Featured Artist Series: Filmmaker Randy Lee

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 9.34.00 AMWe talk a lot on this blog about creating your own opportunities. But sometimes this business can seem like a young person’s game. In today’s climate it’s easy to feel like if you don’t have a million Instagram followers by 19, you’re out of luck.

In this week’s Featured Artist piece, we bring you evidence that it is never too late to create the career you want. Randy Lee grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburg, which he considers his artistic base. Even as a child he knew he was an entertainer, finding creative outlet by teaching himself guitar and lip syncing along with Donny and Marie. His environment, however, was less than supportive. “I was stifled…‘It wasn’t any life to have’ and ‘I would never make it into a fruitful life and career.’ The whole, ‘get a mill job and shut up kid.’

Randy did just that. He worked for the life that he had been taught to strive for. But at 38, having sustained a serious injury from a mill job, he had an epiphany. “I stood up, looked in the mirror and literally said to myself ‘I’m going to do this’…regardless of anyone’s negativity or opinions,” he remembers. “I’m going to make it happen!”

He cites his mother and daughter as his inspiration. “With my daughter, Callista, I woke up realizing that I was telling her what I also needed to hear! That it’s OK to be creative, to follow your passions and live your dreams…to be who you want to be. But, I was wasting away. I was schlepping through life doing what others told me I had to be doing.”

Though he had some background training in college scene studies and audition classes, and mentors such as Randy Kovitz and Allison Weakman, Randy threw himself into the business in a supremely hands-on manner. He started as an extra, where he would spend his time soaking up the environment and learning from observation. He booked some body/photo double work and gained further onset experience.

“I was on set every day,” Randy recalls. “I saw every day as an opportunity to learn and build myself. I was early in and many times, one of the last to leave…I paid attention to every detail in front of me, from crafty to timing, cameras to crews and SAG IATSE to line work and methods…everything. If I wasn’t sure what was happening or how it was going to happen…I was asking questions.”

From there, Randy began building the experience and network that would prove the foundation of his career. It was during his constant search for acting gigs that he encountered Cast It Talent. “I went to the site and realized it’s size and potential to not only find work as an actor, but the ability to cast actors in roles that we were having issues finding the ‘just right’ talent for locally in our region,” he says, “Cast It seems to be truly pro-growth when involving up and comers and independent artists.”

And Randy was certainly now of those up and comers.After booking a short film, Randy realized he had an eye for producing. He dove behind the camera into the indie filmmaking scene,

maintaining his acting career and racking up educational opportunities all the while. His pet project, however raised some eyebrows.

At first, Randy’s idea to film a larger project on an iPhone was a joke. He would play around on it, entertaining the notion only flippantly. But as he began work on his film REFLECTIONS-Fear the Mirror, cramped film sites and a need for a lightweight camera drove him to reconsider. His DP filmed some experimental sequences and Randy was sold. The film was a success—gathering a following and catapulting Randy on to other work. As a producer, he is currently working on three low budget features, while managing the REFLECTIONS fanbase and maintaining his acting career.

Randy is a perfect example of the value of creating your own opportunities. “Make it happen,” he urges fellow actors, “…post it, share it and build it. Each time you’ll grow and learn, soon enough, you’ll be producing feature films..the same as me.”

If your career doesn’t look the way you want it to, don’t feel helpless. You have all the tools you need to turn your life around.

Watch REFLECTIONS below:

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Maddie

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