Alexander Kotsyk is a Toronto based award winning Canadian-Ukrainian actor and producer. From early days Alex gravitated towards being on stage, performing and hosting. He started his acting Regina, SK where he was getting his Master’s Degree in Public Policy. After graduating Alex went to Toronto and studied Meisner technique while working on some award winning indie projects. He continued learning the craft in different studio and coaches in Toronto.
We had a chance to catch up to discuss his career.
As a child, did you want to be an actor, or did it fall into place through other activities?
I never wanted to be an actor, it just happened…I mean its sounds like something unreal but I am a guy from a small town in Ukraine called Chernivtsi, something like Regina, SK. Acting wasn’t something that was widely offered and I can’t even recall classes that you could go to and study. I guess it was always inside waiting for the moment and not until I came to Canada seven years ago I had an opportunity to engage with my creative side. You know Canada and Ukraine its a bit different because where I am from, we first think about money and security because you can’t predict whats going to happen tomorrow and after all the hustle there is not much energy left to be creative. While in Canada, I feel like we are more secure in our future and government can back us up. I mean, I might be wrong about this but that’s the image I have.
Who inspired you to follow your dream to pursue acting?
I am a huge Broadway fan and it all started from random visit of Broadway production Fiddler on the Roof in NYC with my Ukrainian friends. When I saw that and just realized there is nothing else I want to do but work my butt off to be like them. And I mean, just imagine how much work being put by every member of the team, not just in theater but film, tv, actors and crew spend countless hours learn practice and then sometimes even volunteer for experience. I have so much respect for industry people. So when I see a high quality production, it’s like a bell for me that says: “Alex, are you still doing your best and you like them, are you putting all your efforts?” so yeah this keeps me inspired and creative.
What challenges have you faced in the entertainment industry? What has been your most rewarding experience?
Haha where do I start. So when I came to Canada my English wasn’t very good. And I would come to the audition and would hear: “Slate please” – I had no idea what they want, literally for the guy from Ukraine with English as his third language I had no idea what they were asking me, until like third or fourth audition when someone explained me it means to introduce yourself. I think some people just laughed at me that time but likely I stayed on my path and here I am talking to you as an award-winning actor. I had some really great experiences working with amazing individuals. I guess my most notable experience was studying with Larry Moss. I think I will remember it all my life. What a man he is, just wow. Dedication, ability to see you, empathy there is so many words. And I guess the other one was winning an award for best male performance at the film festival in Los Angeles. I star and helped produce short film called “Forever a Gentleman” and I would never expect what will come out of it but I guess if you do your best good things might come your way.
What is your favourite type of character to play?
That’s always a tough one. Either some historic figure (this one time I played Benito Mussolini in Dictator’s Playbook directed by Mark Stevenson) or someone like Joker, I have fun playing bad guys.
What market do you currently work in? Are there other areas you would like to work?
I work in Toronto as of the moment but of course always to open anywhere really. I want to do more theater. Just yesterday I was auditioning for a play so fingers crossed!
What advice would you give to someone new trying to make it in the acting industry?
Hm…do I have to pick just one? Ok i got it. Do your best – always – just do your best! Do look at other people, circumstances etc. Come in give it all, leave. And you never know what will come back to you. Also take classes, learn as much as you can! I can recommend some great places like LB Acting Studio or if you are a foreigner and what to work on accents, Rae Ellen Bodie is amazing! And if you want to stay ready, check out The Actors Place that has drop-ins for $10 which can be really good if you are on a budget. It was started as actors gym by this multifaceted actor and host Ivan Wanis Ruiz; and it’s a great community to meet actors and work on your skills!
What fuels your passion?
Ability to tell stories and be a part of helping people see and relate to things they haven’t before. This one time I was working on Chinese TV series for NTDtv and it was a fictional story about how Chinese government destroy people’s lives if they don’t agree with their policies. It was a fiction but then somewhere in the middle, I was like wow that’s actually happening right now in China and just to be a part of this was a great honor for me. I think people should have same rights regardless of where they are born, gender and how much wealth their parents have.
What is something about you that most people would never guess?
haha oh this is going to come back to me…I don’t know how to ride a bike.
If you were to do it all over again, would you do things exactly the same? Do you have any regrets? Successes that make you proud?
Absolutely not! With this experience and knowledge I would definitely do things differently and more efficiently. Just as a guy from Ukraine I didn’t know what to do and where to go if you want to be actor. It took me a lot of time to figure out road maps. I don’t have any regrets, I don’t believe in them. I think what happened is done and all you can do is get the best out of it and make sure you learn from it. Also don’t forget to have some fun during as it is life and I’ve heard we only have one!
To follow Alex, check out his social media links below: