I Booked My First Speaking Role!

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Whelp, my first speaking role just aired on Investigation Discovery’s “Murder Comes to Town” (also available on Amazon Prime and iTunes). I know what kind of talent goes out for these auditions. Often I feel like the least qualified in the room, but here I am! Color me blessed. It just goes to show you: if God wants to you to do something,  He will track you down until it happens. Just a reminder that God’s purposes for your life will lead you on a twisting and wild road, but in the end it’s well worth the ride!

A Giving Actor

A friend of mine asked what a “giving actor” was. Here was my response, may it serve you well:

To me, being a giving actors starts with the other and works backwards. Read the script. What is the other person saying? This will make your lines come more naturally and be more easily memorizable. Get the memorized words out as word-perfect as possible without dwelling on them. The goal is to give your acting partner the cues they need to react appropriately to what you’re saying. Word perfection is both a huge confidence boost and gives both of you more room to play. Study your partner. How are they crafting their character? Even if you are just reading for them, study study study, let this inform how you are crafting your character, so that there are not two contrasting visions going down. Feel free to dialogue about it. The end goal is good chemistry and everybody is different. So, do what you can to complement and move on. Especially if you are reading for multiple people, this can be both challenging and a lot of fun, since a group of people often have a group of interpretations of the same scene. Be present in the read and when they are taking your partner’s coverage during the actual filming. Sometimes this will give you your best performance because the stress is off you. Study how that feels and channel that when the camera is back on you. Also, give the same love you’re showing to your actors to the director. If he or she throws you a curve ball, run with it, so that it becomes more of a game of “Simon Says” rather than “Guess Who’s Right?” We’re there to serve the production and make it damn good, and often times that involves a lot of dialogue and flexibility to make the scene work and visions vibe. Finally, work to create a comfortable atmosphere for your partner. We do a lot of hard scenes in our line of work. Make sure they are okay. Joke around. Note: some people stay in character in between takes. This is fine. You want to present the best performance you can, as well. So, in this case, find the balance. Hope that helps. All these things really help, and trust me I continue to work on them as well. That said, rock it, have fun, and, yeah, totally give me your answers as well! All my best.

Inclusion Rider

Upon accepting her much-deserved Oscar for Best Actress, Francis McDermott left the Academy with two words: inclusion rider. What is an inclusion rider? The stipulation in an actor or actresses’ contract that requires diversity in the film in which they are part.

Although her call for inclusion specifically targeted women, I am no less affected by it. I am a brown-skinned man who dreams of doing rom-coms. In the past, it was not our place to be the romantic lead. Or any lead other than the villain. But things are changing. There is Aladdin and West Side Story and Black Panther. In short, there is possibility now, and I am grateful. Wherever my journey takes me, I am grateful, because there are a lot of me’s in this world.

My sincerest thanks to all who have the power to make this change and choose to do so. Thank you, Francis McDermott. Party on!

A Hope of Romance

He had always considered himself a jester or a villain, someone brought in only to entertain or to kick before throwing out again; but there he was, in class, and the teacher gave him a script to read. It was a simple story about two friends trying to save a school. He performed it to the best of his ability. At the end, there was a collect “awww,” not aww as in pity or remorse, but in sympathy and encouragement. An eternal “isn’t that cute.”  The teacher turned to him and said, “you know, you could play a romantic lead one day.”

 

The student’s heart became afflutter. Romance was for the main stream, not the side characters. He never dared dream he was worthy of it. But here he was, hoping against hope, dreaming hard enough to be made reality. And the dream remained, though it took him a long, long while to see it achieved. But hope is a wonderful thing, flowers from the pavement, refusing to be quenched once ignited.

We all need a little hope in us. Thank you, Jesus.