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July 19, 2022

James Kot and the Vulnerability of Wading Into Deep Water

James Kot and the Vulnerability of Wading Into Deep Water

This week your host James Avramenko unfriends actor, producer, and former roommate James Kot. They talk about sweet memories of the boom boom room, the perceived hierarchies of theatre school, allowing yourself to access joy, and so much more!

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Transcript
James Avramenko:

Well hey there sweetpeas Welcome back to friendless the show that tries to teach you how to be a better friend by losing every friend you have on your host as always, James Avramenko back once more to ask what it means to be a friend and whether or not I've been one. This week I unfriend actor producer and former roommate, James Cox, we discuss perceived hierarchies of theatre school, allowing yourself to access joy and the sweet memories of the boom boom room. James is a top man, you're gonna love the interview, but don't take my word for it when you could just hear it yourself. So lean back, get comfy and enjoy my interview with James caught here on friendless. Let's see you are an actor. You're a producer. You're a voiceover artist. Do you separate those things? Do you separate voiceover and actor?

James Kot:

Let's just say I'm a creative type

James Avramenko:

Creative type, James Kot. How the hell are you?

James Kot:

good. I'm good. I'm good. How are you?

James Avramenko:

I'm taking a big ol swig of my green tea and I'm feeling good. The sun is shining. And and I'm feeling happy.

James Kot:

Thanks for Thanks for having me. Thanks for Thanks for hosting this. I'm gonna do it.

James Avramenko:

Right. It's been a long time coming. Because, you know, we've been trying to coordinate this board feels like six months. But you're you're a busy boy. Yeah.

James Kot:

That's right. Yeah.

James Avramenko:

You know, so where I always like to sort of kick the interview off. It's a real fun fun thing.

James Kot:

How many how many listeners are we getting James? A million 1,000,005. Oh, give or take?

James Avramenko:

Yeah.

James Kot:

Can I curse or should I be?

James Avramenko:

Oh Fuck yeah.

James Kot:

Oh, okay.

James Avramenko:

No, swear up a storm.

James Kot:

I won't. You know, I won't. I'll keep it very safe for the car with the kids. You know,

James Avramenko:

fair, fair. I Yeah. On average, I think each each episode average is somewhere between 10 and a million listens.

James Kot:

Good. That's good. Where's somewhere in that? Fantastic, right. Yeah. Good for my Q rating. Exactly.

James Avramenko:

Right. Our SEO has gone way up. But you know, I always like to hear these stories from outside perspectives, because it gives me a nice new perspective on like, Who the hell I was back in the day. So I'd like to start an interview with the question of what is your most vivid memory of our friendship?

James Kot:

Well, I don't think I have one specific memory. I don't think my brain works like that. Unfortunately. Like I was listening some of your other guests that have this very vivid memory and mind kind of like gels into this. You're out side with your Chuck Taylor's smoking constantly. But also in a trench coat doing Richard the Third fucking around backstage? With the likely the likely lads. Yes. Because we had a lot of downtime. Yeah, during drink Dick three. Yes. Yeah. Oh, my consequential production of Dick three. But I mostly knew you as an as an underclassmen. Yes. The Phoenix Theatre. I was a couple years ahead of you. But you were around you somehow got into the older crew by virtue of I think who you're dating. Yeah. And then you were around. You were you were just there.

James Avramenko:

Yeah, you couldn't get rid of me.

James Kot:

We couldn't get rid of you. We Lord knows we tried. But you were there. So I don't have the one moment like but but your laugh James, I heard you talking about it with Kira. Like I can hear the laugh without seeing you. Yeah. It's iconic.

James Avramenko:

I love that so much. It really you know, I It's so funny. I always appreciate it anytime anybody mentions it? And obviously, it's like, it's like, yeah, I have accepted now. It's my defining feature. And that's totally cool. But what's funny is that, like, it definitely developed as like a nervous tic, you know, because I was like, I'm terrified of everything. So I'm just gonna laugh because it's gonna break the tension. And it's almost like, you know, like, in nature animals who have like, gone through like a moment of panic, they'll shake. Yeah, that'll like kind of let the tension out that's like, to me What a laugh is, is that it's just like I'm just terrified of everything. But, but it has now it's not developed into this. Like it's into this like, personality of its own.

James Kot:

Well, you know, I think from what I've heard on the podcast, I think that's subsided a bit.

James Avramenko:

Oh, yeah.

James Kot:

Because I think You were you were you were laughing through a lot of moments back in the day, but it's the same laugh. Right? Just it's there's less of that nervous. Yeah. spike of of fight or flight or freeze. Yeah, that produces a

James Avramenko:

fuck man. Well, and especially in university, you know, it's funny you talk about you talk about like, Yeah, sort of insinuating myself into the different groups. Right. And, and

James Kot:

I don't know if it was, I don't know if I don't know if you insinuated it just kind of like you were absorbed. You know, there's no velvet rope at it, you know, Theatre School. Thankful. Yeah. No, like, it's just people around.

James Avramenko:

It feels like that, though. And that's the thing that was like that, you know, and that's actually the thing that I find the most, like, how do you put it, it's like, it's the thing that feels the most intimidating about theatre school. But then once you're in it, and you kind of get rid of that anxiety, you realise everybody's just anxious, like, you know, because someone like you, right? I you know, I remember I remember meeting you on my very first day, um, first year, you know, first year was 2005. I've got a bowl cut, because my, my hairdresser fucked up the day before, you know, and I'm just like, dude, like, just awful. And I'm trying to like, I'm trying to, like, swoop it, like, follow up, boy, this is not working, you know, but you know, and an orientation. You know, I'm like, Hi, I'm James. I'm from Calgary. And I see this, like, ripple, go through the crowd, right, because they're like, there's another James from Calgary. We've got Shane's to write, you know, and I look over at where the ripples and I look at where the ripples are sort of like, culminated, you know, you can see it sort of like, moving through the crowd and then ending this like, mountain of a man. It's like, lantern jawed here. He's like, Hi, I'm James one, you know.

James Kot:

I'll be the James that looks at your time reports.

James Avramenko:

You are for the next until I graduate, you are now Avramenko. You are no longer James.

James Kot:

That's so funny. But Well, it's interesting, because in my first year, I had the I had a similar experience where, you know, I was very lucky, I got into a show, like immediately, like a mainstage show in first semester. And it was there only two first years that got into it. Myself and John. And yeah, so it's like, we were thrown into her right away. So we immediately we were rehearsing, you know, five days a week, or whatever. And it kind of changed, like, like what you were doing in residence, like, kind of weren't like, it just totally changed the experience, but like, for the better, you kind of see, like, how everyone operates. And like what the politics of you know, being in a show and being in class. And I think for me, it produced anxiety, but also got rid of some anxiety for the second term, or everyone gets a little bit tight, like, yeah, am I gonna get into acting? What does this mean? What do I do? So yeah, it's sometimes sometimes it's good to be absorbed, and, you know, oh, yeah, that's, you know, not what you were expected to do.

James Avramenko:

Exactly. It's like that exposure therapy, almost of like, it's actually not as big a deal as you think it is, you know, and that's, yeah. And that's, that's kind of where my thought leads to is this idea of like, you know, first first day, I'm like, oh, fuck, but then like, as the weeks and the months progress, you know, and especially, you know, especially in the second year, when we, you when we get to Richard the Third, and I think we'll come to that in a minute, but it's like, it's this thing of, like, you know, you realise that, like, everybody's still a child. Like, there's, there's basically, there's basically no one in university who isn't. Like, it's that it's that pre adulthood is what university is, right, you're not quite a kid, because you're on your own, but you're not really an adult, because you're still in this weird little dream world, you know, and, and so everybody's just, like, sort of bumbled, butting their way through and trying their best and and the more you realise that, like, no one has it figured out, the easier it becomes. Because I think it's really easy to think like, oh, the third year is the fourth years, they've got it figured out. And they're adults, and you know, and it's like, no, they're just, they're just as stressed out as you it's just that they're Yeah, 21

James Kot:

Yeah, totally.

James Avramenko:

But I want to before before we get too far ahead, because I actually want to talk a little bit about like, like, you know, like we've mentioned, some plays that we've done and stuff like that, but before we talked about that, I want to hear about how we got you to the theatre. Oh, okay. So so what exactly was it that convinced you to like go to theatre school? What was your exposure to that world?

James Kot:

You know, well, I moved to town in I was like 14 in the mid like, in the middle of fall. And in in grade 10, which is the start of high school in Calgary and in Saskatchewan. James is grade nine. Yes. So I already started high school, and then had to restart it again in the middle of the first term of high school, and, you know, it was like October or whatever, like I missed, like a whole month, but my family was moving to Calgary. So I moved before them. I was like, we're moving shit. Like schools already started. Why did we know we're moving a month ago. So I move I just move. And maybe, you know, maybe it was, you know, maybe I'm, maybe it wasn't quite as latest, as I'm saying. But it was like several weeks into the school year. And so that changed my perspective on what I wanted to do. Like I was always into plays. I started you know, I brought a little slip of paper home, like my my, like in grade two. And I never wrote anything down for like a professional show, like a bunch of people would come they needed kids for a Christmas show. Couldn't cold read then James did not get the Christmas show. But they remembered me for something. Yeah, thank you. It's I don't know if it still exists, but it was stage one. Okay, stage one. And they performed in an old fire hall.

James Avramenko:

I think was this was this Saskatoon, Regina.

James Kot:

It was in Saskatoon. So that was where I first got into it. When I was eight years old, I got cast in Medea, as one of the kids that gets killed. And I thought it was the greatest thing. However, spoiler alert, Medea kills her kids,

James Avramenko:

for a 4000 year old

James Kot:

if you missed it. So I loved it, we had beet juice, I got to scream, mother. And it was fantastic. And I'm revealed to be dead. And then I ended up doing another play maybe the next year. Cheaper by the Dozen. And then I kind of stopped a little bit and did drama in in kind of the middle school ages junior high and that sort of thing. And then that, like when I moved, I got into this, you know, musical theatre group. I'm not a big musical theatre guy, but that's what the school offered. So you kind of meet your crew. But like, I wasn't sure if I was like, on an academic track, or if I was on a performance track. So I, I ultimately, I was like, What should I do? I'm getting to the point, like where I got to decide. My grades are pretty good. And then I was like, theatre school, I guess. And my parents were like, Yeah, sure. And I was, I was pretty young when I went. So it was like, I think 17 At the very start and then had had the birthday in the middle of the first year. So

James Avramenko:

you were like, you had that you I had the same thing I had. My birthday is right at the end of August. So I might, I was like, I basically turned 18 Move to BC and then had to wait another year to be drinking. Like three days of magic, you know?

James Kot:

Yeah. Yeah, totally. So that's how I got there.

James Avramenko:

And then so so what was your sort of experience in terms of like, acclimating to that world, like coming from the prairies and the sort of the way that you know, the way that the community works, the way that the theatre community works, you know, I don't know how much exposure you necessarily got through the high school.

James Kot:

Well, our program was pretty good. Like, we have a number of people that have gone Henry wisewood high school.

James Avramenko:

Oh, yeah. Okay. Yeah.

James Kot:

And Rielle, Kasia. Like a number of UVic people went through there, but like, a variety of people that are working in the arts across Canada went to that programme. So it was it was kind of like, that was great exposure. For me. Prior to plus, I had to learn how to sing, you know, right, like, immediately is like someone that played, you know, sports and, you know, I needed to get better at singing if I wanted to, to perform in these high school productions. So, so I did, so it really got me out of my, I guess not out of my comfort zone, but it kind of enlivened what, what I could do as a performer. Yeah. Yeah. So, go ahead.

James Avramenko:

No, no, I was just gonna say and you did you find that that helps you bridge into your neck and like, you know, because especially with you getting launched into a play right away, which is, you know, you know, for listeners who who didn't go through that programme Uh, that that doesn't happen, right? Like that's yeah, totally, like, almost impossible. And so do you think that that kind of helped give you a leg up into that or?

James Kot:

Absolutely, because I had no idea it didn't. It didn't happen. Yeah, okay, I got so I just expected, you know, every time, you know, we were auditioning for mainstage. It's like, Well, why not? I got, you know, got the last one. And then second term, I did not get one. And was like, Oh, okay. Yeah. So I think just being amongst people that were very theatre oriented, and, you know, a programme that required you to be there a lot. Because you had dances to learn. And even though I was not the most compelling dancer, even though I do mostly in the back row, James. I still had to learn the moves. Yeah, for sure. No, and I'm good at parties. Now. You know, I can really, I can rapidly put a little move in there a little sachet, James. I really can't get up a notch. They're all change. Yeah. Right. Right.

James Avramenko:

And, and so by the time I came around, you were

James Kot:

let's now, are you three behind or two,

James Avramenko:

I want to say you were in third year when I was in first year.

James Kot:

Yeah, that's what I thought too.

James Avramenko:

Right? Yeah. So So, by the time I come around, you're already very established it just just from the outside perspective, right. And, and I remember you, you being so kind to me, but it also in the angered rushing me, because, because because So speaking of like, this whole thing about like, you know, I was approaching it from like, an almost polar opposite attitude that you were bringing, so you're bringing this attitude of like, just this belief in yourself, which is such a powerful tool in, in all creative arts is just this like, fundamental courage, right? And this belief in yourself, whereas I'm coming at it from the total opposite, where it's like, I'm just, I'm a piece of shit. What the fuck am I doing here? I don't deserve to be here, you know? And, and, and that reflects on you, whether you realise it or not, you know, and this isn't me trying to say like, it's your fault for not succeeding. But like, when you tell yourself, you know, when you tell yourself good things, you manifest those things in your body. And when you tell yourself bad things, those bad things manifests in your body, you know, and, and I was telling myself a lot of shitty things. And, and I remember right at the very end during the like, auditions to get into second year acting. You pulled me aside at a party and you were like, you're my bet this year.

James Kot:

Was I? Yeah, I was betting on you.

James Avramenko:

You were like, you were like, every year I put a bet on one first year, and you're my bet. And I was like, you were like, you were like, and I've never been wrong. And that I didn't get it.

James Kot:

I've never been wrong in two years. Yeah, exactly.

James Avramenko:

But it was like it was a sick of like, you just gave me such a boost. And I felt so good about it and then went in but then I also think that like what I did get it like it crushed me even more because I was like, oh, no, not only disappointed myself now I broke a perfect record.

James Kot:

You know, what I think will survive that. That record being broken. But yeah, I don't remember that moment. But it's etched in. It's etched in your soul.

James Avramenko:

Really isn't really as well. You know what it was? It was one of those. There was a big department party at the end of the year where everybody would go out. It was like the big closing. They had some names for it. But

James Kot:

the Oh, yeah. That was that like some? It was always on, like a Sunday night or a Monday at like the boom room. Somewhere that like I'd never been before.

James Avramenko:

Yeah, I never would go if it wasn't for that party, you know, but you could rent it out for $20. Yeah, terrible, terrible shots were like, first five bucks or something named after the professor's. Yeah, exactly. So one of those parties. I forget what that's called. But yeah, yeah. Right. You know, and, and, and I had managed to, like, I've managed to snag a fake ID and I was like, I was like, oh, yeah, this is this is gonna be the party. This is a good night, you know? And, yeah, yeah, magic times, but couldn't couldn't tell you a single other story about the night because I don't remember it. But that one really stood out for me, you know? What was your like? What was your path into? What was your path into Richard the Third? Did you how was it like, you know, because I felt like that was a bit of a chaotic casting process. From my from my perspective, it didn't feel like it was just like a settled thing. I in fact, I didn't even get like it was cast. And everybody like got their parts. And I didn't get a role until the fall when somebody didn't come back to school. And so I got to apart. Oh, and and so like, was it smoother from your perspective? Or was it? Or was it just as chaotic?

James Kot:

Well, I, you know, I'm trying to remember that I remember I, you know, I wanted to play Buckingham, in that play, that was the role that I was, I was covering, this is fourth year acting, so it's like, starting to get real. And I ended up playing Richmond who's the hero of the play, but he doesn't show up until act five.

James Avramenko:

Yeah, one battle then he's done.

James Kot:

Yeah, he comes in gives a speech, everyone's ready to fight, they fight. And then there's a little bit of an epilogue where, you know, he comments on on what's gone on. And I mean, it, that rehearsal process taught me something, because we had a Director of Production predominantly, was focused on the lighting. I remember that. And it was, you know, it's always a long rehearsal process when you're at Theatre School, and, you know, at least three weeks, depending on the show, like, they go longer, I think, especially if it was a musical or Shakespeare, right. And I was waiting. Because we'd been in this, you know, academic school of, you know, studying acting and all the different great minds that have brought techniques to performance. And I, you know, I'm waiting and waiting and waiting to rehearse. And you're the last, yeah, the last act of the play. Probably, we figured out in the last week of rehearsal, Oh, yeah. We'd worked on the fight, which was quite awesome, by the way, like, we Yeah, it was an amazing fight fight scene at the end of this. You know, because, Trevor, is Trevor and, you know, you know, had lots to offer that aspect. But, but also, like, we didn't get to my lines. And I'm like, What the fuck am I gonna do with, you know, old Richmond here? I don't even know where he stands. And I really had a hard time memorising or being, like, inclined to get it off book. And that really taught me like, you got to do it for you at the end of the day, right? Yeah, no, because I'm, I'm on some level must have been waiting for the approval to do it, whatever way he was looking for. And then he was kind of pissed off with me, the director of this production, I think, at least in a rehearsal, that I wasn't more off book. And, you know, at that time, I was not exactly conflict. Adverse. You know, like, I, you know, I was making it known in my attitude that I thought it was kind of bullshit, that we'd left this to the end. So that production was really fun to perform. Yeah, I didn't really enjoy the process leading up to it, in part because I hadn't fully taken ownership for what I was, what I was doing. And then the following term, I was not in a show. So we put on, were you in that production? A bent, we did bent.

James Avramenko:

I wasn't, but I got to watch it. And I loved it. I thought it's fabulous. Yeah.

James Kot:

Okay. So it really put the onus on me to, you know, not necessarily create material all the time, but like to at least own that process. And to not look entirely to the director or someone else to guide where it needs to go. And, and that was freeing.

James Avramenko:

Yeah. What a fabulous perspective, I think that you, you have inadvertently actually kind of clicked a few little pieces into my brain that have always been sort of missing about that show. Because I always, I mean, I, you know, like I was murderer Number two, it wasn't like I was showing up to be like, Here I am, boys, you know, I'm ready for my close up. Like, I knew I wasn't the star.

James Kot:

Well, first term. I was writing master number two or three, I can't remember. Writing disaster.

James Avramenko:

Yeah. And it's like, like, I was just so excited. Because I was so grateful just to be there, you know? Yeah. And yet, and then, and yet, through the process, I was slowly growing more and more frustrated, but not really knowing why, you know, and like not having the vocabulary. Why? Because it was my first production in the school, and it was my first exposure to that system. And so I kept on being like, what, why does this feel kind of like bullshit, you know, like, and it's only in retrospect, I'm like, Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I forgot about because, like, we would spend whole nights fiddling with the lights, and all the actors would just be sitting there like, what are we here? Yeah.

James Kot:

I mean, it definitely had a positive effect, but it didn't necessarily, right. I haven't heard from many of the lighting designers that were getting that tutelage going, Oh, my, Richard three, that's where it all clicked. That's where I figured out filters.

James Avramenko:

I also found myself, I found myself every night because, you know, speaking on that, that fight scene I, you know, we would all gather as the peasants in the battles and we would watch people come down from the rafters like did people like people repelled down? It was like a SWAT fight. Oh, yeah, it was amazing. You know, I think it was Jemaine. Jemaine Campbell got kicked in the nuts.

James Kot:

It was awesome. Oh, yeah. One of those cups that he had on Yeah, yeah.

James Avramenko:

Right. You know, you just somebody just wailed on his that he was oz. Yeah. But I remember watching.

James Kot:

That's the wrestling enthusiast. Right, exactly. nutshot

James Avramenko:

that is the pinnacle of theatre to be alive. nutshot Wow. But, but I remember just feeling like, you guys were totally in control. I remember it feeling so dangerous. And being like someone's right. Yeah, because you guys would go hard at each other. And it was fucking terrifying.

James Kot:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. There was a lot of testosterone that went into that. Yeah, yeah. I mean, I mean, I don't know what level of blackbelt he was, but you know, really had a lot to offer the fight scene. Yeah. Yeah. Trevor, who played Richard? Yeah. He I mean, that was a lot of fun. But yeah, you you'd feel his energy, his Intel. Yeah. And you try and match it. And, you know, he was one of the most intense actors within those Phoenix walls, I'm sure still. Yeah, yeah. Oh, yeah.

James Avramenko:

I don't think anybody's matched that, you know, like, it's Oh, man. That was the thing. I think I was really grateful that I didn't have to play you. You know what I mean? I was really grateful. I was really grateful that I wasn't the one who he was lunging at with a sharp knife. Yes. Right. Like, I'm good. I'm good over here. Just being like, fight and my Lord, you know,

James Kot:

yeah. And they're like, you know, the knives aren't sharp, but if you fall on them, it could go inside you.

James Avramenko:

Oh, yeah. It's still a piece of hard metal. You know, like there's still clinking and clashing and all that. Yeah. Jesus Christ. So you graduated university and you had, do you go straight to Vancouver? Is that where you?

James Kot:

No, no, I went back to, to Calgary. To save up some money. Before I did that, because God theatre school, I had kind of the ability to go back to this job that I started working in between, I think, I think it was in the summer after third year where I worked protection services and hospital, which is basically like a security guard for hospitals. And it was a great job. And it had been unionised in the time that I was finishing my degree. So I went back there for the better part of you know, a year or even 15 months or something. I think I hit, you know, Vancouver in October, and we graduated. So like, you know, you're almost a year and a half. And so I worked that job. And there was, you know, a bit of a film industry happening in Calgary at that point. So I ended up auditioning for like, I got an agent right out of theatre school, Calgary agent and, and he started sending me out on auditions, and I got something right away. And it didn't shoot until October, my plan was to go to Toronto to take a writing programme potentially. And I didn't end up going, because I was like, Well, I can't go to Toronto, come back for this. I'll just stay. Yeah, and then I stayed. booked a couple parts here and there and work this job at the hospital and learn lots, you know, Yeah,

James Avramenko:

I'll bet. Yeah, not and that takes you and that day and then so what convinces you then to leave that and come to Vancouver instead?

James Kot:

Oh, it was always the plan. Like oh, you know, there were a lot of lifers in in that job where you know, this was their career. Yeah, and and, you know, you could you build a career, you know, working in hospitals quite easily, but my plan was never to stay. Right so, so it was always heading back just knowing the right time to do that and so that I could give myself a buffer of, you know, cash that I you know, saved sleeping my parents basement getting up at, you know, five in the morning, going to work and that sort of thing. So,

James Avramenko:

Damn, man. And are you are you responsible for finding that that Bayswater house or who found

James Kot:

that house is water boys house? Yeah, the old ski chalet midges Castle

James Avramenko:

Midge's Castle That's what it was.

James Kot:

No, it was Chris. It was Chris. Chris found the place. And he was kind of relaying the information. I think he stayed in Victoria the summer after he graduated to, I think do the do the tours.

James Avramenko:

It sounds right. I remember he was given me. He was he was basically keeping me alive for at least that summer even a little longer because he was a product salesman. This former guest of the show, Chris Wilson, you should check out his episode. He's a fabulous guy. He was doing like, Booth salesman stuff. And at one point was a dumpsters bread salesman.

James Kot:

Oh, yeah. No, that was I remember that. So that was in Vancouver. Yeah. Yes, we had the place because once we moved in, he had this giant box of dumpsters bread.

James Avramenko:

Yeah. And I would, I would just eat one of those loaves like every other day. And that would be what I ate.

James Kot:

You know, what they were putting in it at the time, but they lasted forever. And we would have a conversation where it's like, Hey, fellas What do you say I heat up a bread don't dig in. Eat this bread. That's yeah.

James Avramenko:

But yeah, it's just all sugar. You know?

James Kot:

Yeah, it was it was tasty. It did it. Did you bake 350 for a few minutes, you know, heat that

James Avramenko:

I can't tell you how grateful I am to those loaves of bread. Those those things kept me alive in my especially my last year of university when I was just like dead buggy broke. And that was just like, I was like, rationing out my dumpsters bread.

James Kot:

Oh my god. Yeah, so he found the place and then I lived there for a couple years with a Mac and Chris, and we had a blast together and then I moved out, got my own place for a little bit of a buffer before I moved in. living in sin with my now wife. So that was the impetus to leave the ski chalet midges. Because I remember telling Chris because I was nervous to tell him that I was moving out. And I was, you know, I'm breaking up the band. You know, Chris and I, and we go, I think we went to gross and had a wonderful day snowboarding and we're driving back in my Oldsmobile Cutlass Sierra. This, it was my it was my grandpa's old car that I bought off him. Yeah, so Papa's car. I'm driving Chris, back from the ski hill. And I'm like, you know, Chris, I think, you know, I'm gonna get my own place. And he was like, man, you're ruining a perfectly good day. Just like immediately like, damn it

James Avramenko:

that was the most Pitch Perfect Chris Wilson presentation I've ever Yeah. Yeah.

James Kot:

I mean, what was I mean, we had so much fun in that place together. Yeah. And then but it was it was time for me I needed to yeah, see what life was like on my my own in? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So it was a it was a fun little place. And in fact, this is not great for podcasting, but I have this okay, I don't know if you can see this. This is my one. Well, no, I think I have a book from there too. But my one drink it from the castle. It came oh love arrange mugs. And anytime you know Macker Chris is over I give them this mug. But makes no sense. We don't know what this is. And for the audience at home what is it there's a tuxedo and it says Ray at the top maybe it was from you know an event or wedding or something? And then below it says special person. And I drink coffee out of that mug often love it. Because it's a riddle. We got it with the place no one missed it when I took it. And race ready special person tuxedo shirt. He knows. And clearly it was very important to him. Yeah,

James Avramenko:

yeah. Man that house you know, it's funny because the my experience that house was in its you sub sublet Chris.

James Kot:

Yeah. You mentioned we were roommates. And I'd kind of forgotten that because it was first Yeah. And Chris was away at the friend right? Theatre. Right. Yeah,

James Avramenko:

that's right. And I had just gotten back from Barkerville. And it's because because Mack was out of town too. So it was actually you, me and Caitlin. And so. Yeah, so it was like the weirdest the weirdest little motley crew. And and up to that point, in our friendship, I think we had we had basically only ever spoken in like brief, brief, brief but great conversations upon girls face primarily right? Groups. Yeah, that was our friendship was just like, hey man, how you doing? Cool, you know? Yeah, totally. And then and then moving in with you and I didn't even really clock what a recluse I had become. Because of my time in Barkerville until it was either you or it was Caitlyn wanted you guys were like, You have to come out of your bedroom sometimes. Oh, yeah. I was like, I didn't even realise that sounds

James Kot:

like Caitlyn more than me.

James Avramenko:

It does. It does. Yeah, for some reason.

James Kot:

I feel it was me. With you.

James Avramenko:

Right, exactly. I think you guys were just trying to like, Edge me out of my little trauma bubble. Right. But

James Kot:

what was that like for you living with Caitlin and I,

James Avramenko:

um, I mean, it was it was a it. In retrospect, it was the perfect buffer that I needed to, like, press from Barkerville you know, but I think in the moment, I was so like, I was panicked. You know, like, I was fully panicked because I, I didn't know what the fuck I was gonna do next. And I didn't know where I was gonna go. And I didn't know who I was gonna live with. And I didn't know what I was gonna do for work. And, and, and my money ran out real fast from from Barkerville. And so like, it was it was really great. And I was really grateful for the room and for the place. And for you guys. I just was not in a place where I could register it until after you know what I mean? Because I was in such like, yeah, it was a really, it was a weird summer. And then to come down and then to be like, to go from like to go from like, when you're working in Barkerville you're living in a place called wells, which is like a little town of like, 100 200 people like tiny town. Okay, no internet. It's dirt roads. Like, it's like it's Oh, wow. Oh, yeah, it is like back country, you know, and to be living there for five months, and then to come to living in kits, where it was like, I was getting like, I was getting like vertigo on escalators? You know what I mean? Like, oh, fuck, there's like, there's like multiple stories of things. You know, I'd like forgotten what it felt like to live in a city, you know? Yeah. And so So yeah, I was just in a, I was in such a weird headspace there.

James Kot:

Yeah, no kidding.

James Avramenko:

I was grateful for it. But like,

James Kot:

how long was that? Three months?

James Avramenko:

Yeah, probably two, three months, somewhere in that range. Not not a super long time. But but long enough to to sort of decompress and finally get my feet under me, you know what I mean? And I got like a, you know, got like a dishwashing job and got an apartment of my own and, you know, little basement suite and stuff like that. But, but by the time by the time I came back to living there, you were already gone. I want to say, yeah, you would have been you must have been right, because it was Brian and Dan, I

James Kot:

think in thinking about that, like, Yeah, I think I think nothng was the first to move in. I think he muscled my spot, right. So I guess maybe some of the, the need to, like, move out. Like, Mac, you're telling me that it was you mean, Caitlyn, living in that space? It's like, you know, Chris would go away all summer. And Mac to I can't remember where he was, but doing a show or something somewhere else. And so I stayed like, I wasn't, I wasn't going away for months, generally. Yeah. So I think that, you know, may have precipitated that, you know, sure. So, yeah, it seemed like the logical conclusion to to that space. And, you know, I had had fallen in love, and, and needed and needed my own space. Before, you know, making it really real, with moving with moving in together. So that was, yeah, that was the need to get out of the Bayswater boys place.

James Avramenko:

I'm really interested in this idea of like, platonic intimacy, which is what like a friend kind of should be, you know, I think we're really afraid of, I think we're really as a culture, we're really afraid of the word intimacy, right? We're afraid of things like vulnerability, and we're afraid of these types of behaviours. Unless it's for like, it's unless it's for like sexual game, right? It's like, I can be vulnerable and I can be intimate if I'm trying to get my dick sucked. You know, but, but

James Kot:

listening, James for God

James Avramenko:

But like, what, it's harder, it's harder to be that type of intimate and that type of vulnerable with just the intention of just being intimate. and vulnerable, like with no, like, pay off, right, you know, and so that's something that I'm trying to explore with this show. And that's kind of where I'm trying to move with it, you know?

James Kot:

Yeah, I mean, vulnerability in all its forms is, you know, it's, it's incredible, you know, and the more we can let it into our daily life, the, I think the better we become as human beings and it's hard, it's hard. It's, uh, you know, in different social situations and different work situations with different relationships, which change and ebb and flow. It is, it's, it's challenging. It's, I mean, I think that's partly like, what I love about acting, too, and coaching other actors. Yeah. Because, like, the great acting, which I think is like, what we're all leading, like, you know, attempting to do is wading into that deep water, which will make you feel vulnerable, which will bring up you know, a stress response potentially, or your control aspect that exists from your, your, you know, your, your childhood, or your family of origins, or whatever exists inside of that. So I think that's what's compelling about, like, the vulnerability is the gateway to, like, creativity, you know, both in friendships and understanding, and the genesis of new things comes out of that space of not knowing,

James Avramenko:

exactly and remaining, you know, you know, there's this concept of like, remaining soft, right, you know, this idea of, like, something that I've been dealing with a lot with my therapy has been talking about this idea of, like, you kind of have this choice, I mean, there's lots, you know, it's tough to, my therapist doesn't actually encourage binary thinking like this, but like, when you when you unpack it, it's sort of how it ends up sounding, but it's this idea of like, you, you sometimes are, given this choice between, you can harden and, and protect yourself, right, you know, this idea of like closing yourself out from the world, because the world is inherently scary and will, will hurt you. And like you will, you know, life is suffering, right? You know, and so like, you have the choice to to harden up and protect yourself, or you can soften and you can stay vulnerable, and you can risk harm, at the at the potential reward of living a really deep and, and broad and an exciting life. You know, and I don't think you I don't think you live a full spectrum experience without the chance of pain. Right? Well, I

James Kot:

think there's also the idea that it's not suffering, if it has, like, it can be pain, but it's not suffering if you have a greater cause something's on yourself. So it's like, it's one of those things like, the more we transcend ego, both as people as performers, it's like, it gets to be about something else. Exam. And when that happens, you can put yourself through absolute hell. And it may be painful. But but if it has a greater quality to it, if it's for something beyond yourself, the suffering ceases, which is, you know, I mean, I think childbirth is like probably the most obvious or, you know, for a visual is an obvious example of that, too. Sure. Yeah. Yeah, try you know, I suffering without a point. I'm not into, like, I don't think we should suffer. It's like, this is hard enough, you know?

James Avramenko:

Well, yeah. I mean, flagellation is pointless, right. But it's like we all do. Oh, yeah, of course. I mean, everybody wants to be a murderer. Right? Yeah. What I mean, because we think I mean, and this is actually I think this is why we're so

James Kot:

I don't know, if I could do you want to be a martyr?

James Avramenko:

Well, well, what I mean by that is that I think that there is an inherent martyrdom in a lot of our culture, and in this idea of, in this idea of like, what would be an artist, right? I'm not saying I necessarily like overtly, mindfully want to be a murderer, but I think there's a lot of that ingrained in the culture, especially when you think about artistry, when you think about like, you have to suffer for your art, right? When you think about like you have to be poor and starving. And those are the only people who have the ability to speak authentically. And it's like, I think, I think what we're missing the point of when we talk about those kinds of things is that like, when you go through a genuinely traumatic experience, you you, you don't feel like you want to go through it again. But what you realise is that you you can live it and you have a choice in that moment. My therapist says you have a choice between happiness or integrity, right? You have a choice but I mean, like, do I just go into like blind joy? And just like pretend like everything's good? And we're all good and everything's always good? Or do you approach it with an integrity where you accept everything that's coming in that moment, good and bad, painful and soft? Right?

James Kot:

I think part of it is that for me anyway. And, you know, part of this is, you know, in our own psychology, but I gained some of the information from, from an from an acting coach. And in New York, she says that you've got to go to the joy of your own experience. This is Carol Fox, Prescott For those keeping score at home. The joy of your own experience, and she attributed attributed it to acting. So if you're, you know, if you're doing a scene where you're burying your child, Madea, or you're falling in love, you're still allowed to access your joy. Hmm, that you're allowed to enjoy both aspects of what that is, as a creative person. And sometimes the things that we associate ourselves with, like the life events that that happen to us get in the way of that, yes, that we start, you know, the story of what our life is, starts to take over the energy that we can tap into anytime we want. But the mind is directing us through this, this various stimulus and trauma. And then the less we identify with the story we're telling ourselves, the more we're able to harness that aspect of being.

James Avramenko:

Wow, I love that. That's fabulous. That's right, that's a fabulous perspective on a tee because it doesn't, it doesn't tell you to not feel pain, right? It doesn't tell you to not feel sadness. And this is, this is one of the things that I find really insidious about a lot of a lot of current sort of, like, there's a lot of like, Instagram culture around it, and a lot of social media culture in general, where it's just like, this toxic positivity, right, where it's like, you are only allowed to demonstrate happiness. Yeah. All right, you know, and any, any emotion that's difficult for others to engage with, you are not allowed to display anywhere, you're sad, if you're confused, if you're frustrated, if you're angry, you're not allowed to display any of those emotions. And and what that is doing is that's, that's, that's, I mean, that's a form of gaslighting, but it's also like, it's also, it's really detrimental to you as a full, a full human as a full human experience, you know, because happiness isn't the only emotion that you as a human feel. So why would you stop yourself from feeling all the emotions that you could feel? You know, it's not, it's not a bad thing to be angry. What what is, you know, qualitatively bad about anger is what you do with that anger. You know, if you, if you feel your anger, and you work through it, that's one thing, if you feel your anger, and then you cause violence, that's a whole other thing. But like, but the feeling of anger is not the bad part of it, you know? And I think it's really important to allow yourself to feel all the emotions that you can.

James Kot:

But it's Yeah, right. Yeah. And those those secondary emotions, you know, you do start to think about, it's reinforcing the story, you're telling yourself about what happened, bingo, and how you exist inside that story. So yeah, it's a we're getting very, very psychological and all that it's great. Fabulous. And also, like, I mean, yeah, those those emotions do tell us something, you know, exactly. If, if we, you know, get curious about those emotions, you know, that's kind of what I'm gathering through time. It's like, if you're more interested in the source of why you why you go there, that can give you kind of a greater perspective on, on why you're feeling the way you are, and, and how you might let go of some of those old stories.

James Avramenko:

As I've, as we've already sort of, like, dipped in here, the real root of this show, stemmed from this question of like, Have I been a good friend and and what I've discovered is, you know, in order to answer that for myself, I want to find out what it means for other people. And so, you know, the real heart are these two questions that I'll put to you and we can unpack them as you like, but the two big questions that have become the spine of the show has been, what does it mean to you to be a good friend? And and as a sort of, like, follow up to that? How do you think someone can be a better friend in the current world that we're in? You know, if 2022 God, we're already almost halfway through. It's almost 23 and the inevitable heat death of the world

James Kot:

I know things are looking off, aren't they? Okay, so let's start in on that friendship. Have you been a good friend? James? Sure. Yeah. Ish. Yeah.

James Avramenko:

But what is that? What do you think that means that what does it mean to be a good friend like to you? Is it like, is it like, is it presence? Is it consistency? Is it like, you know, like, like, how, how is someone, even a good friend to you?

James Kot:

Well, I have different types of friends. Um, you know, and I think us sharing this time, as people that, you know, shared a roof at some point. But like, you know, I was never your closest friend, nor were you mine. But I would say you've been a good friend, because of the expectations I have around our friendship. This is great. Like, the fact that we're sitting down together, you know, talking for an hour, like, outside of this experience, when would we do that, you know, maybe over a drink on a patio at some point. But those moments throughout the last 10 years are probably really few and far between since you moved away. So I think you've been a good friend, but what does friendship mean, to me, I think it's all those things, I think it's consistency, developing an awareness about what the other person needs in a relationship. And really listening and being present to that, even when it is challenging for what you need, you know, and being able to find that compromise in the middle, you know, because I think, you know, consistency is really important. Trust is a huge, huge word for friendship and relationships for me. And, you know, your willingness to be vulnerable, but also like, you know, people having the respect your friends, having the respect, when you just need someone to be there, you know, and you may not be willing to talk about, you may not be willing to be vulnerable. I don't think that it's, it's the willingness to share space. Wow,

James Avramenko:

that is a beautiful perspective, I really appreciate that. And that's actually, you know, sometimes I almost worry that I'm pushing, maybe I'm pushing myself a little too far in the vulnerability spectrum. And maybe I'm putting too much out in certain cases, right. And in certain perspectives, because I think, I think that I'm somebody who, like, I'm, to be totally honest, like, I'm like, in a certain way, like, afraid of being just like, with someone quietly, you know, I'm somebody who feels silences. Right, you know what I mean? I'm somebody who like, fills, silences? Who fills moments of like, you will, let me tell ya, and I think that that's a really powerful choice to just to just be with someone and not with no expectation with no, you know, like, you know, and just letting them because that's another form, isn't it? That's another form of that whole idea of like, letting someone meet you where they are, rather than making them come to you. Or, or forcing it. Right. But but it's scary, man. It's scary to just like, be present.

James Kot:

Right? Yeah. I mean, I don't know where my other question was for you. It's like, you know, this could take the podcast an hour long, longer. And I don't know how interesting it is for for people. But like, where are you on your spiritual journey? I've heard you talk about, you know, different things. But like, do you meditate? Because that that difference with so that confronts you with the silence? Yes. You know, and I in a really great way, because the brain will try and fill it with thoughts. Oh, yeah. And it's the same as you know, a dialogue with someone else. So that's been really helpful for for me for like, I think I've been doing it over five years now. And, yeah, it's definitely made me more present.

James Avramenko:

Yeah, well, and it's, um, you know, with meditation, I mean, it is, it's like, to me, it's like the number one tool you could apply to, just like, if there's, if there's one thing someone could do to try and make themselves feel better, like, right away? Yeah, I would say like, just like, just like, try minutes, just start meditating. Yeah, right. You know what I mean? There's that thing I may have said, it said on the podcast before, but there's this like, there's this like, meditation joke. That's like, if you think you don't have five minutes to meditate every day, you should probably meditate for 10 minutes, you know, like, it's like, there's There's nothing. There's no, in a certain way, there's no excuse, but I also don't want to put the kind of pressure on to it.

James Kot:

Well, people find it in different ways to you know, that's just it. Yeah. So You can have a task that you have to do that's deeply meditative. You know, like painting a fence all day, it's like, you're probably going into the state at some point, even though it's different. So I don't know that everyone needs to, but like, you've got to find, you know, some peace at some point in your day, so that you're not not associating just with the things that you do.

James Avramenko:

And that and that, that brain reset, you know, you need, you know, your brain is just as much a muscle as any other part of you. And so it's like, if you do too many reps on your arm, your arm hurts. And if you think too many thoughts, your brain hurts, you know, and so, like, you do need to take moments of your day to just hit reset and breathe, you know, I bet you're spot on. I mean, I actually. So most days, I do like a sitting mantra meditation. But I also have started doing like, walking meditations, where I'm just like, I just labelled my steps. And you know, and I just kind of walk around the neighbourhood. Yeah, it's been really nice. You just, you literally just say, left, right, as you walk, and just focus on the steps. That's it and just go, you know, and that's been really nice. Because, you know, as somebody like, so, you know, I have ADHD, and I'm, and I'm medicated on it. So I have, you know, legal grade speeded me every day, right. I

James Kot:

know, I That's so strange to me that that Yes. The attention. Yeah. Because yeah, it's, it's, you know, I see some fellas downtown gyms that they don't necessarily seem the most focused in.

James Avramenko:

No, I don't, I cannot explain it. And I and I wouldn't even know where to start to be able to, but, but I do know that it has been a life changing experience getting a call for it. It's literally it's changed my life. For the better, you know, and, and I would recommend anybody who is who is interested in I would say, talk to a doctor, because like, I know, because there's obviously there, you know, it is still it's still an amphetamine, so it's like I am it is, it's not, it's not that I don't have the effects of the drug on me. It's that my body breaks down differently. So I, I'm still I still have a fucking amphetamine in me. So I still some days will be pretty frantic in the morning when it's written that bloodstream, you know, right. But, but yeah, I don't know, it does something to my brain. That was good. Yeah, you know, and so but but because of that, I have to be I have to, I want to be much more cognizant of my mindfulness, right. And I want to be much more present with it. Because it's really easy to let myself just spin out, you know, the ADHD mixed with Adderall. You my brain can fire if I want it to, you know, right. So I have to be required to work real hard at slowing it down, you know? And, and it just takes practice, you know, in terms of, you know, you're asking about like a grander, sort of like, spiritual movements or something like that, though. I don't know if I would say I'm, I don't know if I'm on like a on a spiritual journey, although I think everybody sort of inherently is if you're asking any kind of questions. I don't know if I'm, I don't know, if I'm linking my like, my mindfulness to that. I think the journey I'm on right now is about self discovery, getting Yeah, like getting better at being nice to myself. And I'm, I'm kind of actively fighting against this internalised shame I have for time, you know, I think that right now, we have a lot of panic around, you know, millennials are getting older, right, you know, but turned 35 and I have not accomplished anything that I thought I would have by 25. You know, and there's a lot of shame involved in that. And there's a lot of embarrassment, you know, and, and frustration and anger, you know, there's a lot of different emotions that are mixed up in that, and I, and I'm working really hard on just on just being much more forgiving, and much more soft about it, and just much kinder, you know, I'm just working on a self kindness, because it's just not, it's not, it's not helpful to be mean to yourself. I mean, it's not helpful to be mean to anybody. So like, why would you do it?

James Kot:

Yeah. Oh, no. And it's also it's like, the energy void of that to Zack, you know, when I, when I'm kicking the shit out of myself, mentally, it's like, like, you're spending part of your day part of your life doing that. And if that's exactly not aligned, which you probably shouldn't be less, you've done something terrible. And then even still, you've got to find your way back to centre and joy. So yeah, the self discovery thing. I don't know if that ever stops. Because you change you know, everyone that's just saying is like, people stay the same. It's like, no, they don't, their true essence might be the same but like, people change so much. And in your 30s. And even like, kind of at the tail end of the 20s. You start to understand, at least I did, and I think a lot of people do Some time. Yes. And because it just ticks a little different at that point, you know?

James Avramenko:

Yep. And it's, and I can't see this, the thing is that it's like I, my brain immediately splits when I hear that word, right? Because my brain immediately splits to like, We have no time where time is it's always later than you think you know what I mean? Like, it's like, we're always learning. And then there's this, but then my brain also goes into the half where it's like, but you have time. And you will always have time, because what you'll have is the time that you have. And so like, maybe, you know, for me personally, I come at it from a perspective of like, I would like to write plays, and I'd like to write novels. And I'd like to write screenplays and I write poems, and I like, I love writing, and I want to create, and I want to tell stories, you know, but they're just there will never be enough time in my life for me to tell all the stories that come to me. So it's about choosing which ones are going to take up the time that I do have, and that's really hard for my brain, but I know that it is an essential step to getting good with, with with myself, and with the work that I do, you know, because you're just there's never gonna be enough roles. there's never gonna be enough books, there's never gonna be enough songs is the right you know, and so it's like, you just have to accept that you are going to run out of time. So you're only going to get the time that you do have and that's and that, to me is very liberating. You know, yeah,

James Kot:

totally. I mean, if right to be confronted with the end, like, I know, I think we have to do that more as a species. You know, I think we're closer to you know, finding answers for for disease and climate change. It's like, if we're not, you know, trying to assemble the money, the money piles, you know, that people want to sit on and pass on to their, their counterparts. It's like, it fails to see that, like, you know, this ends for you too, buddy. Boy,

James Avramenko:

that's just it. That's exactly right. Yeah. Yeah, that's just it. You know, you can't run away from the inevitable and the only thing that is inevitable is death. And I don't and I don't think I would want humanity to get to a place where we don't die. Like I think I think everybody's so afraid of death. Oh, yeah.

James Kot:

People thing or it's like, if you write forever, no,

James Avramenko:

why the fuck would I want that? That sounds like hell, that sounds that sounds worse to me than dying is is never is never dying. You know, I'd rather I'd rather just, for lack of better word, get it over with, you know, not like not like, I want it to happen soon. But I what I mean is like, what it happens, that's fine. That's when it will happen. Right? The best part is, you won't know because you'll be dead. But what does it matter?

James Kot:

saddled? What does that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead speech for it's like, you know, you're in a box. Yeah. But you don't have the awareness. You're in a box. So

James Avramenko:

what does it matter? Exactly. That's just it, you know, these questions, you know, and these, you know, these it's always these billionaires, you know, these fucking Elon Musk's? We're like, we're gonna go to Mars, and we're gonna why? Look, I

James Kot:

don't want to piss off, Elon. Okay. I'm a little old. He better not be listening. James is he was?

James Avramenko:

Definitely not. I'll tell you that. Definitely not. I can give you the friendless guarantee. Elon Musk is not? Well, you'd be surprised. As he's just like, you motherfucker, he's gonna start tweeting about me now. But, but, you know, I want to read it back. Because I think I think the the last part of, you know, the questions that I put to you, you know, I always like to sort of end end this a little bit on a slightly actionable step. Right. And I know, we'd have even in a way, in a certain way, we have talked about it right? You know, we've talked a little bit about the idea of meditation and, and you've expressed, you know, you know, ideas of being a good friend, but like, do you think that there's something you could recommend us to a listener about, like, something that they could do to, like, mindfully be a little bit better connected to that to the people they want to be connected to going forward? Well,

James Kot:

so good question. There's lots of things that we can do. Absolutely. That's the thing. So it's like, what do you focus on? sticking around for the answer? When you ask someone a question, especially how are they doing? It's like, a met amazing what that can do. That's, you know, something I learned from, you know, acting and connection and presence. It's like so often in our day, you know, people that we're not even friends with. We're on autopilot. You know, if you're at Starbucks, if you're, you know, you know, on transit, you're having an interaction with someone that's like, you can find more connection and all those aspects and, and be a better friend to the people that you actually are concerned about, and connected with on a deeper level, but simply allowing them less of an output and more of an input. I mean, it's good, it's good for actors. It's also good for people that there's this exchange that happens. And I mean, part of it, like I think, you know, especially with, with something like this, what's great about it is if we're entirely on output and want to say the things that we want to say, this isn't as good. You know, if I, if I'm not there for you, in that moment, where we're talking about these things, it's it just loses the conductive properties. And yeah, it's all connected. You know, everything, everything that we're doing here, you know, life existence, the universe, it's all interconnected. I don't, you know, I don't understand it all. But I know that aspect of it. So the more connection that we're able to find between, you know, human beings and, you know, and even animals like, yeah, yeah, my dog, we're connected. It's like, that word out, makes me a better listener, and I think a better friend to

James Avramenko:

Wow, I love that. I mean, I can't help but agree entirely about this idea of, like, nonverbal connection to write, you know, there's so much more than just being able to say something to someone, there's, there's a, there's a presence, you know, I fostered a rat a couple of weeks ago, for a little bit.

James Kot:

I wouldn't advertise that chimps, you know, I would do that on your business card.

James Avramenko:

It was fabulous. He was such a little sweetheart. And I like I totally like, I totally grew to just love the little guy and we like got a little bond. As you connect rat. Rats rule by the way, everything Yeah. Oh my god, rats fucking rule is so cute. And they're so smart. And they're just like, they're actually genuinely very friendly. But they got a real bad rap, you know? But everybody go get a rat Rat Pack.

James Kot:

Rats, baby rats.

James Avramenko:

Lizard Man, you know, um, we've only got one last thing I got to do for the for the show. But, but um,

James Kot:

I really wanted to delete Facebook entirely in this moment, James, where it's like, I match you. But I can't Instagram business purpose. Yeah, so

James Avramenko:

but I'm ready to do it. Just delete the whole app.

James Kot:

Oh, yeah. Get rid of it. Just Oh needs

James Avramenko:

carpet bombing. For real though, actually. I mean, you've got Instagram, you've got Facebook. It's fine. You know what I mean? It's like, it's all you need, you know, but But before? Actually, what? Why don't I say before? Is there somewhere you'd like? Is there anything you want to plug? Is there any anywhere you want to? Yeah,

James Kot:

I'm like that. Yeah, you can. You can find me in the upcoming season of Netflix Virgin River. I play a play a character who arrives at the end of the season in Virgin River, who's maybe not the nicest guy.

James Avramenko:

So you're like Richmond again?

James Kot:

No much worse. Much worse guy. But I won't. I won't spoil it. But yeah, that's that's coming out in in the summer. So if people are listening to that and go, Wow, I want more of that. Esoteric psychological conversation. You won't get it in that. But the performance, the performance and presence. It'll be there.

James Avramenko:

I love it. And are you still teaching? Are you still doing? Absolutely yeah,

James Kot:

we can plug that caught Creative Studios. Yeah. And King Creative Studios for youth actors. Yeah, it's a it's something that we started this year, my wife and I, Mom and Pop company. Like, yeah, I've been teaching and coaching actors for a lot of years at different institutions. You know, Kapalama, university, CCPA and Victoria, as well as the studios in town. Macaron associates. So yes, started my own shop after about 10 years of coaching actors on series on films on auditions. And yeah, have the studio concept where we get into it and develop what we talked about presence and performance. And I love it. Yeah, it's been fabulous. It's been quite the ride to get here down the theatre school, but it's going great and really enjoying it actually.

James Avramenko:

That's amazing. I'm so good. Congratulations. It's really exciting. I you know, I was seeing you post about it. And I was so impressed because it's just like it's it's, it's it's really fucking hard. And it's really bright. Yeah, you know, and so it's just like, Yeah, I wish you all the best with it, because it looks awesome.

James Kot:

Yeah, thanks. Yeah, we're having a lot of fun and like, what's interesting about people coming out of the pandemic is like the need for that connection. You know, having spent so much time on on Zoom and, you know, finding a place where we can come and work safely is, you know, it's been a great importance in in my life the last year and also really freed people up to have more fun and be present and and artistic and create together which I think I missed that a lot about our time spent together back back at the Phoenix Theatre. I those kids that were in that programme during the last two years that was a different vibe I'm sure

James Avramenko:

I can't imagine I can't imagine have been in in you've been in university during COVID I just like all the power to them. I feel bad that they'd spent that money like I really do. God damn but we'll see we'll see how it works out for him I don't know I don't want to talk to TV cynical about it.

James Kot:

Well, you make it what it is you know so I'm sure they made friends I'm sure they bonded I'm sure but it would have been different they don't know what we experience so they're not there was no boom room for them. Yeah, no boom Good lord but

James Avramenko:

good fuck but listen, you know before I'll pull up your Facebook but while they do I just you know I do want to say you know first of all I just want to say thank you for coming on the show this has been so much fun and it's just you know, you're you're someone who you know, like we've said you know you we may not necessarily have been the most deep friends but like I always had a deep admiration for you you know and I always did love when we did hang out you know and and and this is just been such a nice opportunity to catch up with you and see you again and and it's so nice to see you doing so well. And you know I just like I just want to say I love you and I want to say thank you and and I think you're an incredible guy so

James Kot:

James I'm sending my love back to you through this screen it would be a hug if I could give you a hug very grateful to spend the time together and to to reconnect as you're transitioning back into Vancouver and for maybe maybe a long time maybe a short time. Who knows? But I will see you out in the world I'm sure

James Avramenko:

you got damn right oh absolutely well but before we get to that we got to do one last thing so here we go. Don't do a change don't Derek please we're no longer Facebook friends

James Kot:

Good riddance.

James Avramenko:

And that's it. Thank you once more to James for coming on the show. If you want to check out his work, including a short film that we didn't get a chance to talk about that he has helped produce and will be taken on the festival circuit next year. Be sure to follow him at COP James caught or caught underscored Creative Studios. All the links are gonna be in the show notes. So just click away. Give him a follow. He's a great fellow. While you're there, why not sign up for the monthly friendless newsletter. It's a free Superfund breakdown of five recommendations and things to check out that month straight from me to you. And it always has an exclusive brand new piece of writing from you, boy, so don't miss it sign up. It's kind of fun. I say in my most your ish voice. Swear it's fine. Whatever. Anyway, that is it for me. So let's wrap this bad boy up. Thank you for getting all the way to the end of the episode. Hey, if you're hearing this, why not comment? Hey, how's your father? On the next friendless post? You see whether it's on Twitter, whether it's on Instagram, wherever you see a post, comment, Hey, how's your father? That'll be that'll be the homework for you. Keeners out there, okay. Anyway, thanks again for listening. And I hope to catch you back here next week with another interview. But I'm not going to worry about that anytime soon. And guess what? Neither should you. Because that is Ben. And this is now so for now. I'll just say I love you. And I wish you well. Fun and safety sweeties.