Since the pandemic, the film industry has had a massive shift to an online platform, offering performers for the first time in the history of the profession, to work preliminarily from an online platform from wherever they’d like.
The vast majority of auditions are now only available via self-tape or Zoom links and any voice-over work prefers to hire professionals that have at-home studios as opposed to paying high rates for studio rentals in expensive city centers.
With such a massive change in the industry, it has opened opportunities for people despite their location.
Recently, there has also been a large shift; in the Albertan economy to fund more film projects than ever before, with massive productions being shot in the province like HBO’s, ‘The Last of Us’, ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’, and ‘Prey’, along with several other productions, including a massive influx in Hallmark and made for TV films. There hasn’t been a better time to be living in Alberta if your dream is to be involved in film and television.
Nils Hognestad moved to Fort McMurray from Vancouver, British Columbia after getting married in August of 2022. Through Nils’ move, he’s been able to continue offering online classes, and one-on-one coaching for students and peers, while casting for projects globally.
He is currently the artistic director for this year’s Buffy Awards in Fort McMurray, getting to know the talent that exists within the community, along with producing his first short film that he has written, and is directing, producing, and starring in. He has a series he’s pitching to be shot in Fort McMurray and is driven to offer opportunities for talent that exists within the community.
One major opportunity that he has noticed missing from the community is acting for film classes for teens. With such a large shift in Alberta’s economy towards film and television, to give residents an upper hand, he is offering the first Acting for Film courses for teens here in Fort McMurray.
Students will learn everything they need to know about auditioning on camera to what to do on set once they’ve booked the role. He will teach you how to get an agent, how to set up your own self-tape studio, and what the expectations of you are from commercials to feature films and comedy to drama.
Students will be given scenes to memorize every week that will be performed on camera, so they will be able to see how their performances translate on camera and receive the footage to be used for their own personal audition reel that can be used towards applying for an agent.
The course will culminate in a final performance in front of an audience of their friends and family, where they will see students act live on camera with a reader off-camera, and their image projected on a big screen for audiences to see both the live performance and the captured footage at the same time. To some, this process can be intimidating, to others, it’s invigorating. But everyone leaves more confident and empowered in themselves and their abilities.
Nils has been teaching teens for decades now and through his many years of teaching experience, he has seen some people move on to be huge successes. Those who don’t have an interest in pursuing it as a profession leave more confident and self-assured because the lessons they learn in these classes aren’t just intended to make better performers, they’re intended to make better people.
Nils Hognestad began acting professionally on camera at the age of 10. He started off in community theatre and pursued every acting opportunity that came his way. After graduating with performing honours from his high school, he moved to Toronto and received his BFA in classical performance from the Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University). He then moved to London, England to receive his Diploma in Classical Performance from LAMDA (London Academy of Music and DramaGc Art) and conGnued to live and work in England for about five years in theatre, mostly focusing on Film, TV, and Voice-over. After a move to LA, Nils found himself back in Vancouver, BC, working solely in Film, TV, and Voice-Over. He has been recurring on major TV shows like ‘Some Assembly Required’, ‘Once Upon a Time’, ‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’, and ‘Blockbuster’. He’s starred in films like ‘Psych 2: Lassie Come Home’, ‘Lake Placid 3’, ‘Overboard’, and ‘A Clüsterfünke Christmas’ the first Hallmark Christmas-movie parody, written by SNL alums Ana Gasteyer and Rachel Dratch, receiving a Leo Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance. He’s also voiced several cartoons, video games, and commercials, along with doing motion capture. He has always had a passion for performance and storytelling and loves encouraging others to do the same.
Nils’ Acting for Teen courses run on Wednesday evenings and offers fully paid bursaries for students interested in the class but unable to afford them. He also offers free auditioning for classes if you want to check it out first to see if the class is for you.
Check out the website acGngwithnils.com, Instagram @acGngwithnils, or e-mail acGngwithnils@gmail.com for more information. Classes like this have never been offered in Fort McMurray before and are the perfect classes for teens interested in pursuing acting as a profession.