Local man lands first speaking job in film
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but for a struggling actor the words are worth more.
Minden native DeFarron "Keith" Hill has landed his first speaking role in a feature-length film called "Delivered."
"I play a landlord along side of the lead character," he said. "I'm the person he has to report to regarding housing issues."
Shortly after graduating Minden High School in 1986 and then later from Grambling with a business degree, Hill moved to Dallas where he now lives.
Before "Delivered" he had been an extra in other productions, and already had a career in radio.
"While working at the radio station, my focus was being an account executive," Hill said. "The opportunity for actually voicing commercials came to me by one of the engineers leaning over the rail and saying 'Keith, what are you doing?'"
That question then led to many years of voice work, according to him. Hill also branched out to print work, appearing in many different types of print including an ad for Fender guitars.
Ultimately, an email from an agency called Kat's Casting got him the audition for his first speaking role in film, Hill said.
Dallas, Texas independent filmmaker Gregory Warner wrote, produced and directed "Delivered." Warner's brother Anthony served as co-producer.
"It's a true life story about Bobby Ray Justice," Warner said. "He's a southern minister from Mt. Pleasant, and he moved to Dallas at the age of 25. There were quite a few older gentlemen he started hanging out with, and they got him into drugs to the point that he was living on the street."
Justice became addicted to heroin and eventually crack cocaine, according to Warner. The film is the story of Justice's redemption through Jesus Christ with the assistance of a devout minister.
Now, Warner said, Justice takes his own ministry around to communities hard hit with drug addiction to preach the salvation he found.
Hill said acting in a film about salvation was a rewarding experience.
"I'm not a trained actor, I have not been to acting school," he said. "To me it's a blessing to be a part of media from a positive standpoint.
"Of course, I went in very polished and very nervous as usual," he said. "It was fun working with the director. Greg Warner is a great director. He makes you feel relaxed."
"Delivered" is not Warner's first foray to directing.
"I have a television show that comes on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network)," he said. "It's actually a children's animated show, but it is one of the top-rated shows on their network. It's called Chubby Cubbies."
Warner said he was impressed with Hill.
"Keith is great to work with," he said. "He's a really good actor. He was always on time, always punctual, and he didn't have to do too many takes. He knew his part. He had his lines down and he would execute them."
For his own part, Hill hopes his story will be helpful to aspiring actors and other artists.
"I think that a lot of people may want to seriously look at acting as a career," he said. "There's tons of companies out there who will take your money and promise you all these wild things. There's a lot of companies out there that are not reputable, so it's important get started with someone legitimate.
"But also realize it can happen, you can do it," Hill continued.
"Delivered" is currently slated for release in some independent Dallas theaters on October 5, and other areas shortly thereafter.
For more information, visit www.delivered1.com.