Acting may be many people’s dream job, but not everyone can make it happen. But actress Erin Carter did.
Alberta born and raised, Erin Carter caught the acting bug pretty much from birth. She was an active theatre student in her teens, and was always fixated on the world of film. But it wasn’t until she got to high school that acting became a real career option for her. She took the leap and moved to Los Angeles, where she enrolled at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, whose alumni include Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway. She’s also attended the Canadian Film Centre’s prestigious Actors Conservatory, an exclusive program for which you have to be nominated to be considered.
You’ve probably seen Erin’s face on CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries and in several short films including Setup, Punch (Tribeca Film Festival), Fox Trouble, and Bonfire (LA Shorts Fest). Her most recent point of pride is her starring role in Suck It Up, the story of best friends, Ronnie (Grace Glowicki) and Faye (Erin), who embark on a cathartic adventure to help them through the loss of a beloved man in both their lives. Ronnie’s brother, also Faye’s first love, passes away from cancer leaving both women lost in their grief. A road trip, some drunken debauchery and many discoveries later, the women are forced to reexamine their friendship and life as they know it. Written by Julia Hoff and directed by Jordan Canning (This Hour Has 22 Minutes), Suck it Up made the festival rounds in 2017 to critical acclaim. Check out the trailer below.
How did Erin make her dream job a reality? Find out by reading our chat with her below.
How did you get into your current line of work?
It really is that cliché child-who-was-always-putting-on-plays-in-the-backyard-with-various-friends situation. I was always interested in performing, and I’m sure my parents can attest to that, having sat through my many Mary-Kate and Ashley mystery re-makes on VHS.
I was always part of the theatre productions in middle school and adored film, but it wasn’t until high school that I saw acting as a career choice. My high school drama teacher was really amazing and always chose very interesting and challenging material. She ran her class in a very forward thinking way, and I owe a lot to the opportunities she gave us to play mature and multidimensional characters. There was lots of John Patrick Shanley and Daniel MacIvor given out in our class. I went straight from high school to a conservatory in LA. I really, in part, owe that choice to my drama teacher, and the other part I owe to parents. They are amazing and made me go despite my only child thoughts of wanting to be closer to home.
Did you go to school/get training for your dream job?
I left high school and went to Los Angeles for theatre school. Who knows why I chose Los Angeles over New York… I guess it was a shorter flight from good old Calgary, Alberta. I also attended a program in Toronto at the Canadian Film Centre years later that was geared more towards film acting.
I do feel like theatre school was it’s own kind of training, and then once you actually get into the world and start audition and moving your way through the industry, that… that is the real schooling. I think as actors we never really stop training. When we’re not working we’re often in class, and even when we’re working, a lot of actors have coaches to turn to. It’s a very interesting job in that sense, I don’t think you’re ever finished ‘school’, so to speak. But yes… in the literal sense I definitely went to school. It was a two year theatre program in LA, and I did a year in The Company after that. And yes, it is everything they say it is in the movies. Full of Shakespeare, interpretive dance and musical numbers from Into The Woods… mostly.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
I truly have no clue. Perhaps I would do something in psychology? Most of my love for this job is getting to delve into the human psyche for each character. Or you know what, I would definitely be a Rock Star. To this day it makes me very sad that I don’t sing as much as I’d like to.
What accomplishments/achievement are you most proud of?
I executive produced and co-starred in a feature, Suck It Up, that hits theatres this October. It is by far the accomplishment I am most proud of to date! It is a beautiful film about two young women moving through a mutual loss. It’s funny, and heart breaking, and complicated, and it’s everything I look for in a film. The film was developed by myself, my co-star Grace Glowicki, writer Julia Hoff and our director Jordan Canning. It was an honour to create something with such fearless female filmmakers (not to mention all of the other amazing people involved; Marc Tetreault, Jason Levangie, Guy Godfree… I could go on!), and on my first feature none the less. I have definitely set the bar very high for myself.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to find their dream job who hasn’t yet?
I’m really not sure I’m qualified to give advice on this, but I’m going to go ahead and quote the infamous Nike and say ‘Just Do It.’ It really does seem so simple when typed out like that, but let me tell you, I have been hard-pressed to take my own advice. When I started out I spent so much time attempting to convince others I was worth it, or some days even convincing myself, but if I had spent that time and energy into making my own work I may have arrived here a whole lot quicker. Know you are worth it, don’t wait for someone else to point you in the direction of your dream job, we can all inspire ourselves to do it. Give yourself permission to do what you love, and take charge of your own dreams.