Virtual Reality, The Lotus and Revolving Doors

I’m sitting here at home wondering where the last 3 months have gone. Up a tree? Into the sky? Around the globe and back it seems. There was a big push in January and February to wrap up the last episodes on Season 3 of The Listener in Toronto. Long days on set spent scrambling to stay on track, focus, bind together, push on and forward. And we did. We wrapped early February and I flew home to Montreal to recharge. It was a good shoot. Great writers, directors, a wonderful crew and guest stars this upcoming season and I can’t wait to share it all with you. I’ll be sure to post something as soon as I hear when exactly it will air.

But I wasn’t home very long before the next adventure began at Ubisoft. Late last year I auditioned for a part in Far Cry 3, a video game they’ve been nursing and developing here in Montreal for four years now. I’d never auditioned for a video game before and was surprised at the amount of freedom and leeway I was given in the room. There were tests and first studio experiences. Then the real work began and so far? It’s been a blast! I’m not at liberty to say too much about it but I will tell you that the assembled cast is exceptional and that motion capture work, although exhausting, is pretty exciting stuff. Anything relating to Virtual Reality is really…that whole universe is just blossoming now and when it successfully merges with good storytelling and strong character development it’s an incredible intersection to be standing at. I think what’s also affected me on this project is the particular state an actor has to be in in order to deliver a good grounded performance, the way your imagination is tested when you literally have to create, to imagine your surroundings out of thin air in that Motion Capture Studio. I was discussing it with my friend and fellow actor Kristian Hodko the other day and his idea is that it’s a whole new kind of acting style that sits somewhere between stage and film work. You’re not physically extending yourself performing on stage for the back row but then again your choices have to be bigger than they would be if you were working in front of a lens. Anyway it’s a fascinating experience and I hope the hundreds of sound, graphic and computer programmers and designers working on this are happy with our work because theirs is pretty incredible to watch too!

Here’s a look at what my character looks like, the official Trailer for the Game along with a great interview with talented actor Michael Mando who plays Vaas, Far Cry 3’s twisted Villain:

Copyright 2012 Ubisoft

CAUTION: THE TRAILER BELOW CONTAINS GRAPHIC VIOLENCE!

There’s also been a breathtaking 2 week trip to Thailand. I Feel so fortunate to have been able to just press pause and leap into that sun drenched, colorfully delicious culture shock. I spent 1 week on the gorgeous island of Koh Lipe in the Andaman Sea off the South West coast of Thailand and 1 week in Bangkok, that bustling Thai mix of beautiful urban modernity, ancient sacred buddhist temples, palaces and city markets. The city even used to be referred to as the Venice of the Orient because of the Chao Phraya, a wide winding river that runs through it and serves as a major channel for boats, ferries and water taxis to and from all parts of the city. Here are a few visuals I took to give you an idea of what an incredible place Thailand really is:









And finally, I’m still pursuing my Masters in Media Studies part time with a documentary film class at Concordia University. I’m looking at the work of Kim Longinotto and Trinh T. Minh-Ha, two film makers whose work revolves around portrayals of women and children and empowered victims of abuse or injustice in the world. Their films also show a vested interest in truthful and un stereotypical representation of ethnicity and the cultural ‘other’ in the media. Powerful stuff. In fact I’d like to share a passage from one of the books I’m reading by Trinh T. Minh-Ha entitled ‘When The Moon Waxes Red’. The passage caught my attention because it embodies the notion of open minded inclusive social evolution. Every time I read it, it makes me feel like change for the better is possible, that it takes time, a proper understanding of competing perspectives at play, and that it unfortunately almost always isn’t easy. Here it is :

‘To disrupt the existing systems of dominant values and to challenge the very foundation of a social and cultural order is not merely to destroy a few prejudices or to reverse power relations within the terms of an economy of the same. Rather, it is to see through the revolving door of all rationalizations and to meet head on the truth of that struggle between fictions’ – Trinh T. Minh-Ha (filmmaker, writer and composer, professor at UC Berkeley)

On that note, I’d also like to express my fervent support for my fellow Concordia University students striking this week against big up coming tuition hikes here in Quebec over the next five years by the Charest Government. Affordable Education for all is non negotiable and student debt is debilitating enough as it is without this new twist in our province’s future.

Take Good Care of yourselves and have a beautiful day!

Oh, and here’s a song from me to you:

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