Today’s Notable Young Professional is actress Trenna Keating, who currently stars in the Syfy TV series ‘Defiance’ as alien doctor Doc Yewll. What was the inspiration for her career route? Find out in today’s profile…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I’m an actor. I’m currently working on the Syfy TV series Defiance. I play Doc Yewll, who is the alien doctor in the town. She’s a very deadpan and somewhat cranky character and her bedside manner is, to say the least, abrupt. She’s a lot of fun to play.
A typical day on set…
I generally get picked up quite early so I can get there and get into make-up. I am in a full-head prosthetic so it takes 2-3 hours to get into the mask and paint it. Then the look is finished off by putting in large contact lenses with a crazy design in them. Then we shoot. They have built an entire town for the show. It is this incredible Wild West meets the future kind of set. In Defiance, the world as we know it has ended, so now in the future humans and aliens are living together and they have rebuilt this town out of found objects. Restaurants are old subway cars, walls made out of old semi trucks. It is dirty, dusty and beautiful. So when we start shooting, it is pretty easy to immerse yourself in the world. Lots of times the days are long; 12-14 hours. At the end of the day, they cut me out of the prosthetic and throw it away and start the process all over the next time.
What was the inspiration for this career route?
I decided when I was 11 years old that I wanted to be an actor and I never changed my mind. I remember doing a speech about Pauline Johnson at school and thinking this is really a great feeling. And then I got to be in my first play soon after. It was Dracula and I was hooked! After university, I did whatever job I could to be in the film industry. I was a stand-in, a director’s assistant, a casting assistant and reader, an extras casting director. I just wanted to be on set watching actors and learning. Doing these kinds of jobs really helped me with being prepared for when I started booking acting jobs. I auditioned three times for the role of Doc Yewll before landing it. They auditioned men and women in their 20s through to their 60s for this character, so they had various different ideas about who Doc was.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
I get to work with incredible people on a really great show! We have a lot of fun together and there is a strong team effort from all the cast and crew. Every day is something new. We also have really great writers and my character gets to say wonderful cranky lines. One of the greatest challenges with this show is learning to speak in a made-up alien language. I’ve only had to speak it a little bit so far but it’s tricky. Some actors have done entire scenes in it. It’s pretty impressive.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Well, my hope is that this show will still be around in five years and that I will be going all over the world for Comicon. I never in a million years would have imagined that I would be on this kind of show, so who knows what the next five years will bring my way.
What does success look like to you?
Acting is a very difficult profession to “make it” in and “making it” can be so many things to different people. I have always said that I want to make a good living doing what I love and to be able to build and sustain the lifestyle that I desire on my acting income.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
I like to think that each job I have achieved has been better than the last, that I am moving my way up that hell of a ladder. I was really scared when I found out that I had gotten the role because all of a sudden doubts came flooding forward, but I feel proud that I didn’t let those doubts linger for long; I feel like I rose to the occasion and filming season one was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had so far.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Always continue to study and train, there is always something more to discover. But also be kind to yourself. You absolutely cannot be a great actor if you are your own worst enemy.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I will be joining Amanda Brugel (from the TV show Seed) to support her campaign “Brugs Army,” which will be teaming up with Bloorview Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital to raise funds for a variety of established charitable groups, focusing primarily on improving the lives of women and children. I think it is incredibly important to give back to your own community and also I personally feel strongly about building platforms for women, to encourage women to become leaders.
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