Featured Artist Series: Andrew Bee – Belief Is Key

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 4.40.58 PMAnyone trying to break into the industry knows the old saying, if you want to make it in Hollywood, you have to move to LA; because living in the Hollywood hub, puts you in closer proximity to your next opportunity, your next break out role, your next ‘thing’ that would kick start your career. But this saying doesn’t factor in the costs of living in LA, the fact that thousands of people like you are pursuing the exact opportunities you crave, the fact that most wouldn’t make it despite their moving to LA. The saying doesn’t factor in the fact that for international actors, it’s a thousand times more difficult.

So, is moving to LA always the way to go? Not according to Andrew Bee, a Canadian actor residing in Toronto. He recently, “accidentally,” (according to him) just landed the biggest role of his career yet. He had auditioned for a non speaking role, for a particular scene in a little movie called Suicide Squad, heard of it?

I asked, “How do you audition for a silent role?” To which he replied, “By using facial gestures to convey different emotions, and if they like your interpretation of certain emotions, you get a callback.” Bee said the auditioning process was the most fascinating thing he’d ever encountered. First off, it was a two day audition, for a non-speaking role! They signed tons of confidentiality agreements. They had a social media blackout – swearing off mentioning anything about the movie on social media until its release. Cell phones weren’t allowed during the auditions. And lastly, whatever script they were given from the film was printed on red paper, because red paper can’t be photocopied.

Bee said he was very surprised when his Agent called to tell him he’d gotten the part. He called it a miracle. It was such a surreal experience for him, he recalled, being on the set of a blockbuster film. He appeared in the Pentagon conference scene where the Enchantress was revealed for the first time. He was one of the people seated around the table with the likes of Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman and Cara Delevingne. And he couldn’t have been more thrilled. He said everyone was so professional and deep in the zone of their characters; he just had to keep remembering to breathe.

Bee shared that he got into acting late in the game, just nine years ago actually, and that is due to the traumatic childhood he had. He received absolutely no support from his parents and they made him feel bad for being different. They believe in the straight and narrow when it comes to choosing your career path and because he was anything but ordinary, he received an unbelievable amount of negativity from them, and being the very sensitive person he was back then, it has taken him years to heal. Bee states, he has worked on himself a lot and now views his childhood as just a thing of the past that no longer has a hold on him. He loves acting more than anything else on the planet and intends to do just that until his last breath.

When it comes to getting parts, “It is fully dependent on your beliefs,” Bee says. “Think positive, keep honing your craft, work hard on yourself to make yourself and your acting better, cause at the end of the day, only you can improve your career.” Bee doesn’t believe in coincidences, or luck, or right place, right time, or ‘certain looks’ landing you roles; he believes that when you are truly ready; mind, body and talent, you’ll get the role that is meant just for you. Fascinating!

Of course, no matter how the stars align for you, challenges are always a given. One of Bee’s main ones is that, “The US is closed up like a drum, when it comes to immigration, even before Trump.” Getting a work visa is near impossible at this point, and yet it is extremely difficult to get an Artist visa. And that’s why Bee loves Cast It Talent. “Cast It has worldwide casting.” Normally, it’s such a pain to apply for work in the US as an international actor but “Cast It Talent makes the possibility of landing a role, wherever you are, plausible. And everything Cast It offers is not just available to US citizens but to actors from all around the world.” And that’s why Bee uses Cast It Talent, “It’s unique that way. It stands out from other sites like it.”

When asked to compare the life of an aspiring actor in LA (Bee’s been to LA many times), to that of an aspiring actor in Canada, Bee says, “Things are just as hard in Canada because there’s not as much work in Toronto.” He does manage to work a lot though. He states that “Toronto is an easier market to break into, though not as easy as before because the internet has blown everything wide open, and so there are not as many available roles for the number of people trying to be actors, just like in LA, it’s incredible competitive.”

Yet to him the hardest challenge comes after you’ve been unionized. It’s a Catch 22; once you unionize there will typically be less work for you since your acting career now rules out every sort of non studio film (and studio films are very hard to get). But then if you choose not to unionize, then your career will never go past a certain level because all the big stuff is unionized. “It’s a very personal decision,” he says. And that’s why he holds strongly to his principle of working very hard on your art until you’re absolutely good at it. Because once you feel ready then you can make the transition to be part of the union and be confident that the right roles will come.

His overall career dream is to make it big in Canada and then eventually move to LA. He said it would be more cost effective for him this way, and getting the Artist visa then would be a piece of cake because he’d have a body of work under his belt in Canada.

Bee has no intension of ever allowing himself to become type cast, whether in Canada or in the US. Even though he understands its necessity, sometimes, he doesn’t believe in it. He considers himself a versatile actor (though drama is his preference), and he intends to keep it that way. He just hates it when actors limit themselves to ‘a certain type of actor’ just to get roles. He doesn’t project that mindset onto himself. He simply believes that by believing in himself and his acting abilities, remaining positive and studying all the time, his career will sky rocket, and if he’s lucky it would be done in the hilarious, charismatic way that Samuel L. Jackson landed the role that made his career: Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction. (Seriously, look it up, it’s hilarious). Bee finds Jackson’s story to be most inspirational, further cementing his belief in self and the importance of always being confident.

 

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Sisan McNeil Sisan McNeil is a writer of both screenplays and prose fiction. She is originally from Nigeria but currently resides in Los Angeles, California. She has a Masters in Screenwriting and is currently pursuing a PhD in Literature. She is a published author and has both written and directed four short films. For more information about her, visit her website: http://beautifulgalaxies.wixsite.com/mysite

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