LiveFree Magazine’s Dream Big Tour hit N.C. Central University’s campus Tuesday at the Alfonso Elder Student Union.
The Dream Big Tour was an opportunity for aspiring actors, singers, and journalists to learn and mingle with industry professionals.
LiveFree Magazine Editor-in-Chief Jarvus Hester hosted the event, along with NCCU Career Services and Outreach. Julian Brittano, from “GreenLeaf” on the Oprah Winfrey Network, and Elizabeth Scott, best known for playing Kara on the “Cosby Show,” were the special panel guests.
LiveFree Magazine was created by Hester when he was very interested in opera, and it became an arts and culture magazine. Elizabeth Scott and Julian Brittano are also contributing entertainment editors.
Scott was the first speaker and shared her experience breaking into the industry. She started out as a dancer, with no intentions of being an actress. That is, until she injured her back.
“I remember my step sister wanted to audition for a commercial, and my mom told me I should go and see what they have to say,” Scott said.
She recalls showing up and being uninterested when a casting director asked her to read some lines, saying she had a “good look.” She got the part, and her acting career had started.
Months later, Scott tried out for the “Cosby Show,” once the number one TV series in the world. She received a call from an unknown woman, asking for her measurements.
“I remember saying ‘uh … who is this?’ over and over,” Scott told the audience.
The mystery woman eventually revealed she worked in the design department for the “Cosby Show.” Scott had gotten the role as Kara.
Scott’s main message for students was to have confidence, not arrogance.
“I would go into auditions knowing I would get it. Not because I was cocky, but because I knew I was prepared, and I knew I was good,” she said. “Did I get it every time? No, but did I get it most of the time, yes. Because of my confidence.”
Up next was Julian Brittano, from OWN’s Greenleaf.
He began with a piece of advice: “You can have a million dreams in life, but only one purpose. It took me 36 years of several dreams to find my purpose.”
Brittano played college and arena football, was involved in nightlife ventures, made beats, and sold handbags.
It wasn’t until last year when he sat down and thought about what he really enjoyed in life. That’s when he realized his purpose: making a difference through acting.
When he had the chance to be an extra on Greenleaf he gave it a shot. Walking onto the set for the first time, Brittano recalls thinking “man this is interesting, this is what I want to do.”
One day on set, Oprah Winfrey pointed him out “for doing my job, and doing it with excellence.” After making an impression on her, Brittano was able to do a scene with Oprah and meet with her privately in her office.
“You can have the smallest job, but if you do it with excellence, you will be noticed,” he said.
Brittano has worked on 20 projects and is on the Board of Directors for Nu Archer Productions Inc.
He’s planning to move up in the industry. “I’m taking martial arts classes, foreign languages, just things to give me more versatility as an actor,” he said.
Event host and Livefree Magazine Editor Jarvus Hester then opened the floor for questions. Theatre senior Erim Akpan asked “how do you know what kind of agency is best for you?”
Elizabeth Scott answered first by saying “I personally always choose smaller agencies, because unlike bigger ones with 1,500 clients, they can give you the time and attention you need.”
She also gave students a piece of advice: “If an agency tries to say you need to pay them first, run. Ten percent after you’ve done your job. That’s the standard.”
Hester agreed, and Brittano said he has no agent by choice.
After a few more questions, Scott and Brittano got volunteers from the crowd to do improvisational acting to close out the night. The scenario was to imagine you’re farmers stuck in a barn and it’s snowing outside and to take it from there.
Students who stuck around after the program took photos with Scott and Brittano, and several students got personal advice from them. Mass communication majors also took the opportunity to talk to Hester.