Nick Smyth is an actor who was born in the 1980s. He hails from the Great White North and confirms my belief that all things Canadian contain at the minimum a modicum of awesomesauce. The fact that he is an adult who was born in the 80s makes me feel like an old lady, but we won't hold that against him. You know why? Because all I have to do is drink this whiskey right here and I will soon BELIEVE I was born in the 80s, too. Everybody wins.
(I particularly win because I have long been looking for an excuse to use the phrase 'at the minimum a modicum' in a sentence. Shut up. I know.)
A working actor since high school, he's done projects with the CBC, Much Music, and a whole bunch of other stuff you can find out about here.
You can watch examples of his work here.
I know him tenuously through similar internet tastes (okay, taste.) We share an interest in brilliantly terrible 80s fashion (okay, some bad hair from one video he shared on Twitter) but I also internet-know him through artist Lee Howard.
Most recently there was a trailer released for a film short titled Anatomy of a Sunbeam that he appears in, which looks amazing. Moral of the story?
Wear the squeepants for Canadians in general and Nick Smyth in particular.
Why? Because he is here, at the Spotty Blog.
Q. How do you use awesome sauce?
A. Whoah! Hey, my Mom is reading this ...
Q. Stool or podium?
A. Depends on the day ... it's not always podium ... but most of the time it is haha.
Q. What’s the best/worst performance advice you’ve ever received?
A. I don't know about the worst performance advice I was ever given because that would be hard to narrow down probably haha. But I DO know the worst advice I was ever given in life (well it's pretty up there anyway) I remember when I was in grade 8 I was in a 2nd year french immersion program and I was doing pretty badly with it ... I was struggling with the language and courses and my Social Studies teacher Mrs. Carson pulled me aside and told me that I was just not doing very well and I should drop out. I felt horrible about this because I really wanted to continue with it, I was determined - so I looked up at her in her eyes and asked 'If I REALLY buckle down and give 100% - do YOU think I can do this?' and she looked right back at me and said in a clear tone - 'No .. I don't.' This is what a grown woman in a power position said to a child looking for guidance and inspiration. I ended up ignoring her advice on giving up and followed through with the program and graduated/finished with it on my own. It was just such a metaphor for life where people who are supposed to know better are telling you to throw in the towel and you just plain refuse, you push on and if you want it bad enough - you succeed. That's life. A lot of my life has been like that .
Q. What were you doing right before I started asking you a bunch of inane questions?
A. Buying Christmas presents - gotta beat the rush!
Q. Winter or summer? Why?
A. Both. I think most people are all about the Summer and I love the sun, vacation, patios, the cottage, the beach, cold beer, sea-dos and swimming. But I like a little cold air in my lungs too - it's what makes us Canadian!
Q. Aside from the obvious, what are some of the biggest differences between live performance and film work?
A. I really haven't done a lot of theater ... but I did do quite a bit of Stand up when I was a teen and in my early twenties and I think the common thing said about live performance is that the prize, the reward is instant - the audience is right there in front of you and you feel it and experience their energy AS you're doing it. With film you do a movie and you wait a year (sometimes more) to see how people respond, etc. But I love the process of film a lot, it's experimental, and you try different things and it's this big collaboration. I always think of it as going into this science lab and adding a little bit of this and let's see what happens when we add that. That's the freedom you have with different takes. With theater you only get one take, you flub a line, there's no director to say cut. Which is why I have a lot of respect for stage actors - it's a tough gig.
Q. What is your current favorite escapist pleasure?
A. What kind of interview is this? Is this for Hustler?
Q. Tin foil helmet or paper hat?
A. Tin foil all the way. I don't want the aliens knowing my Facebook password.
Q. What qualities attract you to a script?
A. Two things off the bat - is this something that I think would challenge me? Is this something that would force me to go into emotions and scenarios that might be hard for me to tackle? Because to me that kind of material is engaging and I want to tell stories like that. It's always hard to say what you're going to respond to though ... If I read something that touches on things I've experienced or can relate to, that's absolutely a story you want to be a part of as well. There's definitely a bit of me in everything I do so if you can relate to characters, feelings, scenarios - that's a tool you will use too. But that being said what I look for more than anything else I think is something that's truthful, will people be able to relate to this OR even just see the reality in this? That's what actors are I think, conductors of truth - whether that's in a realistic way or an abstract way.
Q. If you could collaborate on a project with anyone living, dead or imaginary, who would you pick?
A. Michael J. Fox - his book had a HUGE, HUGE impact on my life. I read "Lucky Man" (his autobiography) when I was 18 years old and it just inspired me so damn much, it was magical. He had a very similar family life and his story and outlook just really hit home with me. When I moved from home to Toronto for the first time I remember I had his book tucked into my jacket near my chest because I was terrified. I was scared as hell being 20 and moving to the big city to pursue my dreams but his book really did give me strength. I haven't read anything like it since - no other book touched me like that.
Also - Jim Carrey. He was such an inspiration to me so early on. Not just his work but his way of looking at the world and life inspires me even now. His story is incredible.
Q. Tell us about your current creative project/s?
A. It's been a really exciting year - There's a lot of stuff on my plate right now, working on several films as well as constantly taking meetings for great stuff coming up! I still stop into Much Music from time to time to do Video on Trial as well so stay tuned!