We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian D. Mason and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brian D., how do you think about risk?
Taking risks – making decisions that could have potential adverse effects – is one of the hardest things we can do in life. And while it comes easier for some than others, what I have discovered for myself is that the risks I have taken have played an essential part in the trajectory of my life and career.
Growing up in the East Coast – Long Island and Massachusetts – it always felt like there was the “right way” to do things. But I always wanted to do things my way. I played football in high school, and was really good at it too. I was an all-league defensive captain my senior year and led the league in sacks (a quarterback’s worst nightmare).
I was a respected athlete, but I was also the only football player at my school who participated in chorus, A Capella groups, poetry clubs and even cheerleading. Yup, I found an athletic challenge in cheerleading and I did it despite knowing that cheering as a football player in a small town in the early 2000s was for some reason considered taboo. Not to mention that I knew my friends, family and classmates would find it difficult to understand. But I took the risk and it was an amazing experience for me. I remember thinking at the time, So what if they didn’t get it? It felt right for me.
As a Black, Jamerican kid growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood, I had to overcome adversities that my classmates didn’t. This experience ultimately helped further embolden me to be proud of my identity. I adopted the attitude: Why not do what felt right to me? That mindset of following my own path was embedded early on and it continued through adulthood.
Years later, while living in Chicago for graduate school, I came to another turning point in my life. I was ready for the next step.
I drove from Chicago to Los Angeles and moved to a city I would see for the first time upon arrival. It was risky, but I knew it was the path in which I could pursue a career in acting.
When you feel something in your heart, it’s important to fight for opportunities to pursue it, despite the fear of the unknown. I am an actor. Every audition I have, could be perceived as a risk. My mind is often flooded with worries: If I have a bad showing, maybe the casting director will never invite me back?Maybe they will spread the word that I’m a bad actor?
It’s risky being vulnerable but when you believe in yourself, your abilities and your interests, it’s worth the risk.
I recently just entered a new exciting point in my career with a 7-episode character arc on Amazon Prime’s “Bosch.” I played a Jamaican character named Winston. I filmed for months. Portraying a Jamaican character, combining my Jamaican roots with my career pursuits, was amazing. It was what I’ve been chasing. But getting there, again, involved taking risks.
There were people who told me to “get a real job” and those who deterred me from auditioning, saying, “there’s so much competition.” But I knew I would have regretted not pursuing my passion – wondering what the feeling of doing something I love feels like.
It’s not always easy and I can identify with the multitude of reasons that understandably prevent people from focusing on their passions. But whenever possible, I continue to take risks to feed my soul. In the end, every decision in life could be considered risky, so you may as well strive for what you believe.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
If you haven’t watched Bosch on Amazon Prime, I suggest watching it. The writing, the acting, the attention to detail is something special. Stephen King recently tweeted that Bosch was “The best show on television”. Stephen King! I have been working hard, keeping faith and striving for the opportunity to be apart of something as special as Bosch. It was a big moment for me to portray Winston on season 6. It honestly feels like the beginning… But what a beginning! I feel blessed and honored everyday at how my story is unfolding. I hope that anyone reading this can find it in themselves to keep the faith, believe in themselves and know that their efforts can and will eventually pay off. Enjoy the journey! Check out my video, “Stay the F*ck home!” On YouTube : https://youtu.be/f48FMARoGe4 Also stay tuned for the web series I will be staring in, “Full Tilt Boogie”.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If your new to LA or visiting, it’s a big city but I would recommend spending sometime on the Westside! Culver City, Venice, Santa Monica! Rush Street in Culver City is a great vibe for anything from a business meeting, a date, watching the game to a dance party on the weekends! The Whaler on Venice beach feels like an “Adult spring break” party and The Bungalow in Santa Monica is something that anyone visiting SoCal should experience.
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?
Shout out to Curry College! John Barrett, D-L Garren and all my early instructors and directors, gave me an opportunity to fall in love with the arts and their guidance helped me have the courage to pursue my dream. D-L you guys will always have a special place in my heart! Thank you For helping get to where I am! And of course a shout out to my loving family who always supported me no matter what. You guys are the reason I am able to follow my heart. My partner, Anya, who is my fan, self tape reader, support, alarm clock, inspiration… Thank you for believing in me.
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