The Best Kept Secrets in Hollywood, Film

Tallahassee is hundreds of miles away from a major production studio, but the information presented at “Succeeding in the Film Industry” made attendees feel closer than ever.

About 50 film industry hopefuls showed up to Tallahassee Community College’s Turner Auditorium for an informative session on how to make it to the big screen.

“With this panel alone, we have all of the elements to make our own major production,” said Melvin Johnson, a casting director for film and television.

This event was a part of a series of events to celebrate Black History Month. Florida A&M, the Tallahassee Film Festival and the Tallahassee Film Society teamed up with TCC and invited seven notable panelists to the forum. Community members who aspire to work within the industry were invited to take part in the event. Students say they learned several things while at the forum.

“I learned a lot about the advantages of internships and apprenticeships,” said Omar Torres, a first-year Florida State student. “I was happy that the  panel completely answered my question.”

The personalities of the panelists shined as they kept the audience engaged in healthy and stimulating conversation. FAMU alumnus Chris Duncan who majored in economics during his undergraduate studies, headed the forum.

Duncan spoke on the importance of pursuing one’s goals, regardless of your major. He previously worked with Bank of America and eventually realized that corporate America just wasn’t for him. Duncan then enrolled in FSU Film School.

“School is the best thing; your gift is the next best,” said Akil DuPont, a Student Emmy Award winning short film director, co-writer and FAMU alumnus. “Get all the knowledge that you can, while you’re still able.”

A FAMU asked for help with an upcoming audition.

“I’m headed to Miami for an interview with the Michael Bay show,” said Carlton Barnaby. “I wanted to ask the panel for some good advice before heading out of town.”

Barnaby’s question was one of the many during a question and answer session. Throughout the event, panelists gave encouraging words through personal experiences. The event chair then allowed audience members to ask questions related to their future endeavors.

“You don’t have to always be in front of the camera,” said Anthony B. Major, University of Central Florida Film School professor and director of Zora Neale Hurston Institute for Documentary Studies. He also taught at New York University Film School.

The panelists explained the importance of getting outside experience separate from what is taught in school.

“I believe there was truly a reason from all of us to be here tonight,” said Pamela Tolson, director of Media Relations at FAMU.

For more information on upcoming events during the Tribute to African-Americans in Film, contact Pamela Tolson at or