We had the good fortune of connecting with William Oliver and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi William, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
When it comes to being an artist, I must say that it is hands down one of the hardest career paths to choose. There really is no stability, guarantee, or fixed amount of income that can truly be satisfying. However, when it comes truly being passionate about your craft, you have to choose what’s more satisfying to your soul, rather than fulfilling to your pockets. All in all, I can truly say that you’re doing what you love with all your heart, and it brings you happiness and fulfillment, then there simply is no need to give up. I’ve never heard of somebody obtaining there dreams without a little bit of hustle behind it.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Growing up I always wanted to fulfill my dream of becoming an actor. I would constantly get in trouble for talking and trying to be a class clown. After a numerous amount of phone calls and handwritten letters sent to my mom, we had to find another way to express myself outside the classroom. Soon after I began this theatre camp in my hometown and never looked back since. I realized theatre was the one way I could express myself and not be punished by it for any means. Whenever I have to opportunity to act and portray another character, it simply is therapeutic because I can forget about who I am and my own personal life and struggles and tell a story through a perspective of someone else. I can truly be vulnerable, open, and expressive that is not only fulfilling to me but to others as well. The path that I have chosen has many struggles and obstacles for so many people in this field. For me, I can say being a black man attending a PWI has had some challenges. Not meeting professors personal expectations of my craft in their eyes definitely played a part in my growth as an artist. There were many times I’ve felt unseen, unheard, and pushed aside at times. Of course when trying to express yourself, it could come off a little passionate and as a black man it could be labeled as “angry”. After countless conversations of trying to giving it all up, I understood that people didn’t make me happy, my craft did, and that’s what I had to fall back on. The one thing I’ve learned is that in this industry you will receive millions of no’s and tons of heartbreaks, but if I’ve learned anything, I must say it is that no one will walk the same path that you will. Everybody’s story will be completely different and if you’re doing what makes you happy, don’t let anyone or anything take that away from you. Trust the process and keep going because remember the last thing to grow on a fruit tree is the fruit.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I could recommend anywhere I would love to eat at Maggianos little Italy. That’s definitely my favorite place to eat. Also, for breakfast I’d hit up hobnob for bottomless mimosas. If I needed some events for a date, I’d definitely grab lunch, go to this place that allows you to do a cake and sip, and finally kill the evening with the aquarium or the putt shack.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When it comes to the amount of success I’ve obtained I can truly say none of it would’ve been possible without a village behind me. I could go on and on and it still wouldn’t be enough recognition. If I had to shoutout a few I would definitely say Jef&Sara Lynn Holbrook for helping me develop my craft over so many years and for navigating me through so many opportunities. My sister Beth Reeves for reminding me that my craft goes beyond the stage and can be used in my community. Finally my guy, Donavan Edwards who helped me get back on track and allowing me to grow and mature in my craft.

Instagram: dat_guywill

Facebook: William Oliver

Image Credits
London Mahogany

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