Keith Arthur Bolden



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EP 182: Keith Arthur Bolden (autogenerated)

Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it. Episode 182. Okay. Let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Keith Arthur Bolden. Are you ready for this Keith?

[00:00:14] Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:00:14] I’m ready.

[00:00:16] Dane Reis: [00:00:16] All right, Keith has done it all from a stage screen to directing a native of Los Angeles, California. He earned his MFA in acting from the university of Illinois and as an associate professor of theater and performance at Spelman college, Keith has worked on so many projects in so many facets of this industry.

[00:00:40] I only have time to list a small selection of his credits and they include directing hands up pipeline and two trains running, acting in paradise. Blues fetch clay make man between Riverside and crazy and dream girls and to film and television credits include genius. Aretha Franklin, the conjuring three American soul mile 22 Cobra, Kai, and the haunting of Hill house.

[00:01:07]Keith, that is a quick intro of who you are and what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself? Fill in the gaps and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.

[00:01:22]Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:01:22] Well, Well, as you said, I’m from Los Angeles, California Inglewood to be specific is where I spent my formidable years. Um, and after graduating from high school, I went to Fresno state as a journalism major. so in high school I worked at a movie theater at the time. It was the only black owned and operated movie theater in the country.

[00:01:42] It was called the Baldwin Hills theater. And I worked there for years as an usher and a projectionist , uh,and I’ve always loved film. I loved looking at actors from a young age, actually before, before I could read, I recognize movie posters , uh, uh, iconic movie posters, like Saturday night fever , uh, and heavy can wait with, you know, with more Beatty with, with the wings.

[00:02:00] I just remember these from a very early age, but , uh, growing up in Los Angeles , uh, And being African-American in Los Angeles, my parents were civil workers, so they just didn’t understand what. An artist’s life looks like, or how you get your child into that. They just thought it was just something that the elite does.

[00:02:21]it was never, And so it was never, it was never pursued, but I was constantly reaching out. I was constantly drawing. I was constantly wanting to be, to play an instrument, learning how to play an instrument, wanting to dance. I mean, I just did all these things that if my children did that now, Because we’re so much more aware and we’d given permission to our children to do things.

[00:02:41] I think parents now are more apt to see that their child has a special interest in something and going after that. So, so I didn’t have that growing up. So when I went to Fresno state , uh, the school hired their first African-American professor of theater at my first year there. And he came around to the university one Oh one classes and ask people to audition for a play called the color museum.

[00:03:03]I was like, wow, like attention I’m new. I’m a freshmen. Nobody knows me. This’ll be a good way to meet people. And I audition man, and I never , uh, never looked back even. I didn’t really understood what it meant to be an artist. I knew that I, I knew that when I was experiencing was something that I really, really enjoy and then I wanted to always do. And so I subsequently changed my major to theater. Parents. Weren’t happy about that, but it’s, for them, it was, as long as you get a degree, you can get you a job. At the post office, you know, or where my dad worked or at the probation department where my mother worked, you know? Um, so it took me a while to graduate from school when I was very involved in a lot of different things.

[00:03:40]Uh, but ultimately I decided to, to forego all the other options I had the air force, the probation office, the postal worker, and I, I applied to graduate school and I got into graduate school and that that’s changed my life. Um, for a, for a myriad of reasons, I met my wife in graduate school. Uh, I went to Illinois, so I left California kind of on my own.

[00:04:00]You know, nobody really around me was really supportive. They didn’t really understand what I was doing. So it was really a leap of faith for me to do that. And I always felt like I could always, these other options I have, there are always going to be options, but this, this, this artist thing. I’m curious to where it’s going to leave me again.

[00:04:16] I still didn’t understood, understand what it meant to be an artist living and to make a living as an artist. But I knew that I enjoyed it. So I went to graduate school and , um, kinda messed around there for a few years , uh,until I finally at a year and a half into it, I finally kind of like, kind of like, Oh, this is what that is.

[00:04:34]Okay. So let me stop doing this other stuff that I’m doing. That’s distracting me and let me focus on this artist life. And so I did that , um, and then , uh, graduated and. Ultimately moved to New York and lived in New York. Um, my first week in New York in Oh four, I book, the independent film as a lead.

[00:04:52] I booked my first equity job and I booked a musical, you know, all these things in my first week there. So I was like, Oh, okay. I can make a living doing this. So let me just let me just go on and do it. And so they did that. Got married in Oh seven and then we , um, we moved to LA. We had a rent controlled apartment, you know, you know,  I had an amazing situation where I lived in New York and my, one of my fraternity brothers had a brownstone and my rent was really low as all utilities included. And I had two bedrooms to myself. It was just an amazing situation, but I couldn’t get married and live there, you know?

[00:05:27]So they got married and we decided to move to LA. We had a rent controlled apartment. Uh, and, and we did that. And then we started managing apartments and I did, I did more theater in LA than I did in New York,

[00:05:36]Yeah. Uh, Uh, perk people don’t look per capita. Los Angeles has more theater than Chicago and New York combined per tablet.

[00:05:44]It’s just not, it’s not commercial. You know, it’s, it’s not-for-profit is , uh, a lot of small theaters, but I did some of the most, some of my most , um, challenging work in Los Angeles, a play called neighbors, my band and Jacobs Jenkins at theater gym at the ocean by August Wilson twice. Uh, I did a dream girls.

[00:06:00]I mean, these are, these are plays that I just didn’t get consideration. Uh, for some of these, these kinds of productions, big regional theaters, because my main just wasn’t big right enough , uh, that , um, Matt, now I can book that stuff, but now I don’t want to leave Atlanta. So, um, so anyway, I moved to LA and we just did it amazing work there.

[00:06:15] And then , uh, in 2013, I applied for this position as a professor position at , uh, At Spelman college. And, uh, I was offered the position as tenure track position. Then I was awarded tenure and , uh, 2017, 2018. And so we I’ve been, we’ve been here ever since. And so this is, this is kind of where we are now.

[00:06:33]Dane Reis: [00:06:33] beautiful. Love that journey. And it’s so good. I think there’s so much to dig into this and we’re going to get so much out of this interview for sure. But let’s move on to this first section here. And Keith, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with 

[00:06:54] Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:06:54] My favorite quote is don’t treat people like you want to be treated, treat them better than you want to be treated.

[00:07:00]Dane Reis: [00:07:00] Um, Um, one, I think the golden rule. Very good. And can you dig into how that’s really applied into your

[00:07:10]Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:07:10] it’s so funny now post 2020 now. Right. Um, Right. Um,

[00:07:14]Dane Reis: [00:07:14] thank

[00:07:14] Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:07:14] I uh, , uh, I, I, I really live by that , that, that, that mantra man. And , um,what I found in this industry is that people have a hard time trusting people. Uh, because they think that most people, which most people are, they’re trying to , uh, get close to you for some reason. Um, that’s not my, that’s not the way I roll. I, I roll. I’m more interested in building the relationship because I’d rather work and collaborate with a friend. Well with, with an artistic mind that, that jails with me and I deal with them then to work with a stranger. I just , I, I mean, I work strangers all the time, but I, I, I grew up looking at Robert Townsend films and spike Lee films, and I saw that he, they always have these ensembles.

[00:07:57] Of actors at their core actors that they will use Sam Jackson and , uh, you know, uh, uh, David, Alan Grier with Robert towns. I mean, they just use the same key in every way. They use all the same people, you know? And so I’ve always been interested in that. Um, in full disclosure, I’ve been fired from a job before I was fired from , uh, a Shakespeare show that I was doing out of state the day before tech, I was fired from this job. Um, and. For almost quit the business. It was really heartbreaking, but I, I packed my bags and had to be out of the house and go to New York back to New York. The next day it was, you know, 12, 15 hour drive. And then that next day I went to one of these casting sessions that you pay for, you know, it was strategic.

[00:08:36] I knew this person was casting a raisin in the sun at Hartford stage. And I went in. And, and he said, Hey, do you know, I’m casting this show? I said, I sure do. And he said, can you come in tomorrow and audition for this role? And I said, I sure can. So I booked that. And I realized that if I was in, in Wisconsin steel, I wouldn’t have booked that job, which has which much more for my career than the job.

[00:09:00] And Wisconsin would have made the same amount of money. It’s just so I was upset and distraught about losing that job. Um, but I, you know, I think God opens a door for you, even a metaphorical door, you know, an opportunity for you to, to grow and expand. And so that’s, that’s, that’s kinda what I did. I don’t know.

[00:09:17] I kinda went on a tangent there. I don’t know if I, if I answered your question. Um, but, but, but I, I acted as this quote , um, I think that people are weary of trusting. Other people. And so I really kind of live my life like this, man. I open my hand, open my door, open my heart to people. And I gotta be honest.

[00:09:38] I’ve been burned a few times. Um, I feel like I have a pretty great life in that I’ve benefited more from that mantra than I’ve not. And so I will continue to live by that mantra, which I got from my uncle. Don’t treat people like you want to be treated, treat them better than you want to be treated I really think that this Corona virus man is really challenging us to think about the other person more than we think about ourselves. And it’s really been hard for us, especially artists. Because artists, artists, artists, this is what we do for a living. We have to think about the other person all the time, the scenes that were in the character, that we, if we’re doing a monologue, we have to create another person and have empathy for that person or sympathy, or at least an understanding for that other person.

[00:10:24] And most people in their daily life, their daily walk, they don’t have to operate that way. So it’s not a far, this is not a far cry from, for us. Right. To, to put on a mask to , to, to stay six feet away. But for other people, it’s, I find it very difficult, but I feel like this mantra would open that up for people.

[00:10:42]Dane Reis: [00:10:42] Yeah, I really liked that parallel that you made right there. And I completely agree with you, so good. Thank you for sharing that. And. Yeah. And let’s get into this section here. And Keith, of course, you’re an entertainer, I’m an entertainer. And I think that you’d agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally, emotional industries in existence.

[00:11:07] And you know, you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry, like your having now takes a lot. Of dedication and hard work. And while yes, there is an outrageous amount of fun and excitement doing what we do. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, and failures.

[00:11:27] We are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through. So tell us, what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it.

[00:11:41]Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:11:41] um, I think I get him. I still do, but not as much getting my own way. Um, Not being patient. Um, uh, earlier in my career, I would wonder why I wasn’t getting the opportunities that I felt like I deserved like other people. Um, but I’ve, I’ve found that life is it maybe it’s because I have this other career with an education and then I’m teaching other students to be artists to enter this, this field with fervor and bravado, that I’ve shifted a bit.

[00:12:09] And I celebrate, I celebrate other people’s successes , um, because what’s for me is for me. Uh, so I’ve been my own worst obstacle, but also the other obstacle that I have no control over is access. Access to, to a room where. Well, I can even be considered. Um, this is the last one of the last occupations on earth, where you can actually, I mean, you can be really specific about what you need and what you want, and it not be deemed , um, that you are being racist or sexist or anything like that, because this was what the role calls for.

[00:12:37]You, you can ask for a biracial or tri-racial person that is five feet tall with one leg, and you can specifically get that, you know, you can’t do that with other jobs. Um, and so I, I, I find that I find that people , um, I find that for me, access has been , uh, uh, even still today is really about your representation.

[00:12:55] I have no control over that, you know, as a black man doing this thing, most agents, it may be changing now because of everything that’s been going on for the past almost year, but they can only represent one of my type. Uh, whereas my white counterparts, they can have four or five Leo DiCaprio looking people, but they can only have one kind of where’s the Snipes.

[00:13:16] So it didn’t Zelle or Morris Chestnut type on their roster. Right. So, so we just don’t get the opportunities or I didn’t , I, I speak for myself. I didn’t feel like I got the opportunities to really show. So, uh, what I could do , um, in Los Angeles, I would maybe get, I don’t know, one television commercial every three months, right?

[00:13:34]The, just the, the, the, the pressure of going into a room once every three months and showing that you are adept at how you, how you behave on camera. Um, that’s not a, that’s not an, that’s not enough runs, you know, to, to really get comfortable with that medium. And what I found that when I moved to, to Atlanta, which is mostly tape based, you take self-tape based.

[00:13:56]Um, and my wife and I taught an on-camera class and I was teaching consistently at Spelman. I realized that I became a better actor because of my teaching

[00:14:03]and I was getting like three or four auditions a week. So I was able to just get better at it. And I wasn’t booking when I first got here, but after the first kind of two months, it just started happening smaller roles and bigger roles and recurring roles and some film roles.

[00:14:17]Um, so now I’m at a point now where I, I only go in and for, you know, a certain kind of character or a certain , uh, weight of character in the script. I don’t go in for co-stars anymore, specifically. Um, so as recurring or series regular. You know,

[00:14:31]and that’s because God it’s cause I have , I, I can actually afford to, to pass on those opportunities now

[00:14:36]Dane Reis: [00:14:36] For sure. And it’s also, there’s so much to do with Getting the reps in. Right. Right. And it’s one of those wonderful things that, you know, we’re in this crazy virtual world even more so since the pandemic hit that utilizing technology really leveraging it, forecasting has provided all of us, really a lot more opportunities, especially in the film side of things.

[00:14:58] We , uh, we do have the access to those rooms because of things like actors access and , uh, you’re right. And I’m thinking that. This whole industry will be opening up and has already been , uh, and getting more diversified because clearly that has been a giant. Issue for a long time and it’s taken up until 20, 24 to really seem to come to a head in re really taken seriously.

[00:15:21] And I think a part of that is that we’ve had the opportunity and the time because of COVID to not move on to the next new cycle, but to actually sit with something for a minute and go, Hey, this is a problem. We need to fix this. And thank goodness that it’s happening and I’m excited and I’m feeling. I feel positive about things moving forward.

[00:15:41] I guess time will tell and we’ll see what, what becomes right. Once things kind of go back to normal, but I feel hopeful and feel positive about where the direction that the world and our industry’s

[00:15:52] heading in regards to 

[00:15:53] Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:15:53] Yeah, me too. I just , um, you know, it’s, it’s hard to navigate or to, to predict what’s going to hit, right. There’s so much content. Just so much content and depending on the network, again, this is access and, and, and actually reach, you know, something on bounce. TV is not going to reach the masses like , uh, NBC of course.

[00:16:14]Right. So, so then now how, so these amazing stories like I did underground, I did season two of underground. Amazing, amazing , um, uh, television show. That a network. It was their highest rated show that a network just decided to cancel because they didn’t want to do anymore scripted shows. So now it’s, so now this story , this, this retelling is, re-imagining not even, re-imagining this, this telling from this telling of slavery from a, from a certain perspective is now being missed.

[00:16:41] And it’s funny when I was on that show and I would tell people , well, actually, before I got on the show, I watched, I was a big fan of the show. It’s always a great thing also to be, be part, become part of a show that you’re a fan of. That’s an amazing

[00:16:51] Dane Reis: [00:16:51] Yeah. Yeah, of 

[00:16:52] Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:16:52] but, but people , um, they just did it. I don’t wanna watch a slave show.

[00:16:56] I don’t want to watch a slave show. So because we have been so inundated with the negative and what underground did was showed that slaves fought. They were smart. They were not conniving, but they were in , uh,they had ingenuity. And they, they fought for a better life and that’s, that’s the story of underground.

[00:17:14] And that’s something that we hadn’t seen before. So I was very disappointed when that show was canceled. But I say all that to say is, it’s hard to find the right, like Cobra, Kai Cobra. Kai was on YouTube bread and now it’s on Netflix. So the reach is so much further. Now I get so much, so much email now from Cobra.

[00:17:33] Kai. When I got none, when it was on YouTube red, Right. So, you know, I I’m, I’m excited as you are. I want everybody to see, uh, to see the great stories. Cause there’s a lot of crap 

[00:17:41] out there too, if we’re honest. 

[00:17:46] Dane Reis: [00:17:46] There we are. Yeah. Well, Well, let’s move on to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for a living or maybe it was, yes, this is what I need to be doing in the entertainment industry. Tell us about that.

[00:18:09] Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:18:09] Wow. No. If there was one moment , um, because I wasn’t surrounded with it, like there’s nobody else in my family that does what I do. Nobody. There’s no singers. There’s no dancers. There’s no, and I don’t, it’s not, it’s not because the desire isn’t there. I think there are a lot of my family members who would love to do it.

[00:18:28] I just think that they don’t know how. Uh, and, and they haven’t had , uh, access in, in the schools, you know, there’s no arts in the schools pretty much anymore. Um, so I don’t know if there’s a moment. I, I did block something out. I blocked, I blocked out this, this moment and I didn’t realize that block it out until I was in my last semester of graduate school.

[00:18:45] We had to write kind of one person show thesis. And this memory came back to me because , uh, uh, the teacher at the time, Daniel Sullivan , um, was , uh, he was excavating for information. So I was telling this one story and he said , well, wait a minute, this other story , this, this, the subsequent story that you kind of breezed over.

[00:19:02] It’s more interesting than the story you’re telling. So what is that about? And there was this story of, I wrote a play when I was about eight years old. I wrote a play about the bird I was sitting in church. My parents were big church goers, Crenshaw Christmas in an LA shout out. Uh, and I were talking about Christmas, Christmas was coming up and I said, I wasn’t writing a play about the birth of Christ. And so I wrote this play. I don’t even know how long it was, man. It was like, I don’t know, five, six pages. I don’t know, but I have a bunch of cousins. We did it in my living room at home, on Hillcrest in South central Los Angeles. My mom helped me make the costumes. She put towels around people’s head and put belts around for the wise men.

[00:19:41]I mean, we, we, we did, it was like maybe eight or nine of us. And we did this thing, man. I, we had floor floor heater that you could talk into would have an echo. And that was my voice of Satan. And I did all this. I did all this. And I, and I never had seen a play before. I had never seen a play and there, or been to a play.

[00:20:02] I was never in a play and we did it. It was every 30 minutes or so. And we had some family that was late. So we did it again, a command performance. And then, and then that was it.

[00:20:13] Nobody in my family said, you know what? We should get this guy in an acting class or a writing class or something artistic.

[00:20:21] Nobody. There were 20 people in my house that day, but this is what I’m talking about, about our access and what we’re exposed to. Nobody. My, all my family were from Louisiana who had migrated to Los Angeles. It just wasn’t in their realm of thinking. So I can’t blame them for that. Um, but I, but I feel like I lost some time, but if I have to, if I have to find a moment that was the moment that I subsequently blocked for 20 years.

[00:20:49] But , uh, but, but that’s, that’s the moment.

[00:20:51]Dane Reis: [00:20:51] wow. I love that. That’s so good. And you know, it’s, it’s funny when you trace things back and you can think , uh, these moments, right. That really were so profound at the time, but they just kind slipped right through our cracks, you know, and , uh, I had a similar thing. When I remember I was listening to a Backstreet boys CD, 

[00:21:06] Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:21:06] Now, 

[00:21:06] well, no. 

[00:21:07] Dane Reis: [00:21:07] the one CD player in the house.

[00:21:09] Hey, it was my sister’s album, but I was listening to it. And I remember thinking to myself, I’m like, you know what, be fun to entertain. And that’s all I had. That was the only, I just had a thought go through my head. That’s all it was. And. That’s kind kind of where it stayed for a long time. Cause I didn’t get to this , uh, industry until I was 17 and a half 18 till I started dancing and things like that.

[00:21:29] So yeah. So, but when I think back on it, I’m like, wow, I remember sitting in the kitchen on the counter, on the counter and that album playing. And then for whatever reason I had that thought, I’m like, that’d be fun to do, to go travel around the world and sing and perform. That’s all it was. And yeah, you can always trace it back.

[00:21:44] Hey, 

[00:21:44] Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:21:44] Yeah. It’s funny. It is funny. It is. And I can sing, but I’d never. I just never sang around people or there was no lessons, but I mean, I, I sing too. And again, man, I just, I’m not regretful of my life. And I feel like there was some opportunities and some time that , uh, that, that I wasted or didn’t know I was wasting in my development, you know, as an

[00:22:05] artist.

[00:22:06] So it’s kind of crazy.

[00:22:08] Dane Reis: [00:22:08] Yeah. Yeah. Well, let’s piggyback on that real quick. And let’s talk about your number one book moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions and backs. If they happen to be a part of it, what was going on in your life? And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite? Booked it moment.

[00:22:27] Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:22:27] Wow. So many books, that moments , um, because I’m a father, I’m a husband, I’m a grandfather. Um, I’m an educator, I’m a director. Um, I don’t know how to choose just one, but I will say that. One of the most rewarding things that I do that I have done is empowering my students , um, when they get it, you know, when they get, when they get that is not about performing, but it’s about being an existing and human behavior is not , um, it’s not an appendage, it’s a real thing that we need to examine.

[00:23:03] So that when we need to inhabit another character, we don’t have to work so hard because we’ve been observing people , intently, intently as artists. Um, and in my that’s how I teach my students and when they get it, can we add this, this class called breath, voice and movement? Um, Where we do Labon efforts.

[00:23:20] And we, we, we, we do one, one gesture, one thought , uh, and we minimalize, we take out all of the bull, you know, we, we, we scale it down and we said, what exactly do you need in this moment? And so when I see a student and most of them break down, you know, you know, it’s, it’s usually a moment as a cathartic moment of them holding on to. Something that they feel like they need it. And the other part of that, Dane is some of them find that acting is not their thing, but they still want to be in the arts. So I have a student who graduated last year, who came in as a, as a , uh, uh, a majors, terrible actor. She was terrible. Her first semester, she was terrible.

[00:23:57] I said, I don’t know what I’m gonna do with you. Right. And so, instead of saying, I’m going to change my major. She just started to devour plays by seeing them by reading them. Uh, so the next semester, the next year she came back, her sophomore year, she auditioned for the lead in the show.

[00:24:11] I was around I think, and she booked it and she booked it because she was the best person in the room that day. And she did some phenomenal work, but in that process of the place, she realized by watching me in our conversations that she was a director. So now she’s directing and now we are, co-directing a play called hands up seven, seven testaments by seven playwrights at the Alliance theater to open up the season next year.

[00:24:37]Right. So she, so she has , um, she’s going to have a lot directing , uh, um, credit on her resume. She’s she’s going to be applying to graduate school. Um, Yeah. So those, those are, those are the booked moments for me, man.

[00:24:45] Dane Reis: [00:24:45] Yeah, that’s so good. And so fantastic that you are. In the education side of things and that you’re able to help guide people through that and have those discoveries because directing tends to, I think when it comes to the arts or the performing arts, it’s people initially start off as kids and they’re singing around the house or they’re dancing or they’re acting, you know, playing the part or something in it’s not as often that people are being the directors, but that could be their calling.

[00:25:16] Right. Right. But they get. Drawn to the arts doing one thing, but really where their passion and where their ex, where they’re really thrive is in a completely different part. And that’s amazing. And to, and to know that that it’s out there, that you can find different avenues in the arts and still be fulfilled or even more fulfilled than you thought you were doing the original thing.

[00:25:39] It’s amazing.

[00:25:40] Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:25:40] yeah, it is. It 

[00:25:42] really is. It really is. And I didn’t think, I didn’t think it would be as so fulfilling. It’s really being a professor, especially at Spelman college is really fulfilling. Um,

[00:25:54]because I teach, I teach the Morehouse man and the Spelman women and some Clark Atlanta university students. From time to time too, is it’s just, and then teaching, teaching my African-American students, man.

[00:26:03] I just find that a a lot, a lot of joy out of giving them something that was, I was void of.


[00:26:10]Dane Reis: [00:26:10] Wow, so good. And let’s, let’s, let’s now take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And we’ve talked about it a little bit, this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?

[00:26:29] Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:26:29] question of the day. 

[00:26:31] Dane Reis: [00:26:31] Hmm.

[00:26:31] Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:26:31] Precariously , uh, that’s how I was going to move forward. It needs to , um, I, I really feel there’s a responsibility of people who are the , uh, the access grantors, the moneymakers , um, to not worry about making as much money as they can to actually , uh, use some of the wealth that they have.

[00:26:51]To to better mankind so that, so that these industries can come back so that sports can come back so that entertainment can come back. Cause the more we keep on saying, Oh, everything’s okay. Now let’s do this little bit, as opposed to just saying, you know what, this suck it up for four or five months, you know, doing this little bit, it was hurting us.

[00:27:09]Um, So I think we need to, to enter it precariously you know, with kid gloves, but with the other person in mind, not you, the other person we have to think about the other, the disease is forcing us to think, because they say, if you wear a mask, the mask is not to protect you is to protect the other person.

[00:27:30] And that’s what people, that’s what people in this country, especially. Get it, they say , well, if the math is not going to help me, why would I wear it? Well, it’s to it’s to help the other person. And if the other person is thinking the same thing, then we’re all in the same boat.

[00:27:43]Dane Reis: [00:27:43] exactly. I’m bringing it back to your 

[00:27:44] Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:27:44] yeah, bringing it back to my quote, hand to that.

[00:27:46]Um, so I think I’m looking forward. I’m looking forward to getting back to work. Um, , uh, I think the industry takes itself too seriously sometimes. Um, uh, and I might get in trouble for saying this. I don’t know maybe, but I think that w you know, we are doing important work. All of us, none at all of it is not important. All of it’s not saving us, you know, uh, Sharknado three is not saving us.

[00:28:05]Right. So it’s just, I think that we just need to, it’s not a, it can’t always be about the bottom line. It has to be about us as mankind or humankind rather. 

[00:28:18]Dane Reis: [00:28:18] Yeah. Yeah, you did. Wonderful. Thank you. And I agree. Yeah. And it is time now to move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview, I call it the grease lightening around. I am going to ask you a handful of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another.

[00:28:40] Are you ready?

[00:28:41]Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:28:41] Um, yes.

[00:28:43]Dane Reis: [00:28:43] All right. . First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?  Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

[00:28:57]Third question. What is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on? Pause

[00:29:07] Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:29:07] what’s working for me now is , um, uh, I have discovered in COVID that each character, each person human or character in a play is searching for their joy, 

[00:29:19]Hannibal Lecter is searching for his joy, right? Uh, uh, Alonzo in training days, searching for his joy.

[00:29:25] Everybody is searching for their joy. So I’ve found that whenever I’m looking at a character, now I’m searching for the joy in a moment. And also in my own, in my own life. 

[00:29:35] Dane Reis: [00:29:35] So good. Yes. And the fourth question, what is your best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video, maybe a podcast or a piece of technology you found is helping your career, right? No.

[00:29:50]Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:29:50] wow. One thing, the internet, I mean, just the access to any type of information that you need. And I tell my students all the time, you walk around with a powerful computer in your back pocket. Every day and you have to stop using it to make means and be mean, you have to use it for good. So if there’s a research and there’s a question you have just ask Google or ask Siri, why are you asking me?

[00:30:17]Where’s your research? Do your research. We had the internet when we were coming up, man, w we would be a little bit unstoppable, right? So, so that’s, I think the internet and also, and to use this technology use. I, I watch a lot of television, but I’m literally studying, I’m studying camera shots, I’m enjoying it, but I’m looking with them.

[00:30:37] I look out, look out, look out this, look at his background. People are entering this, this frame, you know, uh, you know, what’s this music, how is this music motivating to see it? And even the lack of sample. Um, the absence of sound. It’s a great movie called hush , uh, on Netflix. Um, uh, and it’s about a woman who is deaf and mute.

[00:30:56] And so in the film, there is absence of sound and it’s so it’s so, um, interesting to , to, to, to watch this world where sound doesn’t end can’t exist for this one character.

[00:31:08]Dane Reis: [00:31:08] yeah. Interesting. I’ll have to check that 

[00:31:10] Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:31:10] great. It’s a great movie. Actually the same guy who directed the haunting of Hill house.

[00:31:15] Dane Reis: [00:31:15] Oh, cool. And the fifth question, if you had to start your career from scratch, but you still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry, what would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?

[00:31:30] Okay.

[00:31:31]Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:31:31] Wow. That’s a really good question. Um, so when I applied to graduate school, I didn’t know anything about graduate school. I didn’t, all I knew was how we had gone to school all these years. You know, taking all these other classes that we were interested in. I didn’t know, going to graduate school to be me studying the craft day in and day out. Um, and I also wasn’t familiar with other graduate programs, you know, ha had I been familiar, I may have applied to Yale or Julliard or NYU, but I just, I had no idea. Um, so I did the IRT auditions , uh, which was great and life works out the way it’s supposed to. I mean, I have a beautiful family because of that.

[00:32:03] I have wonderful friends. Um, and my education was my education. Wasn’t what I needed at the time. Um, and so I don’t know if I do anything different. I don’t know , I, I may have, you know, what, I would have seen more theater growing up. Um, I would have, I would have, I would have bathed in it. Um, and even in school and undergrad, I would have seen more than just the black plays, which I was in.

[00:32:22] Most of them. That’s all. I had an interest it’s really pretty much a lot of my interests now is, is, is played from, from the black experience. But that’s not all I see. That’s not all I read. So, uh, I just, I think I just would’ve would’ve um, ingratiated myself and done a lot more around theater than just being on the outside, looking in it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I really kind of. kind of.

[00:32:43]Stepped into the circle of theater to be a part of it, as opposed to an observer outside,

[00:32:48]Dane Reis: [00:32:48] yes, very good. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry? You’d like to leave with our listeners.

[00:33:01]Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:33:01] watch people. Watch how they watch, how they move. And if there’s someone that you look up to or admire, reach out to that person. You know, uh, but you know, if you don’t, if you’re just starting out and you say, I wanna, I wanna, you know, be Sterling K Brown, his best friend, wasn’t you probably shooting too high.

[00:33:17]You know, it, there are probably some, there’s probably a lot of other actors more accessible in some than an Emmy award winning , uh, multiple immune war winning actor. That’s on television right now. You know, there, there are professors, there are , um, uh, Colleagues or peers. Uh, the other thing I would say is , uh, is to look to your left and look to your right, because the people sitting next to you in that classroom or at that audition will probably be the people that give you a job later on.

[00:33:41] So you have to start fostering relationships where you are, and I understand that there is a , uh, a drive to, to get beyond your current circle, but you have to be patient. You have to be patient and you have to build up some dexterity and some thick skin in order to get to be in those circles because those circles are tougher because, because there is a permission that is granted to be in that circle.

[00:34:05]Well, once you’re in that circle, you’re in, but you have to have, you have to have something you’re bringing, what are you offering? And if you don’t know yourself, If you don’t know, thyself spend some time with yourself, which I think we, we have been doing this past year, but I think that there needs to even be more intentionality for us artists to spend time with ourselves so that we know what we’re offering, offering a director or producer or writer or a scene partner your question.

[00:34:32] Dane Reis: [00:34:32] Yes. Yeah, that’s amazing. Perfect. Yes, no self. So good. And to wrap up this interview, Keith, it is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?

[00:34:51]Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:34:51] well, I’m going to be washing some clothes tonight, so no, I’m kidding. Um, so if. I’m on, I’m on a few Netflix series right now, the haunting of Hill house , um, Cobra, Kai , uh, season one and the opening of season three , um, uh, maybe coming back, you never know , uh, black lightning is on Netflix. Uh, underground is now on own.

[00:35:07]Uh, mile 22 was on Netflix. Um, the contract three is coming out or beat the Franklin genius is becoming out this year’s , um, a limited series on, on, on , uh, on Nat geo , uh, the third season of that , um, Um, what else is happening? Jungle cruise is as you know, jumbo, cruise and conjuring were both pushed back from last summer because of COVID.

[00:35:23] So we, this summer they’ll be coming out. I think conjuring is actually going to do the , uh, the HBO max , uh, streaming thing, 

[00:35:30] so, yeah. So that’s kind of, I’m on Instagram, Keith Arthur Bolden.

[00:35:32]Uh, you can just, I’m pretty easy to find. I have a website, Keith out the Um, yeah,

[00:35:38] Dane Reis: [00:35:38] perfect. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to everything. Keith just said into the description of this episodes, you can easily connect with him. And also be sure to share this podcast with your fellow entertainers, coaches, teachers, arts, and entertainment educators, and anyone, you know,you know, aspiring to create a career in this industry.

[00:36:01] You booked it is the number one resource of expertise on how to actually create. A successful entertainment career. It’s integral to helping them succeed and helping you create a better, more fulfilling career in this wild and crazy industry. We all love if you enjoyed this episode, hit that subscribe button.

[00:36:18] So you don’t miss the next guest. Keith, thank you so much for being on the show today, sharing your journey, your story, and all of those golden

[00:36:26] Keith Arthur Bolden: [00:36:26] Oh, thank you so much. This was fun. Fun fun, fun.