Nicole CallenderAssociate Producer for CBC Radio's The Debaters
Born in Brampton, Nicole knew she always wanted a career in comedy but choosing a career path was no laughing matter. She stumbled upon a program offered by Humber College in Toronto that somehow tapped into all of her interests: “Comedy Writing and Performance”.
Before applying to Humber, she struggled for months with the decision to apply to college or just "play it safe" and apply to university and go into a profession she wasn’t passionate about, but would probably result in a well-paying job faster. Many people close to Nicole advised her against choosing a career path in the arts due to it’s competitiveness and the difficulty of making a living in that field.
After what seemed like a never-ending period of asking anyone who would listen for advice (friends, teachers, relatives, even a Magic Eight Ball), Nicole finally went with her gut and decided to enroll in Humber College’s Program. She knew deep down, if she didn’t try now, she never would.
And so from 2008 – 2010 Nicole attended Humber College’s “Comedy Writing and Performance Program” studying almost every aspect of comedy: stand-up, improv, voice acting, sketch (ex. SNL), script writing, video production, etc. After graduation, where she received the Academic Achievement Award for the highest overall average of her graduating class, Nicole moved away from performance and towards production.
Nicole interviewed with CITY’s entertainment journalism/scripted comedy program Out There with Melissa DiMarco for an unpaid internship. Five years later Nicole respectfully left this production after having been promoted twice and earning the role of Senior Story Producer.
Nicole also furthered her comedy education by studying at Second City in Toronto, a school that specializes in the various aspects of improvisation teaching her skills that have come in handy for almost every situation in life (ex. pitching ideas, writing scripts, and pretending like you know what you’re talking about in a meeting you clearly did not prepare properly for).
Before being hired by CBC Radio, Nicole was unemployed for six months. She spent this time, almost daily, looking for jobs online, writing cover letters, going to interviews all with no success. It was exhausting and Nicole struggled a lot with trying to stay motivated especially when everyone around her had a full-time career. Nevertheless, Nicole kept applying and after months of frustration, Nicole was hired for a position with CBC Radio in Vancouver, BC.
Happy with herself that she followed her dreams, Nicole is now the Associate Producer for CBC Radio’s The Debaters. She is responsible for casting comedians for upcoming live tapings across Canada as well as pitching debate topics, visiting local comedy clubs searching for new and diverse talent, creating contracts, assisting with management of the show's budget, booking travel and accommodation, managing social media accounts, and printing and updating scripts for the production team and host of the show.
Some advice Nicole likes to share with the Youth of today is not to compare yourself and your life choices to those around you. Everyone may seem to have things figured out but everyone is just as scared as you are and everyone is comparing himself or herself to you as much as you are to them. Go with your gut and all of those people who took the safe route will wish they had done what you did.
Words of Wisdom:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." –Mark Twain