Oftentimes there is something to be said for actresses who perhaps didn’t go the typical route to enter the profession. In those cases, you can almost always anticipate a wealthy of unique viewpoints, and Carolyn Bridget Kennedy is one such person. She has carved out a niche for herself in the world of independent film that seems to strike a chord with fans from all different walks of life. Recently, I had the opportunity to ask her some questions about her career, including her emergence within the universe of indie film, her future ambitions, and even her exceptional perspective on the entertainment world and life in general.
RH: What inspired you to become an actress? What kind of training have you had?
CBK: Until late 2011, I had worked as a paralegal for about twenty years. A friend encouraged me to consider acting because of my personality, sense of humor, and comedic timing. So I took my first acting class, and it resonated with me. I was told that if you wanted to make a go of being an actor, you had to be realistic, and not expect to be “discovered” while sitting on your couch at home. I was told I should consider creating my own character and webseries. That one acting class inspired me to create a bunch of skits about a single thirty-something woman exploring new life experiences on her own and giving advice and encouragement to others. The Bridget Linden Show was born – a one woman show that I wrote, produced, directed and acted in.
After filming The Bridget Linden Show, I was hooked. I loved creating something out of nothing. I loved the reaction I received from other people to what I was doing. In 2014, I started to pursue acting and filmmaking intensively. Since then, I have invested greatly in my training both as an actor and a filmmaker by studying with my regular acting coach, Neil Schell, practicing in my home self-taping studio, and taking an intensive director/producer apprenticeship. Also, I have taken introductory courses relating to many of the jobs performed on set as I feel that it is important as a director and a producer (and even as an actor) to have some knowledge of these roles.
I really enjoyed my experiences on those shows. I loved my time on set and wanted to experience this more. There are not many large productions that film where I live compared to what you might find in other areas of the country. So, I found indie film and TV to be a way to continue acting and doing what I love.
You also appear to be multi-faceted in your career with producing, writing, etc credits in addition to acting. Some actors never even try those or only think about doing that. What caused you to step out and try these other facets of the industry?
Out of love and necessity, I wrote my own productions and I plan to continue to do so. Creating my own shows helps me develop and hone my skills. It is a tremendous creative outlet which I cherish. Coincidentally, creating content also provides me with a platform to showcase my acting as well as my writing. I believe that you learn by doing, and rather than waiting for an opportunity to present itself, I decided to create my own.
Over New Year’s, after the acting workshop in 2011, I traveled alone to Hawaii for vacation. I used my time there to contemplate ideas for what I could do on my own, with the equipment and knowledge that I had. I wanted the show to be something that could motivate people to improve their lives in one aspect or another, all while keeping it light and fun. I thought about how I could put a twist into the episodes to convey a message that was helpful or inspirational, while at the same time keeping it interesting. The message was what was important to me. I wanted the character to be watchable and likeable. I wanted her to be relatable to people and not come across as “preachy”. I also wanted her to be playful, fun, spontaneous, outgoing and adventurous. I wanted the character to do the unexpected and have people wondering what she might be up to next. Bridget, I think, turned out to be a wish list of characteristics that I hoped for myself. In many ways, I was using this creative outlet to influence me in my own life as well.
I was definitely unsure of what its popularity would be or of what it would become. At the time, I was focused on this being the work I needed to do and was not focused on the result or the numbers. Over time, I began to see that I was impacting people in a positive way as messages began to pour in to Bridget, with people letting me know that my videos were not only funny, but inspiring. One person wrote me to say that one of my videos was “the shot in the arm they needed at just the right time”. People have also told me that they are inspired to now write their book or create their own webseries after watching one of my episodes.
Danger Pay is a comedy about a paralegal who accepts a job that pays more than usual to work for a bizarre lawyer. She endures his antics so she can afford to pursue her dreams. So far six episodes have been filmed, with a minimum of twenty-six episodes over two seasons planned. It has been nominated as 2016 Best Pilot by WebFest Montreal. Danger Pay is also mentioned by Tubefilter as an “under-the-radar series to watch”.
Why did you choose to go the route of YouTube to feature these shows?
Webseries can be a great way to create low-budget projects. YouTube is an accessible and easy means of distribution. It allows me to showcase myself globally and gain a large audience and loyal followers.
Do you have any other upcoming works you can mention?
My first short comedy film Super Speed Dates is in post-production and may be released in the next few weeks, depending upon film festival restrictions. A teaser trailer for this has been released on my personal YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/CrcP1s9fzqE
As well, five new episodes of Danger Pay are also in post-production, and I hope to release them in the next few weeks. A teaser trailer is available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/8epmZP2mfRQ. You can subscribe to Danger Pay on YouTube to receive notification of when the new episodes are available: http://www.youtube.com/dangerpayseries.
I also play Canadian Immigration Officer “Julie Denton” in the Bollywood romantic comedy film, Jindua. This is my first time acting in a Canadian/Bollywood production. I enjoyed my scenes with superstars Sakhawat Naz, Jimmy Shergill and Neeru Bajwa.
As for what is next to come, stay tuned on social media to find out what I will be working on next. I have many ideas for TV series and films and plan to develop concepts for another short film and a feature film.
You and I have something in common–lasting weight loss. Congratulations on yours, and if you don’t mind telling us, what is the secret to your now healthy lifestyle?
Changing my career from being a paralegal to one in film and television is not the first time I have completely transformed myself. Twenty years ago, through hard work and diligence, I was able to lose over one hundred ten pounds, and I have kept the weight off. I lead an active and healthy lifestyle. I take a long walk in the mornings almost every day. I also regularly attend the gym where I like to do cardiovascular interval training and weight training. I eat about five or six small meals every day. I try to view fitness as a part of my daily self-care routine, just like brushing your teeth. I follow a healthy, balanced diet incorporating high protein, healthy carbohydrates and essential fats. I don’t deprive myself and if I want a treat on occasion, I permit myself to enjoy it. I also don’t punish myself for any setbacks and just get back on track as quickly as I can. It is important to be very accepting of yourself, just as you are.
As a woman in the industry, have you experienced gender bias/discrimination? What is your view on women’s issues in the industry? Is it improving at all in your opinion and experience? What can we do to ensure that women will continue to excel and be well-represented in the industry?
I have not personally experienced any gender bias or discrimination in the industry. It is true that there are fewer roles for women in front of the camera, and there are also fewer women than men in key creative roles. This disparity does appear to be shifting, and I am sure in time it will become more balanced.
I would like to see more women taking on key creative roles such as writing, producing and directing. Women have great stories to tell. I believe it is important for both the public and for the industry to support women to achieve a greater balance. Pursuing a career in this industry is tough enough for anyone.
Working in indie film is great. There is a lot of creative freedom that comes with it. I enjoy the passion that the cast and crew in independent film possess. For the projects I have created, I am involved from the writing to production to post-production. There is a great benefit to this level of control, yet it creates a tremendous burden which is its challenge.
What is your advice to young women who aspire to enter the entertainment industry?
My advice is to go for it. If you have a creative calling, it is very important that you follow it and explore it. Focus on your art and the craft, and do not concern yourself with the negative opinions of others. Don’t censor your art or “tone it down” or try to change it to please everyone – you will never do that, and in the end, your work will be boring and bland. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and support you in your creative endeavors. It is a great idea to collaborate with others and to have a mentor from whom you can learn not only the “craft of acting”, but also the “business of acting”. Believe in yourself.
If there are no suitable roles for you, create your own content to showcase your talents. I recommend taking courses in all aspects of filmmaking, and learning as much as you can about all departments and learning the terminology of the industry. Having a greater understanding of everything makes you better at each individual thing.
Be prepared for an industry that rarely provides you with any validation. By its very nature, there is a tremendous amount of rejection that one has to endure. Realize this and accept it. You need unwavering resilience to carry you through the rejection and self-doubt that so easily creeps in. Celebrate each victory and success, no matter how small. Have faith that whatever you are doing is moving you forward, even if there is no objective indication that it is. Don’t give yourself a time limit. This is a lifelong commitment with no finish line in sight.
I almost don’t know where to start to praise this woman. I could celebrate her foray into film and television. I could mention her remarkable weight loss and commitment to healthy lifestyle. Maybe I could congratulate her on her stunning success within the world of indie film and webisodes. But I think that all of these are just single facets of what comprises Carolyn herself, as she is stalwart, autonomous, and notably steadfast. She doesn’t do things halfway as some might do, straddling the business and the entertainment world. She is sole-focused, and her desire it to entertain and inspire. For her, that is the measure of genuine success, and in that, I fully applaud and respect that decision as it resonates with me as well. Her positive outlook, substantial work ethic, and willingness to learn seem to be what propels her to accomplish her dreams, and I could not be happier with the direction her career is taking. Make sure that you check out the links below as Carolyn is also a savvy businesswoman. She is aware that marketing is essential, and in promoting herself, she has made certain that everything in which she is involved has its own social media account for publicity’s sake. Not all people in this business comprehend the fundamental nature of social media, no matter what one may personally think about “putting oneself out there.” Once you have visited the various links, consider following Carolyn lest you miss any of the fabulous films and TV roles in which she will no doubt be involved.
FOLLOW THE BRIDGET LINDEN SHOW
FOLLOW DANGER PAY
FOLLOW SUPER SPEED DATES
FOLLOW DEMURE DUCHESS PICTURES
FOLLOW WBFTV COMEDY