Thursday, August 9, 2012

Interview with Actor/Producer Chris Greene

Lauren Honeycutt

1. What event in your life made you want to be an actor?

I was in college, 19 or 20 years old, a buddy of mine at the time, was going to
North Carolina school of the arts. He called me up saying he needed extras
for a club scene, no pay, but if you’re over 21 they will buy you drinks and
lots of food on set. I thought actors were vain people, like models. Once I got
on set, the professionalism of the students, seeing how a movie was actually
made, I had a lot of respect for the hours put in for a one-minute scene. The
preparation, the difficulties involved, the pressures involved on actors, I
could see myself entertaining folks. You get to travel; you get paid to have

2. What’s your background? Did this affect your acting abilities or

I’m from New York, Mount Vernon. Dick Clark and Denzel Washington are
from there. At the time I grew up your, options were either to become a star
basketball player or “hustling”. There were not a lot of opportunities to own
your own business, as a black man. My mom grew tired of New York; she
wanted to get me involved in after school programs. I took up band. That
essentially got me into the mode of doing a lot of traveling. You get to go
around and see different things with the concert band in high school. I played
the drums and still do to this day. I got a band scholarship to attend college.
My parents made a big influence on me in regards to acting, by showing me
the values to acting. I don’t think a lot of actors have that, they weren’t taught
it. They were born into the industry. Others work their way in, like me. They
have to put in the work to prove themselves, the ones who worked hard had
the longevity. They all come from the same backgrounds. Denzel is an iconic
actor globally. He is from my area. Like him, anything I have ever had to do I
have had to work for. Concept to finish, I want to make sure its done properly
and respectfully.

3. Who was your biggest influencer? Who encouraged you to pursue your

Personally, my father, he was always one for living in the moment. He would
say, “whatever you want to do just make sure you flourish and make sure
your happy.” He was very supportive of me acting, as long as I was happy
doing it. He still is to this day a big motivation for me. Every time I step on set
I think of him.

4. Who’s your favorite actor?

On and off screen Will Smith is my favorite actor. A lot of people don’t realize
how intelligent Will is. He was invited to go to MIT; he is a well versed
educated man. I relate to him because his upbringing was very similar to
mine. He’s very motivational; when you see him in interviews he’s cordial
to everybody. That’s what keeps him afloat, his fan base. You could just
put “Will Smith”, just his name, on a black poster and people would buy
tickets to see it. He knows what people want, he knows how to be apart of
a film that tells a story, he knows how to be in front of a screen so people
miss you. He was bankrupt at 21, he didn’t let anyone step in his way, he kept
going, look at where he is today. I respect that. That is something I would
like to have in my career. It’s something to strive for. Taking pieces of his
knowledge, put your mind to it and it will happen, regardless of what you
want to do. You have to be determined and you have to be focused. You’re
going to fail, that’s a fact, but it’s the ability to learn from those failures that
makes it a success.

5. What inspires you as an artist? How has this affected your acting

My inspiration comes from being recognized for my talent. Inspiration to me
is having someone watching my film, a product I put out there, leaving the
theatre saying this is money well spent. Or having huge problems at home
but being in that theatre, they can completely forget about it. My daughter is
a huge inspiration to me, being a parent changes your whole world. You look
at things more long term. She reminds me when I see her that it is the simple
things that make you happy. Providing a stable future for my daughter. That’s
inspiration too me.

6. As an actor, what obstacles have you had to overcome?

The word “no”, I have been acting and involved in the industry for ten years
now. No is the hardest thing to hear, you put your heart and soul into an
audition and to hear you got beat out, having to watch the person who beat
you in the role you wanted, and hearing the reasons you were told no, is
definitely something to overcome. As a black actor it is harder, this is not
a race thing, Hollywood doesn’t care about white or black, they care about
generating money. It’s all about your charisma and what you bring in.

7. What has been your favorite role so far?

It comes down to two roles. One is Flip Master Phil. I had a 5 pixel camera,
taking pictures of two women, something a “wanna-be-pimp” would do.
Flip Master Phil brought out a different voice, a slick movement that was
completely different from anything I have ever done. My character Eric is my
second favorite. The director wanted to make a film based on his experiences

on set. My character is a PA on set. The guy in one position thinking he could
do everything better than everybody else. This character has never failed to
be true to every film set I have ever done. I took from those experiences and
used it in this role.

8. What is something that you know now that you wish you knew when
you were first starting out as an actor?

The business aspect is a big downfall for a lot of actors. You have to know the
creative side but it is imperative to know the business side. Knowing the business
aspect can make or break you.

9. Do you think you really understood what you were in for when you
decided you wanted to become an actor?

Yes and no. Yes I did from the aspect your life becomes an open book.
Because everyone recognizes you, it’s hard to do the everyday stuff. The
business aspect is something I was not in for. The financial toll it takes on
actors. The gas money, the food money, the hotel pay, it all adds up. As of
2010 the percentage of you becoming an A list actor, without family in the
industry, the statistics were less than hitting the lottery. That’s staggering.
That is something I wasn’t prepared for.

10. What do you believe the future of Orlando to be in film/theatre?

There is a great future in theatre. Especially with having Disney here. Where
film is concerned, if your just starting out you need to be in Los Angeles. Film
I think, in Orlando has a long way to go, the state of Florida really. There
are so many factors. A lot of filmmakers need to get off their soapbox. A
lot of people go around and spread a bad name for Orlando. Orlando is an
optimal shooting location but because of the bad rap and the filmmakers
that leave Florida and go elsewhere, spread the bad name. I think Orlando
will do well with TV but film wise Orlando has a lot of maturing to do, when
it comes to the film aspect.. I hope that it does change. It’s not fair to the
great filmmakers here. The mentality of the filmmakers have to change, they
need to realize money isn’t everything. Actors need to realize money isn’t

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