Following your passion isn’t always easy but lakecity local Jacob Tazelaar is doing just that as he pursues an acting career in Vancouver.
For those lakecity residents who keep up with CW’s long-running superhero show Arrow, they may have noticed a familiar face amidst a crowd of mercenaries. Tazelaar makes an appearance as the Head Merc in season seven’s episode Training Day.
This experience was cool for Tazelaar as he remembers watching the show years back while living in Kamloops and thinking “hey that’s shot in Vancouver, would be pretty cool to be on it.” That dream becoming reality was very surreal for him and something he enjoyed taking part in greatly.
Tazelaar was born and raised in Williams Lake on Chimney Valley Road where he started a “promising soccer career” until an injury cost him his vision in one eye. Shortly after, Tazelaar followed the advice of a high school friend from Columneetza, Raylene Tate, to try his hand at acting.
Tate had recently graduated from New Image College in Vancouver and offered him the chance for an interview with the college. Seeing how much fun she was having inspired Tazelaar to take the chance and audition which led to his enrolment in the college.
“I thought it was a cool way to show people in Williams Lake you don’t have to just work in a mine or a mill, you can get out there and see a little bit more of the world before you come back. I do think it’s important to come back and never forget where you come from,” Tazelaar said.
For a full two years, Tazelaar submerged himself into an intensive comprehensive study of acting in all of its various forms from the stage to the screen. These included classes focused on acting for the camera, action for actors, theatre training and the business of acting. At the end of the day, after all, Tazelaar said that professional acting is a business, not a hobby, and it was from this class he learned how to file his taxes properly and market himself.
The most important classes he took, in his opinion, were scene study and script analysis. Everything else you can learn along the way, he said, but these skills are what separate professionals from amateurs.
“Script study and scene analysis really allow you to hone your skills as who you are as an actor individually. Acting is a really collaborative art, but it’s a solo career and you got to really hone in on that,” Tazelaar said. “It’s not easy but the things in life that are easy aren’t really worth it.”
Since graduating and beginning his own career, Tazelaar has maintained a relationship with several of his former classmates many of whom are also working in the industry. Surrounding yourself with likeminded people is important for success, in his opinion.
Tazelaar landed his agent through a two-week-long showcase the college put on where students would meet and greet agents and studios while displaying their skills. There Tazelaar met his future agent, Carrie Wheeler of Carrie Wheeler Entertainment Group, and from there went right into the business after graduation.
Working with Wheeler has been wonderful, Tazelaar said, as she views their relationship as more of a partnership than a dictatorship. She listens to his needs and wants in gigs and will try to line parts for him up that best suit him. Having someone willing to take time to curate his career in such a way is amazing to have in his corner, he said.
Acting, for Tazelaar, is a constantly evolving journey he continues to walk even two years out of college. Each audition and role he plays is another opportunity for him to act and while he may not always succeed, he’s simply happy to get the chance to try
“The thing I like most about acting is that I get to study people. People’s behaviour patterns, habits, the way they think, the way they move, what they’re saying, why they’re saying what they’re saying, the way they’re saying it,” Tazelaar explained. “People are the most interesting thing to me and I’m fascinated with why and how humans interact with each other. Acting allows me to explore all avenues of creativity of the human condition in safe environments, with like-minded people.”
To Tazelaar, media like TV and movies can provide people an escape from their own problems for brief moments. This escapism was something he needed at one time which he’s now happy to provide to others who may need it.
To this end, he is already set to appear in another CW TV show in the near future, though he can’t say anything beyond that at this time. Anyone interested in following his career can do so via his Instagram or Facebook fan page.
While acting in Vancouver can be difficult, Tazelaar is still confident and optimistic about what his future holds. To any lakecity students with similar dreams or aspirations, he simply said: “do it.” As his agent said, after all, “if it’s important you’ll find a way, if not you’ll find an excuse.”