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Swapping scripts for sales: Actors and realtors have more in common than you think

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It’s sometimes hard to decide what Vancouver is better known for: its ever-prevalent and in-demand real estate market, or its well-earned reputation as Hollywood North.

For Canadians looking to break into the film and television industry, Metro Vancouver would seem the logical place to be if you want to pursue a career in acting but aren’t interested in heading south of the border. The region and its competitive markets also offer plenty of opportunities for motivated realtors.


Actors turned realtors


Tyler Burrows, now a realtor with Oakwyn Realty, didn’t originally move to Vancouver from Kamloops to pursue a life in real estate. With Christopher Reeves and Jim Carrey as some of his earliest inspirations, he realized early on in life that he wanted to become an actor. 

“In high school, I got into theatre and acting class there and really developed a love for it,” he shares. “So I decided that was what I was going to pursue.”

Lucas McCann, another realtor with Oakwyn Realty, also moved to Vancouver with acting aspirations. 

“I had no clue what I wanted to do and spent six months in college. I realized it was just not for me”, says McCann.

A friend of his invited him to a workshop in Victoria, where he’s originally from, where his interest in acting first developed. Two years later, after completing an acting program, he made the leap and moved to Vancouver. 

So how did Burrows and McCann find themselves where they are today, as realtors in arguably the hottest real estate market in Canada?


A deep curiosity about the real estate process; a desire to ‘control my own fate’


For Burrows, it was a case of life imitating art. He and his partner, a dancer, purchased their first home together in Vancouver in 2018. As two self-employed creative professionals, the process was a little bit more complicated for them. The learning curve he experienced during this time inspired him to dig deeper into the real estate industry.

“I didn’t know these nuances back then … I was thinking, like, what else do I not know about this industry?” Burrows confesses. “I never got off the real estate track after that.”

In McCann’s case, he found himself motivated to try a different career path after years of grinding it out at auditions and long days on set:

“I wanted to be able to control my own fate. I need to be in a profession that I could put however much hard work I put into it, I’m actually getting out of it,” he adds. “As an actor, I felt like it didn’t matter how good you were. You may be the best in the room. But it didn’t come down to that.”


A passion reignited


On the flip side, Sean Gartland, a realtor with Angell Hasman & Associates, finds himself now pursuing his passion as an actor. Growing up in Vancouver, he was part of the theatre program and acted in several productions in high school. Yet he decided to pursue a more conventional career path in business, and eventually real estate.

“Society can sometimes squash those dreams,” reflects Gartland.

Coincidentally, it was through meeting Burrows one day at an open house that reignited Gartland’s interest in acting. While he still maintains a healthy and robust real estate practice, he is now also exploring the acting profession by working with a coach and taking classes.

“I do enjoy real estate professionally, but it doesn’t do anything for me creatively,” he says.


More in common than meets the eye


One thing that Burrows, McCann and Gartland have in common is their belief that being an actor and being a realtor have more in common than meets the eye.

It just takes one look at Burrows’ social media channels, particularly his video tours, “Touring With Tyler” which are growing in popularity, to see how years of working in film and television have translated well into his current realtor marketing game.

“For my social media, I’ll go out in one day and shoot 10 different places, or two or three days and shoot a bunch of different places,” explains Burrows. “Then I’ll edit them all in one night and do all the voiceovers in one night. I took my film career and blended it into my real estate career.”

If he was approached by any actor interested in becoming a realtor, the first question McCann would ask them would be, “Have you ever worked in the restaurant industry?”

“If you ever served somebody as a bartender, or just talked to people in a common conversation, that’ll help … It’s about building a relationship with your clients,” he shares.

Gartland echoes this sentiment, albeit from an inverse perspective: 

“If you don’t put in the work to truly connect with people during a scene, it’s going to fall flat. And if you don’t connect with people in real estate, they’re not going to trust you.”


Whether you’re getting ready to watch the next blockbuster or you’re carefully watching the real estate market activity in Vancouver, be sure to get the popcorn out this summer.


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