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Turner Fenton

The Life and Times of a Young Actor
- Joanna Evans

To many, acting can be a very scary proposition. The large spot lights shining from every direction, the director screaming commands at your every movement, the persistent applying of make-up after every take, the terrors are endless.

Yet at the tender age of eight, the Ashmore twins, Sean and Aaron decided to take on the challenge of auditioning for a commercial having only their natural, raw talent to depend on. They were encouraged by their mother who saw the opportunity on a local advertisement for a clam chowder product. Aaron and Sean auditioned for the part and to their delight they were offered the roles.

One would assume that during the auditions for big prime time movies and shows, there would be much competition between twins with roles, but not with the Ashmore twins. It is often difficult for the directors at the audition to decide which to take as the character. The simple decision is often just to blindly chose. This piece of information would in many other cases increase the competitive edge between siblings. Both twins understand this predicament and when one twin is chosen over the other they are supportive of each other more than ruthlessly critical. "We give each other constructive criticism but we do it to help each other, not as an insult." Sean explains.

The Ashmore twins continued at their young age to do television shows such as Mr. Dress Up and commercials for food, beverages, department stores, and toys. They did some of these appearances together and some individually. Whether together or by themselves, they were always able to dazzle the audience with their natural charisma and playful attitude.

The recent BBC movie that Sean Ashmore was involved in, Promise the Moon, took a total of five weeks to do. To create, it took years and years of research and put together. This movie was based on a true story of events that happened in the past. They discovered that once they got deeper into their career, it became more difficult, contrary to what people believe. While doing the BBS movie, Sean found that as he got more and more into the movie, he had less and less time for school activities, lunches, friends, and general leisure time for himself.

The role was one that was very new to him. " I had to play a young deaf boy who was isolated and institutionalized during a time when deaf people were considered insane and unfit to live in normal society." Sean explains.

Sean has not experienced being a deaf so in order to prepare for the role, he watched movies about the deaf. Movies like Children of a Lesser God. I did this to see the mannerisms and how you don't react to certain things. Playing a deaf person takes much concentration," Ashmore goes on to explain. While looking at the films, he was able to get familiar with the language and how the method of communication flows naturally.

After watching movies featuring deaf people, Sean began to work on familiarizing himself with the script which is usually given a week in advance. "I really did not have many lines because I was deaf, but I go through the script to get a feel of the character and the gist of the story."

During these few weeks of shooting, Sean had to manage his time in order to meet school assignments and other obligations. On other acting assignments, student actors are provided with tutors. There job is to help the actors stay on track while away from school.

In the future, Sean and Aaron plan to continue a career in acting in Canada for the beginning and in order to make it big, they feel that it is necessary to move to the United States of America. Fortunately, Sean will never forget his roots and will always acknowledge the help and kindness of those Canadians that are helping him to become what he wants to be... hopefully a big movie star.

Tuner Fenton