After a lifetime spent experiencing the ups and downs of the Canadian entertainment industry, Forest Hill area resident Rainbow Sun Francks knows the game well.
Francks, who can currently be seen playing Corporal Dev Clark on CTV's The Listener, has been acting since he was four years old.
Francks, who made his first appearance on Sesame Street, followed the footsteps of his father, actor and musician Don Francks, in staking out a career in the entertainment industry. Since then, he has added a number of credits, though he is likely best known for his recurring role as Lieutenant Aiden Ford on Stargate: Atlantis and for a stint as a MuchMusic VJ.
He ranks his work on The Listener as one of the highlights of a career that has seen him earn a Gemini nomination for his work in the film One Heart Broken Into Song.
"The show morphs so much each season," he said. "It's constantly evolving, so each season, it's like you have new lives for the characters, but in the same bodies."
Life has not always been easy for Francks. Like any Canadian actor trying to make a name for himself north of the border, he knows he cannot rest on the success he has earned so far.
"The life of a Canadian actor is going in and auditioning for stuff over and over again," he said. "You're told you're not good enough constantly, so you need an ego of steel and no suicidal tendencies."
While he loves Canada and has no plans to pursue a career in the United States, Francks said it can be frustrating working in an industry that could do much more to promote Canadian talent.
"If you go down Queen Street and ask people who their favourite Canadian actor is - other than the big Hollywood actors who have made it down there - nobody has one and a lot of people probably couldn't name one," he said.
The fact he grew up in a family of actors - sister Cree Summer also has a successful career while his mother Lili Francks has made a name for herself on the stage - has certainly helped him forge his career on the challenging Canadian scene.
"Life at home was full of understanding, which was much different from most things a lot of my friends heard when they wanted to get into acting," he said. "My dad said, 'You don't have to act, but I want you to think about it. If you do well, you can buy new cars and try new things all the time.'"
He also ran into his share of speed bumps along the way simply by virtue of starting at such a young age. The vagaries of youth can be particularly hard on an actor, who must always be prepared to bring their A game or risk losing work.
"As a teenager, I would think 'Yeah, I can drink tonight and then go work tomorrow' but no, you really can't," he said. "It took some time to learn that."
Like his father, Francks' talents are not limited to the screen. He is active on the music scene, having performed in several bands over the years and is currently working on his own rap album and a collaboration with Chin Injeti of Bass is Base.
"I love being able to act six months a year and then turn around and work on (music)," he said. "When you're acting, you're the instrument, and then you go to working with instruments."
While Francks splits time between Toronto and British Columbia; he spends the majority of his time living in the Forest Hill area neighbourhood he has called home for 30 years.
He loves the convenience and the fact the area has everything he wants and needs easily within reach.
"There's the greatest of just about everything right in the area now, and if there's something I need that isn't there, the subway's so convenient or I can just shoot down Bathurst," he said. "There's biking, ravines, amazing parks...what more could you want?"
The Listener airs at 10 p.m. Wednesdays on CTV.