Confession time: I ended up at the University of Waterloo somewhat accidentally: I transferred universities mid-studies to follow a then-boyfriend. A year later, I lost the boyfriend but kept the school and city. However, my degree was one thing I was always certain of, as I had firmly decided to become an actor; I had a do or die mentality that left me thinking “if I'm not famous by 25 then my life is over.”
Boy, was I so very wrong. Looking back, I feel like I ended up in the best possible place, but the path my life took after graduation was something I never could have predicted.
After staying in Waterloo and acting with local companies such as KWLT, I officially moved to Toronto in 2010 while filming a feature horror film. It made sense to be in the city where the majority of my auditions and work took place, rather than driving back and forth almost daily. To support my acting habit, I took on an office admin job, putting my obsessive organizational skills that I had developed in school to good use.
And... wash, rinse, repeat. I would inevitably burn out at the office job, quit or get fired, and then go on to pick up new work when I needed the money, all while studying improv, going to auditions, and acting in amazing projects. It was pretty clear where my passion was... or so I thought.
Fast forward to early 2013, where I'd gone through this cycle several times. At the time, I was also working through a fantastic book called The Artist's Way. After my last official employer joined a cult (no, really!), I decided, for better or worse, to strike out on my own.
Cue the shock when I was surprised to discover that alongside acting, I suddenly really, really wanted to run my own business. Looking back, it all makes sense now: aside from acting, in school I had studied English, psychology, and Japanese alongside the theatre studies. I also taught myself photography, a bit of calculus “for fun,” and began researching neuroscience extensively “because I was bored.”
From my many passions and skills, Laughing Cat Creative was officially born in 2013, in all its messy newborn glory. My first iteration of the company saw me offering everything under the sun, and I ended up talking to mostly nobody. In my first year of business, I made a small four-figure income, and my only real client turned out to be a nightmare who asked for way too much for way too little money.
Since then, I've learned a lot. Now I offer services in two main areas: filmmaking and workshops. I work mostly with small to medium-size businesses where I create awesome new possibilities and outcomes for my clients. Sometimes this looks like creating a catchy pitch video for a new project, sometimes it looks like creating a multi-day scavenger hunt for an office where employees learn team-building while having a ton of fun, and sometimes I get to create a brand-new solution to a unique problem, using my diverse toolbox of skills. The best part is that I get to use my intuitive focus to create customized experiences for each person I work with. And, I still get to pursue my first love, acting, between business-related projects.
My work is perhaps not as glamorous as walking a red carpet somewhere, but it leaves me with a true sense of fulfillment at the end of the day. And, when I'm not helping someone else, I am still creating my own work. None of this would have been possible without the diverse educational path I found myself on and the myriad of adventures in between.
If you would like to work with Emily or see what else she is up to, you can reach her at:
or @EmilySchooley personally on Twitter
Read an interview about Emily's latest film, Reset currently in the production process.