I attended the July Kino Screening for Kino Ottawa last night. It was my first time attending the monthly event. I am new to the filmmaking culture in Ottawa, and this was my first opportunity outside of training with the Screen Acting Academy to meet others involved in the community. The host for the screening was Vincent Valentino, an actor and filmmaker who submitted his short film "The Upsidedown Man" for the screening. His film is a progression of dream-like sequences, a self-portrait with an introspective voiceover as he reflects on life and love with his girlfriend, Sara Chivot.
In addition, I met Lisa Meuser, my agent, for the first time in person. I was there to see the short film "Trigger;" Lisa wrote the screenplay, and Petra Watzlawik-Li is among the cast. I went to South Carleton High School with Petra in the latter half of the 1970s. Petra and I are on the list of actors Lisa represents. The film is a moving tale of the petty dispute between neighbours that ends in the tragic death of a woman with mental illness at the hands of the police. Petra and the rest of the cast gave solid performances.
Before the screening started, I sat at a table with Tyler Pope, an actor and videographer. While he sipped his bottle of Budweiser and I nursed my glass of ginger ale, we had a pleasing discussion about his experience as an actor and filmmaker and my recent transition from stage acting into screen acting. Tyler appeared in one of the films shown, "The Floral Project," and worked behind the camera in another of the films we viewed. He was duly praised by the appreciative audience. He is a multitalented young man.
In all, the films screened last night ran the gamut from comedy, drama and dramedy. While some films were firmly dramatic or comic, some had elements of both. It made me think of a quotation from Carol Burnett's mother, who sardonically remarked that "comedy is tragedy with timing." The short films screened at the July Kino Screening last night highlighted the creativity and imagination of all those who participated in their production. A discussion between Vincent, the filmmakers, and the actors followed the screening; they also took questions from the audience. A good time was had by all who attended, myself included. I look forward to the following screening later this month. Indeed, I hope to one day appear in one of the films screened.
I am a recent graduate of the Screen Acting Academy from the Screen Acting Room (a part-time acting program that spanned twenty-four weeks of instruction). I enrolled in the Screen Acting Academy as an experienced stage actor who aspires to break into the film and television industry as a screen actor. When I met Mike Migliara for the first time outside the studio for my first class, he impressed me with his forthright manner and knowledge and experience as an actor and casting director. In addition, Mike has an eye for talent, demonstrated by the impressive array of screen and voice actors and videographers he recruited as the faculty and tech crew for the Screen Acting Academy. These include Karen Cliche, Rod Williams, Chris Wylie, Daniel Garcia and Ben Bergeron (the resident videographer and technician).
The curriculum of the Screen Acting Room consists of a blend of classroom and practical instruction in acting for the camera. It is a challenging program for students, both beginners and more experienced actors. In addition, the Screen Acting Academy offers training for adults and children alike. Under the guidance of Mike Migliara and his fellow instructors, I received a comprehensive and thoroughgoing introduction to screen acting. The classroom instruction engaged my intellect and imagination, and the exercises assigned in the classes helped refine my talent as an aspiring screen actor. As I said, Mike is forthright as an instructor; he offered constructive criticism but inspired confidence in the process.
Following my graduation from the Screen Acting Room, I enrolled in the Just Scenes program for advanced scene study under the tutelage of Karen Cliche and Rod Williams. In addition, I am enrolled in the next Acting with Your Voice course. To date, the training I received at the Screen Acting Academy proved invaluable. Above and beyond the formal training, Mike and his colleagues always have time for a student to offer career guidance and opportunities for extra-curricular events, such as the fascinating and informative online seminar provided by Shawn Baichoo, a successful screen and voice actor, for my classmates and I.
Finally, the fees for the courses are very reasonable and trust me, you get what you pay for and then some.
I thought about Shane Kippel and what one of my acting instructors at the Screen Acting Academy said about him in class. Despite his potential, his acting career never took off. He started as a child actor; I saw him in Degrassi: the next generation; he was a chubby kid who played the bully. He grew into a fit and handsome young man during his run on Degrassi. Then I saw him in Dog Pound. The character he played in Dog Pound has an edge not seen in his role in Degrassi. Since then, he has continued his career in the entertainment industry. He is a drummer and played professionally in bands. Now in his mid-30s, his most recent IMDB credit was in 2020. He is not a star but remains a part of the culture and has a fan base.
Thinking about him and his experience as a screen actor made me consider what I learned in the courses I took with the Screen Acting Academy. I do not aspire to stardom; I am in the business because, as Chris Wyllie told us in Level 2, I love the craft. I do not see screen acting as a get-rich-quick scheme. I dream of getting bookings and receiving payment; this will supplement my pension income. In my training with the Screen Acting Academy, I also learned not to take rejection personally. I was told that before in previous acting classes, but it only got through to me this time. Yes, rejection is the rule, not the exception. When I audition, I do my best to leave a good impression. I learned to avoid falling into the trap of compare and despair too. It is all too easy to resent another's success.
If I cannot help but compare myself to others, then Shane Kippel and some of his castmates in Degrassi come to mind. They succeeded as child and young adult actors and actresses, and many succeeded in transitioning to adult performers. However, a couple left the business and pursued careers outside the industry. It is all good. Although I started late in life, I am determined to become a part of the culture. I hope to have a few IMDB credits to my name before I die. Stardom is not my destiny, but like Shane Kippel, I hope to apply my talent and leave my mark as a screen actor. Meanwhile, I will keep a stiff upper lip and celebrate my classmates' successes as they make their way as screen actors and actresses. As Doris Day famously observed, "What will be will be; the future's not ours to see."