By Mistah Martel
I can’t help but get emotional when I think about my early days in the movie business. I started off playing extras in movies and worked my way up in the industry.
Early in life, I realized that I had a passion for film and movie making, but that great role or opportunity wasn’t going to fall on my lap. I had to go out there and make it happen. During the early days, I went online and asked anyone I thought would know: “How do I get into movies?”
I started taking local acting classes, honing my craft. I had to be on movie sets, so I got in contact with a casting agency that specializes in providing extras, Extras Casting Atlanta (ECA), and they got me some gigs working as an extra. Initially, I wasn’t getting any work. I got used to hearing “no” and having doors slammed in my face. I stayed positive and moved on.
Later, I got invited for more auditions, and although it hasn’t been easy, I slowly climbed up in the industry. I worked with ECA, New Life Casting, and Destination Casting. I was cast as an extra in productions like “Drop Dead Diva,” “The Vampire Diaries,” and “Resurrection.” I also had the opportunity to act as an extra “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
From playing extras, I got some roles in some independent movies. Nothing big, but it was a welcome experience. After all, I was doing what I loved. I was cast as Young John in “Church of Redemption,” and as Agent Mist in “The Blue Jay Chronicles.” I also started writing in my spare time, penning down ideas I hoped would get made into movies someday.
Throughout my career in the film industry, I have played numerous roles on movie sets, from actor to writer to producer. It’s all been a humbling experience. I was a writer for “The Hutchins” and served as a producer in various capacities, for the TV series, “The Campaign Game” and the short drama, “Road to Lyrics.
I had the unique privilege of working with talented individuals like Roz Ryan and Michael H. Cole, wonderful individuals and mentors.
For me, one of my greatest joys was winning an award at the Content Creators of Atlanta Entertainment Gala. I received the Best Feature Screenplay award for my work, “Momotami: Rising Son.” It was very much unexpected, but I was honored by it. It made me remember my humble beginnings. I realized how far I had come, and it has motivated me to strive to achieve more. I am very grateful to the Content Creators of Atlanta for the award.
Looking back, I can say that I have come a long way, but honestly, I am just getting started.