It has been almost a year since George Alevizos graduated from the Theatre and Drama program at UTM. Since then, the 22-year-old has been busy working at the City of Toronto, booking commercials, appearing on TV shows, and advocating for people with disabilities in the entertainment industry.
The Medium recently spoke with Alevizos to discuss life after university, his guest-starring role on Hudson and Rex, and his upcoming role in the play A Few Good Men.
The Medium: It’s been nine months since you graduated from UTM. What have you been up to since then?
George Alevizos: Well, I went to school for acting and it was what I intended to do after graduation even though people always warned me that actors make no money. I’m happy to prove them wrong.
As an actor, I’ve been working with ACTRA Toronto which is a television and film union for actors. I am also a union member of Canadian Actors’ Equity which is the actors’ union for theater.
In between my work with those organizations, I’ve done four commercials, a couple of theatre stints, a guest-starring role on Hudson and Rex on City TV, and I am just working and auditioning non-stop.
TM: What has the auditioning process been like?
GA: It was definitely challenging at first, especially because I had no idea how the acting landscape would be. Overall though, it’s been pretty good. I’m starting to get a momentum that I’ve never had before.
Obviously, I know that I’m going to be rejected a lot and I’m not going to book every job I audition for, but I’ve been lucky with the opportunities I’ve gotten thus far. I’ve become more confident in my ability to go out and book jobs.
TM: You mentioned you were on Hudson and Rex recently. How did that role come about?
GA: Funny story, I was vacationing in Barbados in September when I received the call from my agent for Hudson and Rex. He told me that I got a self-tape request from the casting director and thought I would send it in while I was on vacation. The problem was there was little to no internet connection where I was staying so I couldn’t send my tape in. Plus, I would’ve looked terrible.
I ended up doing the self-tape when I came back to Toronto in mid-September. I sent my tape in and got a callback about two weeks later, saying I booked the job.
TM: What was your reaction when you got the call?
GA: Well, I was surprised because I was getting a callback from a network television show. It was a pretty big deal so I went for my callback which was where I initially auditioned for the show.
I also heard that the casting director from the show was really hard to impress. She had cast for television shows like Orphan Black so she had high standards.
TM: You must’ve worked extra hard in the callback to nab the role then.
GA: Not exactly. During my callback, I noticed that no one was in the room except for me. Apparently, I was the only one called back for the role. I had no idea, so I emailed my agent, asking if he knew that I was the only callback and he was like, “they rented a room just for you.”
The casting director then brought me in. We talked for a bit—she was really great and helped me through the scenes. At the end of the callback, she was like “you have really good training.” It was so nice to hear that from someone in the industry.
TM: What was the filming process like?
GA: It was fantastic! I was working with really great actors on the episode. Andrea Bang, who plays the daughter on CBC’s Kim Convenience, was guest-starring with me too. The lead of the show, John Reardon, is really well known as well.
The director, Felipe Rodriguez, had directed for Netflix’s Slasher and was nominated for an Emmy in 2017 for his documentary so it was fantastic working with him. The cast and crew were great. Newfoundland was also beautiful.
TM: Without spoiling too much, what was the episode about?
GA: The show is about a major crimes detective who is partnered with his dog to solve crimes. I was playing Casey James who was being investigated for a crash. The detectives saw that I was getting money and was able to afford a really expensive power chair and didn’t understand where my money came from. They wanted to investigate my character for a murder.
TM: That’s a plotline that I don’t think I’ve seen in network television.
GA: It was new in terms of the guy in the wheelchair wasn’t being pitied for once. You feel bad for the character up to a certain point until it’s revealed that he’s had three DUIs. The reason he got into an accident was because he was drinking. There were a lot of factors in that episode that made my character unique.
TM: Apart from television appearances, I know you’ve been a vocal advocate for people/actors with disabilities. Can you tell me more about your advocacy and goals?
GA: I ran for council at ACTRA and I thought it was important to get someone on council who had a disability. Running and getting elected meant that I could participate in contract negotiations and agreements for providing more opportunities for those with disabilities. I didn’t get elected, but I worked with them to do an accessibility audit last May when I received my first ACTRA credit.
When I did the “Dear Everybody” campaign, which helps to end the stigma around people with disabilities, the commercial didn’t show that I was in a wheelchair until the end. The message was to showcase that you should be hired if you’re able to perform the job—regardless if you have a disability or not.
A lot of people saw the commercial and wanted to do an accessibility audit for casting houses in Toronto. Most casting houses in Toronto are inaccessible for actors with disabilities so we went with casting directors to all the locations to do a checklist of elements that needed to be restructured for better accessibility.
The results are going to come out soon, but I’m hopeful that the audit will lead to positive changes in the acting community.
TM: That’s great! What are your plans for the future?
GA: I will be moving to Waterloo in a few weeks because I got hired for A Few Good Men—a theatre production from Drayton Entertainment in Cambridge, Ontario. I’m working with the old artistic director of Stratford and the National Arts Centre English Theatre of Ottawa, Marti Maraden. I auditioned for the show on January 14 and got the call two days later. It was a fast turnaround, but I’m super excited.
I also am job-hunting because acting contracts are never full-time, so I always have to keep an eye out for jobs. But that’s also the fun of it.