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VIDEO: Allan Hawco, Gerry Dee and More Reveal How They Got Their Start

Not everyone lands the job of their dreams, but there are always a few exceptions. CBC's Allan Hawco, Amanda Lang, David Chilton, Gerry Dee, David Common and Heather Hiscox are among the best examples. So Thursday afternoon in the CBC's Toronto Broadcast Centre, that all-star, all-Canadian panel revealed how they made it happen.

Between May 16 - 19 the CBC is hosting a weekend packed with similar Q&As, all free and open to the public. (For a full schedule visit, and stream live video from the events here at CBC Live.)

You can watch video of Hawco, Lang, Chilton, Dee and Hiscox share their stories of "How I Got My Start" in the video below.

And while each guest's journey is different, there were a few common elements: ambition and dedication being one, an occasional helping hand from Peter Mansbridge being another.

But the unifying theme was how their different dreams each led to the CBC.

"In our business you hear a lot of no," Mr. D star and creator Gerry Dee told the crowd. "So for me, the first chance I got, the real big chance, was CBC to take a chance on our show. All the way through there was nobody that said, 'We believe in this guy.'" he said.

"Without the CBC, a lot of us wouldn't be sitting here," Dee said later in the talk, highlighting how the network is unique in Canada, having a prime-time line-up comprised of "Canadian-made, Canadian-produced, Canadian-acted" shows. "Without the CBC, I know I'm not here, because I'm going to be replaced by Modern Family," he said.

"The exciting thing is we're not some earnest, bureaucratic news organization, we've got these guys," said Amanda Lang, pointing out her co-panellists Dee and Republic of Doyle's Allan Hawco. "We've got real stars. Canadian, elite stars who get developed and promoted."

And the CBC's history for that made getting a show on the network a major goal for Hawco. If you want to know "How he got his start," it was dreaming of landing a CBC drama.

"You know, it's funny. The very first time I had the idea for Republic of Doyle was about 12 or 13 years ago. I knew then, as a theatre school student, that this show had to be on CBC," he told CBC Live after the Q&A wrapped. "If you were to ask me then 'What do you want to be doing when you're 15 years from now or 10 years from now,' I would say this show on CBC. Isn't that weird? How it worked out? It's very bizarre."

As Hawco said during the discussion, "sometimes I think of Canada as a bit of a miracle. It's the largest land mass for a country in the world. We have 30 million people and we're spread out from the coast to the coast to the rest of the coasts. And I wonder sometimes how we're all a country, but the minute you leave Canada and you go to another place, you immediately remember what makes Canada Canada."

He continued: "I don't understand what that is, but I know CBC plays a huge role in that, because there's transmitters in the north that have been connecting since the dawn of CBC, this whole country in one way or another," he said. "And I feel a huge honour to be part of that tradition, to be making a show on this network that is contributing to our culture as a network, as a nation in Canada.

"Like Gerry said, it's not about making a show and selling it to America, or making a show that's something it's not. You're allowed to be exactly who you are."

Watch the video:

Plus, check out video from the Sunday, May 19 "How I Got My Start" panel featuring Cracked actors Dayo Ade and David Sutcliffe, Arctic Air's Pascale Hutton and Republic of Doyle's Mark O'Brien and Allan Hawco:

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