Today we introduce you to the 29-year-old Award winning Actor and blogger Gerald Langiri.We get to find out how his acting career started.His future plans and what he thinks of the film industry here in Kenya.We also get to see how he is causing major waves in the film industry here in Africa, how he is promoting the Kenyan film industry and educating the world on what is happening in the film industry through his blog www.actors.co.ke .
Gerald has won many awards such as best supporting actor in a TV drama for his role as Nico in the series Stay at Kalasha Awards 2014
,Best film blogger at the African Film development awards 2014
His website www.actors.co.ke won best niche market blog at the African blogger awards 2014
His short Film The Bigger Man won 2nd runners-up in the U-Film-It competition 2012
When did you start acting?
I started acting when I was a child doing nursery school solo performances during PTA meetings. I continued doing this throughout my primary and secondary school years. Professionally though, I started acting in 2011 when I decided to make acting my career.
How did you discover that you wanted to start acting professionally?
Well, I didn’t discover it parsay, it was something I’ve always wanted to do. However, I did not know how to pursue it further after high school so I opted to go to campus, do my degree, get employed in a 9 to 5 job before an acting opportunity presented itself. Luckily one did and I did not think twice about grabbing it.
What made you take it full-time?
Passion. Nothing in life should ever be done without it. That means taking the risk to do it. If it is something you genuinely love doing, you will take the risk,don’t do it blindly though. I took time to do my research on the acting industry and what it entails and what is expected of me as an actor to pursue it as a career before I jumped into it.
Does it pay?
Yes. I have been surviving as an actor for the past 4 years. I have been broke in some instances but having good money management skills can really help an actor.However, the entertainment industry works in such a way that the more well-known and reliable you are, the more money you’ll get to see and that takes time to build that brand.
What does a typical day in your life look like?Are you always on set?
Well, it all depends on what project I am working on. Yes, there are days I am on set everyday. Other projects can have me once or twice a week. When there isn’t any project I am working on, I am usually at home reading more about acting, updating my blog www.actors.co.ke , researching, making phone calls, attending events or just sitting at home bored watching a bunch of movies,which I also consider working because I am studying other actors.
What are the worst and best movie sets you have worked on?
I don’t know about the worst but I can easily point out the best and that was when I was working on the project Stay produced by Corder productions where I was playing the character Nico which won me the Kalasha Award 2014 for best supporting actor in a TV series. The next best thing was working on the project House of Lungula, that was crazy mad fun but yes, I have been on sets where you want to get out as soon as you get it. Unprofessionalism, lack of communication, being treated badly etc
What problems have, you encountered over the years?
Nothing I haven’t been able to overcome,but I guess the biggest problem we and many other actors have in this industry is the little opportunities that are available. The opportunities are few and far in between and therefore, if you are an actor like me who solely depends on acting for his livelihood, you are going to definitely have those moments when you ask yourself why and is it all worth it? But we soldier on.
Do you have pre rituals when or during acting period?
Yes, lots of sleep and listening to music.
For actors disagreement with directors is common especially if you aren’t on the same page. How do ensure you are always on the same page with directors?
You listen and trust the director. You are allowed to raise your opinion and state your case , if you are lucky enough to have an accommodating director who is ready and willing to listen to you, you are a happy actor who feels appreciated. There are “dictator” directors who want things done their way without getting any input,but when in such situations, I remind myself , I am an actor, I am here to act and just trust my director.
Future plans with your acting career?
That is a hard one since I can’t see into the future and I do not know what the future holds for me either.But I’m optimistic, bigger things are coming my way. I believe I haven’t touched the tip of what my acting career has in store for me.
How would you describe the Kenyan movie industry?
Haphazard. It’s like the proverbial “good things come in small packages” kinda scenario. I can argue how we actually don’t have an industry yet because an industry is built when there is content our audiences can choose from. While we are slowly heading there and taxes and finances are holding us back, producing 2 to 3 commercial movies a year can a hardly qualify us as an industry. It is different when it comes to the TV industry though. We have plenty of TV series and that is a sign of good things to come.
Low budget film has been a huge issue for the our movie scene but you see it as a good opportunity to get more movies onto the market. Why is that?
Because we can’t sit and wait for millions of shillings to come before we build our industry. So we do what we can with the little resources we currently have in our hands, produce films (commodity), build the industry (market), create the interest( Customers) and progress from there. Once sponsors see something happening in the industry, they will take a keen interest. Low budget doesn’t necessarily mean bad movies though. House of Lungula can be termed a low-budget movie but its impact in the industry so far has been tremendous.
What do you have in store for 2014 onwards?
I’m currently working on a series called Santalal where I play a county commissioner. I star along Nigerian star Desmond Elliot, Kenyan stars like Lydia Gitachu, Faith Munini, Blessing Lungaho, Vera Atsango, Innocent Njuguna among others.
There is also the movie Fundimentals to look out for from the producers of House Of Lungula.Another crazy comedy.
What would you want to be if you weren’t an actor?
Which artists have had the biggest influence on your acting career?
My mentors include and are not limited to Lizz Njagah, Ken Ambani, Raymond Ofula…if it wasn’t for the words of wisdom they instilled upon me when joining the industry, I’d probably be among the actors constantly complaining of this and that about the industry.
What would you say to those who are still negative towards Kenyan Movies?
Embrace them. We are trying. It is sad because I keep saying that Kenya was exposed to Hollywood way before being exposed to Kenyan movies. The expectations of our audience is therefore way up there and maybe we cannot quite meet them especially with budget constraints but what our audiences don’t realize is that their support and constructively talking about and criticizing our movies and making them go viral is the beginning of getting sponsors interested in our movies. So this mentality of anything foreign is better should stop.
You acted on a very daring movie House of Lungula. Should this movie change the way anyone perceives the Kenyan industry now?
If the movie should change any perception, it should be the fact that we can have a variety of stories in our industry opposed to the usual, love, AIDS, trauma, drama stories we have been having. There is room for comedy and most importantly there is room to take risks when it comes to filmmaking. We can’t play it safe anymore. Let’s be bold and do stuff worth talking about.
Apart From acting what are your other hobbies?
I love to travel. I love to eat. I love to watch movies. I love to play pool. I love to play chess. I love to socialize.
What inspired your life as a blogger,how did you start. actor.co.ke?
Well, it was during my 1stacting project in the industry when I was on set with some actors I had grown up watching on tv. I wanted to find out more about them and went on google to search and was shocked no info about Kenyan actors was available the way it is readily available for Hollywood actors. No information about the acting and film industry and since I was stuck after high school not knowing what to do to get into acting and where to get audition information and know about film related events, I decided, with the IT knowledge I have from my years in campus learning computing and internet systems, to create a simple but helpful tool like a website. A website which has now won best niche market blog at the African blogger awards 2014. Also winning the best film blogger at the African film development awards 2014 and nominated twice at the Kenya blogger awards.
How long have you been a blogger?
What would you say is the power of Blogging?
Dispensing information. Information that would normally not be found in your dailies or books. Especially in Kenya, we do not have acting books in the market (if there are any, I don’t know about them) so a blog like actors.co.ke fills that gap.
How is the state of blogging in Kenya? How can we improve?
Well, I would love to see more informative blogs rather than the ones we mostly have posting information on socialites etc. But looking at those blogs and the numbers they attract, I can say that there is space for everyone. Kenya is very accommodating honestly. We are in good place when it comes to the blogging arena. I find most of my information on blogs rather than on TV or newspapers so a big salute to all the bloggers out there.