The Good Book says not to hide your light, or your talents under a blanket. Lecturer Wayne Dyer referenced author Leo Tolstoy’s book “The Death of Ivan IIyich”, about a man living a life of quiet desperation, to make the point of not “dying with your music still in you”.
Actor Patrick Vann, with his ground-breaking role in the Christian, Rapture-based, film The Basement, is certainly a man determined not to leave this Earth without expressing his God-given talents. Patrick stopped by DC Actors Examiner to talk about the projects that have helped him express those talents.
Q – How did you get into acting?
Interestingly enough acting was never my “thing”. For as long as I can remember I’ve always had a knack for sports and music. I’ve got a joke with my friends where whenever they say a quote from a movie I’ll always respond with, “Is that from a movie? Because I’m not a movie guy…ironically.” I’m sure they’re tired of hearing it but I still get a kick out of it every time.
But back when I was in college I was enrolled in a Christian leadership institute called “Project 180” and we’d do ministry through music, drama, art, etc. It is there that I discovered that acting seemed to come naturally for me. After skits people would approach me and tell me that I had a gift and that I needed to make the most of it. On the last day of the Project 180 program we had a play where I portrayed the person that I was before I came to know Christ, ironically one of the cinematographers from the movie The Basement said he felt a nudge to check the play out.
To make a long story short, my performance in the play was also my audition for The Basement without me even knowing it. About a week later I had the script in my hands. Fast forward 3 years later I’m up for Best Actor & Best Breakthrough Performance from my role in that very movie. This is definitely a God thing…I couldn’t have set that up.
Q – What roles have you done lately?
Within the last 2 years I’ve had the opportunity to portray two characters that I wish I could actually meet in person. Julian Harris (The Basement) is the first. Such a cynical and antagonistic person but seems to easily find a soft spot in hearts of the audience. I’m not a confrontational person so this role was a bit of a stretch but I must admit, getting in Michael Joiner’s face and saying some choice words was a lot of fun! Julian’s “lack-of-filter” and transparency seems to earn browning points with everyone who watches the film. Definitely my favorite role thus far.
Maurice is the role that I am currently working right now, a disciplined and diligent young law student with quick responses, sharp intellect, and VERY aggressive horn-rimmed glasses! On the surface a very clean cut individual but as pressure is applied his true colors begin to shine through.
Q – What sort of roles do you seek out?
I believe one of the biggest fears of actors and actresses it to be marginalized into one role. I’ve seen actors struggle to find work because they can only portray a certain character with all the same characteristics & mannerisms. My most trusted mentor, Cynthia Leon, has been so instrumental because she pushes me to strive for roles that are outside of my comfort zone to both broaden my portfolio and add versatility to my talent.
Q – Where do you see this all going for you? What is in the future?
In all honesty I believe that I’m built to do this on a grand scale. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you should NEVER put limits on God. I believe that as I continue to follow him and do my part in terms of perfecting my craft and making the most of every opportunity there is literally nothing I can’t accomplish. Greatness is in all of us, but only those that persevere through the hardships and setbacks step into that greatness. I’m certain that I have the capacity to do well in this industry, but my concern is more so towards my character off the screen and whether or not I’m using my influence to make society better.
Q – Any last words?
For starters I’d definitely like to thank you Will! I’m a fan of your radio show so to have the opportunity to discuss my career with you was a privilege to say the least. I also want to acknowledge my supporters, I’ve heard it said that no one accomplishes anything great on their own; your words of encouragement and affirmation are truly a testament to that as they motivate me to become better day by day.
To my wife Alexis, I love you sweetheart and appreciate your love and support throughout my career! Love you mom and dad and most importantly I thank God for life, the talent he’s given me and for positioning me to express that talent on the big screen…again I couldn’t have set this up myself.
Next up…Scattered, this is definitely going to be a good movie full of surprises. I’ll see you all at the premiere!
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Remember to do something for your career every day and break a leg!