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Troy Bland - An Actor Whose Star has Emerged.
Actor Whose Star Has Emerged.
Troy Bland is an Atlanta based actor who hails from New York City. He has worked hard over the years to become a solid character actor, and has had small parts in movies like, Selma, and on television.
Troy won a best actor award in 2014 for his portrayal in the film, The Author, on The People's Network (TPN). And the highpoint of his career thus far, has been a independent film called, The Book. A story about a lost book that becomes a life changer to everyone who possesses it, reads it, and believes in it. An inspirational story and labor of love for Troy who worked on the film for two years as actor and co-producer.
When I viewed Troy's work on film, I was reminded of veteran comedic actor, Reginald Vel Johnson, who played cop and family man, Carl Winslow, in the long running situation comedy, Family Matters, that brought us Steve Urkel, and ran on ABC (CBS - 1998), from 1989 to 1998.
Troy revealed to me that although he has never met Reginald, they both attended the same High School, Benjamin N. Cardozo High School, in Queens, NY.
Although Reginald was actually a couple of years ahead of him, Troy was fully aware of who Reginald was setting the path for what would be his own success as an actor.
Troy didn't just stumble into acting like some people who take on summer-stock for school credit at a college, or landed a few gigs as a stand-in on a movie set that led to a career, no, Troy knew as a child early on from watching television shows like, 'The Jeffersons' and 'Sanford and Son' and 'All In The Family', that acting was going to be his life's pursuit.
Born and raised in Queens, New York, in 1961, Troy is the eldest with 2 brothers and 1 sister.
One of Troy's early acting influences, and a person he wanted to emulate as an actor was Tony Award winner, Ben Vereen, in his Bob Fosse Broadway performance of 'Pippin'. Ben Vereen's swagger and amazing dancing on the Broadway stage with that commanding voice was undeniable. And then a few years later, Vereen's memorable dramatic portrayal of "Chicken George", in the most watched television mini-series of all time, 'Alex Haley's Roots', there could be no denying this young man from Queens with his goal of becoming an accomplished actor.
His very first acting experience came at the age of 15. He was in his neighborhood production of, 'The Wiz', where he also co-directed, choreographed, did the set designs, and played as the Tin Man. A production that many from the old neighborhood still remember to this day with fondness.
Troy began his theater studies at City College of New York, but because of his "spiritual" calling and wanting to do something in service to people, decided to relocate to Macon, GA. where he would later become an ordained minister.
This turned out to be a great move for Troy because Atlanta, being a short distance from Macon, was itself a city emerging as the South's new entertainment mecca. The city was attracting filmmakers because of the great weather conditions and cheaper budget costs to make films.
Once settled in Macon, Troy began honing his acting skills on stage in the production of, "Oh Lord, Not My Mother?" at the historic Douglas Theater.
The play focused around the character of a young minister in a new church in a community wrought with problems of gambling, homelessness, drugs, gangs and the breakdown of the family. Troy played a character named "The Gambler", a part that allowed him to stretch his range as a character actor.
Troy would continue to hone his skills by attending the Nick Conti's Professional Actor's Studio in Atlanta. He was also coached by actress, Ashley LeConte Campbell, who has recently been seen on television in the series, 'Nashville' and 'Devious Maids'.
Being in Atlanta has given many aspiring African-American actors and writers, and producers, the opportunity to showcase their talents over the years, perhaps no one more notable than Tyler Perry, who is now a major power broker in "Hollywood", and is creating a "Black Hollywood" in Atlanta, some are saying.
So, it's by no coincidence that Troy Bland's first stage play in Atlanta, is from the same genre of dramatic gospel plays that launched Tyler Perry's career. 'Will A Real Man Please Stand' is a play where, ironically, Troy played the role of a pastor, giving him exposure to Agents and Casting Directors.
Troy Bland has even ventured into modeling and has been in several fashion shows with Al-A-Shay Models Presents ~ Beach Bling 2012 Fashion, and for a charity show with Joshua's Wish Foundation.
The uptick from this kind of exposure has led to feature work in such television shows as VH1's 'Single Ladies', and Lifetime Channel's, 'Devious Maids' and 'Drop Dead DIVA'.
Another crowning achievement in Troy's emerging success came with landing a role in the Television movie version of the Broadway hit play, 'The Trip To Bountiful', starring Vanessa Williams, Blair Underwood, and Cicely Tyson, who won her very first Tony Award as Carrie Watts, an elderly woman who dreams of returning to her small hometown of Bountiful, Texas one last time.
When asked about his recent successes in film and television, Troy simply says that no matter how long it takes, "Stay Focused".
As Troy Bland's acting journey continues to emerge from character actor to lead roles, he will savor the time when he is known as an actor whose time has arrived.
Move Trailer from the inspirational film by Bob Gaye and Co-Produced by Troy, The Book
Q and A with Troy Bland
Q) How long have you been acting, and what was your very first acting experience?
A) I've been acting since 1995. The historic Douglass Theater in Macon, Georgia known for it's famous performers such as Bessie Smith, James Brown and Otis Redding reopened in 1997, The hit stage play "OH LORD NOT MY MOTHER?" which I was cast in, headlined the first evening. We made the pictured front page of the Macon Telegraph News.
Q) Who is your favorite Male and Female Lead and Character Actors?
A) Favorite Male Lead - Robert De Niro
Favorite Female Lead - Meryl Streep
Character Actors - Queen Latifah, Jack Nicholson, Will Smith, Denzel Washington
Q) Some Actors prefer TV or Film or Theater...do you like all acting venues, or do you have a preference? And, why?
A) I like working all the venues, but lately I prefer television and film. I like being exposed in the atmosphere such as crew, lights, production assistants, etc.
Q) Give me your most memorable quote from a movie that stuck with you?
A) Most memorable quote from a movie that stuck with me is "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"...Few Good Men - 1992
Q) What is your favorite TV Show? What is your favorite movie?
A) My favorite TV show is "I LOVE LUCY" Ultimate comedy back then.
My favorite movie is "ARMAGEDDON" starring Bruce Willis
Q) Troy, we've talked about the many plays and movies you have been involved with, but you are especially proud of an independent film in which you are a co-producer called, The Book. What's the story about, how did you get involved with the project, and why is it so important to you?
A) The Book is about a mysterious book that was lost..found..misplaced...stolen...If found and read (as one believes) it changes their lives. I play Roscoe DeVon a homeless man (one of other characters)whose life was struck with tragedy who found the Book in a trashcan. Upon reading it brings hope and renewal.
I was approached by director/writer Bob Gaye and co-producer Willie Parks to come on board as a co-producer as well and to play the role of Roscoe. Was very excited about this project to be in as my first faith-based family independent film.
The main objective of this film is to bring hope, faith, and renewal thru God's Word to anyone that have or is experiencing disappointment, trouble, illness or despair.
Troy Bland aka Roscoe DeVon
Q) Where do you see yourself 5 years from now in the acting world?
A) In 5 years, I see myself traveling with stage plays, and cast in several movies leading up to my Oscar nomination.
Q) What's been the hardest obstacle so far for you as an actor?
A) My hardest obstacle as an actor so far is REJECTION. I definitely understand rejection is all part of this business. I have to keep in mind this business IS competitive and I must remain persistent, positive, and patient.
Q) If you had to give any advice to a young person who wants to be an actor, what would that be?
A) My advice to a young person who wants to be an actor would be "Keep on dreaming no matter what". "Set goals." "Get and stay connected with positive and influential people". "Have faith in God and yourself". "Setbacks may come but don't let it stop your dreams and goals from becoming a reality".
It was Geradine Clark who said, "Acting Is Being A Fool For God". That's a sentiment I believe Troy Bland can live with as his career emerges.