For our first short, Typesetter Blues, we were thrilled to work with the esteemed Canadian actor, Gordon Pinsent.
If Pinsent himself is not familiar to you from his years on stage or screen, then his voice may be familiar to you from his ongoing voice-work on the animated series, Babar and the Adventures of Badou, or as the voice of the elder Stephen Leacock in the recent CBC production of Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. His recent screen and stage work ranges from Sarah Polley’s Away From Her, to his poetic-musical collaboration, Down and Out in Upalong, with Travis Good (of The Sadies) and Greg Keelor (of Blue Rodeo),
But this is an inspiration blog, so what was so inspiring about working with Pinsent?
For one, his openness and enthusiasm. Despite not knowing us, he liked the script and designs we sent, and he was willing to take a chance. He was gracious enough to work with our schedule, even though he had only recently returned from shooting Flight of the Butterflies in Mexico.
We did our best to answer his questions via his agent. No, Typesetter Blues wasn’t a series, it wasn’t for television, it wasn’t quite for children, it wasn’t educational in the conventional sense*. With his credentials, Pinsent could’ve arrived and ‘phoned it in’ with his incredible voice and left with a cheque. Instead, he was lovely and jovial, and, of course, professional and talented – so talented that he makes his work look easy. He was open to our voice director’s suggestions and game to try various takes and line deliveries even for such a short poem.
Perhaps the most inspirational aspect of working with him was that he appeared to still enjoy his life’s work. He made it seem possible, with persistence and luck, to not only make a career out of one’s creative pursuit, but to continue acting or writing or collaborating into one’s 80s with talent and heart.
In October he released his new memoir, Next, published by McLelland and Stewart. Coming from a man whose range extends from award-winning drama to his hilarious reading of Justin Bieber lyrics, it is a perfect book for soon to be snowy days – unfortunately not yet available as an audio book read by Gordon Pinsent.