Posted in Homeschool Information

Homeschool Drama: Acting Tidbits from Hal-Con

It’s getting cold here in Nova Scotia and there’s a dusting of snow on the ground. Our performance of Another Opening, Another Show at The Savoy Theatre is over. We had a low-key week of homeschool as my 14 year old son worked as Assistant Stage Manager for morning high school performances of Unity 1918 this week at the local university. My 9 year old daughter will be performing in the Class Acts Drama School Christmas showcase today. After this week, I’m looking forward to most of our outside activities winding down and all of us getting a little break for the holidays, although I will have to keep practising my lines for the Monty Python skits my husband and I will be performing in April!

Earlier this month, we made our annual family trip to Hal-Con. It is a fantasy/Sci-Fi/Comic convention in Halifax. Just like last year, we had a terrific time! There were so many great guests there, many of whom were actors: Richard Hatch, Billy Dee Williams, Jewel Staite, Garret Wang, J. August Richards, Vic Mignona, Robert Maillet, and more! My whole family learned so much – we gleaned so much wisdom from the actors over the weekend! Here are some of the highlights:

Richard Hatch
You may remember Richard Hatch as Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica. In addition to a Q&A session, Richard Hatch gave a workshop on acting to an enrapt audience. One of my favourite quotes from the workshop was “This amazing instrument that God created gives you the energy, but not until you commit.” He explained that you have to be bold, step forward, and do things that scare you. He added that fear tends to freeze human beings up and we often try to avoid it, but “When you avoid fear you’re avoiding success!” And then he shared something that I believe all homeschool families hold dear “We should all be learning – stretching our abilities – stretching our mind – always.” Richard Hatch believes, much like Shakespeare, that acting is a great metaphor for life. “It’s about making choices and stepping into it.” Decisions lead you to more & more clarity and you get an epiphany and move the brain into a high speed.

Richard Hatch also believes that “It’s sad that too many people put acting away.” He says that, “Acting is a doorway to one of the greatest, most joyous, most wonderful experiences you can have.” I totally agree! And he also urged us to, “Take the dreams that you have and actually go take the steps to do them.” He was such an inspirational speaker!

Billy Dee Williams
I am pretty sure you all know Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian from the original Star Wars trilogy. We enjoyed his Q&A session. For aspiring actors, he gave the following advice: “You have to dedicate yourself. You have to work hard, study hard, and be dedicated.” I was very proud of my 9 year old, who went up to the mic of her own volition and asked Bille Dee Williams this question: “I’d like to know, what was it like on the set of Star Wars.” Billy Dee replied, “It was a lot of fun, it was like being in a candy store…they used maybe 4 stages. They had one total setup of the falcon and they had big pieces. A big toy store, with toys.” Doesn’t that sound like fun?

homeschool drama

Jewel Staite

Jewel Staite is Canadian and lives in Vancouver! She had her first acting job at 5 years old. Although she has performed many roles over the years, she has big fans of the short-lived TV series (by Joss Whedon) Firefly, in which she played the role of Kaylee. Of you’ve watched the show, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that she is as much of a sweetie in person as the character Kaylee. On acting, Jewel Staite had to say “There’s not much of a craft, you just have to be really good at faking it.”

Garret Wang
Garret Wang is best known for his role as Ensign Kim in the Star Trek TV series, Voyager. one story he told during his Q&A was about learning to play the clarinet for his role on Voyager. He didn’t know how to play at all and they brought in a clarinet teacher for him for just one hour. Says Garret Wang, “I told them one hour was not enough. I met the teacher for several hours each time.” What dedication!

J. August Richards
J. August Richards has most recently been seen on another TV series by Joss Whedon, SHIELD. He says he likes to play board games – especially Stratego. On acting, he stated, “I believe that roles find you. I feel that you don’t find roles, roles find you.”

Feel free to watch the podcasts of Q&A’s at the Hal-Con YouTube channel!

Love, Luck &



Kimberly is a homeschooling mother of two living with her dear husband of over 25 years in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She works from home as a homeschool coach and offers OBM, writing, editing, social media, and tech services. In her free time she likes to hand-spin, knit, read, volunteer in local theatre, and horseback ride.