“Things take time to develop in this career:” A TDQ Q&A With Actor Donald Paul

Donald Paul

Look to see more of actor Donald Paul in the much anticipated seasons of Atlanta, and Quantico.

This week’s TDQ Q&A is with actor Donald Paul. Donald spoke to us about his upcoming work on “Quantico” and “Atlanta,” the influence his family had on his career, and how working with special needs children while he was in college impacted his life and career. Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A with Donald Paul:
The Daily Quarterly: What made you want to be in show business?
Donald Paul: Growing up, my mother was a Haitian gospel singer that would travel all of south Florida performing in different churches. I would tag along playing the drums for her. That combined with me being in my church’s Christmas play every year, made me realize that I’m comfortable being on stage. I eventually started signing myself up for improv groups in school and, long story short, ended up moving to New York, and here I am today. 
TDQ: Who was your favorite actor growing up?
DP: My favorite actor growing up and still one of my favorites is Jamie Foxx. His versatility is impeccable. Im big into improv and his work on “In Living Color” back in the days was some of my favorites. I played football growing up as well and when I found out he played quarterback for his high school team in Texas, it let me know as a young artist that it is possible to make that transition from sports to acting.
TDQ: What was your favorite TV show growing up?
DP: Um… I watched a lot of TV growing up. Looking back on it I’d have to say “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” That show did a great job of being both funny and delivering a message. “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” also had Will Smith in it. I love Will Smith’s work.
Donald Paul - The Fresher Prince

It may be too early to announce because it hasn’t been written, or funded, and we haven’t even talked to Donald about it but…Look for Donald in the upcoming TDQ production “The Fresher Prince”. Imagine if The Fresh Prince was James Bond and I think you know where we’re going with this.

TDQ: What was the best advice you ever got?
DP: “What is yours, is yours. What’s meant for you will be for you and no one else.” Which means to me don’t worry about what others have and/or what you don’t have. Just concentrate on what you have and your skills and what’s meant for you will come to you. 
TDQ: What was the worst advice you ever got?
DP: “Have kids really early so you guys can hang out at a bar sooner.” At the time of receiving this advice I was a sophomore in college so I did not take this advice with a grain of salt. I was like, “he might have a point.” But looking back on it I think I made the right decision. 
TDQ: Who are your influences?
DP: My sister and mother hands down were my biggest role models and influencers growing up. Jeannie, my sister and Fleurina, my mother, are the most resilient women you’ll ever meet. They don’t back down to anything and don’t give up on anything. Having them by my side throughout this journey as an actor has been nothing but a gift.
TDQ: You’ve appeared in shows like “Boardwalk Empire,” “Blue Bloods” and “Elementary.” What have you learned about the business from working with experienced actors like Tom Selleck, Steve Buscemi and Lucy Liu?
DP: Working with those actors thought me how to be a real professional and work ethic. It is easy to get lost in the fun within this industry. There was a lot I didn’t know going into the industry or the set life. All I knew was how to act because of all the training prior to getting my break. So being lucky enough to work in that great company of actors was a gift from God.
TDQ: When you were younger, you worked with children with special needs to help pay for college and to study theater. How did that experience help you, whether in acting or just in life in general?
DP: Working with those kids matured me and I felt made me a better human. I wouldn’t be here in this position if it wasn’t for those kids. Most important thing I learned was patience. In this career you must have it. I think it is one of the most important attributes to have as an artist, because things take time to develop in this career.
TDQ: What project are you working on next?
DP: I recently finished filming “Atlanta” on FX, which season 2 is set to premiere March 1st. I am currently working in the season 3 of “Quantico” on ABC. 
TDQ: Where do you see yourself in five years?
DP: In five years I see myself still growing and evolving as an actor. Doing more, working more, and putting my best foot forward in the work that I do. 
Check out Donald’s Facebook page and follow him on Twitter.

James Avery, “Uncle Phil,” Dies At 68

James Avery

James Avery, center, roughs up RECOiL writer/director/actor Brian DiMaio in a deleted scene.

Glendale, CA—James Avery, who played Uncle Phil to that crazy Will on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” for six seasons, has died from complications following open heart surgery. He was 68.

Besides his most famous role in the NBC hit, he also was in numerous television programs like “Night Court,” “CSI,” “That ’70s Show” and “Star Trek: Enterprise.”

On the big screen, Avery appeared in such films as “Fletch,” “The Prince of Egypt,” “RECOiL” and “8 Million Ways to Die.”

He also did voiceover work, including as the original voice of Shredder in “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

Avery served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, his mother, Florence and his stepson, Kevin Waters. Continue reading

“It Wasn’t Pretty, But The Beginning Is Usually Pretty Rough:” A TDQ Q&A With Comedian Richy Lala, Part 2

Richy Lala

In the spring of 1990 Richy Lala filmed a pilot titled "The Fresh Prince From Bel-Air." Richy played the part of a rich translplant from Southern California to Western Philadelphia. His new-found friend, played by Will Smith, would help him make a new life in very different surroundings. Studio execs passed on the pilot but soon came up with "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" after tweaking the story slightly.

TDQ: What was your first gig?

Lala: At the Milkboy Cafe in Ardmore, Pennsylvania…once the label for such bands as Digable Planets, they opened a modest music cafe that I produced a show featuring the comics I had been seeing at local clubs…I’d book them and host the show myself…it wasn’t pretty for me…but the beginning is usually pretty rough.

TDQ: Tell us about your gig hosting open mic night at the Funky Buddha.

Lala: When I moved to Florida almost eight years ago now, I first met Will Watkins…who filmed his set in the same show at the Buddha as I did…there weren’t too many places back then to perform and he introduced me to then-host, Renda Writer, a local poet. After religiously attending their open mic for three years, the Buddha and Renda parted ways. The owners asked if I’d host, since then we have gone from a 20-seat venue to a 120-seat venue…with consistently sold out shows. And the door money we raise goes to feeding the homeless…we charge $3 or two canned goods as admission. And everyone is always welcome to drop off canned goods or donate more directly to Boca Helping Hands. We average 30 performers every Wednesday and well over 100 audience members per show. Ten years running, it’s the longest south Florida open mic, from comics to poets to musicians.
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