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A Night for the Canucks

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Aubrey ArnasonTonight I attended a fundraising event for http://www.projectlimelightsociety.org/ founded by Maureen Webb and Donalda Weaver. This event was held at http://eastofmaincafe.com/  and ALL of the proceeds of the evening went to Project Limelight a free theater program for the youth of Vancouver.

Each Monday the restaurant hosts a panel of film industry professionals and the community comes out in full force. They event is so popular there are people gathered outside the door and lined up down the street to listen. It’s a wonderful example of the tight knit and supportive Vancouver Film community.

The panelist this particular Monday were: Chris Haddock, Jon Cassini, and Ian Tracy.

All three are extremely accomplished men and all were generous with their stories and their advice.

The theme for the night was home and working locally. Locally meaning Vancouver BC. These three have all managed to have successful careers in Vancouver as well as working in LA, New York as well as around the world. Yet, they have chosen to call Vancouver home. There choice is inspiring for so many Canadian actors, directors, writers who call Vancouver home as well.

They reminded us that home is where you choose it to be and that you can create a great film industry right in your own back yard. Inspiring for so many that aren’t eligible for papers, green cards and that plain love Vancouver.

Chris Haddock has proved that right here in BC we can create TV series that are world-renowned with shows such as Davinci’s Inquest and Intelligence.  He is an inspiring individual and was as candid and real as they come.  Chris reminded everyone in the room of the importance of being specific when writing in order to achieve universal appeal. Such a great lesson – it really takes the pressure off. He made it simple – tell your story – tell it well and people will understand. Thanks You Chris.

Jon Cassini spoke so eloquently, he is funny, charming and in only a few sentences you can see why he is a star. He mentioned the feeling one gets when landing at an airport, the calm feeling that comes over you when you know you are home. For him this feeling happens on the decent into Vancouver. Working all over the world he has realized that this is the spot for him, we are so lucky to have you Jon. I think many in the room felt a sigh of relief.  All thinking yes, Vancouver is my home too and we have Jon Cassini.

I learned that Ian Tracy worked his way into the industry working on numerous crews while simultaneously auditioning. He is living proof that doing ANY job on set doesn’t change people’s perception of you as a performer. He spoke about not being in a performance pressure situation while working on crews and therefore being able to learn so much more about a set. He better understands the camera angles, the lighting, the shots the director is trying to achieve which in turn have made him a stronger actor. He calmed many new actors worries with his story.

Aside from the challenges of making the right decisions, getting work, agents, jobs,  we Canadian performers always have that looming big cousin to the south. It shakes a huge bright orange carrot at us and says “ come over here”. No let’s face it,  LA is great!  I have spent time there and will again. But for this Monday night it was great to hang with some fellow Canucks and know that these three extremely accomplished men will be hanging around BC.

I look forward to crossing paths with them again.

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About Aubrey Arnason

Host/Actor/Producer/Writer – Aubrey is a NSI Totally TV alum and a Bell Media Fellowship recipient. She started in the film industry as an actress, appearing on Smallville and Supernatural to name a few. She has since gone on to host/produce the Leo award winning TV series The Wedding Belles airing on Shaw Media channels since 2010. In 2013 she produced/hosted Shaw’s AMPIA award winning The Proposal. The co-creator of Kits, a scripted half hour series, she produced the pilot episode for City TV followed by another City TV pilot entitled The Range. The Range was top 3 at the Banff International Pilot competition and is based on her family’s experience of life after the NHL. Aubrey host numerous local live events most recently the Leo awards celebration. When she’s not creating television she’s trying a new recipe, new to the kitchen she’s discovered a new found passion for cooking!