ACTRA and the end of the Auto Show

Working at the Auto Show is a great opportunity for actors, writers and creatives who have the time. A history of trade shows for the campground also really prepared me for the hours on your feet, repeating the same things to every passerby, hoping to hook one into an actual conversation. I am so grateful I got the opportunity…but I really wish it was at a different time.


Last Wednesday I got up early and spent as much time as I could at the ACTRA conference before having to get to the auto show. This meant I had breakfast while catching up with a lovely actress I met there last year, then watched some TIPs before slipping out. Having co-written, produced and starred in my own TIP this past November, I was particularly interested in what other members were able to achieve. I loved how others played to their skills, using knowledge of sound to make a thought-provoking masterpiece, or equally made use of actors and locations that were available to them. It was so inspiring and I can’t wait to make more movies, and to hopefully see mine at next year’s conference.

On Thursday, I also spent as much time at ACTRACon as I could, but in this case it was just the mingling, and getting some very important questions answered from the various booths, that hadn’t been set up yet the day before.


Less than an hour after I got to work, my agent called to say I had a self-tape audition for a Christmas Movie. This was amazing and felt a bit like a sign, because I had spent a chunk of time the day before telling one of my colleagues how I would absolutely love to be in Christmas movies and Hallmark movies and all of those, cheesy, feel-good films that you can almost always predict, but still make you feel warm and fuzzy at the end. This one seemed perfect for me. However, I haven’t been getting into a lot of rooms, audition-wise, and one theory is that it’s because I’m always me in every performance, I never fully give myself in to the character. This time, I worked on it with Ayisha, my life guru extraordinaire, and I’m not sure how the casting director feels about it, but I am proud of myself for taking a risk and hopefully showed them something interesting enough to be brought back, even if it isn’t for this part.


On Saturday, finishing at 10 pm meant I had to rush to The Carlu for the ACTRA Awards, amidst a torrent of hockey fans. I had changed at work and put the final touches in the elevator on the way up. I had reserved my ticket before booking the auto show and very much debated whether I would make it or not. It was a combination of me realizing that my reserving a ticket meant someone else hadn’t been able to go, and one of my co-workers reminding me how much I would regret it if I didn’t go that finally pushed me to get there.

As soon as I walked in, I knew I had made the right decision. I immediately ran into someone I knew, then got to watch the end of the Awards before mingling with friends. Last year I had gone with a solid group of friends, and ran into a few people I had met at the conference. This year I went alone, but I knew so many people. Some stunt actresses I knew from various trainings, the kindest casting director, creators I met through YEAA, ladies from background, my fearless leaders from TAWC…and gorgeous Shiva, whose boyfriend played photographer for us. My coworker was right; I was so happy that I went. I also came home to homemade, meat crust pizza, so the night was a win on all fronts.


Yesterday was my last day at the auto show, so we all went out for a bite and some drinks to celebrate. You get close when you spend 12 hours a day with people, and I definitely hope to hang out with these people again. Maybe at next year’s show…ready for round 2?

“If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.”

-Ryan Blair

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