From: Anthony Meindl's Actors Workshop
March 19, 2014
Hollywood is synonymous for movies and show business. The big letters that adorn Mount Lee are a calling card to the thousands who have made the pilgrimage over the years, a pilgrimage that is no longer necessary because there are studios all over the world.
Then there is Vancouver. The nickname of Hollywood North was bestowed on Toronto and Vancouver in the 1970s but in recent times, more and more productions are leaving Tinseltown and heading to the Couve.
The tax incentives that British Columbia offers as well as it being on the West Coast make it more attractive than Toronto and Vancouver is now the third largest film and TV production centre in North America.
What this means for Vancouverites wanting to get into the industry is that they don’t have to head down South in order to do so.
Because of the hit/miss nature of the industry which can move slowly and thus requires a lot of patience, it isn’t easy when you make a massive risk and head to another city in pursuit of dreams.
Karen Lamare from Creative BC echoes this advice. “Be persistent, research opportunities, stay connected, network and commit to continuously advancing your skills and learning your craft.”
Also, Canadian screenwriter Dennis Heaton says, “… learn to “schmooze”. The job isn’t nearly as introverted as you can be led to believe. You have to be able to not only sell your material, but yourself.”
This is significantly easier to do when you have your family and friends around you, but more importantly you have less competition in Vancouver than you would in Hollywood or New York. By getting your face on screen and assembling a body of work, you might put yourself in a far better position to succeed for when you do decide to tackle Hollywood.
As Lamare says, the goals of the local industry are to, “support the development, production, marketing and distribution of high quality, commercially viable, film, television and digital media projects.”
If this happens, there are only going to be more and more opportunities availing themselves.
Casting Directors are going to be looking for actors to cast. Being an extra may not seem like much, but it’s far easier to have a conversation with someone on set than anywhere else.
John Cruise from Filmingvancouver.com believes only more things will be filmed in Vancouver. “Having Vancouver continue to be a popular destination for Hollywood will keep the economy strong, and will continue to draw and produce talented actors from Vancouver.”
To actors out there trying to break in to the industry he also has three pieces of advice: “First, be talented. Find a great agent, and believe in yourself.
Those who felt that getting into movies was some far-flung dream that could never happen should reconsider. It’s bit like trying to win the lottery without first buying a ticket. Buying a ticket is enrolling at a Vancouver acting school and starting to assembly a body of work and getting yourself out and in front of people. From there, anything is possible. You may even win the lottery.