Derrick Gilliam will be filming "Garrison 7" in Iceland soon. His character is Ghost.
NAME: Derrick D. Gilliam
CITY, STATE: Lansing Michigan
Can you tell us about what you do and how you got into your line of work? and how is acting different than traditional employment?
I am a actor and I got into acting by the grace of GOD I made a Facebook page back in 2010 and I received a message from someone claiming to be Tyler Perry naturally I did not believe it was Tyler Perry. Fast forward 3 weeks later and I received another message via yahoo from Tyler Perry Studios and they said Tyler Perry had wanted me to play his stand in and double for the Alex Cross movie I did not believe that but it was true. They then asked me to come to Cleveland to film for 14 weeks in 2011 and that's how it all started. Acting is different than traditional employment because it is not consistent at all. You get turned down so much. You have to have thick skin because you only win 1 role out of every 200 auditions. It is a very tough business.
If money were no object and you could put your all into your business/goals what would you do?
I would love to open up a shelter to help homeless people right here in Lansing. I feel so bad when I think about homeless people period, but I especially feel bad for them when I think about them trying to survive the winters here in Michigan.
What are the obstacles you’ve run into and how do you go about navigating around them especially in such a competitive environment?
The big obstacles are being in Michigan as much as I love Lansing and the state of Michigan, is it no Hollywood, CA or Atlanta, GA and right now those are the hot spots for acting, especially Atlanta GA. They call Atlanta “Hollywood South” now, so location is a huge obstacle. I navigate around them by simply driving or flying wherever I have to just for one 12-minute audition. I look at it as investing in myself and in this business you have to invest in you.
Can you share any particular quotes or bits of wisdom that have stuck with you from your clients?
My mother always said, “Trust and believe in GOD and believe in yourself and never ever give up on your dream.”
What is your favorite mental mantra when you are preparing for a role?
I always say to myself Derrick focus on what you can control and let everything else fall in place.
Where do you find the most peace?
Believe it or not at home with 3 of my children Danny, Denver and Dash and wife, Tameka Gilliam. Also talking with my 2 older son Rayshawn and Dominic. They live in Atlanta, GA and Montgomery, AL. However, we are a very very close family and that's my peace.
If you could talk to yourself 10 years ago, what would you say?
I would say Derrick why did not you pursue acting at the age of 25 because its no telling how far along you would be now because you have done so much in only 6 years of acting.
If you were creating a horror movie, what would your character look like, would it be interesting or scary to the viewers?
I would love to just be myself in a horror movie going around killing all the people I am very cool with and nobody would ever expect the killer to be me.
Finally, tell us who you would like to work with as an actor in a comedy and an action film?
I would love to work with Eddie Murphy and Kevin Hart in a comedy and I would love to work with Denzel Washington, Robert De Niro and Dwayne Johnson in a action film. Believe in yourself and believe dreams do come true.
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