Crown The Brown : Rory Booth Brings more than the Heat to the Big Screen
Crown The Brown was able to share Rory Booth and his amazing journey as an artist. Rory Booth is a South Africa film and theatre actor. He is also a recording artisit, accomplished film writer, known for his writing credits in ‘Keeping Kandhasamys’ and the upcoming ‘Kandasamys: The Wedding’! We were able to share some thoughts and find out more about Rory’s experience in the industry as well as his determination as an artist! Here is what Rory shared with us.
Actor, Artist, Dancer and Film Writer! More than a triple threat in the entertainment industry! How would you describe yourself as an entertainer? What makes you Rory Booth? Give us a little background on the man in front of the camera.
If I was to equate my life as an entertainer to an animal, I’d be a chameleon – able to change colour to suit my surroundings and to adapt and assume a character that any given job demands. As a creative working in the entertainment industry, I thrive when I’m constantly evolving and challenging myself to serve my audiences the best I can – this is how I grow and when I grow, so does my audience.
Being an entertainer is all I know – whether I’m in the thick of writing a feature film, writing music, learning an intricate Kathak solo or performing a one man play for an intimate audience of 100 people, I always want my audience to walk away entertained. This feeds my soul.
At what age did you start finding an interest in entertainment? How have you motivated yourself to keep moving forward regarding making opportunities for yourself in the industry?
I knew I wanted to be in entertainment since I was 5 years old, singing in my pre-school concert. Whenever there were opportunities I grabbed them. When there was nothing, I made my own content – whether it was staging a theatre show or co-writing the Kandasamy films. I think the key to making your own opportunities is to be fearless in terms of believing that there are people out there who will appreciate your work.
My life is dedicated to perfecting my craft, and the times that I’m not writing for film and television – I’m busy writing my own personal scripts. When I’m not singing, acting or dancing in a theatre show – you best believe that I’m training my voice, taking acting classes and practicing dance styles for my next audition.
“I do not sit around and wait for an opportunity. I am opportunity.”
You are very well-known by many South Africans for you hilarious skits and impressive credits and acting, especially in Keeping up with the Kandasamys’. What has this platform done for your acting career and how has it changed your life since you have gained more exposure?
Many people only know me for my ‘Traveeno Talks’ episodes and general short skits that I do online. They don’t know that I’m one of the writers of the Kandasamy films and for several radio and television serials. And preceding the online comedy and writing credits, I’ve been a theatre performer for the past 15 years. Even though I acted in Keeping Up with The Kandasamys. The film created a bigger platform for me as a writer. After the ‘roll-over’ success of the film, I’ve become quite busy with the writing opportunities that the Kandasamys has blessed me with.
My online presence as a comedic actor, singer and dancer has really grown my audience. A theatre performer can only dream of having 100000 people watch your video in a day. I mean, the average theatre only seats a maximum of 1200 people. I’m extremely grateful to all those who watch and share my videos.
Being a South Asian male in the entertainment industry. What is your opinion on South Asian representation in the South African Entertainment industry?
I think that South Asian representation is only starting to grow. One of the reasons that Jayan Moodley and myself embarked on writing Kandasamys was to break the often ‘misguided’ representation of what South African South Asian Indians are like. And to authentically tell stories that celebrate South Asian South Africans in a pragmatic and truthful way.
That said, I feel like South Asian representation is still lacking in South Africa. While the South Asian South African film industry is in its youth. It is the most commercially viable film industry in the country. It is because of this that I’m starting to see more South Indians being used in film and TV than before.
What are the challenges that you face within the industry as a South Asian male artist? As well as a South African in general and what would you change in the industry?
Something needs to be done regarding all artists and their ability to get credit. Most artists in entertainment, whether you’re a singer or an actor. Find it almost impossible to get credit in the form of car finance, bonds and/or cellular contracts. Because artists are rarely permanently employed for more than six months at a time. I think this needs to be addressed and careful consideration needs to be afforded to artists. It doesn’t count if you have the money to show . They’re very adamant about the permanent employment and can’t understand that artists’ work mostly freelance. And from contract to contract, a lot of which does not exceed 6 months.
Who is your artistic muse and why?
My Kathak Guru Sri Manesh Maharaj. As a Classical Indian Dancer and Musician, Manesh is the symbol of hard-work, divinity, dedication, talent, wonder, brilliance. He is the epitome of a true artist. Each time I see him dance in utter abandon and freedom, or every time I learn something from him, I am awe-inspired to apply his teachings and approach to the artform to not only dance, but every other aspect in my life.
Having such an amazing platform. How do you use your platform to bring more awareness around representation of South African artists and yourself?
As a writer the possibilities are endless. There are so many South African entertainers who shine bright in the world: Charlize Theron, Trevor Noah, John Kani, Lebo M, Adhir Kalyan, Athol Fugard, and J.R.R Tolkein to name a few.
My mission is to continue to celebrate South African artists by telling our stories. Yes we have what it takes to enter the Hollywood and Bollywood arenas, but our film industry is growing such that our SA artists won’t have to leave the country to ‘make it’. I want to grow a SA film industry where Hollywood and Bollywood will come knocking on our door
What is one of your biggest dreams as an artist and what do you wish to accomplish in the next 5 years of South African entertainment or internationally?
In the next five years I will have been the writer for the ‘Best Foreign Film’ Nomination at the Oscars. I would also like a ‘Best Song in a film’ Nomination. I’m also looking at establishing my music internationally.
On the theatre front, I would also have played ‘Simba’ and ‘Aladdin’ in Disney’s live musical productions of Aladdin and The Lion King.
I would love to act alongside Rami Malek or Andy Samburg in something (I’m going to low-key work on that).
On the dance side of things, I’d like to work on my Kathak graduation (It’s called a Rangmanch Pravesh). Which is the defining moment celebrating a Kathak dancer. For my graduation, however, I want to do something that no one’s ever done before.
If you had the chance to make a difference, what would you do and why?
I would bring back the performing arts (music, dance and drama) to the public schooling system. Growing up, music was present in the public school system but it was phased out as I got older. There are so many creative minds out there and the Department of Education needs to recognize this.
I’d also like to break the stigma in the Indian Community that is attached to being a performing artist. Especially if you’re a male. I’ve had family members come up to me and ask me when I was going to get a ‘real’ job once I’d already become an established actor.
How will I do it? For starters, I want to bring the arts to the community in the form of free workshops, showcases and community theatre projects. That will start a fire within the youth to pursue their artistic dreams and show their parents that it’s possible. I want to lead by example and just create a space for creatives so that they can explore and express themselves – this is something I longed for growing up.
Are there any upcoming projects that you would like to share with us? What can we expect from the talented Rory Booth?
Yes, Yes and Yes. My second feature film writing offering ‘Kandasamys: The Wedding’ which I co-wrote with Jayan Moodley, premieres in April 2019.
I’m excited to announce that a song I wrote and performed ‘Love So Crazy’ will feature on the Kandasamys sound track. I worked with EasyFreak and you can get a short teaser of the song on the Kandasamys Facebook page. Look and listen out for the single release later in March 2019.
I’ll also be jetting off to London in July 2019 to perform Ashwin Singh’s ‘Reoca Light’. A one man play where I play 15 characters.
Lastly, as a role model to many artists, what advice would you give to other entertainers that might be struggling to grasp opportunities in the industry?
Don’t ever give up! Yes you may be discouraged, but keep your head up and get back on the horse. You may not always get the role you wanted but I always believe that God saves you, and prepares you for something bigger and better. When opportunities are not within your grasp, take a chance and try doing your own thing – you’ll never know unless you try. Do not be afraid to ask for help – there are some angels out there who will be willing to help you only if you believe that what you have to offer is something that will set you apart from everyone else and make people take notice of the magic you have to offer the world.
Rory is way more than just a face on the big screen. He has an impeccable work ethic and has created such an amazing platform and reputation as an artist!
RORY RAPID FIRE ROUND!
Dogs or Cats?
Hollywood or Bollywood?
If you could have dinner with any 4 (I have to meet one person for each aspect of my Entertaining life) people in the world, who would it be and why?
Rami Malek (to learn about his acting process) , Mariah Carey (I want to have a ‘one-on-one’ song writing session with her) , Akram Khan (He’s the highest paid choreographer in the world – and a trained Kathak Dancer), Tina Fey (she writes my kind of Comedy).
Three things you can’t live without?
Sunblock, Nutribullet, Coffee
Rank your 5 favourite actors
Rami Malek, Jack Nicholson, Steve Carell, Edward Norton and Andy Samburg.
What do you love the most about yourself?
I don’t ever give up.
If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
I don’t believe things were ever meant to be changed – everything happened the way it should have – for the very best
Share a quote that you live by daily.
‘Be humble before you crumble – God first, you second and then everyone else’.