How do so many Vancouver actors get into Hallmark movies?

The community of actors who star in Hallmark movies are known as Hallmarkies.

As Vancouverites, it’s our prerogative to pause a movie or TV show and point out landmarks in the background. “That’s Vancouver!”

Vancouver, BC has been played in Vancouver, Washington more often than it has been played on screen. It has also been played in New York, Chicago, Riverdale and Starling City to name a few. But more often than not, Vancouver and the surrounding areas of BC represent charming little towns in nowhere, USA, where a woman takes a break from her high powered job and her inattentive boyfriend to reconnect with the ladies. important things in life and maybe even fall in love. (she definitely falls in love).

Hallmark shoots 60 movies a year in BC, and in most cases hires cast and crew from within the community, creating dozens of opportunities for our local actors. So if you’ve ever seen a familiar face from a commercial or TV series in a Hallmark movie, chances are they’re based in Vancouver.

We sat down with seven Vancouver actors who are Hallmark regulars and asked them how they feel about gender, what a Hallmark movie compares to other projects, and how the historically white Christian network is revamping its formula to include more diversity. Take a look at what they had to say on each topic here.

Let’s meet the actors!

Antony Cayonne (Christmas at Evergreen: The Bells Ring, The vows we keep, matching hearts)

How did you get involved in Hallmark?

“The way I got involved is pretty much the way everyone gets involved really, you’re always fighting for whatever job is available. But when I moved to Vancouver, I didn’t really even know about Hallmark. It wasn’t on my radar. In Toronto, I’m sure there’s a lot of Hallmark, but I wasn’t auditioning for any. So when I got here, I started getting these calls for this kind of show that was always extremely healthy and stock structure. So it was became something that was really interesting to audition for. I got lucky on my first one, I booked it, I ended up on set with some Hallmark stars: Andrew Walker and Taylor Cole, who’s been to a lot of Hallmarks at this point , as well as Marcus Rosner. And that was it. Once I was in the stable, I kept auditioning and I kept booking and the roles just kept getting bigger and bigger.”

What is your favorite Hallmark memory?

“I remember the first time a director knocked on the door before shooting a scene just to say hello and say, ‘You know, he’s going to be busy on set, so we don’t get a chance to talk to each other.’ know who I am. And I want you to know why you’re here and I’m so excited to do this with you. And I hope you’re comfortable. And if there’s anything you need, let me know’ and the door closed and my jaw dropped. I was blown away Who does that? That was very nice. And like I said, the more I go in, the more I realize that that’s really what’s normal.

Similarly, I was filming something the other day and two people who were execs at Hallmark messaged me on Instagram to say, ‘hey, we saw the dailies and we just want you to know that we love what you’re doing. That’s crazy. Nobody would say that. So there’s a kindness within the world that I think really explains why the network has done so well.”

cardi wong (christmas forever, My best friend’s bouquet, always and forever christmas)

How did you get involved in Hallmark?

“My first audition for Hallmark was for All my heart starring Lacey Chabert and Brendan Elliot. It was really cool because I didn’t know that Peter DeLuise, the director, was going to be in the room at that time. And it was just a little role in the kitchen where I like something and then the chef yells at me, but then Lacey comes to my rescue. And during the audition process, Peter said that he enjoyed how he had a rhythm for every moment of my character. And I found that I got it and I was so excited because as a new actor you want to be there and you want to do all the work.”

Dona Benedict (matching hearts, rattlesnake girlfriend, sweet Caroline)

How did you get involved in Hallmark?

“I started acting in 2013 and there really wasn’t a lot of representation on TV back then for Filipinos, and I really thought the biggest role I could get would be best friend in something. And unfortunately, it took me a little time. for the smaller roles to kick in, but Hallmark was actually the first network that signed me as a supporting role, like a big supporting role. So that was pretty amazing. And it just snowballed from there.

Because basically, especially in Vancouver, it’s a small city and the industry is very tight-knit. So once you start working for a director who likes you and your work, then they start to get involved in his other projects, and I was very lucky to do a good handful of them.”

adil christmas
Adil Zaidi and Laura Vandervoort at Christmas Together with You. distinctive channel

Nathan Witte (My best friend’s bouquet, a christmas treasure, Sealed with a kiss)

How did you get involved in Hallmark?

“The way I got in was just like any other actor: get an agent, audition, and then book my first role at Hallmark. Once you get into a company in the film industry and they like you, they still have to audition.” , but they tend to use you more often. If you can perform.”

What is your favorite Hallmark memory?

“One that I’m really passionate about, one of my favorite Hallmarks that I did was one of my most cherished experiences on set, it was my first lead role on a label called My Best Friend’s Bouquet and what drew me to that script, more than any other.” Hallmark’s script was that it was more of an ensemble cast and extended deeper, not just with one and two (me being number two on the call sheet for the first time on a hallmark), but the other characters three four five. , and six, also brought depth and had some character arcs as well. So I felt like the script was much more complete and supported number one and two on the call sheet in his story because you have this other world going around. Whereas if it’s just the two leads, it can feel a bit staged.”

Fiona Vroom (Nantucket Claus, deliver for christmas, The wedding veil trilogy)

How did you get involved in Hallmark?

“It went through the audition process. I started with the casting of Jackie Lynn, looking for these wonderful roles for women. And what I love about Hallmark is that the women are always running the show. And that really goes through the casting, the casting are all women. And I think my first protagonist was a time to dance when I got to play Jennie Garth, I played her sister.”

adil more (The Perfect Recipe/Welcome to Mama’s, A Christmas with you, My best friend’s bouquet)

How did you get involved in Hallmark?

“It all started with smaller things, smaller parts. A line here, a line there, more or less. I think the first one could have been a Christmas movie a long time ago. And it’s a small community where one thing leads to another and a lot of people just know each other and they tend to call you back and work with you more often if they like you and get along with everyone I think it was a movie called Blend in all the way either Christmas bells are ringing one of those was early. Since then, it was about staying in touch and having some people who like to work with me and one thing led to another.”

What is your favorite Hallmark memory?

“We just shot a movie last year in Vernon called Christmas with you. This movie starred Laura Vandervoort, she used to play Supergirl in the Smallville series, and Laura and I went to the same high school in Toronto a long time ago when; she was like a year or two older than me. I met her when I started acting and she gave me a little hand and gave me some advice and I completely forgot who I was after that but I kept this in my head, all this advice that she had given me. Fast forward ten or twelve years in my mind, I thought at some point, some day in my career, I wanted to work with this girl. I booked the support lead on a Hallmark and down and lo and behold I look at the call sheet and Laura is the lead. That is wild in itself. But after 12 years of being able to keep this advice she gave me in my head and move on and 12 years later she managed to book a job on set.

It just goes to show that one of the great things about working on these Hallmark movies is that they’re going to go out and get really solid actors for their leads and then the rest is going to be aired locally among local people like us, the supporting hosts. It has given me tremendous opportunities to work with people that I don’t think I would normally be able to be in a room with. They bring together a large group of people. Laura’s story was really kind of a career milestone.”

More Meet the Hallmarkies:

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