Student advice on freshman year

Ashley Alexander is an actor and producer living in Vancouver, BC Canada. She attended college at Red Deer College, completing the Theatre Arts Performing Program as well as the Motion Picture Arts Program. Ashley recently co-wrote, produced and starred in her own film called Becoming Sophie. She is also the owner of a baked goods company called Living Free Baked Goods where everything is gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free and refined sugar free.

I grew up loving theatre acting and wanting to be an actor. My parents thought it was a faze and that I would grow out of it, but I wanted to keep pursuing it. I auditioned for the Theatre Arts Performing Studies program at Red Deer College where a couple of hundred actors audition and only thirty are accepted. When I got the phone call that I had been accepted, I ran to my mom and told her the good news. She looked at me in astonishment and said “oh you little shit”! I think she thought I wasn’t going to get in and that we could all get on with our lives!

Not so! At the young age of 16, I made the move from Sherwood Park, Alberta to Red Deer, Alberta. My parents settled me in and said their goodbyes. I met new friends and classmates and put my whole heart into my studies. Halfway through my second year of college, I had to decide what would be next for me: would I continue on with theatre, would I move to a different form of acting, would I give it up altogether? I was at a crossroads because I knew I wanted to keep acting, but theatre just didn’t feel completely right.

At Red Deer College, there is another program called the Motion Picture Arts Program. I had no clue what this meant until my theatre teacher told me about it: acting for the camera (AKA: film and television acting). As theatre students, we were able to go check out the program and sit in on classes. In order to get into the program, you needed two years of theatre studies or the equivalent, which I was about to complete. As soon as I found myself in front of the camera, I knew I had found my true love. Camera acting is completely different than theatre acting. You have to be so much more vulnerable, your connection with the other actor has to be so real and intense and your acting overall is “smaller” on the camera than on the stage. I was so happy to tell my parents that I would be auditioning for the film program as I had found the type of acting I truly wanted to be doing. Again, they were a bit skeptical but encouraged me to do what I wanted to do.

I was accepted into the Motion Picture Arts program where they accept an even smaller amount than the Theatre Studies program and was elated! I made the move back to Red Deer to settle in for a couple more years.

By following my passion, listening to my heart but also to others, I had made the journey to college to pursue what I thought I wanted to do and ended up finding what I truly loved.


college freshman tips

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