Richard Gallion, a Man of Many Crafts
Who is Richard Gallion? As a well-respected and multi-talented actor, writer and director, Gallion is a well-known name in the acting and writing community. In brief, the actor has made appearances in films like “Transformers 4” and “Black Coffee” stand out on his resume. More recently he appeared on the hit series “Empire” as the character Hawk. Additionally, he landed a role on Dick Wolf’s hit Chicago-based show “Chicago PD.” However, his talent does not end there. He is also the CEO and founder of Richard Gallion Entertainment.
An “Accidental” Actor?
Unlike most talents in the industry, Gallion did not originally dream of being in the entertainment world. Instead, he was a student at Chicago State University focusing on playing college basketball.
Gallion’s artistry began unexpectedly. He fell into acting by way of a friend’s audition. While sidelined by a basketball injury, he decided to tag along with his friend to her audition. For Gallion, it was fate. He was at the right place at the right time. Before he knew it, he was auditioning as well. According to Gallion, the original choice for the role did a no-call no-show that day. Consequently, that actor was fired and Gallion received the opportunity to read for the part. Immediately, he was offered the role, his first role at that. And it began, his acting career took off and before he knew it, Gallion was asked to do stage play after stage play.
A Most Unexpected Stop to Pursue Excellence
With his talent in high demand, Gallion did something most would view as unorthodox in the entertainment industry. He just stopped. He didn’t stop acting to pursue another dream, the budding actor stopped because he felt it was imperative to educate himself on his new craft.
“I was just moving, I was all over the place,” he said. “So, I cut off that whole year to sit down and study and learn.”
Determined to Learn his Craft
Gallion studied his craft through acting classes and by watching popular stars like Denzel Washington and Brad Pitt. Similarly, he studied female actresses like Angela Basset, with the same purpose, to understand and learn. Additionally, he studied popular acting techniques such as the Sanford Meisner technique. For the multi-faceted entertainer, it was important to be well versed in all aspects of the industry. Further expanding his talent and mind, he took classes to master the business side of the industry.
“I didn’t want to be just moving around doing the same things and getting caught up in the same urban circle,” he said.
Childhood-Planted Seeds of Perseverance
Gallion’s inspirations to persevere comes from his childhood. Growing up with seven brothers and sisters, living in public housing in Chicago’s K-Town, with his family on government assistance, the actor and writer knew there was something more for him.
“I felt like that was not my final destination. I know God did not put me here just to, you know, struggle then die.” The actor and producer continued by saying, “I felt like I had much more to do.”
A Good Guy Prefers to be a Good Guy
Of all the roles the actor is capable of playing, he enjoys playing the good guy the most. According to the actor, the industry, unfortunately, frequently deems most African-American men of his physical stature to be the “thug” or “the doggish man.” As a result, they become boxed into these roles time and time again.
“I like seeing men in a positive light,” he said. “My favorite role is simply being the good guy.”
In contrast, Gallion does not oppose playing a bad guy. After all, he is firmly against being boxed in in any manner.
On not being boxed In
Gallion believes that being boxed into stereotypical roles can easily happen. Consequently, actors and actresses get accustomed to playing roles they’re more comfortable with, therefore decreasing their value as an artist. Gallion fights this by honing his craft and showcasing a multitude of talents to directors. As a result, casting directors are able to see the many layers that he has to offer.
“It’s all about what you show them. If you show them that you’re flexible then they can put you in different things,” he asserted. “I can play the thug, I can play the lawyer, I can play the daddy, I can play the husband, I can play the uncle.”
Creating, Not Waiting for Opportunities
Although able to secure many different roles, Gallion enjoys creating his own opportunities. His production company, Richard Gallion Entertainment, allows him to do just that.
“I love to create my own stuff,” he said. “That way I don’t have to wait around for people to hire me.”
His company emphasizes putting God first while focusing on real life situations.
The average day for the multi-talented actor and producer is quite busy. First, he starts his day with prayer and meditation. Next, he gets his children ready and off to school, and then he writes and reads throughout the day. In addition to all of his responsibilities, he finds the time to engage youth through his mentoring program called “Stars,” which he deems equally as important as his own craft.
“My work never really stops,” he said. “Not at all.”
Mentoring Youth through Inspiration
His mentoring program aspires to teach youth ages 14-18 how to reach for the unreachable. The program has sessions year -round. The summer sessions are five-hour sessions four days a week. However, during the school year, the program is only two hours, four days a week.
One message he gives his youth and everyone aspiring to reach what they may perceive as the un-obtainable is to find your true passion.
Passion Beats Everything
“Go after your passion because passion beats out everything,” the actor and director said. “It’s a major difference between passion and motivation.”
Gallion continues to break down the difference between the two.
“When you’re motivated to do something that means you need a reason to go after it, and most of the time people do it because of the money, actors most of the time for the fame,” he said. “Motivation is like growth that stops at some point.”
He expounded further. “When it comes to passion, you don’t chase the money and the fame; you chase the passion and the money and the fame chases you.”
For Gallion, the entire performing arts industry is his passion.
His Latest Productions
You can check out the actor, writer and producer along with his work through his upcoming series of two shows. Gallion, himself wrote and produced both shows through his production company, Richard Gallion Entertainment. The title of the show is “Desperate,” but breaks down into two parts, “Desperate 1” and “Desperate 2.” The plays dissect current major issues that are currently happening in the world. “Desperate 1” will take place on Nov. 12th and Desperate 2 will be performed on Nov. 19th. Both performances will be at the Corner Stone Christian Center, a 1,000-seat theater in Chicago Heights, Illinois. For more information regarding the plays, check him out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rgallion