SPOTLIGHT: Scott Cavalheiro

Scott Anthony Cavalheiro is an actor and screenwriter, with professional credits spanning over a decade - in mainstream markets around the world. He has been acting professionally since 2009 and since then, has managed to work on dozens of feature films and over 25 television series.

Currently he is working on Kat Gautier's The Meeting at the Coalmine Theatre (Toronto) and on Season 2 of Avocado Toast (Out TV). He has worked on productions for HBO Cinemax, Freeform, Space Network, Comedy Network, Netflix, Hallmark, FXX, Liftetime, CTV, Sony, Showcase, Global Television and more.

Additionally, Scott Anthony is doing a Masters Program in Screenwriting at UCLA, Los Angeles.

Scott!! Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us today for this interview. It has been a crazy couple of years, but even a pandemic couldn't stop your passionate drive. Please, share with our readers a bit of your journey. Has it been difficult navigating the industry since 2020?

Of course! But I feel like the pandemic has forced me to get creative. I’ll preface by saying I have no qualms with being a hermit and staying at home at my desk. But what I’ve noticed, what 2020+ had taught me was to work less. I discovered that by working less, the time spent at work is far more efficient. If I give myself 2 hours or even 1.5 to write 7 pages or to work on a script, I’ll be far more productive than if I were to carve out a whole day for the same task. Then, I get to have fun the rest of the day. It’s like being a pre-schooler again. A little bit of work and lots of play. (Note: I don’t actually recall being a preschooler. Perhaps I was never one until now)

Photography by Dane Clark

You have quite an impressive resume; how do you balance your time between your personal life and your film career?

Much to my chagrin, I don’t. Claire would also say the same. My wheels are always turning - even when I'm doing menial things; fun things; whatever. It’s a struggle to turn off the artist and turn on the dog-dad or the husband or the athlete. It’s a work in progress.

Avocado Toast was a lovely surprise in 2020 and has resonated with Canadian audiences, and has even reached audiences internationally. The first season alone has about 24 nominations, and the series has been acknowledged with a whopping 15 award wins from several festivals and award ceremonies around the globe. What has your experience working on the show been like? What can we expect from your character Hunter in the show's second season?

I’ve known Heidi for over a decade. We went to U of Windsor together — I was there for a hot minute but our friendship was one of the only takeaways from that school. I would gladly pay 25k for one year of education just to meet her again. She’s a true gem. Albeit that, working on the show has been really exciting. I don’t want to take any credit because those women are badass and did everything themselves but I remember when they came over to my house before they pitched it back in 2017 or 18 and were telling me all about it. I’m proud of her (all of them really) pushing through and making it. Now I feel like I’m the one that needs to learn from them. As for Hunter, I can’t tell you or I'd have to… I don’t know what would happen but I think it would make Heidi upset. All I can say is Hunter has Looooong hair now. And is a DJ.

Photography by Dane Clark

Scott, you started in the industry as an actor; what interested you about producing? What about the medium compelled you to explore the world of filmmaking from behind the camera?

It was a matter of evolution really. Claire and I were just starting to work together and she said she had a short film script she’d been working on and needed a producer. I had a lot of experience prepping live events - a prior life I lived - and that helped a lot. What I didn’t expect was how fulfilling it was. It was very emotional stepping on set for something you built from the ground up. I had to take a knee before I could get back to work. Very grateful for that experience. From there I joined Stained Tie Films, a company Claire had started previously. Some people say that they can’t work with their partners but I don’t find that an issue at all. We have our own skill sets and they really compliment each other.

Those who have been brave enough to step into the role of producer know it has many difficult responsibilities to take on. What kind of challenges have you had to overcome as a producer in film, and what advice can you give our emerging filmmakers out there?

Without sharing too many horror stories and kaboshing anyone’s hope of producing, I would urge people to think thrice about who they are working with. It’s a pressure cooker and you need to make sure that you and your partners are cohesive and collaborative when fires start. I would also say that talk about the sticky stuff early on -- money, contracts, rights. Once that is agreed upon you can move forward. I wouldn’t do it the other way around. Lastly I would remind budding producers that as an EP (keep in mind there are many types of producers on a production) your job is to manage people. Don’t underestimate the value of that role. I learned a lot from the EP on The Good Witch over several years. He was a master at corralling the crew/cast. He did it with such diplomacy and ease. It was a Masterclass for producing at that level. To that point, find a mentor to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for help. But really though...

Photography by Dane Clark

Let’s talk screenwriting, shall we? Currently, you're enrolled in the Master's Program in Screenwriting at UCLA. Why the University of California, Los Angeles? Has the program provided what you were hoping to discover about storytelling, and is it a program you'd recommend to those of our readers who may be looking to pursue a career as a screenwriter?

UCLA has a really strong alumni of writers and it also offered a course that fit my needs. I’m currently working through it but so far, it’s been exceptionally helpful. I always have a few scripts on the go and it’s given me the tools, thus far, to consider my choices. I would totally recommend it! Going into it, I wasn’t sure what I would learn that I didn’t already know -- boy, was that egotistical! It’s such an incredibly complex artform and I love it. I look forward to sharing some of my work with all of you. And I mean all of you.

Every actor either has a role they've always wanted to play or a character that has yet to have been portrayed on film; what character would you be most excited to bring to life as a performer?

That’s a tough one. I don’t know if I could pinpoint a single character. I would say anything that Sam Rockwell has played would be on the list. He brings this looseness and sporadic energy to everything he does. Like in Seven Psychopaths. How fun would that be? I’m also a huge fantasy/sci-fi geek and would love to be in a different time or world. I remember watching LOTR and feeling so envious of the cast. But I am also a sucker for anything that Taylor Sheridan writes, so put me in Sicario 3 or Wind River 2 or Hell or High Water 2.

Photography by Dane Clark

We are beyond grateful that you've been so keen to take part in our celebration of film, and for sharing with the world your wild filmmaking experiences. This will be your first time judging at a festival; what excited you about the opportunity with the Crystalline Film Festival, and what are you most thrilled about taking from this experience?

I recognize how much sweat equity goes into making a film so I am grateful to have the experience to witness it from a delegate perspective. I have a keen eye for the work and will be able to see what someone has put into it. I also suspect it will be an emotional experience for me. It’s weird to have a group of people deliberating about whether or not your art is “good enough” to be in a festival or to win an award. The truth is, I’m not great at that because objectivity is the antithesis of art. I may need to watch and rewatch something in order to make a decision. At the end of the day, the real award is getting it done. I think if we can all remember that, we’d all be in a better place.

Thank you again Scott for joining us on this exciting journey - we can't wait for you to see our festival's very first film selections at the end of November. We also hope this year continues to propel your career and your company to even greater heights, and we look forward to seeing you again on your next filmmaking enterprise.

Thanks for having me!

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