If you’re trying to break into the entertainment industry and opportunities are in short supply or have slowed to a stall, it might be time to rethink some strategies. Successful people don’t sit around waiting for their phone to ring or their door to knock, they stay busy being relevant and creating those opportunities for themselves. If you want the prize you have to go after it. If your heart isn’t in it or you lack the competitive edge then you might not be cut out for entertainment. There’s always new blood and new trends on the rise. Being at your best and showcasing your talent is what gets you noticed and shines the light in your direction. Most people realize by now how difficult showbiz is and the sacrifices that are necessary to get your foot in the door.
One such individual that truly has a grasp on that reality is Carolyn Bridget Kennedy. She lives in beautiful Calgary Alberta and began her career following the dream of becoming an actress on the big screen. Understandably Alberta is not a mecca location for movies or TV series so opportunity for auditions are unfortunately few and far between. Compounded on top of that fact is her age demographic. She is outside the 18 – 35 yr. female age where most women are in high demand, but she hasn’t allowed that to persuade or sway her ambitious persuits. Instead of taking it on the chin she has risen to the occasion and taken matters into her own hands. With her maverick personality, she began writing and producing productions for herself to star in. Her story reminds me of a speaker at my sons graduation that stood at the podium and stated, ‘If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.’ Carolyn has built that door and I had the opportunity to talk about those dimensions.
“Since starting this journey and creating opportunities to showcase your acting, how has it changed your success in the entertainment world?”
“I’ve since created three web series, Danger Pay, WBFTV and The Bridget Linden Show as well as my first short film Super Speed Dates. I currently have some network in developing Danger Pay into a TV series so I’m very excited about that and have had to put preproduction of the second season of Danger Pay on hold pending the outcome of Danger Pays potential for network success.”
Carolyn has certainly carved her own path and the effort has paid off dividends. Her web series Danger Pay has earned an incredible 21 laurels including being nominated for best leading actress at the Los Angeles web festival along with her male co-star Brent McIntosh. Danger Pay was also nominated for best fiction web series at the Alberta film and television awards. She attended the WITF Banff World Media Festival Mentorship in June and had some network interest in developing Danger Pay into a TV series. Super Speed Dates has earned a total of 13 laurels including Best Original Story at the Los Angeles Film Awards.
“Since the success of Danger Pay and the network interest, how has that stepped things up?”
“I’ve begun writing pilot scripts and an outline for the first season and storylines for the next 5 seasons. Along with developing the web series into a TV series I’ve also created a character bible to demonstrate what the series will look like for the network.
I believe it’s very necessary to have the storylines and conflict prepared to have networks understand the vision and potential of where it could go. In addition to that I’m currently in transition mode right now. I’m moving to LA in March and have already secured a residence. When I was down there in January I also managed to land an audition for a part in a feature. I have representation in Alberta that deals with international contracts and I plan to maintain it until I’m better settled in LA and in a more sustainable position. I’ve also signed up with an improv group, Upright Citizens Brigade. They are one of the most sought out improv groups in LA. I’ll be starting that in March and I’m also hoping to begin training with the Beverly Hills Playhouse. I want to beef up my education and training and immerse myself in as much as possible. I’ve also signed up with Raindance LA and they’ve informed me that they’ll be introducing me to many of the members once I arrive.”
Carolyn is not afraid of paving her own path. She was a paralegal before finding her love for film.
“You are really going after it, no holds barred. I admire your veracity and persistence to make opportunities happen in spite of the risks. What drives you?”
“I really don’t want to be eighty two years old and look back with regret that I didn’t go for it and not know if I could’ve been successful.”
“Going from a web series writer to a television writer are very different platforms. Have you taken training in screenwriting?”
“I’ve actually recently completed a ten week course through the CSIF (Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers). It was instructed by Jason Long, who had two of his feature films screened at the Calgary Film Festival as well as writing an episode of Blackstone.”
Carolyn finances all of her productions out of pocket and pays all actors and crew for their time as well as providing craft services. She wants to impress upon them how much they’re appreciated and how integral they all are in the success of the productions. When she had contacted everyone from season 1 to tell them about the upcoming season 2, it was a resounding YES. They had all expressed interest in continuing being part of it. It was a very good sign that they were all invested in her vision.
“What was the experience like going to LA to screen your film Super Speed Dates?”
“It was truly magical. I was invited to speak on three panels. One was for Women Warriors of the Web Series World, Producing and Writing a Web Series in Canada and Producing, Writing and Acting in your own web series. It was an incredible experience considering it was at Sony Studios and my first time in LA.”
Having taken on multiple positions has been a tremendous asset for Carolyn Bridget Kennedy. She says it’s allowed her a broader understanding of the industry. In addition to acting, writing, producing, she has also taken classes in lighting and AD training as well as working as an AD on a production. She’s studied other aspects of the industry because she wants to know all the positions that go into a production and is also very curious about them all. She adds that it gives her a better understanding of the acting and writing. If she has a least favorite role in filmmaking, it would be producing because of the lack of creativity. A pretty honest answer for someone that has tackled most positions on set. Her experience has provided her with a large appreciation for the crew and actors and has instilled her willingness to continue to be a team player.
Her film Super Speed Dates will make its online debut on February 13 of this year. Fun fact, the film was made in her basement. She transformed it into a club to accommodate 11 actors, 3 background actors and a crew of 14. It was filmed in 1 day and looks amazing. Quite an achievement for an average person but I don’t think anyone would call Carolyn Bridget Kennedy average.
Photo courtesy of Edward Ross