Actor Kyle Meagher talks show biz: “The best thing you can do is be ready for change!”

Kyle Meagher as “The Big O” in award-winning show “Odd Squad”.

Kyle Meagher grew up loving to be in front of people. Instead of fearing class presentations like so many children his age, he enjoyed them. He liked speaking in front of a crowd, and would always make his parent’s friends laugh when they came to visit. One of his best skills has been in his ability to observe a crowd and to be able to make a clever remark on the fly and play to the audience. His easygoing nature made him ready for anything. This innate talent is what led him to success at such a young age, appearing in large commercial campaigns at just nine years old.

Now, Meagher has come a long way from class presentations. He has starred in award-winning music videos, TV shows and films. And with this experience, he learned how valuable it was to be ready for change when you are working in the entertainment industry. But when it comes to giving advice about being in the industry, his top tip is to “always be ready for change, and embrace it”.

“A lot goes into being an actor,” said Kyle Meagher. “You have to be willing to work hard and be ready for whatever comes at you — you might have to work ten hours when you thought you were booked for eight, the weather may suddenly turn on you when doing an outdoor shoot, scenes may suddenly change because they are not working. So, when I think about the most important thing that anyone in this industry needs, it is to be flexible and ready for change, and just go with it.”

Meagher really learned this last year, when he was in the hit television series Odd Squad. Odd Squad is a PBS and TVO show that has won 13 awards and had 33 nominations, and it is just in its second season. It follows the child secret agents known as “The Odd Squad”, who all have names that start with O, as they solve problems designed to teach math skills to the children that are its target audience.

Meagher played a principal role in the episode The Creature Whisperer as “The Big O” who is the head of the agency. However, it did not start out that way. Kyle was originally booked to play a different role as a secret agent in the background of some scenes. However, the younger cast member that was originally set to play “The Big O” was not feeling well when it came to shoot. Director Brian K. Roberts (Spun Out, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Simpsons) went to the show’s head writer/creator Tim McKeon and, creative producer Mark De Angelis knowing that they needed to do something quickly to avoid losing a day of shooting. McKeon and De Angeles cleverly figured out how to solve problem.

That is when they approached Meagher about taking a larger role. They worked quickly to pull the team together, exemplifying the sudden change that happens regularly in the television industry. They reworked the script in a short period of time to have a twist at the end, and keep the humor of the original script in the episode.

“It was great. For a kid who literally was going to be in one or two scenes as a background performer to then delivering a lot of lines, he did well. Kyle was very easy to work with. It was good for him to step up,” Roberts said. “I think that alone says he has some good chops. He was able to adjust to the situation quickly. He was very professional. He did incredibly well in circumstances that demanded a very quick shift in what his day was going to look like. He had to carry a lot of water in this episode, and he took direction well. I think the moral of the story is you never know what is going to happen in this business. If you are a young actor, learning and going to acting school, you never know when luck is going to fall in your direction. He stepped up to the plate and did a fantastic job. From my standpoint, it is like winning the lottery.”

That day of filming, change was in Meagher’s favours. His maturity beyond his age of 13 at the time was evident, and contributed to his success and reputation in the industry.

“It was amazing. I am super thankful the way it turned out,” said Meagher. “It was incredible. And you know what? We shot the episode on time. No delays. I couldn’t believe it.”

The experience really instilled that age old saying “the show must go on” for the young actor. He knows the industry is hard work, but with talent and commitment like Meagher, there is no doubt that audiences of all ages will continue to see his name roll past their eyes in the credits.

“Of course, change isn’t always in the actor’s favor,” admits Meagher. “Sometimes you have to be ready for change that as an actor, you won’t be happy with. You might be written out of an episode, or your scenes may get cut in editing. But you just do your best, be ready for anything and enjoy whatever comes at you. There is always a solution to everything. In this industry, being ready for anything and expecting change is a must. Just go for it,” he concluded.

You can view Meagher’s performance as “The Big O” here.