- Posted April 7, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Tell us the Good Stuff!
Ray Stoney: A Titan In All Things
I had the pleasure and opportunity to interview Ray Stoney. I must say that I was very excited because "Remember The Titans", is one of my favorite movies. What I like about Ray, is that, he's very humble and was willing to give some sound advice based on the experiences that he had. See how he got started in the business.
K. Diggs: When did you get involved in acting?
Stoney: I got involved in acting back in Atlanta, when Remember The Titans came to town. I never visioned myself as an Actor, as I was just working as an extra to make some extra money. About halfway through the movie, there were a few roles that the production had yet to cast. I was fortunate enough to be one of the guys chosen to audition for a role…and booked it! After being upgraded, I started to vision myself as an Actor. 2 years later, I moved to LA. The rest is history!
K. Diggs: How did you feel once you got your big break?
Stoney: I wouldn't say that my big break has come yet. Remember The Titans is definitely the project that catapulted me into the career that I make a living at. I am forever grateful for that production. It changed my life forever. Once I'm a household name, we'll revisit that big break question.
K. Diggs: I see that you played in Remember The Titans, tell me about your character and what do you like about him?
Stoney: My character was basically one of the football players, who was dealing with some racial tension on the football team. For the first thing that I've ever done as an Actor, it was familiar territory. I grew up playing football. I also grew up in the south, where I have experienced racial tension on many occasions. So when I got the sides for the character, I knew I could pull it off. I just needed guidance on how to do it. I credit Gregory Alan Williams for coaching me on set.
K. Diggs: Did you always know that you wanted to be an actor?
Stoney: I didn't always know I wanted to be an Actor. Growing up, I thought I'd play professional basketball. I went to college on a basketball scholarship. I had the opportunity to play semi pro after college. After I realized that I didn't want to play basketball anymore, I worked for my father in the floor covering business. During that time, I was approached one day about being a model. I took some pictures and ended up an agent. After doing various print jobs around Atlanta, I got the gig on Remember The Titans.
K. Diggs: What was it like being apart of that cast in your favorite production?
Stoney: I have a couple of favorite productions that I've worked on. I've been fortunate enough to work on some really great projects. Anytime you book work as an Actor, it's a great feeling and a great victory. Working on one of your favorite productions is an even greater feeling.
K. Diggs: Do you feel that you sacrificed a lot to get to where you are today?
Stoney; I definitely sacrificed a lot to get where I am today. I packed up and left my entire family to move to LA. When I left Atlanta, I had a credit card with a $500 limit and $500 cash in my pocket. Once I arrived, the credit card was maxed out. My cash supply was down to $300. I had some great friends, 3 of whom I met in LA, that let me sleep on their floors and couches for months. I got a job at Kinkos, working from 11pm to 7am. After work, I would hustle my acting all day. I slept when I could, where I could. I don't think my sacrifice is any greater than others who have relocated to live their dream…but it was definitely a sacrifice.
K. Diggs: What does success mean to you?
Stoney: To me, success mean making a living at what you love. Once you have achieved that, you are successful. There is nothing worse than having a career you hate, just because the pay is good.
K. Diggs: To prepare for set, what is your regime or things that you do?
Stoney: My set preparation includes eating a healthy meal, getting proper rest and studying. I usually spend some time with my coach to stay sharp.
K. Diggs: Who is your favorite actor and influences in the business?
Stoney: My favorite Actor is Jeffery Wright. That guy is an amazing Actor. I had the opportunity to work with him years ago. He's one of the coolest guys I've met on set. He gave me some pointers on set. I've followed his career ever since. He is definitely one that I try to pattern my career after.
K. Diggs: How do you feel the industry has changed since you first started?
Stoney: I would say that there has been a shift in the industry. What I mean by that is…when I moved to LA, all of the acting work was in LA. You pretty much had to be here to work. Now, the Southeast has become a powerhouse for Actors. Although everything starts in LA, you can make a nice living in the Southeast as an Actor. That definitely wasn't the case at one time.
K. Diggs: What is next for you?
Stoney: I just finished shooting an episode of Rectify, which comes on Sundance TV. There are also a few indie film projects that I' slated to start this summer. In the meantime, I continue to audition for projects, eat healthy, stay in shape and hone my craft.
K. Diggs: What is a favorite quote or saying that you like to go by?
Stoney: My Aunt Carolyn told me that "Change is mandatory! Growth is optional!" Things will always change but growth is a choice.
I enjoy interviewing actors and people in the entertainment business because, it gives everyone hope when you hear their stories. You can follow your dreams and become what you what to be. Thanks, Ray for telling your experience and taking the time out to chat with me.