There were good times, there were bad times (especially in the USA, stay safe American friends). It was a bit of a crazy year. Personally, it was my year off to pursue my acting dreams, which was a far more successful pursuit than I thought it would be. In a month, it will have been a year since I started going at this acting thing with all I’ve got. I gave myself a year, I proved I could do it, and I think…a year is a year. Then I’ll go back to whatever life is without it.
But first, I just wanted to make a year-end appreciation post for the roles I’ve had and the productions I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of and the people I’ve been lucky enough to work with.
This is by no means a complete list. But these are the easiest to tell you about.
Megan, in Social Life: Bathroom Selfie, was my first role of the year and the first screen credit I got in Canada. It was a student film and I learned a lot from it. Mostly, I’ve had a few friends of friends mention they saw me on TV at the local university, and that’s kind of weird to think about. The character was an embarrassed university student who was slightly inept at social media, so there wasn’t a lot of acting to do. Everyone involved was professional and on their A-game. We had a fun afternoon.
My second role of the year, and my first ever non-student production was Maggie Steele in A Perception of Prudence. This production seemed huge and I felt so green in comparison to all the seasoned actors and professional filmmakers I was surrounded by. The costumes and sets were amazing—not to mention we were filming in one of the three soundstage in Calgary next to the production of a little TV show you may have heard of…Fargo! (They were filming season 3 with Ewan McGregor. It was amazing.)
I made some good friends on this production who I went on to work with in other things, too. I’m not sure if my acting in it was great, because the character was so serious and a total badass, which I have no experience with. I guess I’ll see when it comes out in 2018!
Surreal was my first outdoor production ever, a student short film in which I played Mia. It was also the longest production I’d been on at that point, a whole four days, and on location in Water Valley, too!
After the enormous (to me) production of A Perception of Prudence, the seven cast and crew seemed intimate and I was closer in age to the crew, too. It felt like a lot less pressure, but I could tell we were all passionate about what we were doing and that was a good feeling to have. One of my favourite things about film productions is the sense that we’re all in this together, working towards the same goal. I freaking love it.
My first television filming experience was the pilot of a show called D.O.P.E., this awesome story of two alien-monster detective hunter people (reminiscent of Men in Black) where I got to do stunts!
I mean, in Prudence I ran in high heels and at the time, I considered that to be a stunt, and then in Surreal, I had a tiny role in a fight between two of the other characters (although the character wasn’t supposed to be very coordinated so I got off easy). In DOPE I had a full fight sequence, and I also got to work with my sister Amy who also had a full fight sequence. I played Crackle and she played Snap, and we were the Cereal Sisters. We were these robot-monster-henchmen of the main villain and it was such a fun day of filming with some awesome people.
In the fall, there was a bit of a lull in terms of auditions. But I got the one role I did audition for, a big one for me. Ziggy in Valerie, my first feature film, and a main role to boot (the smallest of the main roles).
Ziggy was a culmination of everything I had learned so far. Megan in Social life was a teenager with teenager problems, Maggie was tough and cold, Mia was innocent and vulnerable, Crackle was a follower and a fighter. Ziggy had to be tough, but vulnerable. A teenager, but with history and life experience. She had to follow, but know when to go her own way.
Production was also a bit of everything. I had stunts and quiet scenes, worked indoors and outdoors, met new people and worked with people I’d met in other productions. I had more lines to memorize and more days of filming than I’d ever had, and spread out over more locations and more days than any production I’d ever been a part of. I also got to work with green screen for the first time. Yes, Valerie was hard work, and that is what makes it such a big achievement.
In my first web series, Snowshoe & Monster, I played Hanna, one of the three characters. Production started almost immediately after Valerie ended and I learned a lesson in preparation. I did not feel adequately prepared, and I should have worked harder on that. Hopefully, we will be doing more episodes in the new year and I will get to go back to the intelligent, sarcastic, open-minded Hanna and do her justice.
This was also my first period piece, so I had to learn things like how to put film into and old camera. The cast and crew were all around the same age, so we were pretty chill with each other, but again, everyone was professional and great at their jobs, and this was a serious production. I loved the feel of the show and because it should have several episodes, I will hopefully be able to experience Hanna’s growth as a character.
Lastly, I played the very important role of Director for SIV, which I also wrote. This was a lesson in planning, in communicating, in adapting, and in appreciating every single person that is part of the process. I had a lot of fun for the two days of filming, but it was also a ton of work, all day every day.
Those have been my biggest roles of the year. Some special mentions to my experiences with role-playing, dinner theatre, improv, my first music video appearance, and my first commercial, too! I have learned so much on every single set I’ve been on over the last eleven months, and this year has been very, very worth it.