Arlando Usher is a dreamer. He's pursuing a career in acting, and when he couldn't land a significant role with an established company, he decided to make his own movie. The plot: The struggles of a young man trying to turn his life around by becoming an actor and making his own movie. The title: "Dream Killerz."
The 24-year old Covington resident is premiering his two-hour film at Washington Street Community Center Saturday.
The event has sold out, with an expected audience of around 100 friends, family and moviegoers who learned of the production through social media and word of mouth. Usher wants to screen the film at more venues later this year.
The story mirrors Usher's experience of trying to break into a competitive industry, while two friends threw out barriers instead of offering support. They and others tried to kill his dream. Of course, Usher took a little cinematic liberty to spice up the story, including having the protagonist, Lonzo, turning to a drug dealer for money to fund his film project and, yes, murder.
Although he stays pretty close to home with his first film, Usher's true love of acting is in getting to live someone else's life.
"The whole idea of getting into another person, living another person's life, just doing something other than the norm (appealed to me). There's so much to acting," he said, "Playing a true human being going through what you're acting (is powerful)."
Usher found most of his actors through the acting classes he's taken at Georgia Perimeter College and TV shows he's worked on as an extra. He would head into Atlanta for auditions every other weekend, and his frustration grew as his only results were roles as extras in films like Tyler Perry's "Madea Goes to Jail" and shows like "The Vampire Diaries."
"If nobody else will cast me, I'll cast myself. I was writing my own stuff, and even if I'm not the star, I'm at least in it. I just made up my mind to go do it," Usher said.
Filming was primarily split between DeKalb and Newton counties, with scenes being shot in Porterdale and at local parks, and most of the cast was from the region as well.
As with so many independent filmmakers, Usher is hoping eventually to attract investors to help him take his filmmaking and acting to the next level. He's planning to sell DVDs soon, and interested parties can see a trailer at youtube.com.