Film Courage: I understand you moved to Los Angeles when you were 27 or 28? Anybody who is under age 30 feels that pressure to make it. I feel like now even more so [in a culture of influencers]. Can you share your opinion on this and what you tell your students?
Choice Skinner, Actor/Director/Instructor: I’ve learned the difference between men and women when it comes to birthdays, it’s really funny.
Every guy has a mental meltdown when their birthday approaches because they haven’t accomplished what they wanted to accomplish in life.
Women are different. You guys will go out and you’ll deal with it in a different way. You guys will go shopping, you will buy some shoes. They’ll work it out, they’ll figure it out. Guys have a mental meltdown. We can’t handle it because a man is typically (in his own mind thinking) judged my his achievements, by his accomplishments. And we all unfortunately do that to ourselves, we plan out our life. And we hear people say it, I didn’t think I’d be here, I thought I’d be so much further.
And for me when I had that epiphany, when I had that meltdown, I think I went into this place of saying to myself Okay, well if that’s not what’s happening now, what am I supposed to do? And like I said, you keep going. The hardest part is to keep going, I think for most people having that understanding of Okay life is what it is, it’s not what I want it to be, it’s what it’s going to be and I’m okay with that. And am I okay with that? Am I okay with being this age and not having this?
But I did start the entertainment industry a little later. Kids in my class started in their teens and they’re doing great now. Actors and people that I’ve worked with when they were 19 and they’re doing phenomenal now. Big agents and two or three TV shows and stuff but I firmly believe that if it wasn’t supposed to happen until 50, it’s not going to happen until 50.
So there is nothing you can do about it. And to me the growth is accepting it, really, really, really accepting that. And that’s what my epiphany was, it’s like Okay, it’s not supposed to happen this way. Are you okay with that? And moving from there. And I think once people do that, that’s the true level of faith knowing that this is what you’re supposed to being doing. There is no falsehood in it, it’s just a thing of a matter of time.
Film Courage: What if you’re okay with it and you’ve worked on yourself but you’re getting all these little voices from here and there and it’s your thirtieth birthday and…I mean I’m well past thirty but I remember that pressure.
And for me thirty was wonderfully freeing. I was in a place where I was getting out of a bad situation so I felt good, but I know a lot of people are under this weird pressure. Can you talk about this pressure from outside yourself? What if you’ve worked on yourself but outside yourself you are getting pressure?
Choice: Honestly, I never really had that pressure. Once…and if it was going to be it was going to be from my mom because my mom is one of my driving forces, but she’s my number one fan, she’s my biggest fan so it never came to that point.
Now there were always people around accomplishing. That’s a different pressure that I put on myself, seeing other people get there and wondering why I’m not. If anyone says that it doesn’t bother them, they’re lying. That’s the narcissism, that’s who we are as actors and entertainers, like we want to be doing just as great as somebody else. It’s not competition, it’s just a thing of I’m talented, this person is talented, I should be there as well.
Life isn’t fair and it ain’t a circus either. I think once I realized that quote…once I realized that…things got easier for me. So there was never really any outside pressure for that in regards to me. There was always fear of Am I going to make it? Am I ever going to be able to get there? Am I ever going to be able to do this? That’s always a fear because you’re battling life, you’re battling time. Time is the most precious gift that is given to you. And you’re hoping that Man, I’m hoping by the time I’m this age, I’m going to be able to do this.
But listen, if you’re not doing what you love, get out and find out what that is.
Film Courage: And if you are doing what you love and you’re hearing…or even if no one is saying it to you but you just turn on Twitter and see The Top 30 of Age 30 or 25 Under 25, so then the media is telling you that you’re not okay?
Choice: Yes, but times are different. I mean back then when I was just acting it was a different time than it is now. There are people in their 60’s and 70’s becoming stars, overnight sensations and stuff. Listen I tell my actors all the time, if your family or people are not on your crew then why should they be there when you finally get blessed because it’s going to happen. And I do tell people the only why it won’t happen is if you quit.
There’s a definitive thing that happens if you quit, you don’t make it. It’s night and day. It’s black and white. You stay in the game, it’s a number’s game, you will get there. Now the level that what you get to is primarily on your understanding of the business and how much of what you want to give over of who you are (your commitment).
But unless your mom or your dad is doing sound and holding the boom mic and picking up sand bags and stuff, they don’t have the right to say anything about your career if they’re not doing that. If they’re really, really behind you and supporting you, I can understand hearing their voices. But if they’re not supporting you by sending money or plane tickets when they want you to come home and all that? Why would you even listen to them honestly?
Questions For The Viewers: How do you evaluate your progress?
About Choice Skinner:
Choice was born and raised in Brooklyn New York and from a very early age was always into some form of entertainment. As a teen he joined his first band where he began writing music and studied the art of music production. In his spare time he wrote short stories and studied martial arts under the tutelage of Sifu/Sensei Dyron Jackson.After High School he pursued a music career and moved to Augusta/Atlanta Ga. There, he honed his music production skills by producing and managing various musical groups and talent of different genres. In 1992 He opened up “Dyron and Darkan’s School Of Martial Arts” the second largest school in Augusta Ga…(read more here on Darkanent Entertainment’s site).
MORE VIDEOS WITH CHOICE SKINNER
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