Romuald Hivert on the VFS Community and Life as a Working Actor

By VFS Web Team, on May 9, 2013

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Romuald Hivert graduated from the VFS Acting for Film & Television program in 2011. In between acting gigs, including an upcoming stint on the Vancouver-shot science fiction series Continuum, Romuald is a Teaching Assistant in the Entertainment Business Management program.
You may also recognize him from his role in Captive, the first ever VFS feature-length film. We recently spoke with Romuald about what led him to acting, the VFS community, and life since graduation.
Have you always wanted to be an actor? How did you come about choosing it as a career?
Romuald: No. I always knew I loved performing but didn't know I wanted to be an actor. I was working at a bank and very unhappy. I decided that I would do something that I had always wanted to do. I immediately enrolled in a two-year theatre program in Ontario. After the first year, I wasn't sure if it was for me, but the Director of the Adult Acting program wouldn't let me go. He said I was a gem. That second year, it finally clicked that I wanted to pursue this as a career. After the program ended, I decided to move to Vancouver and go to Vancouver Film School. I wanted to take my acting to the next level and VFS is one of the best schools in Canada for that.

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As Naseem in Captive.

What was your experience like in the VFS Acting program?
Romuald: Learning how to act is a lifelong thing. I received a great skill base at VFS but I also got access to the VFS community as a bonus. The network I was able to build at VFS is not something you can put a price on. I wouldn't have known anyone otherwise. I do have to cultivate it but it truly is one of the most valuable things I took away from the school. The community that I became a part of, including teachers, alumni, classmates, students from other programs, producers, directors, photographers - it's a pool of resources. It's better than the yellow pages.
What was life like after graduation? What were the first steps?
Romuald: I went back to the real world. I took a flexible job that I could do while I went on auditions. I found an agent right away and booked my first gig out of school, The Arrangement, a film that comes out next year.
After a year, I changed agents. This was when I started getting a lot more auditions, sometimes three a day! I realized how important it is to find the right agent, one that fits you, someone you can work with and create a partnership. My advice is to find the person who can help you maximize your talent and your uniqueness - almost like a soul mate.
With my new agent, I was able to take a bit of control and make an action plan together, as opposed to leaving it all to chance. I shared with her my three strongest characters - thug, professional man/love interest, and high school student. That's what I excel at. Obviously I still audition for other types of characters but I think it's fair to say those three are my current base and where I am strongest.

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Romuald (second from left) in an ad for Vancouver Actor's Guide.

Tell us about your experience on Continuum.
Romuald: I filmed an episode of Continuumin February which airs Sunday, May 12. I thought it would be intimidating and I was really worried about having to show them I could act but it was very comfortable and the atmosphere was great. I was so used to being on camera at VFS that I felt like I was at home. At the same time, it was also scary because I thought I should be freaking out. I got really good feedback on set, especially for one of my lines in particular. It felt great and I was happy. I was even more convinced that acting is what I really want to do for a living.
Simon Barry, the creator of Continuum, recently visited VFS as a guest speaker and spoke about the road he took that led him to his success. I sat up front, ready to hand him a thank you card for having me on the show since I didn't get a chance to meet him on the day. When the talk was over, I nervously walked over in his direction. Before I could say anything he said, "I know you! You did an awesome job on Continuum!" He also told me that it was great that my character didn't die – so you never know what could happen, fingers crossed!

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Meeting Simon Barry.

What are you working on now?
Romuald: I am currently a TA in the Entertainment Business Management program. I am also auditing some of the classes, learning more about how to use social media to market myself, how to create a personal brand, and more.
I also took part in Evermore, a short film and personal project. It was produced by Ian Berg, a Foundation Visual Art & Design and Digital Design grad. He is a now a post-production specialist and wanted to use his visual effects skills in the short. It was written by Bobby Henwood, a Writing for Film & Television grad. In fact, about 99% of the people involved in the film are VFS grads. It's a great example of how the VFS network can come together. It was a great experience and I am very excited for the final product. Ian is hoping to release it this fall.

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On the set of Evermore.

What are you goals for the future? Where do you see yourself in five years?
Romuald: Five years from now I want to be working as an actor, mainly in Vancouver but also throughout Canada and the United States. I want to be a lead character on a hit TV show. I would like to be in at least one action film - doing stunts, fighting, using guns, etc. I want to be in at least one blockbuster movie as well – and stay alive throughout the movie! My characters always die! (Laughs) Now that I've said all these things, I really have to do it!
It is important to continue taking classes. I know that I will always need to keep training to get to the next level. I received some great advice about who I am as an actor - I need to understand my stereotypical hit. I love the fact that I look dangerous and have a strong presence. The man within - the actor - is a humble kid, full of wonder and play. I like to be bold, fierce, daring, and loving. I just want to share with the world stories that they will never forget. For that, I am willing to share generously the essence of what makes me, me.
I hope people can relate to my characters and that will make them want to learn more about them and their circumstances.
Thanks for sharing this with us, Romuald!
For more information on what Romuald is up to, check out his Facebook Page. You can also catch him on this Sunday's episode of Continuum, airing on Showcase.