Steve Dhillon didn’t always plan on becoming an actor. In fact, most of his adult life has been spent in the world of academia. After getting a bachelor’s in engineering and a master’s in business management, he started working in universities. This included MacEwan University, where he was a contract instructor and curriculum developer from 2007-08.
However, in 2005, the acting bug bit him. “I was looking for something new to do. I’d hurt my knee and had major surgery so I couldn’t play sports, and I wanted something to fill my time, so I thought, let’s see if there are some acting classes because I had always had an interest,” Dhillion explained. It may have seemed like just an escape at the time, but things have worked out quite well for Dhillon, who splits his time between Edmonton and Vancouver.
Among the many projects that he has been involved in, the one he is most proud of is an Indian and English film he worked on in 2011, titled Pehchaan (Identity). “It was an independent film that I worked on that had a lot of the great things that come with working on an independent film but also felt like a high quality and higher budgeted production. There were a lot of first-time actors in that film and a first time director and producer and in BC it was nominated for best lead actor, best director and best feature film,” Dhillon said.
However, Dhillon didn’t stop at acting. Last year Dhillon founded Off Book Acting Studio, offering actors’ workshops, which he says teach actors practical approaches to auditions. He also facilitates collaborations between Vancouver casting directors and Edmonton actors by bringing them together in his workshops. He hopes that in doing this, he will fill a gap that Edmonton had and allow local actors better access to the resources they need.
Even through the current pandemic, Dhillon has remained creative, turning his weekend workshops into online ones where Vancouver acting directors can view recorded auditions and offer feedback for actors wanting to grow. All this while starting a new acting project working on the new Alberta-based show Pipe Nation, which looks to shed light on local oil and gas workers’ life stories.