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.