On the Verge: Roselyn Coleman Williams
Lapacazo Sandoval | 9/4/2014, 2:12 p.m.
Roselyn Coleman Williams developed the app “Acting in the Digital Age: An Actor’s Guide to Finding Work in New Media” to help actors maneuver and succeed in the digital age. Right now, it’s free.
Roselyn Coleman Williams is a wife, mother and graduate of the prestigious Yale Drama School, where she earned an MFA, as well as the Carol Dye Award. Those acting skills have helped hold her own with Meryl Streep, Viola Davis and Angela Bassett, to name a few.
Her Broadway credits are equally impressive, having worked with directors Michael Shultz (“Mule Bone”), Tony Award-winner Kenny Leon (“The Mountaintop,” “Radio Golf”) and the great Lloyd Richards (“Seven Guitars” and “The Piano Lesson”). Off-Broadway, she was recently praised for her work in “Breakfast With Mugabe.”
Williams is also an award-winning film director and educator. Along with her husband, screenwriter and producing partner, Craig T. Williams, she formed Red Wall Productions, and they have produced several award-winning works, including “Allergic to Nuts” and “Drawing Angel,” which were penned by Craig Williams.
As a director, Williams is also the recipient of the “Emerging Filmmaker” award, which is given by the Cine Noir Film Festival, a distinction in the busy film production city of Wilmington, N.C.
This year, Red Wall Productions was awarded the 2014 Crystal Ship Filmmakers Trailblazer Award (by the Mini Indie Festival) for the darkly funny “Last Piece,” which Williams directed.
As an educator, Williams is a sought-after acting coach and teaches at NYU and SUNY Purchase. Her new app, “Acting in the Digital Age,” is a direct result of her passion for merging the arts with technology and social media.
Here is what Williams had to share about new media, “Acting in the Digital Age,” producing with her spouse and learning from the late August Wilson.
AmNews: I had the opportunity to see you in “Breakfast With Mugabe.” You were tremendous! How do you balance your various disciplines?
RCW: I’m blessed because I work with my husband, screenwriter and producer, Craig T. Williams. The creative work load is balanced. As a director, especially, it’s vital to be supported by a skilled producer. Aside from his other creative skills, he’s a good producer, which helps me become a better (film) director.
Exactly. That’s why we are chatting. I loved “The Last Piece.” Witty. You really are a good director. When did you know that you could direct?
Good question. Craig and I have been members of the filmmakers collective, the Crystal Ship, from its inception. It’s free and it’s proving to be a valuable networking source. We connect with talent, develop and produce. Practice is key.
You have many sharp skills. Let’s talk acting now and Broadway.
I’ve had great growth opportunities when I worked on Broadway. I learned much from my colleagues and especially from the generosity of the directors. Kenny Leon is himself fearless and that gives the actors working with him great room to roam.
The lessons that I learned, curled up by the feet of the late August Wilson, are part of my fondest memories. August was determined, despite starting somewhat late in life as a playwright, to leave a positive mark with his work. He wanted his stories to live, and he was passionate about making that a reality.
Mr. Wilson and I share a birthdate, so thank you for sharing that information about his determination. Is the development of the program,“Acting in the Digital Age: An Actor’s Guide to Finding Work in New Media,” motivated by your love of teaching and new media?
The greatest pleasure for me as a teacher is to be a facilitator so that people reach their humanity. I want my clients to leave the room being aware of their personal power—their base to communicate anything that a human is capable of experiencing. So, yes, to answer your question. Life is richer when you teach because you learn. I’m answering the phone September 16, and my digital journey begins. For a limited time, this service is free and I’m excited.
To learn more about “Acting in the Digital Age,” go to www.actinginthedigitalage.com.