The film industry in BC is set up for another boom and a local Vancouver Island man wants people to be prepared and have the opportunity to find work when it hits.
Charles André, a film industry expert, stunt coordinator, stuntman and actor has worked in film for over 40 years. He is leading the way in stunt acting for people wanting to break into the industry with an upcoming workshop that could make or break someone’s chance at working in film.
André decided to pursue a career in the film industry, initially as a stunt actor, then as a stunt coordinator down the road because he played to his strengths — his physical prowess rather than his academic ability.
“I excelled in fitness and theatre,” Andre told Victoria Buzz. “I studied at UVic and excelled in their movement program.”
“I used to race cars and motorcycles, I loved jumping off cliffs into the lake and my father was a mountaineer so I loved repelling and climbing. Everything I did was stunt related, so I put the two together and moved to Vancouver to get an agent — as they say the rest is history.”
André is now shifting his focus to being a mentor for those wanting to work in the film industry and to have the opportunities he’s been afforded. He is putting on a workshop for people wanting to work as a stunt actor this March in Duncan.
The Introduction to Stunt Acting workshop will take place over two Saturdays on March 18th and 25th, each session being three hours long.
“What I’m doing is I’m giving people who don’t have much experience in film, or none at all, an introduction to what it is like to be on a film set,” said André.
“The workshop focuses on the role of a stunt actor, an actor who does their own action or a stunt performer who does dialogue.”
Participants in the workshop will learn from André as well as his sister and colleague, Yvette André who is a martial arts expert and frequently holds workshops of her own for women and girls to learn self-defence.
In addition to learning from such experts as the André siblings, anyone enrolled in the course will take home a professional level demo reel they could then use to get a part in film or TV.
“My workshop will give them the tools to be able to go out, get an agent, do a good audition and be able to do a decent film fight — which are all your basics for stunt acting.”
When André began in the industry here in BC, he said not many shows or movies were shot in the province. Over time, the industry has expanded and now American production studios love coming into BC and Canada as a whole to shoot.
When they do, they end up saving a ton of capital while spending millions locally on talent and locations. They also end up contributing massively to tourism and local businesses.
André has worked with the likes of Hollywood legends such as Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Sidney Poitier, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ben Kingsley.
He’s worked on critically acclaimed films and shows and has even been nominated for awards for his stunt coordination.
With Vancouver Island having a few potential options for big production companies to use in the future, such as Camosun College’s proposed film studio, the industry is bound to boom.
“If we can have studios built here, which they are trying to do and in the process of doing, and we could have local talent working locally, it’ll save production companies hundreds of thousands of dollars and they’ll come here more,” André told Victoria Buzz.
“That’s what I’m trying to promote. I’m trying to get more films here on Vancouver Island.”
André says all are welcome in the workshop as long as they are over the age of 18-years-old. The eldest of his workshop’s recruits is currently 80-years-old.
- Where: Cowichan Community Centre, 2687 James Street, Duncan
- When: Saturday, March 18th and Saturday March 25th from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Cost: $400 per person