How have the arts impacted our culture?
Art has the power to show us how much progress we’ve made and how much progress we still need to make. It’s how we learn what’s in and what’s out, as it relates to music, fashion, politics, etc. Artists are showing up in so many roles today that I think it’s impossible for art not to have a significant impact on culture. Look at Halle Bailey, casting her as the little mermaid will open the minds of a generation around what’s possible for them. Artists today are activists, entrepreneurs, educators and influencers. As the role of the artist continues to expand and evolve, its impact on culture will continue to do the same.
Tell us about your company and services.
The name of my production company is Lelund Durond Studios and I coach some of the industry's most celebrated names in television and film, like Jennifer Hudson (RESPECT), Marlon Wayans (AIR) and Diane Guerrero (Doom Patrol). While coaching clients on film sets like, RESPECT and THE FORTY YEAR OLD VERSION, I also offer actors on all levels the opportunity to strengthen their skills in my studio in Atlanta. My goal is to encourage actors to become more specific, spontaneous, and honest in their work for television and film. I help produce stronger actors by nurturing their talents virtually, in my studio classroom, and on television and film sets. I also provide commercial and personal photography services. I’m a multi-hyphenated artist. I’ve enjoyed capturing actors Cynthia Erivo, Corey Hawkins, Jackie Cruz and Danielle Brooks, directors Liesl Tommy and Kenny Leon, along with many others. I’m open to working with or capturing anyone who has a compelling story to tell.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I grew up in a home that experienced grief for the first time in our immediate family when I was six years old, with the death of my sister Tracey. That loss gave me the opportunity to consider spirit, supernatural things, and what happens after life, at a young age. My two brothers Kenneth and James were also two souls that returned to spirit much sooner than I expected. I had my own health challenges when I was in high school. I was rushed to the emergency room because I was experiencing severe stomach pain. Later that day, I discovered my stomach had been cut open during an emergency surgical procedure to remove my gallbladder, in order to save my life. Growing up, I was in church a lot, almost every Sunday. I heard, “To whom much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48), often. Because I was still alive, and my mother’s only living child, I started to think I was here to do something that really mattered, something that matched the weight, the magnitude of the load I was being required to carry, something that complimented the things God created me to carry. I’m a storyteller. I started making them up at a very young age. I saw the reactions from family and friends. They were laughing, they were crying, they were moved and always asked for more. They always encouraged me to stand in the spotlight. They inspired my love for stories and acting. I’m inspired by other storytellers like Oprah and Tyler Perry. I created Lelund Durond Studios because I too, see myself one day, being in a position, like those legends, where I’m empowered and supported while creating opportunities for myself and others to tell stories for television and film globally. That’s why I created Lelund Durond Studios. Becoming an entrepreneur, creating that business was my first step toward making that dream a reality and those were the things that inspired me.
What can someone expect from taking your acting class?
Actors that work with me develop a better understanding of what to look for when they're investing in the imaginary circumstances of a script, any type of script. Actors who work with me understand their value and make dynamic choices that are informed by the world of the script. They know how to bring what’s on and what’s not on the page. They know how to work with the camera. I’m available for in person on camera acting coaching sessions in Atlanta. You can work with me virtually from anywhere in the world. I’m going to bring out the best in you. That’s another benefit of working with me.
What does success look like for you?
My goals change daily but are often connected to finishing the story and sharing the story. Sometimes that looks like teaching a class full of actors or coaching an actor on set. At other times it’s by writing or taking a photograph of someone. I feel successful when I’m being creative. The years of experience I’ve had as an acting coach and photographer on sets and in the studio have prepared me to pull the best out of my actors as a director. When I’m directing television and film starring some of the incredible talent, I’ve had the opportunity to help grow, I’ll feel even more successful. When I’m in the position to really open the door for myself and someone else, I will feel successful. That’s what success looks like to me.
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