N.C. A&T Students Learn from ‘Masters’


EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (April 26, 2019) – In three separate classrooms, veteran stage and screen actresses Loretta Devine and Jasmine Guy and Academy Award-nominated director Kevin Wilson spent an hour teaching North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University aspiring stars how to master their respective crafts.

Wilson spoke to a full house of future script writers, documentarians and narrative filmmakers about everything from his humble beginnings sleeping in a pest-infested room in Queens, New York, to the process of applying to New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts and his creative process while making his award-winning short film, “My Nephew Emmet.”

“The biggest thing is building a solid team,” said the N.C. A&T alumnus. “When I was here, I worked with my classmates who were also interested in making films,” Wilson shared. “We decided that we were going to do our school work and make shorts.”

Within that team, Wilson and his counterparts decided they would each make a short film and the others would help by being crew members. He also made connections with others who were just as passionate as he was, and they are still a part of his team.

In a classroom nearby, Devine spoke to about 40 students on topics ranging from hair and wardrobe to auditions to utilizing all the resources they have at their disposal.

“Don’t start off being late – you get a reputation. Everybody is watching you – get a good reputation,” Devine advised. “It’s a business. There is always someone better than you.”

With a career spanning nearly four decades, Devine has amassed a wealth of knowledge from her time in television, film and on stage. And each medium serves a specific purpose and provides its own opportunities.

“The craft is learned on stage. The big money is made on TV and the silver screen,” she said.

Guy spent her time speaking with about 30 students, including the E. Gwynn Dance Company, and several theatre and dance students.

“Acting and dancing are not mutually exclusive,” Guy told the students.

She understands that first-hand. A triple threat (dancer, actress, and singer), like Devine, she has performed on the stage, small screen and silver screen. In Guy’s master class, students had the unique opportunity to perform for her and have their work critiqued.

“Every move should have purpose – not just getting you from one move to the next,” she shared.

Though all of the masters were in different spaces, one thing they all agreed on is making sure that the aspiring artists have a strong sense of self.

“It’s important to be OK with yourself because there will be so many people telling you no and you’re not what they want – you can’t take it personal,” Devine said.