My recent trip to New York was definitely a time to remember. In addition to the great food at places such as the Aneri Tricaffe in the Theater District to the well-known Pio Pio restaurant not far from Time Square, I had the privilege of meeting with some extraordinary people in the entertainment industry. The level of respect and honor that they possess is well deserved, to say the least. What our community needs in the Carolinas are great connections to a vast network of industry professionals that can invest their knowledge and experience into the hearts and minds of our talented Carolinians aspiring to grow. It is my personal mission to bring these connections to the Carolinas by way of speaking engagements and project inclusions. I met with some music producers, a Broadway composer and director, Actors, a well-known and sought-after acting coach, and one of the most renowned talent agencies in the U.S. This was truly a trip for the books, and I am so honored to have been in such great company. Look out, Carolina Film Network, and get ready to expand our horizon.
Teyonah Parris An actress and a producer, she is known for her roles in several television and film features such as “Chi-raq”, “How Do You Know”, “They Came Together”, “Five Nights in Maine”, “Mad Men” TV series, “Survivor’s Remorse” TV series, and many more. She has also won several awards and nominations. She won Best Actress at the AAFCA Awards, Outstanding Actress and Outstanding Breakthrough Performance at the Black Reel Awards, and was nominated at the Image Awards for Outstanding Actress and at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
Jason Michael Webb Dove Award winner, two-time Stellar Award nominee; Arranger: “Battle Hymn of the Republic” for the 2013 Inauguration of President Barack Obama; Broadway Associate Musical Director of “Motown: The Musical”; Musical Director of “Off Broadway”; Pianist for the 2007 Tony Awards along with many vocalists such as Michal Bolton, Chaka Khan, Fantasia, and Mariah Carey; Orchestrator for Jacksonville Symphony, Nashville String Machine, and Carnegie Hall; He is also a Composer, Producer, Musical Director and Conductor for several Broadway Musicals that include the current Tony Award-winning “The Color Purple”, “Violet”, and more.
Nancy Carson Noted as one of the top rated children’s talent agents in New York City and is internationally respected, she has launched the careers of such megastars as Britney Spears, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and many others. She has been a frequent guest on shows such as “The View”, “The Today Show” and more. She is an advisor to the Actor’s Equity Association’s Children’s Committee and set the standard for requiring tutoring for children actively in the industry. She is also a member of the National Association of Talent Representatives and has written over 18 books, to include the acclaimed “Raising a Star,” the parents’ guide to helping kids break into theater, film, television or music.
Lelund Durond Thompson Recognized as one of the most sought after photographers, writers, and acting coaches, he was the first African American to receive his MFA from the CASE/Cleveland Play House Actor Training Program. He has served as Associate Producer and Director of Photography for music videos and webseries “Homegirls”; has been published in the New York Times, in Playbills for Broadway productions, and has included shoots for Ricky Martin, Daniel Radcliffe, and Perez Hilton. Thompson has also served as a personal acting coach for actors in “Orange is the New Black”, “Django Unchained”, and Martin Scorsese’s “Vinyl”; He, along with Dove Award-winning producer/writer Jason Michael Webb, wrote an original musical for Classical Theater of Harlem called “The First Noel” which also premiered at the Apollo Theater, and they also wrote “Wildflower” which was the debut album from Tshidi Manye of Disney’s The Lion King.
Shirley Faison Mother to the Award-winning Actor/Producer Donald Faison, she is also one of the most respected and demanded Talent Agents known in the industry. She has over three decades of experience in the industry as a Producer, Director, and Executive Director of Theater. She has also received an AUDELCO Producers Award for Musical Production, frequently speaks at Weist-Barron/ACTeen and Actor’s Connection, and is a panelist for Hal Jackson’s Talented Teens and Kemet Productions, “Road to Stardom.” She represents all ages for theatre, film, and television at the Carson-Adler Talent Agency alongside Nancy Carson.
Michel Florez One of the original actors who was the voice of Diego for “Go Diego, Go” series. He was also a featured actor for “As The World Turns”, “One Life To Live”, and “Jimmy Neutron”.
Jordan Battiste Recording artist at Tommy Boy Entertainment, he is also a Cinematographer, Editor, and Director. He was also a Music Director for The City Kids Foundation in New York from 2010 through 2014.
Bert Price He is the Music Director at The National Black Theatre: Institute for Action Arts as well as an Audio Engineer and musician. He was formerly an instructor at The New School and President at Circle Entertainment LLC, and is also the CEO of Status NYC Center for The Media Arts.
Article by Executive Director Andrew Gajadhar