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Julian Black Antelope followed a winding path in career

Actor and producer Julian Black Antelope was keynote speaker Friday at the F.P. Walshe school career day.

Julian Black Antelope once walked the halls of F.P. Walshe school as a teenager trying to find his place in the world.
Today Black Antelope’s work as an actor and producer takes him around the world and puts him on screens in front of millions of people.
“I have been able to work all over the world,” Black Antelope said Friday at the F.P. Walshe school career day. “I went to school here and I grew up here. I never thought in a million years that the choices I would make would allow me to do these things.”
Black Antelope shared with F.P. Walshe students a message of realizing that every choice they make — good and bad — will shape their path in life.
As keynote speaker at career day, Black Antelope encouraged students to find something they are passionate about, rather than worrying first about a big paycheque.
“If you choose something for money, that novelty is going to wear off pretty quick.”
For Black Antelope as a youth in Fort Macleod, that meant becoming a rock star.
Black Antelope was a drummer in bands that toured Canada, and he came close to signing a big contract in the U.S.
Along the way Black Antelope got lost, caught up in a lifestyle of booze, drugs, partying and the company of some undesirable people.
It wasn’t until he was 32 years of age that Black Antelope admitted he was on the wrong path and decided to chart a new course.
He got some help from Joe Eagle Tailfeathers, who took Black Antelope to his first First Nations sweat lodge and taught him about his culture.
After working two seasons at head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Black Antelope had the chance to make $10,000 a month in the oil industry.
Instead, he took a job for $10 an hour on the set of the six-part mini series Into the West in Calgary.
“When I stepped onto that film site, it was magical,” Black Antelope said.
After working three days on background, Black Antelope was asked if he could ride horses, and if he could fall off one.
Black Antelope agreed to hit the dirt, and that led to him becoming a wrangler. Then he was asked to audition for a speaking role, which landed him next to famed First Nations actor Graham Greene.
“I kind of freaked out a bit,” Black Antelope said of meeting one of his idols.
Although he was inexperienced and out of his comfort zone, Black Antelope realized that television and film were where he wanted to be.
“I had no idea what I was doing but it just felt right,” Black Antelope said.
Black Antelope learned the business through trial and error and from the people around him, never letting himself get discouraged.
Hard work, a willingness to learn and taking chances paid off for Black Antelope, but he cautioned students that not every choice they make will work out for the best.
“The scars that you get along the way, make sure they’re worth it,” Black Antelope said.
Black Antelope starred as villain Darrien Tailfeathers for four seasons on the acclaimed TV series Blackstone.
In 2014 Black Antelope was cast in Penny Dreadful which took him overseas and led to spots on Condor, An Klondike, Justice Dot Net, Caught, and Hell on Wheels.
Black Antelope moved into producing with credits on True Fiction, Harpoon, Knuckleball, Alive, Fake Blood and Empyrean.
“I’m just doing my thing, and I know that it feeds my soul,” Black Antelope said.
Black Antelope reminisced about his time growing up in Fort Macleod, and the support he received from teachers such as the late Sharon Cote.
“She cut me a lot of slack and she taught me a lot of life lessons.”
Black Antelope, who lives in Calgary with his wife and three children, told students there will be obstacles and side roads on their career journey, but to be open to possibilities that each presents.
“You are on your way up,” Black Antelope said. “It’s your time to shine. It’s your time to take whatever you want to do and grab it.”
“Keep your nose to the grind, do your thing, step forward. Don’t get discouraged.”