2013 is the year where I started to focus on what I’m going to do with my life. In the Fall of 2013, I did an internship at BronxNet. BronxNet was the first real taste of working behind the camera. I’m grateful for BronxNet and all the experiences and cool people I’ve met along the way. I just felt something was missing. I remember seeing trailers on my TV screen for upcoming films, 12 Years A Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street. When I got the opportunity to watch those films, that’s when I knew. After watching those films, I knew I wanted to give acting a try.
Before I go any further, I want to take it back to the Summer of 2001. My mom, my sister Jessica and I went to PS. 115. It’s two blocks away from where I live. I don’t recall why we went there in the first place, but I remember I had to improvise a scene with another grown man. The story was about a young kid who is taking boxing classes, who is flunking in his classes. This man who plays as my strict father is not happy about my grades. Therefore, he won’t allow me to take boxing lessons until I get my grades up. The biggest test for me was to cry in the scene. I’m here thinking, “Oh god. How am I going to do this?” but the actors’ serious demeanor presence, and his way of talking to me in the scene, made me cry like a baby. I was ten years old when I did this. After we finished improvising, everyone was clapping. An actor was born. PSYCHE! The actor was truly born almost 13 years later.
After watching Oscar-caliber films 12 Years A Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street, I registered for an “Acting 1” course for the 2014 Spring Semester, which would be my last semester in college. I attended City College of New York. However, I did take an Acting 1 class before, which only lasted one day, haha. In the Fall of 2011, during my first semester at City College, I took Acting 1 as an elective. Professor Nesmith was our Acting 1 professor. This guy intimidated me. I knew 30 mins into the class; I was going to drop the class. I wasn’t confident or mentally prepared for acting. I just knew that on my second attempt to take Acting 1, it was time for redemption. I needed to be bold, brave, and confident to do this. January 28, 2014, this is the day where it truly all began, and I never looked back since.
Two months later, one of my classmates got up in front of the whole class and made an announcement. He said there are One-Act Play Auditions going on. Anyone who wants to audition, feel free to attend. I thought, “Hmm, this might be a good opportunity for me.” I was also nervous as fuck just by thinking about the audition. But I put on my big boy pants and went to the audition. The audition was terrific. I did a cold reading with another guy, who is new to acting. We received funny sides. It was about two guys who are talking shit about hot girls and the freaky shit they wanna do to them, haha. When it was our turn to audition, there were so many theatre students in the room. The pressure was on. I was extremely nervous, but I couldn’t let the moment overwhelmed me. The audition went great. Students were laughing at my scene partner and me because of how we deliver our lines.
Next thing I know, I got cast for two plays: Poison and The Game. Also, during the final semester, I had a class called “Workshop in Drama.” It was my first experience taking a course on writing a play. I learned how to format a script. Towards the end of the semester, two of my classmates (Jonathan and Richie) and I performed a short play in the classroom. I played as a disgruntled detective who is interrogating the suspect. I killed it. With the corner of my eye, I saw my professor grinning. After class, Jonathan and Richie told me that I should be an actor. Little did they know that I was taking an acting course and landed two plays.
Poison was the play that caught the eyes of many students in the Theater Department. There was a crazy adrenaline rush running through my body when I stepped on stage for the first time in my life to perform the play Poison. I played the drunk husband, haha. The play is dark and severe, but when we performed, it turned out to be comical. I almost broke character because of how much the audience was laughing, but I held it together.
After the play, everyone in the hallway was congratulating me. I felt like a celebrity. It was a fantastic feeling. You know you did a good job when actors in the theatre department (who don’t know you) asks you, “are you going to audition for this play next fall?” etc.
The rest is history. As of 2020, I’m an Actor, Writer, Producer, Director, and Founder of my Independent Production Company, Double L 94 Productions. I named my company after my grandmother.