Norman Johnson Jr


EP 45: Norman Johnson Jr. (autogenerated)

Dane Reis: [00:00:00] You booked it, episode 45, Hey, entertainers and performers of the world. I’m your host, Dane, Reis, and welcome to you. Booked it. Where I chat with inspiring entertainers, seven days a week by digging into their journey. We’re going to discover everything you need to do to be a successful entertainer, you know?

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[00:01:24] Okay, let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Norman Johnson jr. Are you ready for this Norman? 

[00:01:34] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:01:34] I am 

[00:01:35] Dane Reis: [00:01:35] right on acknowledged by deadline indie wire and variety magazines. As a best lead in short film game. Norman is hailed as one of the most exciting and talented upcoming actors. As a seasoned film industry veteran only 28 years young, he continues to break through in 2018.

[00:01:55] He filmed three short films and his first leading role in that teacher the last summer now on Netflix. Norman. 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, if you will, who you are, where you’re from, where you’re currently calling home and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry?

[00:02:21] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:02:21] Well, that’s, that’s a great summary. I think a good followup is I’m a kid that’s been around the industry for, since, you know, I can remember. Um, my father is actor comedian. He’s kind of gave us the chop. So me and my brothers, uh, we grew up in a, in a very less full family. Very creative. We kind of consider ourselves like the Wayne’s brothers.

[00:02:47] So we grew up about an hour out of Los Angeles. Um, maybe towards Riverside, more towards Moreno Valley. And, uh, like I said, we’re a big creative family, so there’s more where I came from. 

[00:03:00] Dane Reis: [00:03:00] Fantastic. Well, let’s move on to this section here and look, Norman. I am a sucker for a good quote. What’s your favorite quote you’d like to share with everyone?

[00:03:12] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:03:12] I think my favorite quote, one of my favorite quotes I go by these days would be from one of my friends, bigs. He says, my words will either attract a strong mind or a faint, a weak one. And I think that that’s valuable these days because you’re not going to, everyone’s not going to like what you have to say.

[00:03:32] And I think once you stick to what you really honestly feel, that’s all that matters. 

[00:03:37] Dane Reis: [00:03:37] Absolutely. And how have you applied that quote to your daily life and your career? I applied 

[00:03:45] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:03:45] on a daily basis. Um, I tend to not rub people the wrong way, but I also tend to not sugar coat things. And I think being in the industry that goes a long way, you know, having the contrast of being on the West coast and then going to the East coast, totally two different vibes, but to blend the, to the two has always been the, uh, I guess the brains for me.

[00:04:06] Dane Reis: [00:04:06] Yeah, absolutely. And let’s move on to this next section here. So Norman, of course you are an entertainer. I am an entertainer, and I think you’d agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally emotional industries either of us have probably ever experienced. And you know, as well as I.

[00:04:30] That to create and to have a successful career in this industry. Like you’re having now takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while yeah, there is an outrageous amount of fun and excitement being an entertainer being on set. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, and failures. We are going to have to experience and move through if we want to continue doing this.

[00:04:55] 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? 

[00:05:05] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:05:05] Well, like so many things are just flashed through my head as like to say that I’ve been in the industry since I’ve been a young kid to see how it’s changed so much from when I was 10 years old to now, it’s just, it’s, it’s amazing.

[00:05:20] So I think that adversity I’ve went through as a, you know, a person of color. Um, someone that, you know, I wear my heart on my sleeve, my hair accentuates the way that I look and the way every thing is more so in the, I guess, contemporary, urban type, um, stature as genre of a character. So for me, I think it’s always been about breaking the code, breaking them the narratives, and I’ve been able to do that with, with, with great roles and great, uh, characters I’ve been able to embed in, but I’m also.

[00:05:54] It was hard, so it’s not easy. And I like, I’d say I’m blessed to be able to do so in a great fashion. Um, you know, I’ve done roles where I’m the guitarist, I’m the skateboarder and this is not what you really see as for someone like myself. So I take pride in that, but I think some of the things that a lot of people don’t get to see on the outside looking in is, you know, the tip of the iceberg.

[00:06:17] Uh, painting is there’s so much work that hap you know, to be a professional, you have to literally hone in and do this a day. This is a day to day thing. And I think a lot of people don’t get to see that part of it. So yeah, the most wires, it’s not, you know, the, the, the, the work ethic that goes into getting these roles in these gigs.

[00:06:37] I think that’s the biggest adversity for someone like myself. 

[00:06:41] Dane Reis: [00:06:41] Absolutely. And I think it’s, it’s so easy, especially when you go to the film and TV world, because you’re the end product is so easily accessible through different streaming services and things like that. That I think even more so than live theater, it is easy for people to go, Oh, They’re just in movies.

[00:07:01] It’s easy. It’s so simple. Right. But that work, Oh my gosh. You can’t even imagine the days, the years of grinding it out, honing your skills, failing at those auditions are those, you know, botching up a side that happens. 

[00:07:15] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:07:15] Right. Right. The compromise is always, is always there as an artist. And I think the key.

[00:07:21] Is to not lose your mental and I guess yourself in the journey. Cause it’s easy in doing so 

[00:07:28] Dane Reis: [00:07:28] absolutely. And sticking to be yourself. 

[00:07:30] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:07:30] Right? I would say so for myself. 

[00:07:34] Dane Reis: [00:07:34] Brilliant. Well, let’s move on to this next section now 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.

[00:07:50] Maybe it was, yes, this is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. Tell us about that, 

[00:07:56] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:07:56] man. I remember this just like yesterday. It was, it was an amazing time. I would say it was after, after I got one of my first lead roles, like I said, I was doing a lot of theater when I was young. Doing a lot of work, uh, besides the film aspect.

[00:08:13] So me coming back after, when I went to college, me coming back into the film ministry was more so my debut. So when I got my first lead role in the last summer, I think after, when, as I developed the relationships, I had the type of rapport that I had that created the energy that always was in search.

[00:08:33] And I think that was the spotlight moment when I was on the carpet red carpet on the premiere day. And just seeing me really, uh, enjoy the labor that I’ve put in over the, over the years, over the decades. 

[00:08:46] Dane Reis: [00:08:46] Absolutely. And you, I can imagine you realize you’re like, man, I have arrived. This is what I am meant to be doing with my life.

[00:08:53] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:08:53] Right. Totally. 

[00:08:55] Dane Reis: [00:08:55] All right. And let’s piggyback on that question and let’s talk about your number one, booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions, the call 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 book moment?

[00:09:14] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:09:14] Definitely remember this vividly right after I was like the post PI of my first league film, I came back home and as everything is different now you don’t have to necessarily be in Carson. So the power of me sitting in this cell taping, I remember clear as day. I knew for a fact that I booked this role and not only was it the energy and the chemistry that me and my brother had when we were filming, but I can just tell that this role was meant for me.

[00:09:41] And, you know, as a, when you find your groove as an artist, there’s kind of, no, you could hard really miss even with the things that’s unintentional and that’s kind of where it was. So it was so unintentional, but so perfect and perfect timing. So as you say, I had definitely arrived, so I just kept the float.

[00:09:59] Dane Reis: [00:09:59] Yeah. I love that. And there’s so many times and people that I’m speaking with, that they have those, that experience almost like this weird. Out of body kind of experience where they know, they know they nailed it, 

[00:10:12] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:10:12] right. It’s like a certain type of synergy with the universe. And, um, I mean, well, it’s just now coming out.

[00:10:19] The production is called paradise city. It’s of one of my favorite, uh, one of my best friends. I’m one of the late Cameron boys. And, um, I’m, I’m so excited for the world to see if we put a lot of, a lot into it so much into the screenplay with even just the gist of it. The whole world that we created. So I’m very excited for it.

[00:10:38] And I’m, it’s been a long time coming. 

[00:10:41] Dane Reis: [00:10:41] Brilliant. Well, let’s take a moment now to talk about the present. What projects are you working on? What are you looking forward to? And of course we are immense this crazy global pandemic. There is an outrageous amount of social and racial injustices happening. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?

[00:11:04] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:11:04] I think at this time I’ve been doing a lot of. In my head, uh, dialing in and figuring out where it is that I specifically want to see myself Excel. I’ve done so many things. I’ve kind of hit the goal Mark for myself as the young kid. So now it’s more maturing and seeing where I can get in on the backside of helping others like myself.

[00:11:25] Um, You just, like you said, these times are different. You, so you don’t obviously have to be in the mix to kind of still make the moves that you need to make. So I’ve been writing a lot of short films. I’ve been doing a lot of screenplays myself and I’m looking forward to creating my own. Production company in the near future.

[00:11:44] So like minded kids like myself, you kind of give that opportunity. 

[00:11:48] Dane Reis: [00:11:48] Yeah, that’s fantastic. Well, let’s move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightning round. I’m going to ask you a handful of questions and I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another.

[00:12:05] Are you 

[00:12:06] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:12:06] ready? Alright, let’s 

[00:12:08] Dane Reis: [00:12:08] do it. Let’s do it. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer 

[00:12:18] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:12:18] women? 

[00:12:21] Dane Reis: [00:12:21] Can you, can you elaborate on that a bit 

[00:12:23] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:12:23] women? I am a sucker for love. So anybody, any women that tells them that tells me that they love me. Uh, it just like all else goes out the window.

[00:12:31] I’m like the, uh, the, the guy off the loony tones.

[00:12:38] Dane Reis: [00:12:38] I love it. Well, second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? 

[00:12:44] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:12:44] The best piece of advice that I’ve received is from my friend, Cameron and boys, the late great young. And he says that we do not rush to failure. We dance to success. And that stuck with me ever since. 

[00:12:58] Dane Reis: [00:12:58] Yeah, absolutely.

[00:12:59] I love that. And the 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? I 

[00:13:12] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:13:12] believe what’s working for me right now is the ability to be able to create this on your own space. And to present that to the producers.

[00:13:21] And I say that because I love being in the room, but I also love being able to, because I’m an editor, I’m a filmmaker. So I love to be able to put that spin on myself tapes. And usually I get some great feedback. So I’m looking forward to that 

[00:13:35] Dane Reis: [00:13:35] in the future. Yeah. Beautiful. And the fourth question, what is the best resource?

[00:13:41] Whether that’s a book, a movie, a YouTube video, a podcast, maybe a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now? 

[00:13:50] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:13:50] Um, I am a very big guy on reading, although I actually read more than I do. I have a ton of books in my collection. I think Deepak has been very vital to my journey at this point.

[00:14:05] And, um, There’s a, there’s a handful of, of both sides can refer Deepak Chopra is like, if my, if my life had a title, my Deepak, 

[00:14:20] Dane Reis: [00:14:20] yeah. He’s got amazing insight on so many things and the whole body mind connection. It’s fantastic. 

[00:14:25] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:14:25] Yes. Yes. 

[00:14:28] Dane Reis: [00:14:28] And the fifth question, if you had to start your career from scratch, but still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry, what would you do or not do?

[00:14:41] Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same? Honestly, 

[00:14:45] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:14:45] I don’t regret anything in my career. I believe everything was designed and destined for myself. There is a couple of roles that I declined when I was in a younger state. And I think it was around the representation is the reason why I didn’t agree to these roles, but, um, a couple of roles, I guess it became big success stories.

[00:15:07] Um, morally I think I couldn’t commit to it, but I think the passion I have with my career and with what I do, I would have definitely, um, second, second guessed myself. 

[00:15:18] Dane Reis: [00:15:18] Right. 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 everyone.

[00:15:31] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:15:31] I would like to leave everyone when, uh, with, when you make your debut or when you get your foot in the door, make sure you always keep it open for the next to show up. Because that’s exactly how great communities are, are, are built in the industry. That’s exactly how great friendships and great report is built on trust.

[00:15:53] So I believe I’m a very big advocate on, um, helping and lending others to get to where I’m going. So, um, that’s, that’s something I would’ve been a fellow artist. 

[00:16:04] Dane Reis: [00:16:04] Absolutely. I think that is incredible advice for anybody listening. And to wrap up this interview, it is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you?

[00:16:15] How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote? 

[00:16:20] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:16:20] You can find me on social media at Norman Johnson jr. I have some great content on there. A lot of great. Things, I I’m running my business, nothing normal. And that’s where you can find the upcoming short films and features that I will be producing myself.

[00:16:37] And I have a couple of posts reductions on the way, uh, paradise city is the next step is going to be releasing very, very soon. We’re looking for a home to land, hopefully praying for a streaming service so everyone can get on and get on board with it. But it’s a great storyline and I’m excited for it. I think.

[00:16:56] The, uh, the audience is gonna gonna love it. 

[00:16:59] Dane Reis: [00:16:59] Fantastic. Norman, thank you so much for joining me today. It has been a treat to have you. 

[00:17:06] Norman Johnson Jr.: [00:17:06] I appreciate the, the platform and I I’m sending my blessings to you, Dana. I appreciate. 

[00:17:13] Dane Reis: [00:17:13] Thank you so much for joining us today. My one call to action for you is to go to and join our free email community.

[00:17:24] Where we dig deep into a continually growing resource of truly actionable things you can be doing right now to help you advance your entertainment career. Don’t miss an episode. We have a new guest, seven days a week search for you, booked it on Apple podcast or your favorite podcast app and subscribe today.

[00:17:47] All the best to you. We’ll see you tomorrow.