Don Cheadle’s Advice to Actors: “Be writers first”

don-cheadle

Actors like Don Cheadle are often the types of careers aspiring artists want to have. He has transitioned seamlessly from TV roles on shows like Picket Fences and House of Cards to films like Hotel Rwanda and Iron Man. He has dabbled a bit in theatre and taken on a producer role on films like Crash and Talk to Me.

For that up-and-coming young entertainer, the 49-year-old actor offered a bit of advice during NPR’s Wisdom Watch segment recently.

Cheadle said, “You know, people come up to me and they ask me what can they do to get started all of the time, and I really feel like it’s such a letdown because it’s hard for me to give advice because I started, you know, almost 27, 28 years ago now. And the business has changed so much. You look at television nowadays and you see guest stars that have had film careers. They’re like me, leads in television shows that, you know, are film actors. And those parts used to be able to go to people who were quote-unquote unknown. So I don’t know anymore where you start. The great thing is now, however, people if – you know, they really get serious about their craft and work hard and bring their unique voices and interesting perspectives on stories, there’s places where you can sell. So you don’t have to knock on the door of a lot of these networks and try to get a gig. You can create your own opportunity and just put it out, you know, yourself and find people that will buy it. And then kind of build that infrastructure around you and help you to really realize your full vision.”

The Oscar-nominated star dug and explained the area where he thinks actors should focus.

He shared, “I always encourage people to, if they want to really work on getting into this business, to be writers first. Don’t worry about being an actor first, be a writer. Create something. Own it and then you, you know, the world is yours. You can really dictate the terms of how that will happen and that’s only going to happen because unique, creative, interesting voices and stories are coming up, you know. Don’t try to run down the same lane that people have done before, you know. You’ve – create your own lane and that’s – that’s the opportunity that was – that is there now that actually wasn’t there when I was, you know, just coming out.”

True to his word, Cheadle is currently directing and starring in Miles Ahead based on the life and music of Miles Davis. He also wrote the screenplay.

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/kevin-spacey-house-of-cards.jpg
Kevin Spacey: “I’m used to people thinking I’m nuts. And you know what? I kind of love it”
"Unless it's Martin Scorsese, and it's a really significant role, fuck off. I'm not playing someone's brother" - Kevin Spacey
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/william-h-macy-shameless.jpg
William H. Macy on ‘Shameless’, Nude Scenes and Winning a SAG Award
"Of all the awards, that one means the most to me because those are my peeps" - William H. Macy on winning a SAG Award
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Helen-Mirren-The-Audience.jpg
Helen Mirren on Reprising her Role as Elizabeth II in ‘The Audience': “I was determined not to do it”
"When I took my bow at the end, they were not applauding me. They were applauding the queen." - Helen Mirren
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Christian-Bale-Knight-of-Cups.jpg
Christian Bale on Not Having a Script for ‘Knight of Cups': “I never had any lines to learn”
"I never knew what I was going to be doing each day" - Christian Bale on working with Terrence Malick in 'Knights of Cups'
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Larry-David.jpg
Larry David on Who he Wanted to Star in his Broadway Play ‘Fish in the Dark': “Anybody but me”
“It’s one of the reasons I didn’t like acting. I don’t like not being able to interject” – Larry David on acting with a script   Who doesn’t like Larry David? Well, to be honest, Larry David probably doesn’t like Larry David. In fact, David didn’t even want to cast himself in the lead of […]