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Thursday, October 28, 2010

WBM Presents a Q&A with Actor CARLTON BYRD

WBM Presents a Q&A session with actor Carlton Byrd

Take a minute and get to know Carlton.

WBM: How long have you been in the game?

Carlton: My first “professional” show was in 1995. So, 15 years.

WBM: What's your greatest accomplishment so far in life?

Carlton: My greatest accomplishment is a work in progress.

WBM: So tell us what are some of your Interest(s)?

Carlton: All things having to do with performance art. Writing. Physical fitness. Florida beaches. That’s right, I said it.

WBM: What's your ultimate goal in life?

Carlton: To be in my hundreds and on my deathbed looking around at all my children (and children’s children…), and have them look back on me proud to be apart of the legacy my wife and I created for them. And left behind…

WBM: What do you like most about being in the business?

Carlton: Story telling. People have been telling stories since the beginning of time. Having God designate me as another storyteller in a long line of Story Tellers is something special.

WBM: What inspires and motivates you?

Carlton: Impossible-s. Doubts. Disbelief. Above all my family. My mother is my greatest inspiration.

WBM: How has life changed for you since you started?

Carlton: I was given a means to channel my own troubles and triumphs and (those of others) in a creative and ultimately rewarding way. Honing that ability and welcoming the never-ending pursuit towards “perfecting” that ability has made me into an infinitely better person. More open. Receptive.

WBM: What has been your favorite job you've done so far?

Carlton: I was apart of a banging production of The Baachae when I was at NYU. The summer after I graduated our cast was invited to perform the show as apart of an International Theater Festival in Warsaw. Greek tragedy over seas? Awesomeness.

WBM: What are you currently working on?

Carlton: I have a lead role in Tracy Letts’ comedy Superior Donuts performing Nov. 11, 2010 at The Studio Theater in Washington D.C. If you’re not up on Superior Donuts or Tracy Letts’ work--get into it.

WBM: Does any negativity from the media ever affect you in anyway?

Carlton: (Deep Siiiiiiiigh) Of course. Positively and negatively. The Positive: Seeing a bi-racial president on television everyday will forever bring light into my life. Even if it never happens again no one can ever strip that moment away. It will be one of the many stories I will share with my children, especially if one of them pipes up and says, “Daddy. I want to be president when I grow up.” Then, I can honestly smile and respond, “You DAMN right!”
The Negative: Three years ago I had a gun literally thrust in between my eyes in NY because I “fit description” of someone “breaking and entering” an apartment. An apartment I had keys to. And just last week (here in D.C.) a Caucasian male on his way to work “apologized” to me after my gym wear of sweat pants and matching hoody, drove him to believe that the “black man” beneath them was going to rob him. He had reason to believe the blackberry I was carrying to be a gun. Why is it that at first glance of an African-American male in “baggy clothes” holding an “unidentified object” do we as Americans automatically assume a threat to our personal safety? Could it have to do with the fact that every time we turn on his local news or CNN that we see more stories about African-Americans sticking up a liquor store, or fighting dogs, or collecting illegal guns, than we see about African-Americans turning ‘F’ Schools into ‘A’ Schools, or graduating Big Named Universities, or becoming Presidents? I say yes. It does.

Professionally, the images presented by the media directly effects the type of roles that I will be called in to audition for because the content that producers and writers see and read about in the media directly influences the stories and characters they wish to create. Why do you think there have been so many movies done about the war in Iraq? Or that there are so many popular television shows (for instance Brother’s and Sister’s and Grey’s Anatomy) that feature pivotal characters that have recently returned from combat over seas? The same reason why if you’ve ever watched Law & Order and thought the story unfolding sounded familiar. It’s because most of the stories being written for television and film are influenced by the world around us. The “hot button” topics. Images we as Americans see everyday. And yes. It is at the discretion of the writer to create new characters that challenge the ideas and stereotypes of the viewer, but more often than not they fail. That is why, I am called in for more “gangbangers” than I am “successful professionals” or “doctors” or “chemists”.

BUT, as Obama would say, “we are making progress.” I’m just hoping that one day the positive images for African-Americans in the media will out weigh the negative. But, I guess that’s a job for more than just the media isn’t it.

WBM: So do you have any advice for those looking to pursue their dreams?

Carlton: The same advice that was given to me: Set a goal. Now make sure everyday you are doing something in order to achieve that goal. Everyday. If a day goes by and you have not done something towards that goal, you have wasted a day.

WBM: What do you want to be remembered by?

Carlton: Being the best that I could be.

WBM: Anything else you would like the world to know about you?

Carlton: I sometimes push others as hard as I push myself. Most times to positive results. But, its all because as much as I believe in myself I believe in others more. No one should ever doubt his or her ability to breed life out of a dream. We all have wings to fly.

To check out more on Carlton Byrd

Coming soon...
The Studio Theater in D.C.

In this delicious new comedy from the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of August: Osage County, an offbeat friendship grows between a cantankerous white shop owner and an ambitious black teenager with something to hide. As the two men bond over literature and entrepreneurship, they discover that family runs deeper than blood. Amidst the changing face of an old Chicago neighborhood, a local donut shop becomes the setting for old secrets and new beginnings.

For tickets and info...


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