Los Angeles, California
You just wrapped another season of the acclaimed TV show, Black-ish, how has the experience been for you as a supporting cast member?
It has been incredible. As an actor, you strive to get a job to pay the bills. To be a part of a show that people gravitate to and is growingly becoming iconic is truly an incredible experience. It is an honor as an actor to be a part of a show that is contributing to society and starting those tough conversations by balancing comedy and seriousness in a way that's digestible on both sides.
You are preparing to launch a fresh application, Everybody Digital that will allow users to stream short films from their phones. What was the inspiration behind this project?
The inspiration for Everybody Digital came from the place all good ideas come from - heartbreak.
As a short filmmaker, I found myself in the ever so heartbreaking carousel of film festivals. Once you are done with that 12-15 month span, even if you win countless awards, it's over for you. Also, your audience is very small at this festival. They are mostly comprised of other filmmakers and people who work in production, so you are often preaching to the choir in a sense. The average consumer does not have the opportunity to see your film and probably does not know it exists. The idea behind Everybody Digital is to connect short filmmakers with the growing audience of millennials who are disconnecting from cable TV and digesting media through mobile devices. I believe short films can grow and get notoriety as a genre instead of a stepping stone that is not respected at a higher level in this industry.
Can you give us some insight on how the app will work?
The application with limited content will be free. You can purchase a subscription for $2.99 to unlock the entire catalog of about 50 films, along with new original content every month.
With people using YouTube via their phones as well as other streaming services, how does Everybody Digital fit into the world streaming?
Essentially, we are the short film version of Netflix. The app will be strictly on mobile devices to accompany to social media in consuming content in a short period. We are creating a platform where a filmmaker can become successful through the genre. There are commercial directors, music video directors, why not short film directors? We are creating a system to produce, create our stars, and generate our income inside of the business.
With the success of recent black television shows and movies, what is it like to be a working actor at this time when there is such a demand for quality talent of color?
It is truly a blessing. Our audience has finally grown tired of not seeing people who looks like them, not just black actors, but Latino actors, Asian actors, etc. I believe we have finally come to a point where the business of entertainment realizes the audience will gravitate, buy, and consume a diverse product. We have a long way to go, but we are headed in the right direction.
When will Everybody Digital be available for consumers?
It will be available late April on the Apple Store and available on Google Play in the summer.
You stated there would be original content on the app as well. Can you give some details on those projects?
We have Who the F* is Uncle Joe, a digital series starring myself and a ton of cameos and guest stars such as Affion Crockett. Another series entitled, The Struggle. A few actors from Black-ish will guest star on this series. A film called The Hollywood Way, starring another Black-ish co-star Peter Mckenzie. A docu-series Street Hitters, which follows the day in the life of street performers. We are rolling out a lot of content. We are trying to shoot a short film a month.
On upcoming projects:
I have a new show with Tracy Morgan, executive produced by Jordan Peele on TBS in the fall. Another film, Where’s the Money with King Bach, Mike Epps and Terry Crews it will be premiering in the summer/fall. I have a film called First Match on Netflix that is coming around Christmas time.
What quote or motto do you live your life by?
Success isn’t just suggested… it’s demanded.
You have to be relentless, can't take no for an answer. You have to demand success out of yourself and the people around you.
For more on this application, please visit EverybodyDigital.com and follow on social media @everybodyapp