Actor Mentee Laura MacDonald Reflects on her Experience with the WIFTV Actor Career Mentorship Program

Before joining Women in Film and Television Vancouver, I found myself working my restaurant joe job day in, day out, waiting for someone to call me and offer me auditions or projects that never came. I felt completely alone in this business and didn’t even know that I didn’t know what I was doing. I was unconsciously incompetent. I had no idea where to begin. When my acting teacher suggested I look into joining Women in Film and Television and applying for their mentorship program, I jumped at the opportunity to put my passion to work. I appreciated how thorough the application process was; it gave me a chance to reflect on where I saw myself as an artist and where I wanted to go. What am I working on? What are my challenges? What are my goals? These are questions that I hadn’t really asked myself and getting clear on the answers was the first step towards creating the professional life I wanted for myself.

When I found out that I had been chosen to be paired with a mentor, I was thrilled and very nervous. Here was this incredible woman, with decades of experience in the industry, offering to help little ol’ me. I arrived at our first meeting with a million questions, ready to soak in everything I could. What I didn’t anticipate was how excited she was to work with me! I had gained an instant teammate and friend. We hit it off right away, chatting about everything from our roots on the east coast, to classes offered in the city, to personal life balance. All my fears and doubts about my ability washed away. She assured me that I was exactly where I should be – at the beginning.

Over the next six months, we emailed, texted and met up regularly. She gave me valuable insight into the world of auditioning, production, casting, and the role of an actor on set. I came to understand how the camera and casting sees me and worked on putting together reflective marketing material. I grew more confident in not only my acting ability, but in the value of my personality – in who I am, as a woman in film and television.

Of course, the mentorship program is about so much more than just the one on one relationship with a mentor. I was now a part of the WIFTV Mentees of 2016, and what a mighty group we are! I met so many talented, inspiring ladies that I am proud to now call my friends. Getting together with the ladies to volunteer at QUEST food exchange became a highlight of my month. All of a sudden, I didn’t feel alone anymore. I was one of a team who were all working hard to make strides in the industry. I loved sharing our individual stories, how we got to be where we are, and where we want to go. It gave me a real sense that there is a place for all of us. We may all be looking for careers as actors, but in different, specific ways. It’s exciting to think that 10 years from now we could be in the position to become mentors in our own right. I can’t wait to see what this fierce group of ladies accomplishes next.

As if all that wasn’t enough, the mentorship program also opened me up to the larger film and television community in Vancouver. The workshops that were offered introduced me to the respected Actors Business Collective, the inspiring work of Project Limelight and Tuesday Night Live, the monthly Cold Read Series, as well as the greater WIFTV community. I even had the opportunity to stretch my writing skills and preview some beautiful films created by women for the WIFTV film festival. It’s crazy to think that in just one short year, I went from feeling alone to finding my place in Vancouver’s awesome film and television world.

If you’re reading this blog, thinking about applying to be a part of the program, don’t hesitate. There’s a whole world out here eager to help you on your journey. All you have to do is start!

By Laura MacDonald

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