Member Since: 2000
What has been your favourite role?
I was working on a feature called The Young & Prodigious T.S. Spivet as an Assistant Director (I’m also a 20+ year member of the Director’s Guild of Canada). Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the director of Amélie – one of my favourite films, was directing. I was asked to read the lines of the family dog; a voice that only the lead character in the story could hear. I didn’t make any attempt to perform the role. I just wanted to do my best not to draw attention and give the young 9-year-old lead his cues. I was outside the set and the actor had an earbud in so he could hear me. I spoke softly since I was right in the kid’s ear. Turns out JPJ was knocked out by what I did and asked me to be the voice of the dog as soon as we cut the roll on that scene. There was suddenly a whole lot of attention on me and people clapped. Then my palms got a bit sweaty and my chest and throat went so tight I wasn’t sure if I could still breathe. I did though…I managed to keep breathing.
What do you do when you’re not performing?
About six years ago my husband and I bought 10.5 acres between Okotoks and Black Diamond. We both grew up in rural settings and both missed country life. Dogs, cats, chickens and gardening make it so that there is always something to be done. I’m also a member of the DGC so a lot of time is spent on film, tv and commercial sets as an Assistant Director. Between the acreage and AD’ing, I try to carve out time what little time is left to fit in as many voice auditions as possible. Oh…and last October I discovered I like walking. I needed some me time, so I walked the Camino Trail across Spain. After 32 days and 800 kms, I realized that I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Now I tell people I’m not a hiker, I’m a stroller. Strolling is definitely in my wheelhouse. I can literally do it for days.
What is the one thing you wish you had known as a performer sooner?
This is going to sound really heavy…and it is. I wish that I had known SO MUCH SOONER that other peoples’ opinions of me didn’t have to be so powerful and life-altering. I lived under a soul-crushing fear that people would think less of me if they knew I was gay. That they would think I was disgusting…unnatural. As it turns out, some people – not very many at all actually, but some people do in fact have those exact thoughts and feelings. It turns out; however, I’ve learned that I can live with this. I don’t like it, but I really can’t control what they think. Naively, I thought I could, though…control peoples’ thoughts about me. For most of my first 35 years, I worked hard to present a version of Chris Cinnamon that was a passable heterosexual. At the very least, a passable version of a member of society who wouldn’t draw any negative, unnecessary attention. A survival tactic that one might think would be good training for an actor. In my vigilance to feeding the fear of needing to keep my true self hidden, though, I had no idea how to be authentic… I had no clue who I really was. There was always a piece of me looking over my shoulder. That piece has almost disappeared now. Still, surprisingly, I’m not sure if it will ever be completely gone. I wish that I had known that little nugget of wisdom sooner.