Monday, October 11, 1993

I started a new job at the Lillian Vernon distribution center in Virginia Beach. It was not a very good experience, but I did meet a very, very sweet young lady named Ellen that I enjoyed spending time with. She was definitely a breath of fresh air in that place. Just meeting her made it worth it, almost everything else was forgettable. I do remember that actor River Phoenix passed away during my time there.

Wednesday, September 22, 1993

I didn't have the slightest idea how to get started in the business since I lived in Virginia Beach, VA; not exactly Hollywood East. A friend had turned me on to me on to an acting teacher in town named Sylvia Harman at The Actor's Place. Her private classes were the perfect place for me to start; she was a teacher that was experienced and thorough. I quickly found that Virginia Beach was not a bad place to start. The first night in class I met William Gregory Lee, who like me, was hungry as hell. He was not about to be denied his turn at success. It was a great match, two guys who were on the same page as far as what it would take to "really" do this. In this same class I eventually met actresses Joanna Canton & Michelle Krusiec.

The very next week in class he was already asking me "when was I leaving for NYC or LA" I didn't have an answer I just said that I was gonna work as hard as I could everyday and it would happen in due time. It could be 6 months or 3 years, but I knew it was gonna happen. Within months we both started to expand our horizons as far as keeping on top of the business. I remember driving 40 miles round-trip to get Variety Magazine. At the time, I really couldn't even afford the gas to make the trip, but at the same time I couldn't afford "not" to make those trips. I felt like I was in college, even though in reality I have never been. It was around this same time that Greg and I had our first professional audition. It was for an episode of "America's Most Wanted". Greg booked a principal role and I was hired for background.

Thursday, August 26, 1993

Family Channel Studios-I am sold on this business, I think. I was having a great time. This was my first real view into the process of how a real production is made. The lights, the camera, the actors, hearing the director yell "ACTION!" and the live audience. It was a great intro to the business. Oh yeah, one of the guest stars of this episodes was indie queen Hope Davis.

Wednesday, August 25, 1993

Remember that agency that was never going to call me? THEY CALLED!!!!!!! They wanted to know if I would be interested in doing background work on a TV show. The show was called "Big Brother Jake" starring Jake Steinfeld of "Body by Jake" fame. It was filmed locally at The Family Channel studios. They wanted a young black actor who had a little edge. "Edge?" Maybe it was my shoulder-length dreadlocks. The person that they would have normally called had cut his dreadlocks for a movie recently. The agent told the Casting Director that I had no experience, but a great attitude.

Tuesday, August 10, 1993

Today was the big day for my meeting with this agency. I arrive and they have me fill out a bunch of paperwork. I was then taken to another room and read commercial, on camera. OMIGOD!!!!!! I had no idea it was so difficult, that camera was so intimidating. Anyway, I was horrible and it was okay. I told the gentleman that I was going to start classes with a local teacher next month. He agreed that this teacher was probably the best in town. I couldn't wait to get out of that office. I knew I would never hear from these people again. I finally called that teacher and signed up for her classes.

Tuesday, July 20, 1993

Today was seemingly just another day at the slicer, but ended up being somewhat of a turning point in my life. I have always listened to a lot of AM Talk radio. On this particular day the host was interviewing a state politician. Somehow they got on the subject of his son who is an actor. They were saying that he had a part in a Sissy Spacek movie, sounds good to me. For whatever reason, they mentioned who the young actor was represented by. I wrote it down and said to myself "I have to call them, TODAY!!!!!!" I looked it up in the phonebook and 20 minutes later I found the courage to cold call.

A very distinguished sounding man answered the phone. I asked how I could find out about auditions for movies or commercials. He replied "If you are not a professional you wouldn't know". Not what I wanted to hear, but it kinda made sense. We continued to make small talk and were about to end the conversation when somehow, in a very natural way, it came up that I was Black. HUH??????? When he found that out, he immediately set up an appointment for me to come in and read. He didn't think I sounded "Black", whatever that means. He said the agency needed black actors who weren't too ethnic sounding. Okay??? The appointment was set for 3 weeks later.

Saturday, May 01, 1993

I have always been interested in photography, so I am taking a summer photography course at local community college. It was a fun class, I even got to develop and print my own photos. About 2 weeks from the end of the course I told my instructor that I was going to start taking acting classes. Of course he laughed and didn't think I was serious. I still hadn't made any real plans as far contacting that teacher or anything.

Thursday, April 29, 1993

The Intro.........

What follows is a step-by-step account of my continuing journey to fulfill my dreams of being successful in the entertainment business. Obviously it is not finished and it won't be. It will remain a work in progress.

I was born in Lemoore, California @ 5:15 on a Monday morning. Being a military family, we moved around a lot, but by the time I was five our family settled in Virginia Beach, VA.
I was the third of six kids. After my father retired from the Navy he bought a small deli and the family business was born. Actually, it was born two years prior in our own kitchen with my mom making Philly-style hoagies for my father's lunch. He, we the help of the family, turned it into a very successful business. I worked in the establishment for many years, but I knew early on it wasn't my calling. My father and I were never able to see eye-to-eye on anything it seemed, so I made other plans.

I always wanted to work in the entertainment field, it was fascinating to me. Not only the performers, but the business side as well. It didn't matter if it was a new studio deal, an Oscar winning performance, a Hip-Hop star crossing over into TV/Film and especially the whole "smoke & mirrors" aspect of the business. I loved it all. Since I lived in Virginia Beach I figured I would have to move to LA or NYC first. I had no idea how to get "in", but I was determined to figure it out.

Working in the deli I spent a lot of time looking out that front window while slicing turkey, onions or pastrami. My family's business is quite successful, but it was clear to me that I couldn't stay there. The question was how was this going to materialize. I have always been a result-oriented thinker, so I already pictured myself in the big cities of LA or NYC making big moves. A friend of mine, Jonathan Julian, had told me about this acting teacher in town that was really good. I had never taken an acting class in my life. I set up an appointment with "procrastination". I sat on the info for a time.