Alex Bird graduated in 2012 and it took a little longer than he expected to start booking roles. But, he says, his persistence has paid off. Alex told us a bit about what he's working on now and what it took to get there.
Tell us about your recent roles on the Veuve Cliquot commercial, Race for the White House and Baby Face.
It was last July when my agent messaged me about an audition for the lead role as 1930’s gangster ”Baby Face Nelson” in an episode of a new show called Natural Born Outlaws. The show was shooting in Montreal, and they had just opened auditions to the rest of Canada. They were looking to get a local actor, and not someone outside of Montreal, but I threw my hat in the ring anyways. I recorded the self-tape - in my bedroom of all places - and three days later I got the call that they wanted me for the lead. It was pretty surreal. I had been going on audition after audition for almost three years, and I hadn’t booked anything, and then I finally got my first professional gig out of Humber. I knew if I didn’t give up, something would workout for me. And it did.
Baby Face led to a really big commercial audition for Veuve Clicquot. They were doing a few new spots for a big campaign. I was brought in to audition for the part of Napoleon. Well, not really Napoleon, but a guy at a swanky party dressed exactly like Napoleon. At the audition, I was told to show my best dance moves, but I don’t have great dance moves, so I just let loose and did my best "dad dancing". Lo and behold, I got the part! That was a really fun commercial to shoot. I was very lucky to be directed by the very talented Peter Glanz, and the creatives for Veuve were very kind to me. When the commercial came out it was narrated by Juliette Binoche, so that was icing on the cake.
About a month or so after shooting that commercial I was brought in to audition for a small role in a brand new CNN show being produced and narrated by Kevin Spacey, Race for the White House. The casting agent was Gail Carr, who had brought me in to audition for her countless times. I could tell she was really on my side. She kept bringing me back in the hope that I would finally get something... and this was the one! I scored the role of the “Telegraphist” in the Lincoln vs Douglas episode. My time to shine as the young telegraph boy consisted of some pretty key moments in the episode when I had to take down and deliver telegrams for Abraham Lincoln. It was a small role, but a big one. The episode aired right after the Democratic town hall on CNN, and was seen by around two million people that night. Slowly but surely the resume is building!
What other projects have you worked on since leaving Humber?
I just released the first season of my own film series The Letters. I spent about a year compiling real love letters from lovers through the ages, and then I cast actors to read them on camera. I really believe that something has been lost over the years in terms of love and relationships, so I wanted to bring these beautiful letters to life to show that they're still relevant. I’m working now on a second season.
Later this year a show I shot in 2015 will air on Discovery, Murder U. It is a docudrama that tells the story of murders that have happened on university campuses. I have a supporting role in one of the episodes.
How did your time at Humber prepare you for what you’re doing now?
Without Humber I wouldn’t be doing as much as I am doing right now. In addition to all the acting tools that Humber gave me, I think the most important thing I was given was the drive not to give up. We weren’t told it was going to be easy, but we were told that if we didn’t give up - if we really and truly didn’t stop working towards our goals - things would start happening. I always believed that. And, despite struggling out of the gate, I held onto that belief and it came true.
There were so many great memories at Humber - working with my classmates, getting to collaborate, learning about others and in turn learning about yourself through them. I’ll always be indebted to the faculty and to John Bourgeois for awarding me The Brian Linehan Award for Most Artistic Creativity and Promise. That meant a great deal to me, and it still does. When someone believes in you, and metaphorically puts their hand on your shoulder to let you know they believe in you, it means the world. You never forget that.
Find out more about Alex on his website, alexbird.net, and on social media - Twitter @AlexanderBirdy, Facebook, @Alex-Bird-169521869597, and Instagram @alexbird007. Alex can also be found singing on his YouTube channel @AlexBirdOfficial. Watch the first season of his film series The Letters on YouTube.
Alex is represented by Teri Ritter at Hines Management.