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Suits TV trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Zu0yYV2uYs
By: Michael Loughrin, T.A.A Blog Writer
It started early in the day, for a group of Toronto Academy of Acting film graduates, at the popular studio location in North York of Toronto, Downsview Park Studios.
With the countless Film and TV productions taking place on this studio lot there is never a shortage of “action” happening or being called. Especially for the special invite given to these graduates to sit in on a shoot day for the prominent television hit series, “Suits”. It is currently filming its 3rd season for the USA NETWORK and HBO.
Getting them on to the set of “Suits” was not an easy task and thanks to T.A.A connections they were granted special permission by NBC to sit it on a closed film session. Organization was assisted by one of T.A.A’s acting teachers, Suzanne Coy and the head of Set-Design for “Suits”, Donavon Drummond.
Mr. Drummond met them early during production set up and in the words of T.A.A Grad Jason Gaidola, “It was a well-oiled machine” as soon as they got on set in the morning.
“It was unbelievable, the whole logistical set-up. They were very pro and passionate,’’ said Jason. “Donavon Drummond took us on a tour of the whole studio while they set up. It opened my eyes. It was a huge space transformed for all sorts of filming. They were building so many different worlds all in one space. It brought things to life from training.”
Donavon Drummond not only took them on a tour of the studio space but was very generous in giving advice and information on a typical day in production and how much the job transforms day to day. Melissa Tabakian and Billy Phan were some of the graduates who were welcomed along with Jason and had the chance to meet Donavon Drummond. They all received a call sheet for the day as well, and were then introduced to “Suits” TV Director, Felix Enriquez Alcala.
It was not long before the actors starting arriving on set.
“It was all happening 15ft from me,” Said Jason Gaidola. “The talent and commitment by these actors was inspiring. The whole crew was right on. How they were delivering their lines, the timing, which was amazing to watch, they were on top of their game with their timing. That’s to me, why you need training in film acting. ”
With the likes of Toronto native, Patrick J. Adams, who co-stars in the series as Mike Ross opposite actor Gabriel Macht who plays the role of “shoot from the hip” character, Harvey Spector, it was a fantastic set to rub elbows.
After shooting, Director Felix Enriquez Alcala took them aside and talked a little about the business and had them discuss why they chose this profession. It was a fantastic, in your face experience for them and Mr. Alcala left it off with some food for thought by saying, “This is something you have to live. It is not a job, it is a lifestyle. You have to put your priorities on track and follow it fully. Make mistakes and allow yourself to get better and learn from as many people as you can.”
“Suits” star Patrick J. Adams even got in on the conversations after shooting finished and spent some time with the acting graduates.
“It was exciting and very open.” Said Jason Gaidola. “Patrick was very low key and cool. He was to the point but down to earth. He brought new ideas to us.”
To sit in on a hit TV series like “Suits” was an opportunity for these graduates to see the business at a very professional level and to be inspired by the commitment, of not only the actors, but the whole crew.
The bonus for these graduates is that they have been invited to do something like this again in the near future. The greatest gain, however, is getting an inspiring boost, so to say, in their careers and opportunities going forward.
“It was a moment of truth, on staying dedicated and taking with me what I learned at Toronto Academy of Acting,” Said Jason Gaidola. “I appreciated the dedication that I saw on that set. I could see many areas of opportunity in writing, production and performing. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
By: Michael Loughrin, T.A.A Blog Writer
So you’ve been contemplating taking off from the good old Hog town and making your way across the border to the film and stage land of milk and honey? Right, well just before you jump to that conclusion make sure that you understand that the big action that has been coming through Toronto over the last year, and the bigger action that will be coming through Toronto over the years to come, is going to give you just as much opportunity on this side of the border than might be calling out from the Yankee’s side. Hollywood is coming here.
Being a Canadian in Toronto is actually looking more than pretty good right now, especially over the next few months for acting students and aspiring actors alike, looking to expand in the industry. The Toronto Academy of Acting is proud to be presenting renowned Los Angeles Casting Director David Kang, for an amazing industry workshop taking place in the first weekend of July! (Saturday July 6th and Sunday July 7th, 2013)
This workshop is an industry meeting, where David Kang is going to be looking for “new Canadian faces” while at the same time, working on how to audition and land that role.
He is going to be adding new Toronto talent to his database for casting on his upcoming projects in both Canada and USA. He will be selecting 10 new Canadian talents to go to LA with him for further training and mentoring, as well as, looking to cast for an upcoming reality TV show and other various projects upcoming in Toronto and LA. www.davidkangcasting.net
Included in the weekend are free headshots that will be taken on the last day of the workshop and will be uploaded under David Kang’s database in Toronto for future work!
David Kang is one of the real deals in Hollywood and well renowned, as he is extremely busy casting for celebrities and music videos, feature films and TV commercials. He is very excited to be coming to Hollywood North in Toronto and we are very happy to have him.
As much as we know the constant and continuous talent and genuine charm of Canadians that make it in the industry, there is no question that David Kang does too.
This is the reason he is bringing his work here and looking for the next ones, in Toronto. Whether, Ryan Gosling, Will Arnett, Rachel McAdams, Christina Cox or Stephen Amell, Toronto always has a new generation crop of talent that manages to make waves in Hollywood. One of those current successes is actress Katheryn Winnick, who hails from the Toronto Suburb of Etobicoke. Katheryn has played on many top ranking TV shows such “Law &Order”, “CSI: Miami” and “Nikita, respectfully. She also starred in the feature film “Cold Souls” opposite Paul Giamatti which had a world premiere at Sundance Film Festival in 2009. Katheryn Winnick is also on the History Channels “Vikings” series where she plays the role of “Lagertha”.
Without a doubt, Toronto has always been one of the best places for talent and this is a huge opportunity for the next crop to get tips, get connected and most of all, discovered.
This is your chance to get trained by a top Hollywood Casting Director here in Toronto! This is not to be missed. Toronto Academy of Acting only has 100 spaces available, so do not wait. Book this now!
Registration phone number: 416-536-8574
By: Michael Loughrin, T.A.A Blog Writer
A room of people all sitting in silence. Silence in these situations usually means one of two things, either something important is happening or about to happen or you have found yourself in a waiting room.
Good news is that while I sat in this room, it was not a silent reading hour or a one hour line up to see a doctor or nutritionist. No, it was a studio space, an ACTING studio space. The room that I was in was filled with actors in training for film & TV production.
These acting students are about to perform their rehearsed scenes in the other room and it gets filmed on camera today. They have almost graduated from this program and their taking it in stride thank you very much. This is acting, and it is found at the one and only, Toronto Academy of Acting for Film & Television. A training ground nestled in the heart of Liberty Village in Toronto, Ontario.
While I took notes, the students waited for their “Call” (Their turn if you will). While they prepared and waited, it was surprisingly relaxed for a young acting group. They we’re all friendly and calm and they even welcomed me in with silent smiles and hellos.
I met several students that day, from various backgrounds and countries that included, Billy Phan, a Toronto local, Kingsley Oguejiofor, who is originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Melissa Tabakian from Mississauga, Ont. Jason Gaidola from “Steel town”, Hamilton, Ont. and Kristina Kirsanova hailing from Moscow, Russia.
The students were raring to go! Especially Kingsley Oguejiofor, who after speaking with later, mentioned he had his nerves in the start but is now soaring in his work over the last few months! There was a calm centre to them. They accepted themselves and each other. They were comfortable in their own skin. I knew that this must be in large part due to the program and instructors. Being an actor myself and having previous training experience in Western Canada made me think.
“It was nerve-racking when I first came in”, laughed Billy Phan. “It was new, so I was obviously wondering about things but it was amazing how quickly it became unified. We started to share as a group.” I continued to listen to Billy about opening up and getting comfortable with the work and instructors. “Oh wow. The instructors made me feel safe to be vulnerable in the work.” Added Billy Phan. Then Kristina Kirsanova gave her take. “A number of the Instructors helped me to open up and except myself” She continued. “Especially with how I started, I learned to be more confident and prepare better.”
This program is an intensive four month program that consists of 360 hrs. (25hrs a week) of study and performance. When you compare to other long term acting programs that can go on for one year or more, you’ll realize how effective it is here, to learn the ropes and get started in a very proactive Film & Television city like Toronto.
I was thrilled to talk with Instructor Andrej Acin, who is a renowned and award winning producer, director and writer, who came all the way to teach in Toronto at T.A.A from Europe. He is also a recognized music composer. I asked Andrej, what his advice was to new comers and those still thinking about enrolling in one of the 4 month programs here at Toronto Academy of Acting. “Everyone who takes the program should want to discover more about themselves and others. They should want to be an artist.” Said Andrej. “It is about breaking the limits, especially the self-inflicted limits. Come and let go of your chains.” Andrej and I spoke more on many topics and it concluded with him saying “I have worked with over 400 actors personally and it is amazing to dig out new talents and ability. Students will be amazed at what they will find.”
So what is Andrej’s favourite part of this? “To find new things in all the students.” Andrej continued. “It is the special pieces in all artists I am privileged to find here. By the time they leave they can take direction and are conscience of life around them.”
With intimate class experiences and over 6 instructors working all aspects of the acting trade, new actors and students are finding something very special at Toronto Academy of Acting. It is preparing them for not only now, but the future NOW!
So, how are the graduates doing then? I found out by meeting 19 year old, Nicholas Groulx, an up and comer from Winnipeg, Manitoba who graduated 3 months ago from the school. I had a coffee downtown Toronto with Nicholas. It went from there. “When I started this, I was new and needed good direction. I went to the right place for the right amount of time. I was looking for a place to start.” Said Nicholas. “I learned the most important basics and the time frame of 360hrs was perfect. Also through the Toronto Academy of Acting for Film &Television mentor program I was introduced to top talent agents in Toronto and 3 of them want me to sign up with them. I am still working it through which one to go with.”
We continued to discuss his best experiences and where it took him. “I really found myself growing and developing to where I could discern things better in the work.” Said Nicholas. “I’m working on things through small film projects now and taking the time to make the right choices professionally. I have come a long way since first starting the program for sure.”
Clips of Graduate Nicholas Groulx:
Toronto Academy of Acting is garnering attention all over the world for not only the acting program but a very solid film production program as well. Instructor Andrej Acin is very passionate about it and is one of the head instructors in that program too. “The 4 month film production program is a breakdown where students have the opportunity to get in the water and learn to swim right away. There is no better way.” Andrej continued to add, “The film production students are learning the most important aspects of both Film & TV. We put words into action here.”
Toronto Academy of Acting is making great inroads in a solid Film & Television scene in Ontario and with USA partners. With informing and knowledgeable instructors, solid learning models, intimate one on one potential and manageable class sizes it is worth the jump. It is here.
“Let go and it will be fun.” Melissa Tabakian said. “Just come and let the walls break down.”Jason Gaidola agreed with her by adding, “Accept yourself and the vulnerability. As hard as it may be in the start, it is so worth it here.”
For more information regarding the diploma programs or part time courses www.torontoacademyofacting.com
A word to the wise.
For those, between the ages of 13 and 18, who weren’t able to attend the DeGrassi High auditions on Saturday, December 15, here is your chance at a big break! Please forward both a photo of yourself and relevant CV details to:
Indeed, an opportunity of a lifetime! Good luck!
As DeGrassi High’s 13th season rolls in, casting directors have approached the Toronto Academy of Acting for assistance in finding stars for the next generation.
If you are between the ages of 13 and 17, think you have what it takes and would like an audition, please forward your portrait, resume, date of birth, and contact details to
or contact the Academy at 416 536-8574 for more information.
Luke Bilyk incumbent series lead on DeGrassi High started his career at the Toronto Academy of Acting.
Eighty students from the Toronto Academy filled the set with talent at a live concert this week. The “Gift of Giving,” a marvellous charitable endeavour, was meant to inspire communal almsgiving this holiday season.
Rising stars at the Toronto Academy set the stage alight. They sparkled effervescently alongside contemporary rockstars the Trews. Indeed the stage materialized into a modern day “Highway of Heroes.”
The concert’s wild success is largely attributed to other famed talents the likes of the multitalented Bev Mahood, YTV’s The Next Star Brooklyn Roebuck, Stellas as well as Youtube’s finest and future boasting over ten million views, Lennon and Maisy.
Recipient of both sought-after nomination for Best Director at the Budapest DISCOP Festival for his portrayal of Jelena and for winning the Special Golden Jury award at the Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival for short film Margina, Andrej Acin prepares for the premiere of his newest documentary slated for release in Serbia before partaking in the recondite celebration of peers and contemporaries at the Sundance Film Festival.
The Academy calls to light Andrej Acin, eminent European director, screenwriter and composer from Belgrade. To have the opportunity to bear witness to Acin’s meticulous genius, work ethic and passion is a marvellous treat accorded solely to the students of the Academy. Indeed, here is a professional who needs no introduction and yet we would be remiss in not disclosing the extent of his mastery.
Acin tirelessly pursues perfection in every shot. As a professional, he is unrivalled. Each frame is a testament to the moment it aims to capture. Andrej’s penchant to singlehandedly perform magic time and time again within the confines of a hand-held camera lens speaks to his reputation of visionary excellence and honed skill.
As a teacher, he is patient, kind and most significantly, offers advice extrapolated from real-world experiences on set. Acin reiterates the value of time and focus. He explains that this often misconstrued craft enmeshes work and play. The successful artist is one who can strike that balance and find meaning and purpose and deliverance in illusion.
The Academy of Acting is proud to partner with Andrej’s profound talent and humble persona to bring children and adults alike to new heights in film and television.