Manitoba Reel Careers Profile Series: Derek James Trapp

Derek James Trapp started working in the film industry in 2017 and has been making a living in the industry since then. He has experience in front of the camera as an actor, behind the scenes as a crew member, has worked in the production office, works from home casting for productions, and has experience doing voice acting, narrating and doing some stunts.

Derek works with the following three unions – ACTRA, Directors Guild Of Canada and IATSE 856. He also has a vast amount of experience on non-union productions, and his acting resume & crew resume show that Derek has experience, knowledge and expertise in numerous departments in the film industry.

Derek’s goal is to continue his career in the film industry, constantly learn more, grow as a person, become better and continue building his casting company, acting career and future in this industry that he loves!

When and how did you start in the media production industry? 

I started off as a background performer in 2017, working alongside Keanu Reeves in the movie Siberia.

After I worked as a background performer on the movie (Siberia) for four days I fell in love with the industry, wanted to pursue it more, and worked extremely hard to make it a career immediately after that!

I also want to add that Kari Casting gave me my first opportunity to work on set, and I’m very grateful for Kari and Leah reaching out to me that day in 2017.

What area of the film industry do you work in now and why? 

I work as an extras casting director with the union IATSE 856, and I just launched my own business called DJT Casting in July, 2022! I also do tons of work with the ACTRA union, and I’ve done around 20 days of continuity background work between two different T.V series, two Hallmark movies, and a Life Time Network movie in the past few months.

I started off as a background performer, and now I get to cast other people on set as background performers! I get to give people the opportunity I was given when I was first was introduced to the movie industry in 2017. I have to say that’s a pretty cool feeling, and it’s funny how life works out.

What has been a substantial change in the industry since you started?

It’s been busier and busier each and every year, and our tax credit and friendly crew, cast and background performers in this city definitely contribute to that massively!

If you could give yourself advice today to yourself in the past, what would it be?

Do what you love, take chances, take risks, be bold, be brave and don’t look back. If you love something and want to do it, don’t let anybody, or anything stop you! 

Work hard, so that one day you can prove the people that doubted you all wrong! Anything is truly achievable if you believe it is, and are willing to put in the work, keep consistent and never give up!

What is advice you would give to someone starting off in the media production industry?

Get out there, connect, network, meet people, try new things and don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. When I first started, I submitted to every single acting casting call, voice acting casting call, background casting call, any crew calls, and I attended any workshops where I could go to learn and meet people.

You just need to get on set, get in the production office, try new things and see what this industry is all about.

Why is learning and training important?

Since I was about 18 years old, I’ve always believed wholeheartedly that the more you learn the more you earn. When you are constantly growing personally, professionally and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone in every area of your life, the results are tremendous. 

We live in a society where things are constantly changing, adapting and evolving every day. I feel like it’s crucial that we also adapt to the changes, grow with time, and always get better. I like to constantly push myself out of my comfort zone, try new challenges, and learn from my experiences. 

The key is to constantly find ways to learn more, grow, gain new knowledge and keep bettering yourself!

What are some of the films, TV series or even books that have inspired you? How about anything new you’ve been into?

I’ve loved horror movies since I was a little kid, and those have always been my favorite. I enjoy other types of movies and TV series as well though, and my favorite films & TV series of all time are listed below.

Halloween, Friday the 13th, Chucky, Jeepers Creepers,  Lord of The Rings, Stranger Things, Marvel films and Jurassic Park.

Is there something about you or an interesting past experience that you’d like to share with your colleagues?

Before I was in film, I used to do public speaking for four years for two different companies. I did tons of traveling, seen places all over, and I was on stage speaking in front of hundreds of people a week. I talked about business plans, investing, mindset, dealing with customers, different products, company overviews and I was always doing something different. 

There was a point in time I also had three fitness sponsors, and was in the gym every single day for hours. During this time I was following a strict meal plan, strict workout plan and was very dedicated.

 I also spent over 20 years of my life skateboarding, and have loved skateboarding since I was very young.

I’ve never been the type to do a 9-5, I always try new things, and I’ve done a ton of different things in my lifetime Ha-ha. When Covid-19 first happened I was off work for six months or so, and I wanted to learn a new skill during that time. I’ve been learning investing in the stock market since then. I’m constantly studying stocks, investments, looking at graphs, trying new strategies and I’ve built a dividend stock portfolio that I’m very happy with over the past two years.

I’m the type of person who always want to learn something new, and I give my 110% at everything I do.

Is there someone within the film industry you would like to work with and why?

Dwayne The Rock Johnson! I’ve always wanted to meet this guy, talk to him and work on a movie with him. He has such a great work ethic, is so humble, driven, entrepreneurial, and he is also a great dad.

I’m a hard-working dad who works in the film industry, lifts weights and has an entrepreneurial mindset just like the Rock. I feel like I could relate to him on many topics, and I know one day I will work with him. I don’t know how, when or where, but I do know it will happen one day!

Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?

I see myself happy, healthy, doing what I love and living life to the fullest. I want to travel, work hard, see the world, give my daughter a great life, go scuba diving to tropical destinations around the planet, inspire others, and make a name for myself in the film industry.

I want to make my family proud, make my daughter proud and be the best man, father and friend I can be.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

This is the easiest answer for me, and that is being a father! Being a dad to my daughter Everley has been the biggest game changer for me, and she has given me a new perspective of what life is all about, and what’s truly important.

Being a dad is my favourite job, and it’s my most proud accomplishment!

FTM is a non-for-profit charity and member of the Province of Manitoba’s sector council program (through the Department of Economic Development and Jobs). FTM conducts workforce development and training to build a highly skilled and adaptable film industry to support the activities of Manitoba production companies. FTM collaborates with members of the film and television industry to identify the training needs within the community.