If all goes according to script, the acting-on-camera courses offered by the Sudbury Theatre Centre (STC) may lead to a repository of acting talent from which future film productions can draw.
In response to the booming local film and TV industry, Judi Straughan, STC’s education co-ordinator, said the STC offered these classes last year under the tutelage of Bill Sanders and they were well received.
When she heard Sanders was unavailable this year, she turned to Benjamin Paquette, an award-winning filmmaker, Thornloe University professor and director of the school's Motion Picture Arts curriculum.
Paquette said the course would be a “huge advantage” for anyone looking to pursue acting as a profession.
“Real movies are shot with the equipment we’ll be using,” he said. “This professionalism will give confidence to the casting person.”
He also said that, as a film producer/director, he would like to develop a file of actors he could refer to when casting his productions.
“I’m sure there are many undiscovered diamonds in Sudbury,” he added.
Paquette wants participants to feel the magic of film as soon as they walk into the room.
“Location is everything.”
The lessons will take place in a theatre at Rainbow Cinemas with a professional film crew, and participants will be able to see their performances on the big screen.
Other surprises are also in store. Through the magic of film, participants will be acting with Academy Award-winning movie stars.
“We will cut actors in from a classic movie and have them talk to the people in the course — it will blow them away,” said Paquette.
He is keeping the name of the classic movie a surprise because he wants to preserve the spontaneity of the performances, but Paquette said the movie is relevant to the courses.
With the permission of the participants, Paquette also plans on documenting the classes on film.
Courses will be limited to 40 people per class, grouped by experience and interest.
Students not interested in acting on camera, but who want the experience of the filmmaking process, are welcome to register, but are not obligated to perform.
“If the interest is there, we are looking at adding showreels at a minimal cost to participants,” said Straughan.
A showreel is film footage that showcases an actor’s work and is an actor’s calling card in the film industry.
There will be two acting-on-camera courses offered. An adult course (18 and over) will run Nov. 9, 17 and 24 from 2-9 p.m. A teen course (ages 12-17) will take place March 30, April 6 and 13 from 1:30-8:30 p.m.
The number of course hours has also doubled from last year. For 18 hours of instruction, fees are $120 for STC subscribers and $140 for non-subscribers.
Showreels will be provided to participants at a minimal extra cost.