We had the good fortune of connecting with Maurice Whitfield and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maurice, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I love this question!
I think that my initial reason for choosing an artistic career is because of the freedom within it. The fact that whatever your artistic passion is (dance, visual art, music, writing, etc.), your delivery and presentation of your gift is your signature. It becomes your voice, created from your perception of the world, unique and perfect. That is powerful!
Over the years, my main reason for continuing my artistic career has been to keep the mental and emotional stability that comes with Acting. I’ve been in Acting Classes for the last 20+ years and I find it just as necessary as Therapy. I find that, in my life, these are the only 2 places (therapy sessions and acting classes) where you are congratulated and even get applause for feeling all of the emotions you avoid on a daily basis. It wasn’t until Acting Class was halted due to Covid-19 that I realized the suffering that the body endures (central nervous system, muscle aches, food digestion issues, etc.) from holding all of these difficult emotions in. It can make the body very sick and can quickly lead to depression. There are scenes that I did in acting class that gave me a perspective that improved my marriage, self-esteem, and confidence as a father. A perspective that I couldn’t get from friends, self-help books, and parenting books. I would get the opportunity to live out the most vivid moments of other people’s lives (in the acting scene) as a practice course for my real future and learn all of the correct choices to make. Oftentimes, scenes help me regulate my emotions by accessing my joy, anger, and sadness and serving as a safe outlet for these emotions. I’m grateful for the emotional maturity, stamina, and space that my artistic career has given me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am an Actor/Producer. I specialize in Comedic/Dramatic Acting.
What sets me apart from others is this visceral, intrinsic belief that after all that has happened in my life, when it comes to my dream, “I can still win.” I won’t quit and I won’t wait. Once I demystified the role of “Producer” I gained confidence and courage via experience and knowledge. I am committed to Producing my ideal career and truly manifesting my dreams into reality.
I am most proud of creating my action-packed “Target Film Audition” which is now streaming publicly. In the first 15 months of quarantine, I produced a “Target Film Audition” which is a self-produced audition for your favorite film franchise in the form of a short film. The film started as a class assignment at Richard Lawson and Tina Knowles’ Waco Theater in North Hollywood. But because of the last two years and the pandemic, the project has become so much more. The creation of the piece has provided me and my team with a renewed sense of focus and determination because of the many positive themes and images that could impact those that view the finished product — especially during difficult times. We knew that we had to get this film out there for people to feel inspired and motivated — especially communities of color. My team and I are presenting the film to the casting offices of all of my favorite movie franchises from Marvel’s “Black Panther,” and Warner Bros. “Justice League,” and “Mortal Kombat” to Universal’s “The Fast Saga” and more. Watch it here: https://vimeo.com/559130779
Getting to this point has not been easy. Acting and Producing is expensive and no one outside of my family gave me money to Produce my dreams into reality. Kickstarter and Indigogo didn’t work for me. So I had to work lots of jobs, part-time and full time, sometimes simultaneously to pay for Casting Director Workshops and my own Productions. Collaborating with new people in a new city left me vulnerable to theft and deception. A lesson I had to learn is, don’t base everything on capitalist ideals. Don’t make too many decisions based on what you think people can do for you without really knowing the person’s character. Trust no one. Really get to know the people you want to work with and believe their actions over their words.
I want the world to know that I am committed to telling the truth (good, bad, or ugly) through my art. Hopefully, my art’s authenticity will breed more connections, and experiences that encourage humanity, compassion, and consistent integrity in the world.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I spend a lot of time at the gym, otherwise, I’m a work-from-home Dad. There’s a really nice Crunch Fitness right by my house we’d train at 3 times a week. Then, there’s another great gym about 10 minutes away from me called Speakeasy Fitness that I really like to train at with my personal trainer, which we could hit on the weekends. And on Sunday afternoon, we’d chill at the Ace Hotel Rooftop in downtown LA, for a rest day. Can’t forget “Meal Prep Sundays” where we’d cook, weigh and prepare all of our food for the next week.
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?
My shoutout goes to my Mom, Veronica Pettiford. She never lets me down. She is the hardest working, most giving woman I know. She gives me permission to be strong, firm, and assertive about my dreams and beliefs. She also reminds me to be kind, gentle, and considerate regarding the dreams and beliefs of others. She is the only other person in my life that has always been just as dedicated to my dreams as I am, and I will always cherish that. She helped me produce my first award-winning short film, “Variable”, and every time we watch it together and see her name as a Producer on it in the credits we smile at each other because that is “ours.” We did that together. When I’m discouraged, feeling invisible, and “hate this town so much” she is always right there to remind me how far I’ve come, literally (from N.C.) and figuratively. She can always show me that I still have what it takes to win, and to “Never Give Up.” I Love her so much. Thank you, Mom. This one goes out to “You.”