Interview with Troy D. Williams

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My first exposure to acting was back in the year 2000, in my sophomore year of high school I was forced to take a Drama class. In this class part of the curriculum was to improvise 30-60 second skits each Friday with a partner in front of the class, and for the final project we had to do a 5 minute play with a partner, on the big stage, in front of an audience. I had a huge fear of public speaking so was forced to overcome my fears in order to get a good grade in this class. I refused to let my 4.0 GPA drop because of this one class.

However, the more I came out of my comfort zone, the more I began to love the art of acting and I realized I had the potential to be good at it. Even though the dream was born, I kept it to myself because at the time I was a high school athlete and my main focus was going to play ball at a Division I college and one day make it to the pros. Also, back then everything was about being cool and having a good reputation, and drama was not the cool thing to do.

So I focused more on sports and kept my love of acting to myself. Fast-forward 15 years later and that very dream was still in me, so I decided to go for it and that decision has paid off in a major way. Life has taught me that you have to follow your dreams no matter what, sometimes you have to put things on the back-burner, but never give up, always follow your heart and you can’t go wrong. I am currently represented by Treasure Coast Talent and my Talent Manager is Jean Selig Wenger.

indieactivity: Did you study acting?
Troy: Actually I did not study acting, with exception to the Drama course I took in high school. I actually studied Business and earned my Bachelor of Science in Business Management- Entrepreneurship from the University of Central Florida (2007). Nearly everything I’ve experienced, learned, and all the mistakes that I’ve made have come while in front of the camera. However I did have a couple of private coaching sessions with Actor/Coach Hank Stone. He has been in the craft for many many years and his understanding of acting is second to none. He came into my life at a pivotal point in my career.

I had just landed my first lead role in a feature length film titled “The Watchman’s Edict” Written and Directed by Bryan Boykins; I remember feeling overwhelmed going through that 90+ page script and Hank was referred to me by a fellow actress. He taught me some jewels that I have since then used to make the understanding of acting much easier. He taught me the importance of knowing what you are trying to accomplish in every scene and he broke everything down scene by scene. His coaching really helped mold me into a better actor. When this film premieres on November 12th, here in Orlando, FL, people will get to see me in my first performance with real high level coaching. Coming from an athletic background I’ve always understood the importance of coaching and how good coaching can take you from good to great.

I encourage everyone who is either in the craft or want to get into acting to put a high value on education and training to stay sharp and become the best actor/actress you can become.

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BTS of MMA with the legendary Lillo Brancato Jr. I play the role of the UFC Champion in this project.

indieactivity: What acting technique do you use?
Troy: I use the method acting technique. I basically live as my character from the time I complete my character development until the time we wrap on a production, so when I come on set I am already where I need to be physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I go through my 4-step process which is 1) See it 2) Feel it 3) Become it 4) Do it (Execute). These are the steps I use for my character development while I am getting my lines memorized. In the see it phase I develop my characters look, demeanor, and swag. This is where I have to look in the mirror and see the character.

In the feel it phase I become more familiar with the script and I connect with the character. It is here where I begin to think and do as the character would, we are becoming one as I get a better understanding of what the character is struggling with and how it fits within the storyline. In the become it phase this is where I have all my lines memorized and I rehearse like crazy. At this point everywhere I go I am my character, I walk like him, talk like him, interact like him, think like him, etc. I have truly become one with the character and now its showtime! In the do it (execute) phase all the hard work and preparation has been done, and going on set and acting it out now is the easy part.

This is my most enjoyable phase because there is nothing better than being on set doing what you love. The first 3 phases are what I consider the real work, but if done the right way, it makes the final phase much easier and enjoyable.

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A scene the short film JAKE. Troy D. Williams with with Anthony Penney (Written-Directed by Irene Sidede)

indieactivity: Do you take courses to improve your craft?
Troy: Yes I do plan to take acting classes and get more private coaching. My original coach moved away so I had to find a new one. I’ve done a class/workshop with Ken Eulo more recently and I really love his style of teaching. So I do plan to take more classes with him in the near future. Any training you can get in this industry is going to be valuable. I think the important thing is finding a teacher/coach who you have a good chemistry with and who truly understands the craft. If you are going to trust someone to help you improve, you need to have a good relationship with them.

indieactivity: What acting books do you read?
Troy: Reading truly is fundamental. I used to hate reading, but now I read things that really interest me, and books on acting are very intriguing. The first acting book I read was given to me as a Christmas present from my sister-in-law. The book is “Confessions of a Casting Director” by Jen Rudin. This book changed my entire approach to auditions and once I began applying some of the things I learned in this book, I instantly began to book roles left and right.

You will learn what you are really looking to accomplish at an audition by reading this book. I also read “The Art of Acting” by Stella Adler. In this book I learned a lot about the craft, and a great deal about the industry. She teaches a technique that I feel is for the imaginative actor that chooses to immerse in the story and the craft. It’s not the style for every actor, but this book is a great read to say the least.

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A scene from Hustler pictured with Valerie Villegas

indieactivity: How do you keep fit as an actor?
Troy: Staying fit as an actor is very important. I stay fit mentally by always studying the craft, whether I’m studying different movies that are similar to the movies I will be acting in, or just studying scripts or reading, I’m always doing something to keep my mind on the craft. It may sound weird, but I study people I see every day just living life. I study their behaviors, I study how people interact, I study what moves people and you will be surprised with how sharp that makes you as an actor.

One of the things I do as well is constantly talk to dedicated actors who are making things happen in the industry, I also get great advice from them. I stay fit physically by going to the gym 5-6 days a week and eating healthy. Every character that I play has a certain physique, and by being so active with working out and eating right, I am able to transform my body to fit the part. This is a part of my see it phase in my character development.

indieactivity: How do you prepare for a role?
Troy: I prepare for roles by doing a lot of research and I spend a great deal of time studying performances of different actors who played similar roles. For instance, I did a movie where I played a character who suffered from depression, so I studied documentaries on real people who suffer from depression and I read books to get a better understanding of the issue at hand. I believe in using all resources to prepare for a role, so I’ve even talked to people I personally know, who have some similarities with the character I will be portraying. I also spend a lot of time in the mirror rehearsing lines, believe it or not, this really helps.

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Short film ‘Letting Go’ written & directed by Paul Usungu with actress Mariam Mansour

indieactivity: How do you create a character in a script into a person?
Troy: Creating a character from a script into a person is where we as actors get to be artists. Bringing a character to life is an art in itself. You could give 10 different actors the same script and they would each portray the character differently, this is the beauty of acting. To become a character one must first understand the character. I always give my character a backstory. Here are some of the questions I ask to get more depth in my character:

1. Who am I?
2. Where am I?
3. When is it?
4. Where have I just come from?
5. What do I want?
6. Why do I want it?
7. Why do I want it now?
8. What will happen if I don’t get it now?
9. How will I get what I want by doing what?
10. What must I overcome?

I also ask the director what message are they looking to get across to the audience in the story and why. It helps me to know what inspired the story/script. Once you identify the answers to these questions, everything else after that becomes much easier. I always like to compare what similarities I share with the character because this too can really help with the character development stage. After this I go through my 4 step process: 1) See it 2) Feel it 3) Become it 4) Do it (Execute).

indieactivity: How do you stay fresh on a production set?
Troy: Being a method actor I just always stay in character. I try to avoid distractions as much as possible, but even when I talk to people on set I speak as my character. When I need to get off to myself I just put my headphones on and listen to music that keeps me in the right frame of mind I need to be in for the upcoming scenes. I really enjoy being on set, even when I’m just sitting around waiting sometimes. The only thing that is on my mind is I’m living my dream, so I just enjoy every second of it.

indieactivity: Describe a memorable character you played?
Troy: This is a tough one, every character I play is memorable to me. But since you are only asking for one I will have to go with my character Raymond Jarvis “The Watchman’s Edict”, premiered on November 12,, 2017 at the Enzian Theater in Orlando, FL. This was my most memorable character because of the depth in which I was able to go in developing my character, and actually performing the scenes. This was also my first lead role in a feature length film. This movie was very well written and directed by Bryan Boykins. “The Watchman’s Edict” is a government conspiracy thriller film with a lot of action.

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Troy D. Williams as Raymond Jarvis in The Watchman’s Edict

My character had to go through so many different emotions and ranges that it made him very complex. As I mentioned in a previous question, this was also the first role I had real coaching on and that made a huge difference. Overall I would say this is the role that made me a real actor. Not that I wasn’t before in all the other roles I played, I just had a better understanding of how to prepare for this role which allowed me to truly become one with the character. I remember the feeling of authenticity in every scene that we shot. Literally, everything felt so real while filming, I even forgot we were filming in some of the more action intense scenes. Amazing experience. Here is the link to the trailer:

indieactivity: Explain one creative choice you took on set?
Troy: One of the most creative choices I took on set was filming my character bio for upcoming web series “Beyond Scope” Written and Produced by Aron Chapman. Aron actually directed this scene as well and he gave me great direction all the way through. In this scene my character is handcuffed and blindfolded in an interrogation room. Being that I am a method actor, I told them to put real handcuffs on me to make the scene as real as possible.

I also stayed blindfolded with the handcuffs on even in between takes when they told me I could take them off, but I wanted to really experience it because I’ve never been handcuffed and interrogated before. I just remember it the handcuffs being tight lol. This caused me to react more authentic because it was a pretty long shoot. The scene came out amazing and we got over 43,000 views on Facebook! So I would definitely say it was worth it. Here is the link:

indieactivity: What do you want most from a director?
Troy: The thing I want most from a Director is direction and clear communication. I always ask what is my character struggling with and what message are you trying to get across in the project? These questions allow me to get on the same page with the director. One of the things I always try to do is build a relationship with the director because it allows the communication to flow more smoothly.

indieactivity: What actors do you long to work with?
Troy: I would love to work with Denzel Washington!

indieactivity: Why?
Troy: Denzel Washington is my favorite actor and I believe he is the best actor in the industry. I would love to just get around him and just learn his habits. I would love to see how he does his character development, how he actually brings his characters to life, and see what type of training regimen he does to work on his craft in between films. To this day I don’t ever recall seeing a bad Denzel movie, or a bad performance on his part. He nails his performance every single time and that is the type of actor I want to become. I want to be that actor that directors already know up front that they can count on me to get the job done before they even cast me. I’m willing to push myself to the limit to become the best actor who ever lived.

indieactivity: What advice would you give to actors?
Troy: My advice to actors around the world is do it for the passion and not the money and fame. In this industry it is so easy to become distracted with some of the bi-products that come along with it, but I believe one must always stay true to the craft. If you do not genuinely love the craft, then I do not believe you will make it far in this industry. Everything always comes down to the performance for me, it’s all about bringing truth to the character and telling the story the right way. In order to do that you have to invest a great deal of time into it.

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Interrogation scene Beyond Scope with actress Kaylie Ringer

indieactivity: Briefly write about your career?
Troy: I’ve been blessed to be a part of some amazing productions. I’ve also had the honor of working with some of the top directors in the Florida market. My focus is to grow from production to production and I feel that I am doing that. I am excited for some of the upcoming projects I have in the works.

Every character that I have played has an effect on me and my career. Overall, having the opportunity to play so many different characters have made me a better well-rounded person in terms of relating to others I share very few similarities with. The reason I got into acting is to express myself and to tell real stories that will make a difference in this world.

Through acting I am able to connect with people who relate to the character and the storyline of the film, that is what moves me. In regards to past projects, the biggest film that I was a part of was “The Turaround” Written and Directed by James Hunter. This film is now available on PureFlix and the trailer alone hit over 2 million views! I played the supporting role of Burg who was a gangster.

This was the movie that opened up so many doors for me and really gave me a name in the Florida market. I am forever grateful to James for casting me in this film. Here are a few of my upcoming projects, some are in post-production, but all these projects should be released in the near future.

“MMA” Written and Produced by Dennis Jusino- I play the role of the UFC Champion in this mixed martial arts movie. My character is flashy, arrogant, but also the best fighter in the world. I’m starring alongside Lillo Brancato Jr. (A Bronx Tale) in this film.

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“HENRI” Written and Directed by Octavian Onuc – I play the role of Tom Williamson who is a boxer

“HENRI” Written and Directed by Octavian Onuc- I play the role of Tom Williamson who is a boxer. I’m starring alongside Hollywood’s own Burt Reynolds, Eric Roberts, and Robert Lasardo. This film will be premiering in Fort Lauderdale, FL on November 4th.

“Apartment 5210” (series) Written and Directed by Ed Love- I play the role of Dennis who is going through problems with his wife and their marriage is not in a good place.

“Collusion” Written and Directed by Marc Brisset- I play the lead role of Lucky in this comedy feature film. This is a story of a father trying to get custody of his daughter.

“Letting Go” Written and Directed by Paul Usungu- I play the lead role of AJ who experienced a tough break up, but wants to get back with his ex. This was one of my other very memorable characters because this was by far the most emotions I’ve ever experienced on film. This role took me on an emotional rollercoaster for sure. I had an out of body experience filming this one. I can’t wait for people to see this one.

“Jake”- Written by Irene Sidede Directed by Paul Usungu- I play the role of Ryan who is a heartthrob waiter. I can’t tell too many details about this one, but people will love it when they see it.

“Beyond Scope” (series) Written and Produced by Aron Chapman- I play the role of Elias Cole. He is a former Army Ranger who led an explosives unit while in the military.

“Dirty Sanchez” Written and Directed by Hector De La Rosa- I play the role of a 70’s pimp Black Messiah in this comedy. I will actually be filming up in New York for this project. This will be my first time filming outside of Florida, so I am very excited about this!

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