You’re coordinating the ACTRA Manitoba Awards Gala out of the goodness of your heart (thanks btw!), what event coordinating experience do you have?
I have been event planning since I was 13. I ran for student council president (and won) for the sole purpose of organizing sock-hops & spirit week (HA!). I have been making excuses to plan and organize projects ever since. I think it’s in my blood. When I see potential in something or someone, I want to help it not only come to life, but give it the push it needs to actualize its potential.
I have been managing my sketch comedy troupe Hot Thespian Action for the past ten years and have created (or co-created) a few other performance troupes including a Deaf mime troupe called 100 Decibels. As a manager and mentor, I have been the driving force behind the shows we create and perform. All of the skills I have honed through these experiences lends itself directly to event planning and project management.
So I have decided to contract myself out doing just that. Over the past year, on top of performing, educating and creating as an artist, I have Production Managed a promotional video with MFM & On Screen Manitoba (https://vimeo.com/148643654), I have joined the Winnipeg Comedy Festival team planning/hosting their after parties, rounding up sponsorships and marketing the festival, and I have also coordinated a few weddings in-between.
When Jan Skene asked me to join council to be the chair of the ACTRA Awards, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give back to this beautiful community and to show them what I’ve got hidden up my sleeve.
When did you become an ACTRA member, and what was your first union gig?
Oh man, good question. I am pretty sure it was in 2010? It was probably on Todd and the Book of Pure Evil as a stunt performer.
How has being a part of ACTRA benefited you?
First off, ACTRA isn’t just a union, it is a community. It not only provides us with legal support but also with a network of like-minded artists who are eager to create and develop as professionals. We are all there for one another and ACTRA encourages us to keep training and performing by supporting workshops, offering grants and our small Manitoba branch is always there to help one-on-one when you need.
Becoming an ACTRA member isn’t something that is just offered; you literally have to work for it. This is a union of professionals and being an ACTRA member shows that you are serious about your craft. I am fortunate enough to not only be a member as an actor but also as a stunt performer. Skene Stunts is an incredibly professional company who take pride in their team as highly skilled performers. If I were not a part of ACTRA, I would have missed out on the opportunity to work with such a highly regarded and respected stunt team.
What has been your favorite film/role or stunt gig thus far?
HOW CAN I CHOOSE?! I will take a two pronged approach; being featured on the Winnipeg Comedy Festival broadcast with Hot Thespian Action alongside Alan Thicke was a lot of fun and a source of pride for myself and my company. As for stunts, the film set of Todd and the Book of Pure Evil was such a fun one to be on, especially when I was directed to comically fight one of my best friends in the ‘Terrible Twin Turf Tussle’.
How do you stay sharp? Do you have any training suggestions?
I know it is hard to find long-term film workshops/training around town- but there are other workshops available and we (ACTRA council) are working on that. There are many weekend workshops offered by organizations like Film Training Manitoba. I try to take as many as I can afford.
Being a part of Hot Thespian Action certainly has helped keep me on my toes. I am not the wait-by-the-phone kind of gal, I always have something on the go in terms of performance and creation and I am always open to working on MIP’s and indie projects.
I keep sharp by adding more performance skills to my tool-box. I don’t believe that taking an acting workshop is the only way to train (though I do think it is important to keep that up too). I try to train in many different aspects of performance (singing, mime, clown, dance). I also keep a healthy lifestyle and expand my skill-set by taking workshops/classes/certifications directed towards my stunt background (scuba-diving, stunt driving, skiing, combat, yoga etc). There are so many things I can learn and I want to learn them all!!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Who knows!!! I am always surprising myself with new endeavors I decide to take on. I have a few projects in mind and a few on the go. Hot Thespian Action is trying to get a web series underway (funding dependent) and we hope it will lead us to more work or, who knows, maybe we will finally get to produce that TV show!
Thank you for all you do! Any last thoughts?
Yes, I hope that everyone is able to come to our red carpet awards Gala, my main goal was to make it an event that makes every ACTRA Manitoba member feel special. Being a performer is not easy; we all deserve to celebrate!