The main thing is to enjoy the journey and have fun with the process. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and just have fun. If you love what you do you will never work a day in your life and that’s what being in film feels like to me. I just have to constantly remind myself to relax and just simply enjoy the moment. Enjoy each day because it is a blessing.
As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Harrison Stone.
Harrison is an actor who was born in the small East Texas town of Dangerfield. He appeared in the 2019 Best Picture winner “Green Book” along with guest starring in the Netflix limited WWII series “The Liberator.” He can soon be seen opposite Orlando Bloom in “Red Right Hand,” opposite Billy Bob Thornton in “Where All Light Tends to Go,” and in a multiple episode recurring role in the upcoming Apple series “Manhunt.”
Along with acting, Harrison is a writer and director, and he is currently in post production on a film he directed, wrote and starred in.
Harrison’s goal is to work with great directors like Terrence Malick, Richard Linklater and Damien Chazelle, but his main goal is to honor God with his life and though his work, and to inspire others the way he has been inspired by film.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in a very small east Texas town called Daingerfield. All we had was a Dairy Queen and a McDonald’s and high school football but I absolutely loved it. It was an amazing place to get outside and run around in the woods and let your imagination run wild. I lived 5 minutes from my grandparents too. Basically my life in Daingerfield was like the great Jeff Nichols film “Mud” and I loved every second of it.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’ve always been very creative but I grew up sports focused. In particular I was a tennis player and I traveled the country playing tournaments with the dream of one day being a pro. It wasn’t until I was about 16 when I realized a career in pro tennis was an option and as I was watching a movie it hit me-I was going to be an actor. And that was that.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Every day being an actor invites interesting. One day you don’t have a job and then next your on set with some amazing filmmakers/actors doing something awesome. I can’t put my finger on one exact interesting moment but I’ll say that every moment on a set has always been interesting and special and unique. To quote the new Damien Chazelle film Babylon “It’s the most magical place in the world.”
It has been said that mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I completely believe failure is the best way to learn. You just have to have the humility to give yourself permission to fail and to mess up. I’ve found whether in auditions or really particularly in scene study class, that once I allow myself the ability to try something big and mess up, I start to really improve and get better. Once I was doing a scene in class from the great Chekhov play “The Seagull.” We had worked the scene for 6 months and it still felt terrible. I wasn’t doing a good job at all. Finally when I said “Screw it” and just went out there with nothing to lose, did the scene finally start to improve and work. It just took me doing a bad job for 6 months for me to finally allow myself the ability to start to get better. It’s not funny, but I always think about doing that scene and always try and push myself in positions of possible failure.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I have been so incredibly blessed to have 5 movies all in post as well as 2 tv series. This past year has been the most busy I have ever been. I will say each experience has been unique and awesome, but I recently wrapped shooting a short film I wrote, directed, and starred in. Directing has been something I’ve always wanted to do and I finally got the courage to bite the bullet and do it. It’s very personal and something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.
You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
Failure is an essential part of success. I see so many people quit because of a tough bit of criticism or because they feel they are above learning more and growing to be better. Pride is the killer of creativity and careers in my experience. I have learned more from being bad that I ever could have from doing a good job and getting a pat on the back. And you can’t be afraid of failure either. I have found that in trying to do things that make failure seem inevitable, I have grown and risen to the challenge. Failure is absolute the pathway to success. Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school team. We never hear about the guys who did.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Diversity in the film industry should reflect the amazing diverse world we live in. I know on a small scale seeing someone from the south being portrayed in a way that is truthful and authentic was so amazing to me, and something I rarely see. We have to constantly be opening the doors of the industry for new voices from all walks of life to tell their story. Otherwise things get old fast.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
I can’t think of 5, but the main thing is to enjoy the journey and have fun with the process. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and just have fun. If you love what you do you will never work a day in your life and that’s what being in film feels like to me. I just have to constantly remind myself to relax and just simply enjoy the moment. Enjoy each day because it is a blessing.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I think we all need time to rest. I am a very obsessive person but there have been moments I haven’t felt like doing the work. And when those moments happen once i have allowed myself some time to rest and regroup I always come back with a fire and a greater passion for the work we do. I also find watching great films that have always inspired me help bring me back from the brink of burnout. I recently watched Damien Chapelle’s new masterpiece “Babylon” and it added a fire and hunger to grow as an artist. We all need rest and to be reminded of why we started in the first place.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Honestly just being kind. I can’t tell you how amazing it has been to be on set and have people treat you with kindness and respect, and then compare those moments when you aren’t treated that way. Everyone deserves kindness and respect. We should all treat the CEO and the janitor the same way. A friend of mine once said,
“Love God, and love others.” I think that sums up what I think too.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My whole family has been os instrumental in any success I have had so far. My Dad has been an encouraging rock who is always there for me when I get down, and my mom has been there to help in every aspect including being my go to audition reader. She’s the best reader and she has the patience to sit through my countless audition takes which requires supernatural patience. My grandparents too are so supportive. It means so much to have my family in my corner rooting for me.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” Everything else in this world will one day fade away. The most important thing we can do in life is seek to live for God and to enjoy Him. Nothing else matters.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I have three directors I am absolutely going to work with one day, and they are who I would want to eat with. They are Damien Chazelle, Terrence Malick and Richard Linklater. Each makes films that really get to me way down deep. I connect so much to their work and feel I would be friends with each based on their work. I will work with them one day.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can follow me on IMDB or on Instagram at harrisonstone7
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Rising Star Harrison Stone On The Five Things You Need To Shine In The Entertainment Industry was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.