A successful career in acting, the origins of which started with the Church. Earning a BA in performing arts and appearances in iconic big and small-screen productions, his story is both inspiring and motivational.
Podcast with Michael D Douglas
ACTOR, DANCER, SINGER & HOST. WHERE DID YOUR FIRST CHAPTER BEGIN?
A successful career in acting, the origins of which started with the Church. Qualified to degree level and appearances in iconic big and small-screen productions, his story is both inspiring and motivational.
It was late on a Thursday night; I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to flick through my phone. Scrolling through Instagram, Michael’s account jumped out at me for some unknown reason. Subconsciously I think it could have been his name that drew interest. With over 3.4K followers and an actor, I wanted to reach out.
When I first started this magazine in 2020, I had in mind that I wanted to interview people who could facilitate change, an influence that could impact lives and, on some level, set a standard that others would strive to reach.
There was no hesitation in piecing a message together; I have to admit that after the send button was pressed, I placed it on a table as there was little or no chance of a response. It was the following day, about 4 pm, when I received a message from Michael. I was surprised and excited that he got in touch.
As this interview unfolds, I hope to take you on a journey to understand why his story needed to be told.
I found a purpose in God’s plan. For me my faith played a huge influence.Michael. D. Douglas
A HIGHER POWER
We all have faith, some more than others and in countless forms. The Church is where chapter one of his story begins.
How did acting find you?
Like so many, there was a powerful influence from artists like Prince and Michael Jackson. I saw acting as a profession when so many back in the day didn’t. I had applied to drama school, but I was in a gap year and was away when the letter of acceptance arrived in the post. That was probably one of those moments that could have altered my timeline.
Missing that letter must have been fate, he was a true Londoner, and the irony was that he was away. As the interviewer, I could sense that this one fact played a big part in his life. It was a series of events that would see Michael fuse naturally with acting, dancing and singing.
Was your dream unusual?
In my case, it was natural; I had the backing of my parents, they both supported me when I attended drama club. There was no discussion, and they could see that I was taking it very seriously. That support mechanism was essential, and I feel blessed that I had it.
Being in the right place at the right time.
Is your industry based on luck or skill?
That’s a good question; luck does have a lot to do with it. Being at the right place at the right time still plays its place. That said, you can influence this; you need to throw a lot up in the air. It’s more of a numbers game. You need to increase the odds in order to experience success.
Like most in his profession, he initially followed a traditional path working as a waiter, bartender and barista. He saw this as good grounding and an excellent way to network.
Are you born with talent?
Everyone is talented, and some are better suited to a particular path. The training helped me to nurture my talent and understand more about the different layers.
What motivates you?
My faith plays a significant path; I have always believed in a higher power. My mother and father are also strong motivators, and I’m blessed to have them both in my story.
How would your peers describe you?
Loud!, extrovert, fearless and I love collaborating.
His personality would reinforce those qualities; you couldn’t help but notice how those qualities were reflected in his work.
You have been blessed to feature in Fantastic beasts. Was this a milestone for you?
Every project was a masterclass; I was surrounded by talent. Being involved with projects like Tarzan and in the presence of stars like Jude law was a learning process for me.
The pandemic had a profound impact on every sector. How would you describe the situation now?
Firstly, there is no going back to the way things were in the short term. This horrific time has shown my industry that you can have a remote presence. We could see this throughout every industry going forward. That said, there will always be a value in having a physical presence, so I think a hybrid between these two styles will be commonplace.
Society has to embrace change to move forward; my thoughts are with those families who have had to endure the pain of loss and adapt to a different way of working. But, unfortunately, it only compounds the pressures we have every day.
Education played a part.
You have a BA in performing arts. How much of the theory do you apply in your career?
The theory is fused into everything that I do and influences the decisions I take, the approach I use, and I think it’s something that is needed. It poses questions, provides direction and helps to identify.
Which is better, experience or education?
When you’re young, you have very few responsibilities. That’s the time you should take advantage of as there is not much to do and time is on your side.
One isn’t better than the other, and some people don’t have the luxury of studying due to their circumstances, but I would say that education offers a plan B just in case something goes wrong. I will always have value for wanting to learn more, and these days information is free and accessible online, so keep current and keep learning new things all the time.
A FLAIR FOR LANGUAGES
I spent time in Senegal
You speak Japanese & French; do you have a natural flair for languages?
I spent time in Senegal and Japan, and I think you want to understand, so I did; I love languages.
What does your future look like?
I would love to write a book someday. I was only 16 years old when I helped young offenders. It was a life-changing experience, and I have some excellent content to write about.
Your showreel shows depth; it’s like a natural shift between different styles. How do you get into character?
I’m not method, but I try and picture the circumstances around the character. I try to think and behave like I was that person, and I question myself about every aspect. It helps me to be the best that I can be.
Has streaming opened up roads of opportunity, or does it create too much competition?
Competition is a good thing; it helps me be grounded and pushes me to be the best version of myself.
Do you have a credible organisation that young people can attend to follow the acting path?
Make Believe; I went to school with the founder. We met at High School, and I’m super proud of him. He has a genuine need to help others in this field.
You should consider that there is still a luck value of about 30% in my opinion, you can influence that. Use your Instagram platform as your business card.
Make sure to keep feeding it content so that it’s always current and try to be consistent. It’s a free tool, so you should learn how to use it to your advantage.
View some of Michael’s work here.
On a personal note, I would like to thank Michael for his belief in our magazine. We wish him every success in the future and hope to catch up with him again.
The Legend of Tarzan
Navi king of pop
Stargazer (coming out this year)
No ordinary Man (coming out this year)
Southside: Web series
My mother & father, sister, friends and of course God’s plan.