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Derrell Lawrence: Filmmaker, Executive Producer, Director, Actor and Author on the Rise to the Top!
Derrell Lawrence, (born September 18th) is an American actor, filmmaker, writer, director, executive/producer and author. He is perhaps best known for his feature film debut, “LIFE ISN’T FAIR” in 2007.
By: De'Lady Image
Growing up and raised in a drug and crime infested neighborhood in South Philadelphia, PA., there was very little role models and positive instruments for Derrell to look up to, especially after the death of his father and sister. He experienced trouble while hanging around the wrong people. After realizing he was headed down a destructive path, Derrell decided to get his life in a positive perspective. However, the entertainment industry was the furthest thing on his mind.
One day a friend of Derrell’s couldn't take her daughter to an audition, so Derrell volunteered to take her. While waiting in the lobby, a casting director mistook Derrell for an actor. Derrell explained that he wasn’t, but the casting director insisted that Derrell audition. Taking it as something to do, Derrell went and audition for a toothpaste commercial. The audition itself didn’t go well, but the casting director still took photos of Derrell and sent them to various agencies.
Three days later, Derrell was called into The Maryanne Claro Talent Agency. After interviewing with Raye Claro, Derrell was cast as an extra in the hit movie Fallen starring Denzel Washington. On set, he was truly overwhelmed when Denzel himself came over and talked with him, giving words of encouragement. "He said, 'The key to acting is becoming the character. To become the character, you have to feel the character, never pretend; act the character”. This fueled the fire in Derrell. Soon after, he also did extra work on Beloved with Oprah Winfrey.
Charged by the momentum by being on set with Mr. Washington and Ms. Winfrey in such a short time frame, gave Derrell the penchant he needed to set his sights on an audition in New York posted in an issue of Backstage magazine. The response from the casting directors was not favorable. As Derrell was traveling back to Philly, he contemplated the audition. "I traveled three hours to stand in a two hour line only to be seen for two minutes. Maybe I can write my own movie.” This audition set the fuel to the fire!
Derrell sought advice from a friend, who told him to write a movie that wouldn't cost much to produce, and that's when “Life Isn't Fair” was born. He wrote the screenplay, directed, produced and featured himself in it. He also composed the original score, which also features music by Snoop Dogg, The Game and Lil Flip. “Life Isn't Fair” has earned several awards including, The Highest Achievement for New Filmmaker at the Jokara-Micheaux Video and Film Festival, as well as both The Silver Award and The People's Choice Award from Philafilm: The International Philadelphia Film Festival and Market. His hard work and dedication has also garnered him a coveted two week theatrical release at The Pearl Theater in Philadelphia as well as an international distribution deal for his films.
An interview with Derrell Lawrence gives an insight to where he has come from and where he is headed, proving that you can come from the inner streets and make it!
Derrell Lawrence also did numerous of stage plays including, “There Is No Secret to what Prayer Will Do” and “Jesus Save My Two Sons”. He is also working on a short film called, “No Daddy, No Pop”. Currently, Derrell is in pre-production on his next feature film entitled “Happy Holidaze”, while simultaneously touring HBCU's, High Schools and Elementary Schools where he screens and lectures on his work. He is also working on his book “Burn Out”, geared to be release later 2010 early 2011.
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Page Updated Last on: Feb 20, 2010