There was never a moment of doubt for 22 year old Alison Balnar. The feeling of uneasiness that haunts so many millennials who don’t know which career to chose was never an issue. From the first moment she stepped onto a stage, she knew what path to take.
Now, 12 years later, Balnar has moved on from the small town to the big city, and from the stage to the screen. The Guelph, Ontario native has recently been cast in the web series Bloggers.
“It feels nice to be cast in a web series where there is a genuine complexity to all of the characters,” she said.
Balnar has been cast as the role of Carla, the youngest of all the bloggers whose area of blogging is in urban culture, the latest trends, and following celebrities.
“She isn’t just your typical one-layered type of character. She has no fear of speaking her mind, but at the same time she has a lot to learn,” she said. “She is also sarcastic and I have a flare of sarcasm, and we’re both Canadian.”
The character of Carla, which was written specifically for Balnar, is one of six of the main bloggers that the show follows who work for one popular website, “You’Nique Blogging”. Each blogger has been recruited by Anna, the founder of the company.
“As the team begins to work together, opinions differ, egos get in the way and each character’s personal struggles are exposed,” described Balnar. “Each episode reveals how successful millennial entrepreneurs figure out what it means to have extraordinary jobs, real friendships and meaningful lives in a world that promotes the opposite.”
A key element of the show is that all six starring actors are international. The cast members, including Gino Lee, Lucas Zaffari, Gioya Tuma-Waku and Ellinor Taflin come from various places around the world, which adds a unique element to the show and each of the characters.
“It’s great,” said Balnar when discussing this important aspect to the production. “It is incorporated into each character, which is really nice for each of the actors.”
The show’s creator and executive producer is Anele Morris. She also plays the role of Anna in the production.
“I’ve seen Alison’s work first hand, she is not afraid to go where the character needs to go,” said Morris. “She respects the story and takes on a role with no reservations about who might think what of the character, and that is very important for the essence of her part in this series.”
Balnar likes the challenge that playing Carla brings her. It is a different role than she is used to, and the change allows her to tap into parts of herself that she has been unable to do in previous roles.
“I always play more gentle characters who are close to I am,” she said. “But Carla and I are similar in the sense that we both have great ambition. We both started to pursue our career at a young age and where the odds are more against us in succeeding. She lets her passion and her drive overcome that.”
With the role being written specifically for her, Balnar did not have to go through the typical auditioning process, which she described as a welcome change.
“When I go to an audition, I go and sit in a room with ten other brunettes who kind of look like me,” she said. “Knowing this role fits me is a gift.”
Bloggers is set to start filming shortly and will premiere in the late Spring. The web series is a chance for Balnar to express herself while exploring her passion.
“The feeling I have in the theatre or on set, it is a feeling that I can’t ignore,” she said. “I am a person who believes in doing what you love. If you can combine work with love, then success is the result.”