eBOSS Canada shines the Spotlight on Emmanuel Kabongo
BIO: Emmanuel Kabongo was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the age of 11, Emmanuel’s family immigrated to Canada, seeking further opportunity in Toronto. Emmanuel is the oldest of six children and, while he and his siblings excelled in athletics, he always had a keen interest in the arts. He attended college in Toronto where he studied arts/theatre and played on the varsity basketball team. Outside of school, Emmanuel began taking workshops for acting in film and television. At the end of the school year, Emmanuel was cast in his first student film, and was also recruited to attend a Canadian university on a basketball scholarship. Because of his tremendous passion for his new craft, Emmanuel turned down the basketball scholarship to pursue an acting career instead.
Kabongo studied with Earl Nanhu at EVN Studios. Emmanuel received the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation scholarship and completed the Actors Conservatory at the Canadian Film Centre in 2015. He is fluent in French and English and has over 10 years of experience teaching his craft to school age children in summer day camps, before & after care programs, and high school drama workshops. Emmanuel enjoys staying in great shape physically and mentally by continuing to indulge his first loves: soccer, basketball, and reading.
1. What was your big break?
There’s a few projects that I was a part of that opened a few doors for me, but I wouldn’t say that any of them were ‘big breaks’ because I’m still working hard, I’m still hustling. And I’m enjoying the journey.
2. What project are you most proud of? Why?
I would have to say my recent short film called a ‘A Man’s Story’ and my web series ‘Teenagers’ because I was able to produce both of them and perform in them as well.
(Watch Teaser for “A Man’s Story” here: https://vimeo.com/160263857)
3. What advice do you have for anyone at the beginning of their performance career?
I would say, have a clear vision of what it is that you want, stay persistent with a bundle of integrity and enjoy the process, enjoy the journey because at times it will be up and other times it will be down. Like a rollercoaster. Consistency is key and never stop developing your instrument. Believe in your talent and acquire the skills necessary to compliment you.
4. How do you prepare for an audition?
I’m always grateful when I get an opportunity to do what I love. So I always say thank you through a prayer. Once this is done, I read the script and break it down. I like to use the words “what if”, meaning “what if this was my life right now, how would I feel and what would I want”? I also do some breathing exercises, which helps with my concentration a bit more.
5. What tips do you have for someone when they are in the audition room?
To remember that, were all uniquely different. An audition room can be nerve racking for some because you never know what to expect in and out (waiting area) of the room. Some days you can walk in the room and have a producer session that can include; director, producer(s), writer(s), actor(s), reader, camera operator, and casting director(s). Sometimes you can walk in and do the auction with two people in the room, like the casting assistant and a reader. It’s always different but you always have to be prepared. Everyone has a process that works for them, a thing that gets them ready to go in the audition and shine. My process won’t necessarily work for another person going out for the same or different role. If and when you’re in a room, do whatever it is, prior to beginning the scene, that will allow you to give a solid audition. Find your ’thing’, give your best and let it go. Don’t beat yourself up during or after the audition and don’t always be apologetic. The greatest actors have bad days too, so if you didn’t land the part or you had a not so good audition, keep your head up and be ready for the next one. …And the next one, and the next one after that one. Most of all, respect the work and have fun.
6. Is it necessary for performers to continually promote themselves in order to advance their performance careers?
In this business, if people don’t know who you are, it will be difficult to move forward. Not impossible, just a little more difficult. There are many ways you can promote yourself and get out there. Through classes, workshops, events, work, the internet…business cards? You don’t have to be a slave to promoting yourself, it doesn’t have to feel like a hinderance. I found what worked for me which was social media and I made it fun. I found the joy in promoting myself through the internet. Find what compliments you and also what makes you happy. The more you can be seen out there, especially when you’re starting out, the better. Ever hear the saying “Out of sight, out of mind”?
7. Do you think appearing in a tabloid magazine can help one’s career?
It’s different for everyone. What some might call bad publicity, some might call it good and vice versa. It depends on the person and who they are and what their personality is like. There isn’t a correct answer to this question. Oscar Wilde said “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” So if you appear in the tabloids its best you use it to you advantage.
8. What are some of the challenges performers face on film/TV sets?
Time. Time could be challenging in a sense that the hours are very up and down, they’re always changing. You can be on a set for five hours and not get to do your scene because of a technical or personal reason on the set. So maybe you might have to do your scene(s) the next day or at a different time. Another example that could be a challenge is, you might be doing a scene with another performer and on this specific day they’re not giving you what you need for you to bring your portion of the work to life. Either because they can’t remember their lines or they’re just not into it that day. Being patient is a big part of this game. When waiting trying managing your time, bring a book to read or something, meditate, I don’t know. Just try to stay productive. You’ve got to be patiently active.
9. What can the film/TV industry do differently in order to grow?
I don’t think the film and television industry will ever stop growing because people are always going to go out there to watch stuff. Humans want to be entertained, we want to be educated and this art form does that in so many ways for a lot of people. Right now the internet is big and your starting to see a lot of production partnering up with internet companies, so that’s a growth right there. What I do think needs more attention in this complex industry, is diversity. I believe that roles should be offered to the best performers, not because of what they look like or because of they believe in a certain thing, or have a certain amount of social media followers. The right performer should get the role because they are ‘it”. The more people can see, hear and feel something or someone they can personally relate to, on a physical, emotional, mental or spiritual level, …the better.
10. We all have mentors. These are the people who give us the hope, inspiration, and the drive to keep going. In the industry, who are the people who have been your mentors and why?
I believe guidance is very important, for everyone in any industry in this world. The majority of our population on this earth is aiming to succeed. We’re looking for happiness, love and…financial stability. For me at least, but being successful can’t be defined in one specific form. I think most of us know that now and I’m relearning this everyday from the mentors I have in my life. A mentor doesn’t always have appear in the form of an Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars or your favourite movie stars. So yes, I have actors I look up to and want to emulate, but i also get inspiration from my peers, children, and teachers. Life in general gives me the hope and drive to keep going forward. But if were talking literal, my management team inspires me because they believe in me. My mother and family inspire me because they support me no matter what. Some teachers and friends i’ve met through my journey continue to help me grow as a human being. My experience drives me because I look at where I began, and I see where I can go.
UNIONS: SAG Eligible, ACTRA
Agent: Amanda Rosenthal Talent Agency
Manager: Thruline Entertainment
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
Facebook Professional Page: https://www.facebook.com/Emmanuel-Kabongo-194400842480
Facebook Personal Page: https://www.facebook.com/EmmKab