When I was first starting out, I was cast in the role of Eli in the short film Still Harlem by Lynn Dow. It was an important role about the gentrification of Harlem. My scenes opened and closed the film. One of the producers of the film was in the Black Panthers and he was an amazing coach to me and helped me make the scenes even better. I was nominated for this role a couple of times and even won one of them.
When the acting, writing and directing all come together, it can make for a powerful performance. Airplane is one of my favorite movies which has all 3 of those plus my other love of flying. Additionally, the comedic timing of it all was brilliant. I recite lines from that movie all the time and even though it is an old film it still works today.
[I love] Meeting and connecting with people who have the same interests as me. People who will accept me for being me and not make me feel like an outsider because I have different interests than them.
In addition to the entertainment industry, I also love flying planes. I’ve been taking flying lessons for a couple of years now and next year when I turn 16, I will get to go solo. Then when I turn 17, I can get my pilot’s license. I also play piano and perform in the jazz lab at school. I’m also on my high school’s tennis team.
I watch videos of some of my favorite YouTubers and see some of the creative things that they have done and it inspires me to think outside the box. This can be for school work, preparing for an audition or just having fun with friends.
Networking Tip: Be friendly to everyone you work with no matter what role they play. You never know where they will be in the future and if you were kind to them, they will hopefully remember you and possibly give you an opportunity. Make friends on set and get their Instagram names and follow them. Help support them when they post by liking or commenting on them. And don’t unfollow them after they follow you.
Business Advice: A very successful friend in the business told me that you need to be prepared to receive a lot of no’s but that doesn’t mean that it’s because you can’t act. He said if he gave up every time he heard he was too tall, his accent was too strong, or his nose was too crooked, he never would be where he was today. I always think of that when I don’t hear back from a call back or audition.