Music videos launching careers of aspiring actors
A music video is a short film that ties song and imagery together and is produced by an entertainer for promotional purposes. While music videos primarily market an artiste's work and also promote the talent of the director, they are not the only talents that benefit from the creation.
Actors and actresses who make appearances, whether in cameos or lead roles, also benefit greatly from music-video appearances. In fact, for many local talent, music videos act as the launching pad from which many of them jump-start their acting careers.
Shawn 'Killa Milla' Bryan and Johnoy 'TV Boss' Williams are two actors who have used their music video acting experiences to create opportunities for themselves. Speaking with The Sunday Gleaner, both explained that with the nation's film industry already hard to break into, they sought to get their 'big buss' by other means. "I realised from early that the film industry in Jamaica for actors is kinda hard. It's hard for us to get cast in Jamaican films much less international films, so I always say since I can't get big movie roles like that, I'm going to make music videos be my movies," he said, pointing out that one music video appearance led to many others. "Playing a role in a music video is the same as playing a role in a movie. Many times, you audition just the same, and in many cases, one role leads to another and then another, and before you know it, you become one of the persons people automatically think about when they're doing their videos."
Williams, who has now starred in music videos for the likes of Busy Signal and Stephen Marley, said that many doors in the film industry have started to open for him. "People recognise talent whether you are in a big movie or a music video. The type of music video and the quality of acting will make others see and want to work with you," he said. "Many opportunities have come up because of the work I put in, and I'm grateful. Now, even people from overseas want to link me about actual movie roles. I've got some international eyes on me now, and I'm happy people are seeing the work."
Bryan, who describes his talent as a natural gift, told The Sunday Gleaner that although he has not quite reached the heights he wants to reach in his career, he has made progress, and he owes this to work he put into music videos. "I know I want to be an actor, and so I used music videos as a stepping stone to that bigger dream," he said. "I have been in about 15 to 20 music videos, and they have opened many doors for me. Because of music videos, I got a small part in the Nick Cannon King Of The Dancehall movie the other day, and I believe that's just the beginning. I've done some work with Nile Saulter for a film festival. There is a lot more to come because the work is out there and people are seeing it."
Although grateful for the doors that have opened through music video appearances, Williams and Bryan explained that there are certain jobs they turn down as they know where they are headed, and they will take on projects that will help them achieve their long-term goal. They say that the international market is their target, and they will prioritise work that will give them maximum exposure. "At the end of the day, I have goals and I am building a brand. I have to take on the roles that line up with the vision I have of my career and where I want to be," said Williams.
Bryan agreed. "I'm just making my name. I'm not there yet, and I want to be. I want to do work that will put me out there where more people can see me and I can get the best deals. I'm optimistic and I hope with time, I will get to where I want to be."