One of my many hobbies is playing video games so when I was told about a web series that focuses on a female gamer, I had to give it a try. I was so hooked I finished it in two days (it would’ve been less, but real-life demands kept getting in the way). After viewing Life XP, I was eager to talk with Cassandra Ebner, the creator, writer, executive producer, and lead actor of the series. But her talents don’t stop there; she’s also performed stunts for Game of Thrones, Batwoman, Flash, Supernatural, and more. Want to learn more about her? Read on:
You’re a gamer, an actor, a writer, and a stuntwoman. How did you get started in these roles?
I was forced as a child to play the video game quake with my dads friends. Once they could beat his 5 year old daughter, he allowed his friends to play with him. I never looked back after that day. Video games for life!
Now my film career – not much different, I was a little girl and I wanted to be in the film industry. I thought that the super heroes we saw on screen were actors so I started to pursue my career in that direction… at 4 years of age. At 13 I discovered editing and creating my own stories, I became a YouTuber/entertainer, writing my own skits, creating fake songs etc. I grew up on YouTube, edited/filmed corporate videos and was a supporting lead in a film all before I was 17. I did all this and didn’t know where I wanted my career to go, behind the camera or infront of it. I shadowed under directors, was a personal assistant and interviewed Stunt coordinators in film. And the day I learned that stunts was a real job was the day I set my eyes on performing in any way I could! I moved to Vancouver, trained, listened, learned, met friends, made more videos, edited more, Production Assisted, volunteered on sets, did background all leading up to my Acting and Stunt Career I have today.
When I broke my ankle I had the time to go back to the creating I loved to do and set out to make a gaming web series I wanted to see. Bringing all my aspects of life and learnings into one story. I love creating, performing and everything to do with filmmaking and entertaining others. This is how it started and can’t wait to see where it all takes me next!
In the series Life XP, Angela takes a journey from being a non-gamer to a gamer. How similar is her journey of becoming a gamer to your own?
Angela’s journey to learning about video games was no where near my journey into games… well… maybe the in game fails weren’t far off. I think the parallel for me was leaving home at a young age to pursue something I knew nothing about. The adventures of failing… getting back up and trying my best to do good things and good work, all while meeting friends along the way.
So I have to ask a gender question: as a female, what barriers have you had as both a gamer and a stunt person and how have you overcome them?
I’ve encountered my fair share of odd questions or assumptions that probably wouldn’t be placed on me if I were a different gender or different time and place. Whether it’s by females or males… I sometimes take it to heart because when you hear something all the time you start to question your sanity and perception on the world. But here’s a few ways I combat evil (evil being barriers or the way people see you etc). I chat and inspire kids to do what they love. Kids are the next generation, you could be one/two kids heroes and change the course of perception for the next generation. I surround myself with a few solid humans who can talk me through thoughts, concerns or my own doubts. And one of my most favourite ways to combat evil is make it a game for myself. How can I prove to myself that what that person said to me isn’t true – Use it as fuel! At the end of the day, others perceptions of their reality doesn’t need to be yours. Sometimes it rubs off on you a little but all you got to do is shake it off by using it as a playing ground to create something beautiful in place of the evil ;).
How did you come up with the idea for Life XP?
I knew I wanted to create a gaming webseries but I wasn’t sure what I wanted it to be about. 3 years ago I got a vive and when I saw others experience it for the first time, it was such a beautiful reaction that I wanted to recreate on screen. People we’re really IN a video game!! How cool is that? So I set out to make a virtual reality gaming series – Life XP. And the story of Angela, her mother and best friend Steph was a dynamic I kept playing with and sculpting so I knew exactly what everyone’s plans were down the road and where their characters were going for future seasons. All characters loosely based off humans in my life or that I’ve had the pleasure of being around for parts of my life.
What was one of your favorite parts of making the series?
Well seeing as the theme of the series is friends I would have to also say that’s true to my real life. All the friends I made along the way brought me out of a really hard few years. I won’t bore or get into that too much but it helped me more than many of those lovely humans will ever know .
Do you have plans for season two?
I have written season 2 and have a few few projects in the start and finishing capacity so we will see where the wind takes all these plans I’ve learned things can change in a heart beat and opportunities can pop up out of nowhere in the most unexpected ways.
You worked on Game of Thrones. Are you also a fan of the series and the books? Do you have a favorite house and/or character?
I did not read the books BUT LOVE the series. I’ve been watching since it first came out so you better believe I fanned so hard… so embarrassingly hard. I do have a favourite character, it would have to be Aria Stark.
Do you have a preference of working on TV shows or video games and why?
Oooo that’s an awesome question. I grew up loving TV shows and the journey we would get immersed in for so many episodes. Although equally, that is why I love video games, especially mmo’s, you become immersed in your character and their journey. So I love working on both, the difference between the two is how often you get to work in a scene. TV is always different, sometimes you will be heavily involved in the scene and sometimes waiting to do a small part and then you’re done for the day. If you’re doing rehearsals and adding and coming up with things to put into the scene to make the story/fight/stunt come to life, you feel involved with the process which can be really gratifying. With video games you go until the day is done. They’re recording your movement and characterization of the virtual person you’re bringing to life. It can be EXTREMELY exhausting but at the end of the day you feel quite part of the process of the creation. As I was thinking about both of these I really can’t chose – I love both!!
What can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
Keep following and stay tuned 🙂