Meet Claudia Carino, she is an actress, producer and film maker! She is unrepresented and is looking for the perfect agent to represent her!
Check out our Q and A below:
As a child, did you want to be an actress, or did it fall into place through other activities?
Yes, as a child I knew I was going to be a performer of some kind, but acting was always my main focus. When I asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always declare “I want to be famous!”, modest of me, I know But I loved singing as well and performing in my school’s band (saxophone and bassoon), so music was always a passion of mine, but acting was always the thing that I knew I was going TO DO. I spent a lot of time playing by myself, acting out scenes from my favourite shows or movies, and I would embody every character, and take on every conflict and add-on to my favourite storylines. I distinctly remember going through a phase of absolutely LOVING the show Saved By the Bell and the movie Riding In Card With Boys. I spent many days recreating scenes from those just for my own enjoyment. I would never show people, and having my siblings join in was always awkward so I wouldn’t let them. I felt more at home just playing by myself in those fictional worlds.
Who inspired you to follow your dream to pursue acting?
I didn’t have anyone specific in my life who had gone on to pursue acting. My parents were supportive of my creative pursuits. Sports and athletics were popular past times amongst me and my siblings, I am the youngest of 4, so I spent a lot of time just going with the flow of what everyone else wanted. So the fact that I then branched off to do more creative things such as singing or community theatre was my way of doing things for me, and my parents were always supportive. I had my role models who I aspired to be like. Some of which were Rachel McAdams, Lauren Graham, Cate Blanchett. But ultimately when it came down to choosing to pursue acting as a career, I have my high school drama teacher to thank. He really helped me see that it was possible and worth trying; he helped me find the confidence to study it in post secondary and move to Toronto to pursue the dream. So I do owe him that.
What challenges have you faced in the entertainment industry? What has been your most rewarding experience?
My biggest challenge so far has been finding a solid acting agent or talent representation and booking paying gigs. There is so much competition in the entertainment industry, as is the case with almost any industry. And especially for women and visible minorities, there just aren’t enough opportunities. So it’s a bit of a challenge to meet the agents and make sure you stand out so they remember you and want to work with you. I had a few performance opportunities through school where agents were invited to our shows, but unfortunately when you’re in a class of 21 people, all competing for the same attention, it’s hard to get noticed. So I didn’t have an agent approach me out of theatre school, so I tried finding one on my own after I graduated, but haven’t had much luck, it’s been tough. However, the flip side to that is that my most rewarding experience has been learning how to be an “entrepreneur” and go out and make my own opportunities. I think every performer whether it be musician, dancer, actor, painter, etc. needs to learn entrepreneurial skills because we end up having to be our own managers, accountants, directors, marketers, producers, creators etc and I think anyone who can find joy and pleasure in creating their own work will be sustainable in this industry. And that has been my biggest take away from going to theatre school and since graduating into the “real world’ was realizing that I don’t necessarily need an agent (although it would be nice) but that I have the skills and the confidence to produce my own work. And that’s where I find myself more so today, is producing my own work.
What is your favourite type of character to play?
The dramatic ones!!! I love dark and meaty drama. I find myself pretty boring sometimes, I’m not the most outspoken, most outgoing person and I never pick fights and I avoid conflict. So I latch on to the dramatic characters in these extreme, real world situations because they are my chance to experience situations that I don’t experience in my day-to-day life.
What market do you currently work in? Are there other areas you would like to work?
Well I’m finding myself more involved with film at the moment only because I’ve been really invested in learning more about it, especially Canadian TV and film. I like keeping up with what’s happening in our home-grown industry, simply because Hollywood takes over everything else. But I really want to try to learn more about screenwriting for film and television. I have been doing a lot of self teaching from books, but it would be amazing to get into a writing room for a tv show and see how the magic happens.
What advice would you give to someone new trying to make it in the acting industry?
I would say really focus on finding and holding onto your sense of you. Don’t try to be what you think the industry wants you to be. Find what makes you your most natural, open self and bring that to every audition/project/meeting/rehearsal. That’s what people will come back to see again and again. And if you want to study theatre or acting in post secondary, do your research on schools and programs. Because I don’t think theatre school is right for everybody. It opens up doors for sure, but in terms of training and studying, there are private class options that will teach you the craft without the pressure of a post secondary environment. So do your research.
What fuels your passion?
My passion is fuelled my desire to create content that has never been seen before. I want to write stories that have never been dreamed of. I want to embody characters that people hate or fall in love with. I want to produce film and television that challenges the way we think and makes us question why we do the things we do, and help us learn to be better humans.
What is something about you that most people would never guess?
I have a short shelf life with things, I guess you’d say I get bored easily. I wouldn’t say I have commitment issues, but I like to invest myself whole heartedly in projects or ideas or learning something new and then once I feel I have gotten everything out of it, I move onto something else. That’s what I like about being a creator, is it gives me permission to obsess over something until I decide I want to move on to something else. And no one can get mad at me for it.
If you were to do it all over again, would you do things exactly the same? Do you have any regrets? Successes that make you proud?
Tough question. I’ve lived with regret at other times in my life and it’s not fun. So I try not to let myself feel regretful. I do question what would have happened if I hadn’t gone to theatre school, I do question if I came out of it a “better actor” or if it stripped me of some of my passion for acting, which I think it did. In all honesty, it exhausted me and made me a bit bitter. But ultimately I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve been on a winding road of self discovery and I have all my past experiences and all the people in my life to thank for that. My biggest artistic successes to date have been writing/acting/directing/producing my own theatre show for the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2015, and then writing/acting/directing/producing my first short film in 2017, so that’s pretty cool.
Tell me about your new film
My new film is called When I See You. It follows two women, Kira and Bea, as they struggle with prioritizing their careers over their relationship to each other. It’s a LGBTQ film, with an a stellar all female cast, about these two stubborn, ambitious women who both want the same things but in doing so have to make a decision that forces them apart. I wanted to do it as a bit of a statement on what “lesbian” films can be, meaning they don’t have to always be about the beginnings of these passionate love affairs between an “out” woman and a “closeted” woman. I wanted to show that these relationships exist way beyond that and that they are not always happy endings. It’s my first film project EVER, meaning it’s also my directorial debut where I co-directed with my cinematographer James Ramsay. And I did A LOT of research for it in preparation, it was about 6 months of preparation all for a 3 day shoot. We had multiple locations, and my cast and crew was fantastic, I could not have done it without them. We are still finishing up the audio mixing, but I am hoping to have it screened in festivals later this year.
How long have you been a producer?
Not very long, that’s for sure, but don’t tell anyone! I guess I’ve been “producing” theatre since 2014, through theatre school projects, but also outside school for The Toronto Fringe Festival but also for my colleagues company Sisyphean Productions where I was the Artistic Producer for about 3 years: we brought his one man show, Oasis Love, through three separate runs in Hamilton, Kingston and Toronto. For film, I’ve only been “producing” for two years or so. I produced a web series “Brett and Abbey” for about a year but that project has since been put on the shelf. Then I really got into producing for film with When I See You, and everything I know I learned for that project. So I’m hoping to take everything I’ve learned and apply it to my next project and go bigger and better! Producing film is a long process, as is theatre, but with theatre the producing work is often before the show opens and then you have your run and the show closes and most of the work is over. But with film, there is so much that happens before, and during the filming, and after that I didn’t realize until now. So producing film takes quite a commitment, so I am working toward the point where I can say “Ok, I think it’s done. I feel good about it. Now onto the next one.” That’s where you pat yourself on the back, take a breath, and dive into something new and exciting. And that’s what I love about producing.
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