Okay. Me becoming a movie star might be a bit of an exaggeration but I did make it into a full length student film as a leading character. It was an awesome experience. I met some cool new people, got to live out a dream of acting in a comedy movie, and literally had to push all the girls off me. Okay, the last part isn’t true but everything else is.
And it all started by pushing my boundaries and stepping outside my comfort zone.
I’ve always had an interest in acting, probably due to being a Leo who likes the spotlight, but haven’t really given it much attention besides acting as an extra in some productions a few years back. Then one day I found myself looking through “Acting” ads on kijiji. Most were garbage but I stumbled across one that was asking for a lead actor in a full length student movie. I immediately began to imagine what a great experience this would be. It was a chance to have a lot of lines in a movie and gain some experience.
There was one problem though. I needed to audition. I had never auditioned before and it made me nervous to go into a room with people and act out lines from a script with no acting experience behind me. I knew it wasn’t going to be as “hard-core” with students as it would be with a professional shoot but I still didn’t want to look stupid.
I told myself I had to do it. What were my chances of ever seeing an opportunity like this again. It could be my last chance. I had spoke in front of 50 people before. I had jumped out of a plane and leaped off a bridge. I managed to travel 5 months solo throughout Australia and Indonesia.
I had to do it. I sent them an email and told them I would come audition. Next thing you know, I’m “Alex” in the movie “Kankered”.
Despite some mishaps (like continuously losing actors who weren’t taking it seriously), it took about a month (30 days of acting) to get all the shots done before it moved on to the voiceover and editing phases. We had a blast taking outdoor shots while trying to avoid the police, spending a day in the woods with werewolves and ninjas, partying at fake parties, breaking into a house, and joining a hot tub party where a friend was kidnapped by a hot girl who wanted his baby.
The director, Nick, is now in Vancouver Film School having “Kankered” edited and ready for film festivals. Despite its lack of budget, it came out looking really good. It’s got a ton of coarse language and immature sexual innuendoes so it’s only for those who like “R” rated Superbad-type movies, which means grandmothers may not approve.
Check out the trailer below.
When it comes down to it, that one push to get myself to auditon turned into a great adventure and an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience. Now I can say I’ve accomplished my dream to be in a movie and I hope I get to do it again. I’m just waiting for a phone call from Leo and Depp.
Have you always wanted to act in a movie? There are a few things you can do to make that happen.
1. Get started as an extra. Extras are the people you see in the background of movies. Sometimes you see yourself and sometimes you don’t but it’s a fun time either way. My first experience was great! I became a continuity extra in the movie September Dawn, spending an entire month acting in the background. I met some great people and had a blast acting in a western. To start acting as an extra it’s usually best to hire an agent. The tough part is finding one who is legitimate. Although I paid an upfront cost, I would recommend that you find an agent who does NOT charge a fee upfront. Agents make money when they find you work (about 15% of your pay) so paying them upfront kind of defeats the purpose. I’ve been swindled many times when I was younger and never really heard from agents again after paying them upfront. Ask friends if any of them have acted before and see who they hired. Look around online and in newspapers and try to find one with no upfront fee upfront. Usually all you need is a basic picture taken with a standard point and shoot camera.
2. Join Meetups. Ever hear of meetup.com? It’s a great place to find like-minded people in any area of interest. Search for a “film club” in your area and see what people are doing. This is usually a group of amateurs who want to have fun making movies and generally make it easy to get some acting experience under their belts. These groups are also good if you want some practice directing, operating a camera, or writing a script.
3. Search online classifieds like Kijiji. This is how I found my best gig to date. They usually are not paid but it’s a great experience and something to add to your acting resume. Sometimes you’ll find students or amateurs looking for actors (or other positions) to help out with a movie. These movies sometimes make it into film festivals, which make it fun to see and might get you noticed.
4. Search more help. Google the acting union in your area as they are a great place to find out what movies are shooting in your area. Likewise, you could also visit a local school that teaches film studies and ask them about potential opportunities. Maybe you’ll want to take a course while you’re at it.
Have you ever acted in a movie or commercial? How did you score the gig?