Today’s Notable Young Professional is actor Craig Arnold, who, if you haven’t recognized him from Degrassi, is currently getting some major facetime at TIFF after starring in Lindsay MacKay’s buzz-worthy debut ‘Wet Bum’…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I am an actor. I pretend to be other people and hope that the audience believes it!
What was the inspiration for this career route?
I’ve always been passionate about the arts. My first love was music. I started out playing guitar when I was 13 years old and joined my first band at that time as well. Throughout high school, this was my main focus. When I was 17, I acted in a school play and saw the creative possibilities in acting. I found it similar to music in a creative sense, as every artist has their own voice. I began to fall in love with studying different people, their motivations, and why we as humans act the ways that we do.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Best part is learning about different people, trying to figure out what makes a character tick, seeing the world through someone else’s eyes.
Most challenging is staying focused when there is no work, when I’m between jobs. The industry is incredibly frustrating in that sense; it takes a huge amount of persistence.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope to be creating film, television or theatre that people can connect to on a personal level. My favourite shows and films push the envelope, force viewers to look at themselves and the world in a new way. They offer new perspectives.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
There is a huge amount of uncertainty in this industry. You never know how long a job will last or if anyone will want to hire you again once you’re finished a job. You’re only as good as your last project. So in this sense, the biggest challenge is learning to accept the fact that there is really no security in this business. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve overcome it yet, and it always frustrates me. However, I try to stay focused on the work and remember that I chose to do this because I love it. It’s simply a fact of life in this line of work.
What does success look like to you?
Creating something that people can connect with, that they see a part of themselves in. I’m interested in showing the vulnerable, ragged parts of the human condition. Don’t get me wrong, I love a big budget blockbuster or action film now and again, but my heart is in telling stories that connect us and offer a new point of view. Great art, in my opinion, exposes the raw aspects of human nature. It’s relatable.
In a greater sense, success to me is doing something you believe in, making your own choices and living your life in a way that makes you happy no matter what other people think or say.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Being cast as Luke Baker on Degrassi: The Next Generation. It was my first series regular role and I had the opportunity to learn a ton about the industry as well as the reality of working on a television series. It’s an iconic Canadian show and I’m so proud to have been a part of it.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
I think you need to find what you are passionate about it and pursue it vigorously. If you feel you need to do something, find a way to make it happen. Every industry has its ups and downs, its challenges and frustrations. A love for what you do is key.
Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
I have so many! But if I had to choose one, I would say Fresh. They have incredible vegetarian and vegan food. I took my dad there the other day and he loved the veggie burger. It’s great food even if you do eat meat.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I like to read, listen to/play music, or just explore whatever city/town I’m in. I find it incredibly relaxing to wander; I also get most of my ideas this way.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I can’t name just one. Out of the places I’ve been so far, it’s a tie between Seville, Paris and New Orleans. Seville is all out beautiful, Paris has the greatest architecture and vibe, and New Orleans’ music and food can’t be beat. I want to see so many places, but next on my list are Japan and India.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Just laughed a little imagining a theme song playing as I walk in to a room. “Give it Away” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I really have no idea. I chose to do this because I had a gut feeling that it was what I needed to do. I would probably be working in music or with wildlife in some way.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Yes! I volunteer at The Stop, a community food centre in Toronto that strives to increase access to healthy food in a manner that maintains dignity, builds health and community, and challenges inequality. They are truly revolutionary; their focus on supplying healthy food to those in need is changing the way we think of food centres.
I also support Camp Oochigeas for kids with cancer. My sister worked with them for years and they support a great cause.
Lastly, I donate blood on a regular basis to Canadian Blood Services. It’s easy to do, costs nothing, and blood is always in high demand. I think every healthy person should donate blood.
What to you is notable?
People who live life on their own terms. People who feel in their heart that they need to do something so they go for it without asking for permission. Throughout history, great ideas and changes have come only from people who were willing to think outside the box, shake things up, and not take no for an answer. We have such a short time on this earth, we can’t wait around for the perfect time or opportunity.