Ever since graduating NYCDA in 2009, Ser’Darius has put his talent to work. Within the span of two years, he has been featured in numerous print ads for Chevrolet & Verizon, booked commercials for Kodak and TIAA-CREF and landed a role in short film Truth About Lies. He was also the lead character in a play called Heart’s Gamble that won “Best Play” at the New York Strawberry One Act festival this past February. After moving to Los Angeles in April, he signed with a major agent and auditioned for the remake of the 1984 classic Footloose starring Dennis Quaid and Andy McDowell. After six callbacks, he got the role of “Woody”, one of the lead character’s best friend. Footloose is out in theaters nationwide on October 14th.
Q & A With Ser'Darius Blain
1. Congratulations on your role as “Woody” in the new Footloose movie. Could you tell us more about the actual audition process?
The audition process was long and nerve-racking. I auditioned for the first time in May 2010, then got invited to the table read two days later. I didn’t hear anything for weeks, so I figured it was already cast. Six weeks later I was called in for four more auditions and was supposed to have my seventh audition when I got the call from my agent and manager. I was on the highway when they gave me the news that I got the part, and I almost crashed my car!
2. Now let’s fast forward to your first scene. That must have been a pretty exciting moment. Do you remember what went through your mind?
The first day of shooting was like that first date with the girl of your dreams. I had butterflies and kept thinking, "DON’T mess this up!" [laughs]. Once the cameras started rolling I was completely in character and it felt natural.
3. How did you prepare for the role? Did you have to follow very specific directions or were you able to add your own twist?
When I first read the script, I didn’t feel like the character was much different than me, so it didn’t take much for me to relate. I was really excited to have a character with a southern accent. I grew up in the South, so I just used my mom and best friend as references for the accent. It was a blast.
4. You brushed elbow with stars like Andie MacDowell and Dennis Quaid. What was it like to work with them?
Well I didn’t get to work directly with Andie and Dennis Quaid on Footloose, but I did go to set when they were working to see their process. I got to see the freedom in which they worked and how they really took over their "stage." I have had a chance to work with Andie on our new show Jane By Design in which she plays my boss. It’s great to see how much fun she has on set.
5. How has life been since the release of Footloose? Any crunchy anecdotes to share?
To be honest, my life itself hasn’t changed that much, but my audition opportunities have expanded. I’m able to get in for better auditions than before and also get invited to a lot more events. Some financial pressure has been relieved, which is a huge weight off my shoulders. I’m not looking forward to "fame" or being in the constant spotlight, because I love going to the grocery store in flip-flops and basketball shorts [laughs]! I enjoy the simple life.
6. What would you take from your Footloose experience?
As a working actor, I have learned to own the moment and have FUN. As actors, a lot of us try to make the "right" choice as opposed to being free and going with our guts. The best actors I have worked with take big risks, make mistakes, and try different choices. That's when you end up discovering a moment you didn’t even know was there. Art is born.
7. You just jumped from the big screen to small screen. You were cast as “Carter” in the upcoming series Jane by Design alongside Andie MacDowell again. How were you able to handle the transition from film to TV?
The transition from film to TV wasn't as drastic as I thought it would be. The major difference is pacing. You shoot a lot more footage in a shorter period of time with a lot more changes along the way. We shoot a one-hour show in about five days as opposed to a two-hour movie in three months. Also, the script changes more frequently on TV because the writers are always trying to drive the story forward and add more depth to the characters. You definitely have to be more flexible in the TV world.
8. From the experience you garnered in the past couple of years, is there any advice you would like to give to young actors?
The best advice I could give to any actor is be Prepared, Persevere, and have a good Personality. Prepare: at auditions, there are always going to be better actors that are more in shape or better looking than you. But that is out of your control. There should NEVER be an actor who's more prepared than you. Persevere: have tough skin, because in this industry you'll get a hell of a lot more nos than yeses and you have to realize it doesn’t mean you're not talented. There are so many factors that go into casting. Dust yourself off and try again. Personality: I'd say talent is about a third of booking a job. Preparation and personality are the other two thirds. Nobody wants to be on set with a person with a bad attitude for 15 hours, so make sure you're nice to everyone from the security guard in the building to the caterer on set to the not-so-nice producer. It goes a long way and work begets work.