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Acting in Vancouver: Tips for International Actors

Vancouver, often referred to as "Hollywood North," is a thriving hub for film and television production. With its stunning landscapes and state-of-the-art facilities, it’s no wonder that many international actors are drawn to this beautiful Canadian city. If you're an actor considering making the move to Vancouver, here are some essential tips to help you navigate the industry and make the most of your opportunities. First things first, you'll need the appropriate visa and work permit to work as an actor in Vancouver. The specific paperwork required depends on your individual situation, so make sure to thoroughly research what you need before starting the process.

Understand the Industry Landscape

Vancouver is renowned for its vibrant film and TV industry. Shows like "Supernatural," "The X-Files," and "Riverdale" have been filmed here, creating a bustling environment for actors. Familiarize yourself with the local industry by attending networking events, film festivals, and workshops. Organizations like the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) offer excellent opportunities to connect with industry professionals and stay informed about the latest trends and productions. When I first moved to Vancouver, I moved here on a working holiday visa without any contacts. Aside from finding a place to live, I focused on meeting people and making friends. I joined a few Meetup groups where we would meet for a coffee at a local café and quickly started to connect with some wonderful people. I also attended meetings at the Vancouver Film School and discovered filmmaker networks like the Celluloid Social Club and Gender Equity in Media Society Vancouver (GEMS).

Build a Strong Local Network

Networking is key to success in any acting market, and Vancouver is no different. Attend local theater productions, film screenings, and industry mixers to meet other actors, directors, and casting agents. Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram can also be useful for connecting with local industry professionals. Participating in community projects and student films can help you build your resume and gain valuable on-set experience.

Enhance Your Skills

Continuous improvement of your craft is essential. Vancouver offers numerous acting classes and workshops that can help you hone your skills. Look for reputable schools and coaches who are well-connected in the industry. The Vancouver Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Railtown Actors Studio are popular choices that offer a range of courses from scene study to audition techniques.

Prepare for Self-Tape Auditions

Self-taping has become a standard practice, especially post-pandemic. Ensure you have a professional setup at home, including a good camera, lighting, and a plain background. Practice your self-taping techniques and consider investing in a tripod and microphone to enhance the quality of your tapes. Websites like Casting Workbook often post casting calls that require self-tape submissions, so being prepared can give you a competitive edge.

Embrace the Local Culture

Immersing yourself in the local culture can enhance your experience and help you adapt more quickly. Vancouver is known for its diverse and inclusive community. Explore the city, participate in cultural events, and engage with the local arts scene. This not only enriches your personal life but can also inspire your artistic endeavors.

Stay Resilient and Persistent

Breaking into a new market can be challenging and will require time and persistence. Rejections are part of the process, so stay resilient and keep honing your craft. Celebrate small victories and stay focused on your long-term goals. Remember that every audition and role, no matter how small, is an opportunity to learn and grow.

Vancouver offers exciting opportunities for international actors. I moved to the city because I wanted to experience Canada, its culture, and beautiful nature, and immerse myself in its vibrant film industry. While I didn't plan to stay permanently and intended to return to London, my time in Canada was incredibly rewarding. I had the chance to work with talented filmmakers and industry professionals, and I learned so much about the Canadian film scene and the country itself. It’s an experience that I’ll always cherish.

I hope you found this helpful. If you would like to connect with me, you can find me on Instagram 🦢


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