Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am an actor. Fortunate to be doing it full-time for about 15 years now. I wish I had started 15 more years before that! I’m lucky to have an amazing family around me.
You started out as the lead singer of “The Life”. What led you to the acting world?
I always wanted to be an actor. I remember coming out of movie theatres as a kid all the time and becoming those characters on the screen. But I grew up in the country and acting was just an impossible dream. Right from when I was a little toddler pretty much I remember people making a big deal about me being able to play instruments etc. without any training. The more I did it, the better I got, and it just made more sense to follow that love. But I always hoped that someday music would lead to opportunity in the acting field. Acting came later when the music died so to speak and I got scouted for modeling. I ended up landing a commercial and it kind of woke me up to the fact that it was possible to make a living doing it. I knew a pretty successful Canadian actor during those days and I remember she had trouble paying rent. Having spent so much time struggling in the music business it didn’t make much sense to me to go struggle in another field. I figured when we achieved musical world domination the offers would flow in. Well, that never happened did it?
You’ve done a lot of voice-acting with one of your iconic roles being the voice of the opening credits of Hockey Night in Canada from 2012 to 2015. What was it like to be associated which such a huge production?
I’ve had some really cool voice gigs. Ones that I’m really proud of personally. But that one was a big deal because hockey is so important in Canada. That and the Olympics really got my Dad’s attention. My mom had always been my biggest supporter with anything I’ve ever done, but my Dad would usually ask how were things going etc. It was probably because he didn’t understand a lot of it. When I landed the Hockey Night in Canada beginning or the Olympics he was telling everybody about it. It’s funny how no matter how old you get, you hope your parents are proud of you. That your family acknowledges you. “Look at me Dad!!” never goes away.
You’ve also done a lot of voice work for Ubisoft. What are some of your favourite video games?
I found Ubisoft to be one of the best places to work. I’ve done a number of games with David Footman directing and he is wonderful. Funny story, I wasn’t sure how much I’d be back when we were doing Far Cry 5 so I wrote a long handwritten note and pinned it to the bulletin board in the studio basically saying what an incredible environment they had there. Then to my embarrassment, I kept getting booked to go back there but the note was there. They kept it up because they were happy to read the comments. Of course, I felt like a big kiss ass! But then one day it was gone and I joked that they finally took it down. But apparently the president saw it on a tour and sent it around to other offices! I am pretty obsessed with video games, to say the least. My favourite all-time games would have to be BioShock, The Last of Us, the Battlefield series and Gran Turismo Sport. Oh yeah and Fallout, and Far Cry too. Right now I’m playing Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. I’m loving the game but the atmospheres and AI acting (which never gets enough credit) is astounding. This is as close to time travel as you can get; and being obsessed with old London I am completely in heaven just walking around the streets.
How does doing voice work for games differ from doing so for movies/TV?
Well with games there is the voice aspect but there’s also the performance capture aspect. You do some voice studio sessions, but with performance capture, it’s like doing a play. You act just like you would on camera with other actors etc. but you’re wearing all the tracking sensors etc. Since there are sensor cameras all around you, you don’t have to shoot the same scenes over and over again to get the different angles and close-ups. Once they have your movement they can get you from pretty much any angle or distance. It’s really amazing. That also means you usually have a lot more to shoot in a day in terms of scenes. I’m currently working on a new game now and I’d say they are close cousins. Lots of similarities but also very different.
What can you tell us about your role as Gerald in the new sci-fi series, “Utopia Falls”?
I jumped for Gerald! When Joseph Mallozzi, the showrunner rang me about it I immediately wanted it. Number one I worked with Joe for Dark Matter and he has become a friend. But besides that, he runs an amazing ship that’s an actor’s dream. The thing for me was that Gerald was a character I don’t get to play enough. He’s a great dad, a loving dad. He’s strong but also vulnerable. He doesn’t get what he wants by violence. He’s a politician but he believes in what he does. I got to do so much with him and I’m so thankful to Joe and RT the series creator for bringing me on board. There’s me doing more ass-kissing! No but seriously, I’m so grateful because I really got to spread my wings with this role!
What’s next for your career?
I have some great indie films coming out soon and going to festivals. I also just started production with this video game which is really exciting, and a few other things I can’t get into just yet. One dream coming true is that I am narrating a series, a really interesting show called Secrets in the Ice for the Science Channel. I’ve always wanted to do one of those shows. I’ve narrated plenty of one-offs but every episode so far I’m giddy about! Of course, if you watch television or listen to the radio, there’s a good chance you’ll hear me on a commercial. And that I have to tell you I’m very grateful for!!
What advice would you have for aspiring entertainers?
Keep your head down and just keep bulldozing the problems away! It takes serious tenacity! First and foremost make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. There’s a massive amount of rejection so you need to have thick skin. Sometimes you feel like your auditions are just going into a black hole because a lot of times you don’t even get feedback. But know if casting directors are bringing you out you’re doing better than a massive percentage of other actors who can’t even get in the door. So never take that for granted. You hear stories about bad behavior, but I can tell you a good attitude in the room or on sets goes a long way.
What’s your life like outside of the entertainment industry?
It’s all private jets in yachts for me. Seriously, I have so many interests I can’t keep up! Number one I love my family. And we are so fortunate to have such an incredible daughter. So the bulk of my time has been spent with her and I don’t regret a thing. That’s the best part of my job. When I’m busy I put everything else aside because learning lines etc. is very hard. But when I’m not working, I try to do as much as I can with her. I’m also obsessed with history, MotoGP motorcycle racing, I love photography, watching amazing shows and movies, video games, skiing, hiking, snowmobiling, fossils etc. I get dizzy when I start to think about all the things I’d like to do. Scuba diving how can I forget that! See what I mean?
Let the readers know where to find you online.
I’m pretty active on Instagram and Twitter, to say the least. The fact that fans want to interact with me in the first place always puts a smile on my face so I try not to disappoint. I’m so fortunate for the people that do follow me. I love posting my photography and the goofy things I do on Instagram. You can find me on both platforms. Come say hi! @jeffteravainen