Hi I’m Eric Conner senior instructor at New York Film Academy. And in this episode we bring you a performer who would have given James Brown a run for his money as the hardest working man in show biz: the incomparable Cedric the Entertainer.

I decided not to be famous and do a famous thing. I just went in and auditioned and I got the role. For that reason but I felt like that attitude led me to being creative in the moment you know taking the character and doing a little something different.

In my day the barber was a counselor fashion expert style coach pimp just general around hustler.

Ever since Tiger Woods won a couple of years ago we out there trying to play I’m out there. There be a lot of black people at the golf course now. I call it. The. Post Tiger renaissance.

A dandelion I thought the frost wiped them all out.

All but one.

This. Is the barbershop. The place where a black man means something cornerstone of the neighborhood.

His film and TV credits – they’re only about 20 years old and yet during that time he’s racked up over 70 credits everything from barber shop to playing a lemur in Madagascar. He helped create the show soulman and he is currently executive producing and starring in the CBS show neighborhood. It’s all pretty far climb up from the St. Louis standup team where he began.

I’m from St. Louis as I started in St. Louis as a standup and of course during that time that was really how most of the guys came in to television and film. You started by being a standup if you weren’t a you know a dedicated straight up actor and you know most of the people from Jamie Foxx to the Wayans brothers. Martin Lawrence all these guys were. Standups first and then they became TV stars and film stars. Eddie Murphy you know so. So that was something that I really wanted to do so I started in St. Louis doing stand up and then I came out to L.A. in 94 when I became the host of BET’s Comic View which was a standup show but it put me on TV every day. Standup is just one of those things. People you watch. You kind of understand what the rhythm is. You have to start small and stand up you can you know even if you’re new all you’re going to get is five minutes on stage anyway. Like you you’re not. You have to be extremely special right away for you to get more time. It’s just the way the business is designed.

Five minutes might not seem like that much time but if you’ve ever actually gone to a standup show and there’s a bad comic five minutes is forever. Well obviously Cedric the Entertainer figured out how to do a great five minutes and in fact his famous moniker actually came from this time in the standup scene not out of any sort of false bravado simply because he just didn’t have enough jokes to fill the headliner timeslot he so desperately wanted.

I don’t know a lot of people know this story but my name came because when I started doing standup I got popular really quickly I was kind of telling the story of how stand-ups get paid in time. So when you’re a new guy you would what they call the M.C.. You do five to eight minutes you get paid three hundred dollars to do eight shows right. You get three hundred then you move up to the middle and you do 25 to 30 minutes and you get paid 600 to 800 and then you become the headliner and that’s the headliner is a thousand to whatever you command. Once you the last dude. And so early on because I used to work I worked at state farm I was a claims adjuster I had a corporate job when I started doing comedy I wanted the money to equal what it was that I got paid. So I needed at least six hundred dollars. So once I became known in St. Louis and people would want me to come do shows. I would tell them I can do 30 minutes but I didn’t. I only had five minutes worth of jokes so I would sing I would do a poem I’d play a record I’d do a whole dance routine I’m gonna fill up this 30 minutes. So what happened was a guy kept introducing comedians as the next comedian. He’s like and this next comedian coming up. And so he did that and me really paying reverence to comedians and loving them. I was like Don’t call me a comedian because I don’t have enough jokes I’ll say Call me an entertainer. So he said this next guy is an entertainer. Cedric the Entertainer. And then I went up and I had a killer show and when I got off he said Cedric the Entertainer y’all. And I was like that’s the name I just kept. And that was it.

The funny thing is normally if someone just calls themselves an entertainer you think they’re just being ridiculous or they’re overdoing it but not him because he would do all these different things onstage because that’s who he is. And that’s actually his advice to others looking to do standup. Be true to yourself. Provided of course yourself can handle the fact that early standup gigs are not always going to go as planned.

The real thing about standup is individuality man. Like I mean it comes from the experiences that you have. The way that you see life the way that you can word something and think about the phrasing and really try to take that that spirit that truth on stage that’s the best thing that works is the you know you can be funny. But people like people that they believe this happened to them or the way that they tell the story and you know you can get the angst of being on stage. So that’s another thing breathe you know try to relax you know just try to relax into a one go from one joke to the next. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself when something didn’t go well that’s when you have to just kind of remain in the pocket just you got a set in your head you know that would be my first you know. Make sure you write a set like start with this is my first joke. This my second joke is going to be my third joke. This is what I plan on ending with If something happens in the middle. You know something happens in the room I could change. I might do that but at least you have your head. What was gonna be your plan of attack. And so if something throws you off you can go like alright Cool. Let me get back to the things that I was gonna say but it’s all about really kind of being true to yourself in the moment and trying to let that come out and that’s what people will enjoy the most. That’s what you enjoy about all your favorite stand ups is that they just uniquely them you like that’s funny that dude just. He just cracked me up because the way he see it.

So for years crowds loved watching Cedric and seeing how he reacted to the world. He did his time and eventually that got him noticed Cedric or maybe I should call him Mr. the entertainer eventually got tagged to join the original Kings of Comedy tour. And that tour featured a TV personality which then helped launch Cedric’s acting career. Mr Family Feud himself. Steve Harvey.

He hails. From St Louis Missouri put your hands together for my motherf**king friend. Cedric the Entertainer.

What’s up. A lot of them space movies out white people like space movies black people don’t really do space like that. White people love space movies they love movies about the moon and Mars where they can be leaving our ass down here on earth. That’s what they think they think they gonna leave us down here on Earth. They gonna move to the moon. Ain’t gonna happen. Y’all move to the moon Damn it. We coming to the moon. We’ll be right behind y’all in space shuttles with Cadillac grills n*** just. They could just rolling one headlight out. Tags be all wrong. All bass.

My first real opportunity to play a character was on the Steve Harvey Show. In my mind. It was just like two months ago or whatever. People like man I was a baby. Thanks a lot. I feel young you know but I do think that being with another standup Steve was a good friend of mine. We were friends. We just came into the environment in a real comfortable way and it made it easy to kind of transition from just being known as a standup to acting every day on a sitcom. I was with somebody that I trusted. We were partners we trusted each other and the director Stan Lathan. He did all the Def Comedy Jams. So he was with us and then he directed every Steve Harvey Show. So again I just kind of walked into a really good environment for you know to be able to have a learning curve. To you know if you if you do some wrong. They like hey man you know turn around. You can’t say your line to the wall. Like you right you right.

Cedric’s first experience in front of the camera was perfect for him. Working with Steve Harvey working with a director he knew and appreciated but he also admits that during the early part of his career he did not really appreciate the magnitude of just what a director did and how important a great director was to the success of a project.

One thing I had to learn that the director is also talent because when you’re hired as an actor you kind of believe that it’s all about you but you realize that a talented director is also talent like they are. They’re there to do something very specific and they’re trying to find something very specific so that it can be on the screen. It’s kind of easy to put them on the technical side because they’re behind the camera and you know you would see actors be very temperamental would directors you don’t know what I do. I’m got I’ve got to get here. So for the most part I would say the best thing about a director is to really have a vision of what it is that they’re trying to do and then have the kind of it’s this thing of of being in charge in charge of the situation but also knowing that you do have to let an actor find it like they have to. It’s not automatic but if you have a vision and a direction it’s easy for you to you know hopefully you know some directors are not really good with actors they just really great technical people but you know it’s to be able to explain to that actor what it is that you need. That’s usually the best relationship. You know I’ve done movies where an actor just ran over the director and then you see the movie fall apart like he’s at that point that you start to go like Yo you really have to know you to Captain of the ship and it’s a hard thing to do when you’re dealing with egos of like big time stars. But as that person that’s shooting the film that’s got to get it on you to Captain. You just got to take that and that’s going to be best.

Fortunately the captain for barbershop was Tim Story who was young but knew what he wanted. And barbershop turned out to be a significant turning point in Cedric’s career. He had a chance to actually go after more audience friendly crowd pleaser one that would have made him probably a lot more money. But he went with the smaller more personal role.

Barbershop at that time it was interesting they hadn’t they had actually been casting like these comedies about our culture like very specific culture stuff you know and you know usually it’s some kind of family based movie. But this was about something that was inside the culture that was very specific to what we how we experience going to the Barbershop. It was interesting though because at that time it was at MGM and Like Mike was was getting ready to be shot and I could have I had a choice. So as an actor they was like Oh you want to do like Mike which is going to pay you more money it’s going to be this big studio movie. And then there was barber shop and you know I just instinctively knew from being a stand that this particular movie was going to be better suited for what I wanted to do and what how I wanted to be in movies. And so I chose the lesser money for the greater film. That’s what I would say.

I think it’s fair to say that Cedric the Entertainer chose wisely. Barbershop turned out to be a surprise hit with its personal tales of an African-American corner barbershop resonating with people from all backgrounds. It’s actually something I stress writing instructor the more personal and more lived in your story is ironically the more universal it becomes.

As unique as you may feel right now your story will resonate with so many people so try to find something that tells that story really cleanly you’ll be surprised that your audience will be a lot bigger for different reasons. I mean a lot like you know the barbershop which we thought was very specific to the black barbershop. Once we start telling the story people go Oh that’s like my blah-di-blah. So other cultures the reason why the movie did well is that you have to figure out how do you cross over. Well we didn’t think about it like that. We were telling a very specific story and it crossed over because other cultures started going oh you know their barbershop is like our when we go to the you know the pizza shop or whatever we do. People recognize like this is where you get to be yourself. You can say whatever it is that you want to say. And so people start to identify with the movie from that. That’s what I think as an artist you have something that you know you feel like you want to say inside out trust that and believe that that message will lead you to even bigger and greater message but start with the one pure in your heart and the one that you feel like you you want to say say it.

It’s exactly why my big fat Greek wedding is still one of the biggest comedies ever made. That story’s so specific and so personal. That everyone can relate to it. Cedric the entertainer gets this too because he was a stand up comic for years which is always about connecting with your audience. Knowing your voice. So when he acts in a movie he’s always at the ready. He can improv. He can tell jokes he can change lines but he respects the screenplay. He doesn’t mind cutting loose but only if the director lets him.

In movies. There’s usually a flexibility of course I start out doing the script it’s only when a director usually you’re saying interpret it like in barber shop in barber shop because I was so uniquely had that character in my head. The director knew that I could do the words and then he was like alright do the words and then be Eddie. That’s what he would just say like he would go do the script because you know again the studio paid for the script. The people who put the money up want this script. That’s what they think they bought it so you can’t necessarily. You don’t have the freedom to just freestyle unless they trust you. And so in that particular movie the way I you know kind of crafted the character they just trusted what I wanted to do and so I freestyle a lot. In the end I did my version one of the in that movie was the big Rosa Parks Martin Luther King thing right.

What I’m saying is that black people need to stop lying. There are three things that black people need to tell the truth about. One one Rodney King should have got his ass beat for driving drunk and being pulled over in a Hyundai. Two OJ did it and three Rosa Parks ain’t do nothing but sit her black ass down. That’s right I said it. I said it.

You know you wrong keep on walking. You wrong. You walking by yourself this time. I ain’t with you. I’ll tell you one thing. You better not never let Jesse Jackson hear you talking like that.

Man. F**k Jesse Jackson.

Super controversial like I mean even on the set the producers people was mad. People were walking away. I mean it was like serious like it was. There was a guy that like kind of worked to get me on the movie couldn’t even believe I was gonna say it. I say it’s in the script. But the way it was written in the script it had a malice to it. So what I did was try to take what he was saying and internalize it as Eddie. So I could say the same thing but not in the same way. So that’s what I did. So when the NAACP and I mean they came at me they came at me like I mean like like it’s weird like when people want to like like Jesse Jackson called me at my house and. Rosa Parks family sent me a letter scathing letter. I was like whoa I said it’s serious right here boy I’m in trouble with the ancestor’s right now man. I don’t know how I’m going to get out of this. The ancestors. But I had created a Truth in the character that I believed was his truth Eddie. And that’s what he was saying because that’s what Eddie believed in the barbershop. So I had all these things like this the barbershop man like we people say absurd things and then some people believe things to be true but I don’t disrespect the screenwriter like that’s one of the reasons why you decide to do a project in the first place is that you’ve got to look at the writing and see it’s something you want to be a part of. And that is how most actors make their choice because they’re just paint they’re the actor they’re there to to make your words real. I had to learn that more so in my run on Broadway because as a comedian I became very used to freestyle and then doing my own thing. But when you do playwrights for sure you can’t change nothing like screenwriters. You get a little bit more leeway but playwrights no words no change no extra. None of that. And I was surprised because I thought they were hiring me to to do me like and they were like No no no. You doing this. Alright.

Barbershop did help show the range of Cedric the Entertainer’s talents he could have treated the role like a series of jokes and I’m sure it would’ve been funny but he did more that. He went deeper with it and he came at it not just as a comic but really as an actor.

For a comedian once you start acting you get the drive to be considered serious and you know it’s something that just happens naturally once people start putting you in movies and then all of a sudden you have this desire for people to go like you know you really can act. You know you need that. And so it usually comes with dramas. Even then you know I thought about Bridesmaids or hangover. None of the great comedies coming to america they never get nominated or the actors get recognized for what they did. And these are big movies and they came into your life in a big way and you go like well why the hangover wasn’t nominated. Why wasn’t bridesmaids nominated these are the funniest movies this year. They was comedians. And so you go like Well I want an award you know I don’t you know it’s cool. That comedy is cool. But you know I got a tux I’m trying to. But to those opportunities we look for them. You know I try to look for them. I mainly look for small roles that I get to be with really great actors. And so I try to look for those things in this particular movie Barbershop. This was one of my favorite stories about myself and I feel the movie was was already being shot and. When I first got cast they didn’t know that I wanted to be the old man. Everybody thought I was supposed to Antony’s part. Everybody was lined up and I was like No no I’m the old man they was like you the old man. I was like yeah I’m the old man. Like I had a whole vision which I did. Like you know like I had a whole idea of who this guy was and including the hairstyle. Like I braided my hair. I grew my hair all summer so I could because I wanted to look like Frederick Douglass like I had a whole thing. It was like I was locked into this dude right. But the first day of my shooting was the scene outside when Calvin tells me that he sold the shop.

Your daddy may not have had a whole lot of money. But he was rich because he invested in people. What you think. You think I’m the only one he gave a job to. Calvin. No that man opened up the doors to anybody and any knucklehead round here city of Chicago that wanted to come down here and make something out themself. Gave them the opportunity to be somebody a liscenced professional barber.

For me to come into a comedy and then to deliver the most one of the most dramatic scenes in the movie was was something I was uniquely proud of because a lot of the crew came up to me afterward was like yo like we didn’t even know what this movie was about until you did that right there. You know like they was like because there was the robbery it was the bank you know. So they had no idea what the movie was about until that scene when people were shooting and they saw like how emotional I was about it. And I got mad and it was like Yo. So to be able to put it off on your first major movie in your first day of shooting was something I was really proud of and you know that I. That’s why asked you to watch that movie mainly for me you know what I mean. But but it’s a good movie but I just loved. You know the performance I gave throughout the movie.

He has a right to be proud. His performance is great even if the movie didn’t rack up any awards. It launched a small franchise and showed that Mr. The entertainer could do a lot more than just tell jokes. One of the best scenes in the whole film in fact is this little fight breaks out in the barbershop.

So his character immediately grabs a blade and is ready to use it.

Cut me somebody up in here.

Except the fight’s already over.

Almost messed up my part.

It’s the kind of small comedic gem that really can’t be taught. But it can be learned after spending so much time on the standup stage.

You know for me stand up is definitely my way in. It’s the thing that I like to do I feel like I like to do it naturally. So I still tour now like I got the new show. The neighborhood on on CBS and it is great but it allows me to still go out on the road. I like the what I call the immediacy of stand up it’s the only place for artists like myself to have content not edited or produced. You know so you know with television and film it’s several people that have opinions that’s going to happen in your project along the way it’s you know it’s very few writer directors that can. Very few probably Tyler Perry I guess is the only one that’s like I can do everything myself I don’t need your opinion you know what I mean. But most big directors and writers or whatever it’s other people that are gonna have opinions going to have to be able to interject standup is one it’s just you the audience the microphone and you just go and you make it happen. So I still love that but it is what I consider a young man’s sport you do learn to be a veteran at it and be kind of where you know you ain’t got to dunk all the time but it is a young man’s sport because you’ve got to travel to do it you’ve got to be out on the road you’ve got to go to other places there’s just no way to be you know a great stand up and just do it all the time you know. So I think that. Acting becomes equivalent to a stand up is definitely that first love because it’s to freest that I get to be being me like I can just do it whenever I feel like doing it.

The standup stage is like the ultimate freedom for a performer. It’s you a microphone and a red light that tells you when your time is up. It’s a little bit different than what he experienced in Hollywood even as his career got bigger his roles get huge. His creative input stayed small.

This idea of being hot and not being hot. Right. So I did a movie codename The Cleaner. And then I did the Honeymooners and both of these movies were movies that I executive produced on. But I did them for money. And this was one of these choices where they’d given me directors that were in like a pooling system but I had directors in my mind that I thought would be better for the projects and I didn’t fight for them because they were threatening to take away my money. So. After doing both of the movies and they they come out with not being the box office success then I’m no longer a person that can walk in a room and get a green light like before then. They were like oh Ced coming in you get a meeting if they want to do the movie they’d green light it. I’d get this big check you know it was power like and so once that went away it was those moments where you go like I didn’t trust my instinct. I made the money but I didn’t trust that thing that I believe in and then you feel like you’re constantly fighting to get that back. I would say even to this day I still even though I do a lot of movies and I’ve got a lot of projects I still haven’t got gotten that cache back that was that particular apex of both power Hollywood wanting you. And recognizing what to do with it. Like you know what I mean. And so when you kind of feel like you sliding down and you fighting to get up that’s one of those kind of weird moments where it’s rough because you’ve already tasting success and so you do have to have a centered-ness and a you know a kind of a faith to just work. Just kind of believe in work just believe in doing it. Getting back up on the bike going again and not worrying about that. Like you know you just can’t worry about you know how high it’s going to get or how low it’s going to get just if you love it just do it.

Though when the paychecks are ice age and Madagascar sized he doesn’t mind the work so much.

You know in your mind when you watch animation for the viewer you feel like it’s all you look at it in the same way you look at a movie as a movie. So you actually believe everybody that there together and doing all this. And so I was quite surprised.

Is it all together or is it just you alone.

It’s just you you in the booth. The writer the producers someone over in Japan on a machine every now and then you get somebody chiming in Cedric you hot and they like give you like weird directions exasperate it if you will when you say the word got it but you know it’s different because what I would do is kind of go back in to your days as a kid when you when you playing with your toys in the room and you giving everybody voices and you got your army man and you you know you using your skateboard as a ship you know like it’s just a whole thing and so that’s what I try to do when I do animation. Because you’re not really with anybody you have to think about and they give you the line and they give you the line several times because you know they can voice without really knowing what the drawing is going to be. So they may have you know like usually the director may have things in his head so he’s like you might be jumping off of a building and so give me one where you like ah and then and then but I might have you all running. So then I want you to breathe with it and so you just kind of like you got to be willing to kind of go in and out and you know it feels a little silly at times because it’s just you making it up and they have a video camera on you. And that’s what they use for you know like post stuff and then you see yourself doing stupid ah you like the homies can’t never see this ah you in a room by yourself like looking stupid. But you know I’ll tell you what when you get a Madagascar check everything every all of it goes out the window. Super short memory on the Madagascar checks.

May we all be so lucky to get a Madagascar sized check. I’m sure there’s a lot of zeros so Cedric the Entertainer’s seen firsthand that a career in Hollywood is really not a straight line. His time on stage night after night got him ready for the plethora of nos that one gets in the film and TV industry.

It is a tough one especially again probably I would say for my particular path because it always went so smoothly so I wasn’t rejected you know early I had success I had what I considered a pedigree I had these things that I thought you know all answers should be yes like you know I went from a stand up to hosting a stand up TV show Comic View on BET that made me a household name because back then Comic View used to come on every night you know BET was the premiere goto black channel like at that time it was it was like this is where black people went to watch TV. You know what I mean and especially for something like that. It was stand up. So I became a household name and really famous without the industry. I used to do a joke about that like I was hood rich hood famous like I could go anywhere black walk in people know who I am. I’m making a lot of money because I’m out on the road making a lot of money. I’ll go into a meeting out here and they’ll be like Cecil the interrogator you know they have no idea who I am. Yeah we heard of you. Courtney the Instigator you’re great. We love you. We love what you do. And it was one of those moments where you realize that you are in this this parallel universe where there’s things going on like way up here way above your pay scale. And so when somebody tells you you no in that environment it’s bruising man it bruises like so but you know I like to say you know with stand up probably is another thing because every joke doesn’t always work. Standup is very subjective so some people love a certain comedian some people go that dude ain’t really that funny to me. So you can go into any room at any time and have a group of people not really feel you and you have to learn that rejection. I took that rejection over to the movie business so after a while it just like alright cool that particular person didn’t get me. I’m going to move on to the next one because that doesn’t mean everybody doesn’t get me.

Alright I can’t imagine anyone not liking Cedric the Entertainer but it happens sometimes you’re not the right guy and he gets that but it doesn’t bother him. So that means that even now after all his success when really he should never have to audition again sometimes he still does try out but if it means he gets to work with the right people he’ll park his ego at the door and do it.

Probably the audition that most stands out to me and it was not too long ago the movie why him with Bryan Cranston and James Franco and it was one of these movies where a lot of people were going out for the role and it was this thing like well they wanted to make me feel special but you really realized that you were auditioning like it was this whole thing y’all will learn this language you know the director wants to take a meeting with Cedric you know and then you show up and there’s 15 other actors there you like this is an audition man. Yeah this ain’t no damn meeting man you know. Like I see my friends and stuff there I’m like oh man I’m auditioning right now. But knowing that you know again I guess you know for me after being in other movies after having some success the fact that I wanted to be in a movie with Bryan Cranston I wanted to be in a movie with James Franco. The director John Hamburg like big director these choices made me take the ego out of it. Like I. So you know that was the thing that I kind of remembered about the moment. I didn’t I decided not to be famous and do a famous thing like you know I just went in and auditioned and I got the role for that reason but I feel like that attitude led me to being creative in the moment being you know taking the character and doing a little something different than what mainly because I thought I was having a meeting so. So I wasn’t really prepared to audition. So I just kind of like took the words and did my own thing with it and that’s what the director you know ultimately wanted. So that was. And I remember that as a moment for me that I thought the blessing of having the right attitude at the right time and then being able to just kind of adapt with the circumstance was something that I would consider like a blessing to have been in that spot as opposed to thinking the other way about it.

That might not work for everyone treating an audition like it’s not an audition but well it worked for him he got the part though to be honest. Right now we might not be seeing him in as many movies moving forward because he’s really fallen in love with working in television.

Right now. Like I’m really loving the television space. I’d still want to continue to do movies. You know we got a couple of more dramatic type movies but now it’s about producing other shows shows for other people you know really kind of finding writers in the next phase which was really interesting about coming to a school in an environment like this is because it won’t be a surprise at all that in you know five years one of y’all going to come up to me like yo man you spoke at my school I was there that night you know and you’d be like Yo this is where really how relationships are formed and made and you’ll just be surprised by that. And I throw that out there as positive energy knowing that you guys are you’re next there’s always somebody next there’s always somebody that’s coming into this game that’s gonna be next. You can’t stop it. You know so no matter how hot you are how big you are you can be Brad Pitt super sexy man alive. Here come Ryan Gosling it’s just the way it go like you don’t get to be hot forever. I mean you could ride your hot forever but I mean that it guy is somebody gonna be that and producers and creators and talented people that y’all come in next and you know so it’s just important to be able to be in the energy so that’s what I try to throw out there.

And then part of being in this energy that he’s describing means you can’t get too caught up in the chaos of this industry. It’s easier said than done but you got to find a way to stay grounded.

I’ve always surrounded myself by a small team. I’m a I’m a person that loves big but I don’t really have a lot of big entourage. Like I’ll deliver I perform as your uncle your cousin people feel like they know me. Like like I’ve definitely had people walk up to me like hey Ced man. Just like talking I’ll be like bro. Like I don’t know like in your head when you had this other conversation with me but I don’t know you like that. You know. But I do think that you know to the core of your question is really just trying to remain true to the work that I do make sure that I’m focused on doing a good job that I don’t take the checks for granted. I don’t take the opportunities for granted. So that’s why I’m prayerful and why we gather and try to bring that synergy whenever we doing a project where people be all in one accord because what you realize is that it takes everybody to get the job done. You know I gave the example you can be funny on camera but if the camera man is just off by a little bit they missed the whole joke and you be like ah I killed it and you missed it you like so you actually need everybody to be doing their job at the highest of their ability. So you try to motivate that and so that everybody cares about what it is that they’re to do. And you guys will know this as you do work and you get in post and you like I ain’t got the shot I thought I had the shot. If you had a shot the money gone you can’t go back and the actors gone moved on to the next project. You can’t get it all over again. So that’s why it’s so important to always keep a positive energy when people are working around you and they’re not positive. Those are hard days when you’re trying to be a good person but when it’s time to move on it’s time to move on and you’ve got to be true about what it is that you’re doing. And you know I just try to take this spirit in everything that I do.

And part of knowing when to move on is to realize that you’re not going to only have one great idea. You’re going to have a lot of them. Because if you put all your time and energy into one idea. Well unfortunately that might become your last idea.

To all of you guys never think that this idea is your last idea lot of time. People start to hang they hat on one thing and if you don’t get that one done you count yourself as a failure. Just just no. Man that ain’t it. You can do 20 of these like when you start believing in that direction. Then you can handle rejection. You got to handle the nos but you have to believe that one idea once somebody saying no it’s not gonna stop you. So I got a new idea so because like with any idea unfortunately as much as you think is so unique when you get out into the bigger Hollywood you’ll be surprised when people like you know we’re actually already developing something along those lines and you be like what that’s my greatest idea and they be like I’m sorry. And then you know you didn’t see many people they stole my idea. You like they couldn’t have stole your idea. You just thought of it and they already produced it. Right. That mean that they thought that two years ago because it don’t happen that fast. If it’s on now. That means somebody had this already two years ago for it to actually be on. So that’s when you know like your idea was not as unique as you thought it was. But again it doesn’t prevent you from being creative and finish it. Finish it. That that exercise is going to make you stronger.

You’d be smart to listen to advice from a man who really has earned the title The Entertainer by the way. If you want to see Cedric perform in a remarkably dramatic role check out first reformed with Ethan Hawke it’s on amazon prime right now. He’s terrific at it and maybe he’ll actually be at the award show in his fancy wear sooner or later. We want to say thanks to Cedric the Entertainer for sharing his story with our students and of course thanks to all of you for listening. This episode was based on a Q and A moderated I Tova Laiter and a Murray Agee. To watch the full interview or to see or other Q and A’s. Check out our YouTube channel at YouTube dot com slash New York Film Academy. This episode was written by me Eric Conner. Edited and mixed by Kristian Hayden our creative director is David Andrew Nelson who also produced this episode with Kristian Hayden and myself.

Executive produced by Tova Laiter Jean Sherlock and Dan Mackler. A special thanks to our events department Sajja Johnson and the staff and crew who made this possible. To learn more about our programs check us out at NY FAA. Thank you. Be sure to subscribe on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. See you next time.