughs that will benefit my process and artistry. For me this summer is about working, as usual, but also looking inward and listening to how I can help people and learn from those around me. Whether they are on the bus, or in the rehearsal hall, I need to focus on simply taking everything in and allowing myself to be affected.

I have a tendency to go inward and overanalyze every situation. I need to regain access to my emotions and remember what it is like to work hard on the work I struggle with and get better. Let it flow. Things are usually simpler than I make them. I also want to read quite a bit, there are so many books and plays that I want to immerse myself in, expand my mind, become knowledgeable. Daniel MacIvor said something to all the actors the other day in class, "Actors are essentially professional humans." I want to become the best person I can be, so that I can be other people. This is my personal goal for the summer.

Also get a lot of sun.

Thank you for all your continued support.

Night Abyss.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Summer is Here and I am Inside.


Despite the depressing vibe emanating from my entry title; I am very well. I was outside for most of the morning showing a good friend of mine the lay of the land and some of my favourite spots in Montreal. She is here on her "Grad Trip" and wanted to see some of the city, and seeing as it is beautiful out I leapt at the opportunity to show her around!

There is officially one week of school left, and even if I couldn't read a calendar, I can feel it in the air. It's the time of year where things start to pick up and change, the days become longer and productivity seems possible again, because not only do I feel like getting more done but I can be outside doing it! I was talking to a friend of mine last night about how things are changing, because we have come to the end of an era. Most people anticipated that 2012 was the end, and that there wouldn't be anything after that, but thankfully there is and I am so excited to see what the rest of this year brings for me personally and artistically.

I was filling out a form for a scholarship and it asked for the the start and finish dates of the program I intend to use the money for. As I wrote out May 2014 for the end date, it struck me that the end is so close. This part of my life that seemed so far away two summers ago, is one year from now. Life is slowly creeping up, and as much as I don't want to wish away the time, I feel so ready for my final year at NTS.

Last night, I went to see the New Words Festival Shows which are the efforts of all the third year graduates of the Playwriting, Production, Set and Costume Design, and Acting programs and I really enjoyed myself. The first, You Can Do Whatever You Want, was written by Jesse Stong and chronicled the lives of three generations of women in a small town. It was beautiful. I love stories about families and the struggles of reality. The second, Model Wanted, was written by Step Taylor and was so fascinating, I thought each character was deeply interesting and well developed, and the ending left me with this raw exposed nerve feeling that I love having. These experiences made me so excited to see what we will be working with next year.

As time goes on here, I realize how my classmates and I are continually changing and discovering who we are, what we like and don't like and what our futures may hold for us. And since the start of meeting them all I knew our journeys here and in our futures would be so different and I am thrilled to see where we all go after this time together. Life is remarkable and as many struggles that I have had over the last two years, I know that every one of them was necessary for me to be where I am right now. I am slowly discovering clarity over what I want for myself artistically and that is a good feeling.

My summer is shaping up to be quite full of plans and arrangements and I am really excited for the experiences that lie within them. I need to start packing, but it comes down to what do I really need? I really want to indulge in simplicity this summer, and truly live in the present rather than constantly searching for what is coming down the tubes. The more serene my summer is the more time I can dedicate to my work being the best it can be. And really, I would rather it be the best, then be almost the best but then I got distracted with this new project that I really like.

I think that wraps up my thoughts for the day. Bring on the final week.

Jeremy Webb is the meanest director in Halifax (I hope this brings a smile to your face.)

Night Abyss.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Snap Back to Reality.

Hey Abyss,
Many discoveries were made last week. I think the one that had the most impact on me was being put on the spot for not knowing my lines. That seems like a basic thing, an actor knowing their lines, but for some reason I have always struggled with memorizing text. Not a good quality to have in an actor, but it is not the worst thing. I can honestly tell you I have never gone on stage not knowing my lines, I have always managed to get everything down before we open, it just seems to takes me a lot longer than everyone else. Being at NTS has certainly enabled me to get better at locking the words in my brain by offering me a bounty full of approaches to do just that. 
I felt I had been doing well with my text for Midsummer Nights Dream and therefore over the last week, in anticipation for the weekend (which I will get into in a moment) did not do what is necessary for myself for the last part of my text. And, as it should, it came back to bite me. 
A few weeks ago I was offered a lead part in a short film that was being shot in Halifax, by a well known Actor/Director, named Jeremy Webb. His company’s previous film Wake garnered some notable attention in the festival circuit and was being back by CBC, not a bad combo. When the role was offered to me I clarified that the only way I could fly home and do it was to get the permission from my superiors at the school. So, I proceeded that Monday to acquire all the approval I needed, which was graciously given and I agreed to do the short that weekend. The plan was to fly home Thursday night and fly back Monday morning. So I would only miss two days of classes. 
Everything seemed to flow perfectly until Thursday came and I kept flubbing through my lines in the final part of the play. And it was at this time when I was put on the spot, by my director. I had been working extremely hard on my text, but due to the excitement of the weekend I failed to give it the added time I know it needed. This ultimately disappointed him, and made me feel like a complete schmuck, especially considering his generosity. He was harsh and to the point, and it was that snap back to reality that made me realize the lesson; Which was to focus on one thing at a time, and give it 150% of my energy. This problem is something that has been an issue for a while with myself. And I think it took this situation to finally let it sink in. 
Do your best with what you have right now. Then when that is over, focus on the next thing. This is my mantra for the next while until I can calm down and just enjoy what is in front of me rather than worrying about what is coming next. It is difficult, but this is what I want for a career more than anything else, and so I have to let it flow. 
The stress from not knowing my lines and disappointing my director, lead to me heading to the airport 12 hours earlier than my flight was scheduled to leave and left me stranded there for 4 hours until a friend of mine came and picked me up. Again, if I had just read the itinerary of the flight and chilled, instead of thinking how I may have been blacklisted from the class, that would not have happened and I would have been 60 dollars richer. Once, I finally got back to Halifax, everything became clearer and I spent every bit of downtime I had on set memorizing those lines for Monday. I came back yesterday, having done what should have been done and it feels good to be free of that pressure. 
Filming over the weekend was great and reminded me of how much I love film as a medium. The team was wonderful and there was such an artistry behind the whole thing, which made me feel proud to be part of it. The atmosphere on set, even though we were rushed for time, was positive and happy. There was a specific moment I recall on the second day where I was talking to Jessica Marsh over lunch and the crew and other cast members were all playing music and singing together, and it was this moment that encapsulated the whole shoot for me. A bunch of talented people coming together to make art. It was beautiful. And I am extremely grateful to have been part of such a piece. 
The film is called Bone Deep, and if you hit the link you can read more about it. 

We are into tech week right now for MSND, and so I have some things that need to get done tonight before I hit the hay. 
Night Abyss