By Ruth Ferguson, NDG Editor
David E. Talbert may not have done it all, but he is getting pretty close.
Dallas gets their turn to showcase the talented minority actors and actresses who are looking for their big break. Talbert has hosted Multi-City Actor’s Workshop & Talent Search in 2014 and 2015, but this weekend will be the first time it is landing in Dallas. The workshop is scheduled for 3 p.m. – 9 p.m. at The Black Academy of Arts & Letters located at 1309 Canton Street.
Talbert believes the talent pool in Hollywood is amazing, “But, I feel from touring plays for 25 years there are all sorts of talent that cannot get to Hollywood,” Talbert shared. This belief inspired him to launch the David E. Talbert’s Actor’s Workshop & Talent Search.
He also wants to contribute to the growing diversity in general shows and films featuring minorities. All too often it can seem like we see the same faces over and over again. However, after the backlash from the lack of diversity reflected in this year’s Academy Award nominations and with the expansion of TV shows featuring African-Americans, Asians, and Hispanics, the tide is beginning to turn. The question is are the minority performers ready to step up.
Talbert pointed out with movies such as Queen of Katwe, Birth of a Nation, Hidden Figures, and his own Almost Christmas opening this Fall he said, “There is definitely a movement. As more opportunities come, we will need a talent pool.” He wants to make sure minority actors and actresses are prepared to walk in the open doors.
The workshop will provide invaluable opportunities for those seeking to hone their craft. Workshop sessions will include: Acting for Stage and Screen, Audition Techniques and Monologue and Scene Study.
“We will talk about everything from my philosophy of what is acting to how do you really break into the biz. And what are directors like me looking for,” Talbert said. He promises the attendees an opportunity to work through scenes, and he will critique them on the spot.
Like so many of the most talented and skilled entertainment professionals, Talbert began his career in the theater, first making a name for himself as a renown playwright and director. While perhaps he is not a household name like Tyler Perry, Talbert has received an unprecedented 24 NAACP Image nominations including a win for Best Playwright of the Year for The Fabric of a Man.
Moving to the big screen, Talbert’s accomplishments include films such as the comedy Baggage Claim which was one of the first times an author adapted and directed his novel. But perhaps the best is yet to come with this year’s release of Almost Christmas by Universal Feature Film on Nov. 11. The holiday comedy will feature Danny Glover, Mo’Nique, Gabrielle Union, Omar Epps and many more familiar faces.
“Almost Christmas started with my great-grandmother. She made sweet potato pie, and it was a favorite in the family,” Talbert shared. When she passed away his mother stepped up to make it for the holidays, “We were all excited until we tasted it. It was good, but it wasn’t her sweet potato pie.”
In the movie, Walter played by Danny Glover is facing his first Christmas without his wife of 40 years, and Walter is determined to make the sweet potato pie. While dealing with his dysfunctional family Walter, “learns the secret ingredient he has been missing.”
Talbert admits, “I love the holiday classics!” And his goal is for Almost Christmas to join the list of must see movies each holiday season for families.
Talbert chooses cities for his workshops from those which he often brings his plays – in 2017 he is touring with Can A Woman Raise A Man. But there is another reason he chose Dallas.
“I am excited to put someone from Dallas on the map. I have been a Dallas Cowboy fan since the Dallas Cowboys beat the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl during Tony Dorsett’s first season,” Talbert admits with a laugh.