Hollywood North might be better fit for actors than Hollywood itself
'Vancouver is a strategic opportunity for me because it's less saturated than L.A,' says actor.
With so many film productions in the works in B.C., some actors are choosing Hollywood North over the real Hollywood.
It is peak season for Metro Vancouver's film industry. Dozens of TV pilots, series, and feature length films are shooting in the area through the spring and summer.
Tyman Stewart, president of the Characters Talent Agency, said he is starting to see more actors drawn to Vancouver to launch their careers.
"We are just above Los Angeles," said Stewart. "The opportunities we get here are exponentially larger than in Toronto, the U.K or New York because we are right above the hub of how this business works."
Vancouver's convenient location and the widespread use of technology that allows actors to send audition recordings from anywhere have made it so actors do not have to move to L.A. to land work, according to Stewart.
Actor Eugene Mundowa is one of the new arrivals to Hollywood North. Although Mundowa is American, he decided Vancouver was a better fit for him.
"Vancouver is a strategic opportunity for me because it's less saturated than L.A," said Mundowa.
He says it's easy to collaborate with film school graduates and videographers in Vancouver.
Job prospects for actors in B.C.
Montreal-born actor Patrick Sabongui has had roles in hits like film 300 and TV program Homeland. While he's lived in L.A., Vancouver provided more stability for his family.
Sabongui got his big break as Captain David Singh in the Vancouver-shot series The Flash. But it didn't come easy.
"It's only happened for me once … I think as a Canadian on an American show it's really rare to end up on a show for that long," said Sabongui.
Sunny Chen is an-up-and coming Vancouver-based actor. She produces, directs and stars in her own web series Open Ethnicity. While she says there are challenges finding consistent work in the local film industry, Chen keeps herself afloat with a lot of gigs.
"I'm a singer-songwriter. I write music videos scripts. I work part-time at Sunglass Hut. I just keep up the hustle," said Chen.
Committing to Vancouver
Vancouver's film scene tends to boom when the Canadian dollar is low and there are tax breaks for production companies to take advantage of.
That lack of stability can be a cause for concern for actors. But Sabongui insists actors can't rely on foreign production companies for all of their work.
"We can't expect other production companies from outside the city, outside the country, to come in and create an industry for us," said Sabongui.
"We either have to create the work ourselves … or we have to be mobile and prepared to get in the room wherever that room is."
With files by The Early Edition.