We had the good fortune of connecting with Paul Jerry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paul, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I chose to pursue an artistic career because the arts are one of the best forms of expression. Everything we see is based on Pathos and Ethos. When you really think about it, an actor re-creates real life situations that people go through every single day; break-ups, deaths in your family, celebrations, life crisis, or a journey to manhood. People from all over the world can relate to what you’re going through when they watch your film, movie or TV series. When you’re an actor, you can make people laugh, cry, but most importantly, help them think. In addition, I chose a creative career because you can inspire so many people through a movie or a film versus talking to then in person. My very first film, Second Chance, where I played a young man by the name of Thomas”; was about a young man getting a second chance at life because he got caught up with the wrong crowd. A teacher in Virginia saw my film and showed it to her students for her lesson plan. It was such an honor to be able to help teens make the right decision through watching my film. I might not have ever had a chance to speak to these kids in a classroom setting about making the right choices, but through my movie I was able to reach them.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m an actor and what sets me apart from a lot of people is that I strive to bring life to every character that I portray on stage or on camera. I also train, train, train with my craft; especially with my accents. Authenticity is always at the forefront of my performances. My proudest moment is getting booked for my first feature film, “Thanksgiving Roast” directed by Trey Walker. The movie is dropping November 2nd, on Amazon Prime.
There were a lot of challenges to get where I am today. So many so called acting agents that made promises to me but never came through. I spent a lot of money with these organizations in hopes of getting an agent, but nothing happened. Also, dealing with the death of my mom and little brother almost made me want to stop acting all together; but I knew that following my dreams would make my mom and my little brother proud. One thing that I learned was, “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” That’s a quote my friend Anthony Holland always say.
Going through so many hardships in my life, one after another, I know they will not last long if I endure the pain and weather the storm. God brought me through every trial and tribulation that has happened in my life thus far. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be where I am today. I always tell people, “If God is not on your starting 5, don’t even get in the game.”
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend is coming to my city, the first place we would visit the Washington Monument. We have so many monuments to visit, but most importantly, I would take my best friend to the African Museum of History and culture. After the museum we would go to my favorite spot, “Ben’s Chili’s Bowls’. It’s one of the best spots in the city and it’s a Washington D.C. Landmark. They have the best chili dogs, half smokes and milkshakes around. The next place to go to would be the AutoBahn race track. The Autobahn is the fastest indoor Go-Kart track around, the Go-Karts reach speeds of 50+ mph. I love shooting, so the next place to visit would be the “FreeState Gun Range.” By this time it’s going to be late, so we would end the night chilling a bar or lounge in Baltimore called, “FED Hill”.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have to give a special shout out to my frat brother and acting coach Percy Thomas. He’s the current director of the Amazing Theater company in Silver Springs Maryland. Back in 2016, I was about to sign with a big agent in New York, and before I signed with them I called my Auntie and Actress “Starletta DuPois”. She told me that I needed to work on my “CHOPS”. I was confused when she said that, so I asked her “What do you mean by chops Aunty?” “Paul, I want you to go see Percy and get in one of his plays. Once you do that you’ll understand what I mean by chops.” Immediately I cancelled the contract and called Percy. He informed me that he had a play coming up called “Zelma”, it was about slave life after the “Emancipation Proclamation of 1863”. This was my first play since college and I had a lot to work on. Percy helped me to get into character and bring the script to life. “Paul, if you can perform on stage in front of large crowds, you can perform on camera with no problem. Stage is the hardest part, because if you forget your lines there is no one to say cut”, he laughed. “The show must go on, and you have to improv to finish the scene. But when you mess up on camera, the director can just say “Cut” and start over. Plus Paul it’s easier to make yourself small after being big versus trying to make yourself big after being small. What I mean by that is, acting on stage you have to yell and be loud so that the entire theater can hear you, even the back row. However, on camera you don’t have to yell because the camera can pick up all of your facial expressions and sounds. You don’t have to do a lot to get your point across.” Percy taught me so many lessons from his theater training. Right after that play he casted me for another role in his play titled “The Clock”. It was about life in Baltimore during the 1980’s and the rise of the “Crack Pandemic.” I played the youngest son of the family “Joe”, who was addicted to crack. This was another role that tested me testremendously , because I have never been on drugs before. Percy told me that he wanted me to work on my range and he knew this would be a challenge for me, but I could handle it. After Percy helped me perfect my lines, we arrived at the final scene where I’m having serious withdrawals, because my family found out about my drug addiction and they wanted me to fight it cold turkey. Percy loved that I knew my lines, but he said it wasn’t believable. “Paul have you ever heard of sense memory?”, he asked. “No sir, what’s that?”, I replied. “It’s when you pull emotions from previous moments in your life to give off believable acting during a scene.” The exercise he did with me changed my acting in so many ways. “Paul, I want you to close your eyes, and think about the last time you cried.” I thought about when my mom passed away from Breast Cancer and said, “When my mom passed away.” “Ok now we’re getting somewhere. What was going through your mind? and how did it make you feel?” I started thinking about all of the mixed emotions that were going through my mind and immediately tears started rolling down my face. I opened my eyes crying, and breathing really hard. My acting coach jumped out of his seat and said, “Now that’s acting!!”, clapping his hands. “But I’m still crying”, I said, trying to wipe the tears off my face and catch my breath. “I’m proud of you Paul, you dug deep and used sense memory to bring forth realllllllll emotions.” The lessons he taught me will travel with me throughout my entire acting career for the rest of my life. I still take his classes and talk to him after every acting gig to get more acting advice and tips on my craft and the industry. He’s the real MVP.
Facebook: Paul Kornelius Jerry
Mark Hill, Brandon Cooper, Percy Thomas, Anthony McMillan.
Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.