Part of the fun of the past decade of sharing stories in the pages of Conversations the magazine has been the inspiration I have found from others that has helped me along my own journey.
While in Los Angeles this year I had a chance to meet in person another one of the individuals I have interviewed for the radio show and even for the magazine: actor Jon Chaffin. His story is one that I know people have been inspired by, because he has inspired me just by being so passionate about his craft. For him acting has been the vehicle to not just living his dreams but showing others that they can do the same. He been able to play a variety of roles from the tough guy, the funny guy and the good guy. It is in the role of Warlock on Tyler Perry's THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS, however, that the world has taken notice. After just one episode he became a fan favorite.
"We as actors live for the chance to slip into different roles and do things in this imaginary world that we don't do in real life," he told me during our conversation together. "Its always an honor when I am able to play certain roles."
Jon described it to me as being able to "get back to that childlike stage when I just do things so it comes naturally." That has really been the key for him along his path.
Looking at the success of the show The Haves and the Have Nots, Jon says "It's been an awesome experience. Nothing short of spectacular." Working with the cast has really made the project worthwhile for him. "When you have good people to get along with it makes for an easy work environment where everyone can put forth their best work."
Here are some other nuggets from our conversation:
JON'S INSPIRATION FOR ACTING:
"Movies like The Five Heartbeats and Shawshank Redemption made me want to act. Individuals like Robert Townsend inspired me. What they did with that movie (Five Heartbeats) drew me in. I would actually quote the movie. I had watched it so much I could quote each character. There were times I would perform certain scenes for my family. Having that imaginative world to get lost in was my first real "A-ha moment" when I said I want to do this."
JON ON PORTRAYING WARLOCK:
"We are representing real life. There are real Warlocks in the world. Portraying him allows me to put on different shoes and wear different hats and challenge myself.
"I don't play stereotypes. I play people. This person (Warlock) was someone who had her (Candace Young played by Tika Sumpter) back. Everyone wants that, to have somebody that you can go to is important. I had no idea that they (viewers of the show) would fall in love with Warlock after one episode!"
Viewers have seen the relationship between Warlock and Candace change from when he was first introduced to the show. After being betrayed, we see a different side of War. "He's someone who is an actual human being," Jon told me during our sit-down in Los Angeles. "Warlock is a very loyal person. He's someone who could have gone down a different path if he chose to." He thought that after the last season people would hate Warlock, but he says it seems as though people understand War's hurt and love him even more. Time will tell whether that lasts or not.
JON'S IDEA OF SUCCESS:
"For me it's just about doing what my heart's desire is. If i can wake up and do this and pursue this I'm successful. Everybody wants different things. As I continue to grow in my career I noticed that my success is predicated on my happiness. Success is not necessarily how many people know your name. It's more or less are you able to do something that you love."
JON'S ADVICE FOR OTHERS:
"Identify what your desire is and accept that you can have that. I believe that whatever is in my heart that brings me joy is what God has for me. When I'm on set and I'm happy that lets me know I'm in alignment. Find what makes you happy. Be bold. Be daring. Do it. You have to take a chance on yourself."
Follow Jon on Twitter at @JonChaffin and stay connected with him on Facebook.