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Can an actor 'make it' in Kamloops?

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September 08, 2014 - 8:30 AM

KAMLOOPS – When Dennis Cound of Kamloops decided to take acting more seriously, he secured an agent and he’s been auditioning for roles ever since. But many of them are in larger city centres like his most recent role in Supernatural, filmed in Vancouver.

It has us wondering: Can you “make it” in show biz and stay in Kamloops?

Wesley Eccleston with TRU’s theatre department says those who want to make a full-time career in film will likely have to relocate to a bigger city centre. But adds sometimes it's the actors from smaller towns who have the most drive to get the part.

“You often see more provocative or people that are much more hungry, and willing to give a lot more life to their roles” Eccleston says.

Kamloops has a few opportunities for those hoping to get a small film appearance. In the past few years, there have been calls for extras in the area, most recently for Egyptian-looking men for Night at the Museum 3.

While far and few between, there are some film acting opportunities available, including the chance to be cast as an extra. Eccleston says casting in Kamloops is growing but wouldn’t call it a boom.

“It’s been fairly steady, there are some groups or organizations and projects, films that obviously come into town and there’s some hoopla,” Eccleston says. “Most of the film production work with any budget backing behind it tends to cast from elsewhere and cast extras from here... there seems to be a good number of people (who) are interested in film work.”

As a hub of theatre education in town, Eccleston says he is often approached by organizations looking to hire short-term actors. He says his lesson to students is to never turn down a role or opportunity if the long-term goal is to “make it” as an actor.

"Working with a different cast, working with a different character, working with a different organization will yield learning opportunities," he says. 

Devloping an acting career is hard, but Eccleston says for part-time actors there are “more opportunities within the community of Kamloops outside of the professional realm.”

Theatre options include working with the Kamloops Players, a small troupe. Or if an actor is more musical or passionate about comedy, the Laughing Stock theatre group could be an outlet. 

As for behind-the-scenes types, Eccleston says alumni who studied to be theatre technicians have gone on to find more employment than acting counterparts.

“Technicians are always in short supply; actors are never in short supply,” he says.

For the group of aspiring thespians, Eccleston has hopes for the actors who want it most.

"I know that the opportunities are out there," he says. "If someone is hell-bent, or very enthusiastic...  about making acting a career they should seek out every opportunity they can."


— Nine movies with Kamloops and area as backdrop

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To contact a reporter for this story, email, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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