When you’re a student immersed in a particular field of study, nose buried firmly in text books and projects, it’s difficult to not only see the finish line of graduation, but a life and career after that academic end point, as well.
So, it is particularly beneficial and advantageous when a school’s alumni can return to fill in current students about their own experiences while studying, as well as out in the real world. That was exactly the case when up-and-coming Hollywood filmmaker Oliver Ridge spoke recently to students in Vancouver Film School’s one-year Acting program. Ridge, a former VFS Acting Alumni originally from the U.K., is producer of the drama Last Days of Summer starring Prison Break’s William Fichtner, and had his directorial debut with a poetic short called Bluebird starring Eric Roberts. Ridge was also selected by British Academy BAFTA to be part of their LA Newcomers Program, which supports emerging talents in the entertainment industry.
For VFS Acting (AC 63 Term Four) student Sam Soar, the opportunity to listen to Ridge talk about his own experiences was inspirational.
“Being from the UK, it was a big shock for me to hear that we would be receiving a seminar from Oliver Ridge,” said Soar. “Almost immediately I could see how VFS has affected him, and I was excited to learn of his time in the school. The question that hit home for me was ‘What was your defining moment in VFS?’ After explaining how he performed a scene so well it inspired him to flourish and only get better I was in awe. Having had a small taste of this already I was hungry to get back to class and work.”
Ridge’s seminar also served to change Soar’s outlook and career aspirations.
“Truth be told, it was Oliver who encouraged me to look down other pathways the course might offer,” Soar said. “Acting is the highway, but it opens many small roads. Oliver, for, example went on to London Drama Centre and then pursued his passion for directing. Others teach, and there is always the BAFTA programme for British citizens.”
However, Soar, also originally from the UK, has his hopes set on remaining in Canada.
“But, I hope for me, my career sees me crossing paths with Oliver and others I have met on my journey through VFS, and keeps me here in Canada, as it’s one of the most beautiful countries I have seen on my travels,” he said. “Being from the UK in a Canadian school can be difficult. Homesickness will set in and sometimes you can feel alone. But I guarantee this will last maybe a week before you meet your classmates in VFS. Never have I felt so invited and welcome to be somewhere that I believed I didn’t fit in. The school will change you, but it is Canada that will inspire you.”