Will Dalton knew at an early age that he was an entertainer growing up in the small town of Eden, North Carolina. Once a video camera came out, the five-year-old, shy kid would become the star of the room. However, it wasn’t until he entered his freshman year in college when the “filler” theatre arts class would display his natural ability. While simply making everyone laugh, his professor at Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina, approached with the suggestion of switching majors from Marketing to Theatre. Will nicely told him that he didn’t want to be a broke out of work actor, not knowing that he would ever really get into acting. Overall, he was fearful of having a degree and not being able to use it.
As his school progressed, Will decided to begin modeling. After a few assignments, his agent landed him a job shooting a regional commercial for Progress Energy. It was this moment that he realized he could actually be an actor. He was about 20-years-old and he was slated to be an extra on set. “When I got to the set they put me in front of cameras and had me all in the make-up chairs,” Will replays. “I was like ‘What the hell is going on’ but I didn’t stop them either (laughing). So, when the shooting was over my agent called me and asked me what the hell I did. I thought I did something wrong. He was like ‘How did you bump up to a principle on set?’ That was my first ever job. I got residuals for like 3 years and the commercial went national.”
With the motivation gained from the commercial, Will began to work with projects around North Carolina. Eventually, he attended the National Black Theatre Festival where he linked up with Nathaniel Jacobs, the founder of the West Coast Black Theatre Troupe in Sarasota, Florida. The relationship would lead Will to his breakout moment while performing “A Soldiers Play” at the Historic Asolo Theatre. Following the performance of a Black rooted play and Sarasota is a predominantly White town, Will joined the cast as they ventured into the lobby to meet the audience. His confirmation would come within that meet and greet.
“If the opportunity is meant for you, it’s meant for you,” Will emphasizes’. “Just do it and everything else will just fall into place. So for me to leave my home state and do a job, I don’t worry about it because I know I am there for a reason.”
“This lady came up to me, she’s probably 70’s and her mom is with her and she’s pushing 90 and some change,” Will explains. “Her mom couldn’t speak so she was talking for her. And she said ‘we’ve been traveling all over the united stated for the past couple of years just watching plays, your performance in this play is one of the best if not the best that we’ve seen.’ I was like wow. I couldn’t say anything but ‘I humbly say thank you.’ I’m not saying I wasn’t great or that the play wasn’t great. I thought we were pretty good but that’s what she said to me and that let me know that our job as actors or entertainers is bigger than what we see because were affecting people lives.”
There is one person that impacts Wills life on a higher level, his wife, Candice. Even though not in the entertainment industry, Candice makes sure that she is being the biggest supporter of his career, dreams, goals, and aspirations, she makes sure that they share the vision. For instance, the play was in Sarasota, Florida. Will lives in Winston Salem, North Carolina. He spent 4 months on the tour of the play. When he has to come to Los Angeles, he is gone for the same duration if not longer. Instead of complaining on either side about the amount of traveling, they look at the opportunities in the same way that we look at gifts from God. God’s going to give you gifts and if you don’t use them, He’s going to take them away. In comparison, if you get an opportunity, you might as well take it because if you don’t, it’s taken away and somebody else is going to take the opportunity.
“If the opportunity is meant for you, it’s meant for you,” Will emphasizes’. “Just do it and everything else will just fall into place. So for me to leave my home state and do a job, I don’t worry about it because I know I am there for a reason. It’s easy for me, it’s a job, that’s what I do. Leaving home is the least of my issues. I love everybody as far as my family, my wife, and all but when I have to go I have to go and they understand that. I don’t think it’s hard. I think a lot of people assume it’s hard from the outside looking in. It’s nothing because she flies out to see me on a weekend or whatever. That’s what we do. As long as we know and we can prepare, were fine. I feel like I have a leg up on anybody now. It makes me feel good to know that she sees the bigger picture too. She makes me see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
When dealing with the entertainment industry at any capacity, the majority of fall backs and road blocks can be summed up to one aspect…networking. Hollywood is no different from any other industry. Your talents will take you far and your abilities are your bread and butter. However, if you’re not in front of the right faces and the decision makers, those butter sandwiches will start to be a little less filling. For Will it’s a little more challenging. Not only is he not a local of LA, he’s a new face.
“There’s a lot of people in L.A. who studied at Julliard. They can dance, they can sing, they are triple and quadruple threats and that’s great I support what they do. At the end of the day, I don’t believe that you can duplicate what I can do.”
Granted, being a new face can have its benefits as well. Every now and then the film industry needs that fresh face and that unfamiliar persona to allow a role to take its full character. In those instances it is great. On the flip side, when you don’t know someone, regardless of their credentials and abilities, you just don’t know them. Instead of being intimidated by the inner circles of the industry, Will knows that it’s only a matter of time before they get to know the person that he is.
“If you work with someone and they like you and they get along with you, more than likely, you’re going to get hired for another job,” Will explains. “Once they know me that will change. With guys that have don’t enormous amounts of jobs and that have that support system of directors and casting directors that they know that will look out for them, it’s a challenge. I’m not intimidated at all because I know what I can bring to the table. There’s a lot of people in L.A. who studied at Julliard. They can dance, they can sing, they are triple and quadruple threats and that’s great I support what they do. At the end of the day, I don’t believe that you can duplicate what I can do.”
Will is a multi-talented person. He’s athletic, funny, an actor, and has a hell of a drive. There is one place that he should hand over the crown…singing. On the set of his current project with Big Owl Productions, ‘The Prodigal’, which is a modern day version of the prodigal son story, Will is playing opposite of singing powerhouse and co-producer of the venture Angie Stone. It’s a story about love, triumph, redemption, miracles, blessings, and some sad moments. One of the saddest moments is when Will decides that during the quiet time on set, he’s slated to become a singer. “I have to challenge her to a singing contest,” He says laughing. “They be frontin’ on me like I can’t sing. Which I can’t but it’s cool. I’m gonna rap, she can’t beat me in that.”
Luckily for the set of the independent film ‘Recoiled’ with director Rukiya Shantil, he’s nowhere near a microphone, but he does get pretty comfortable with a gun. In a ‘CRASH’-like film, the entire plot revolves around a single gun that links all of the stories together. Between these two projects and the reoccurring success of the Don B. Welch production ‘Love Buddies’—which gained a deal to be turned into a movie that Will hopes the studios will allow him to remain on— Will has been inspired to lead off into his own project.
“I’ve written 6 short scripts and storyboarded them out,” Will explains. “What I want to do is an Online Sketch Comedy Show from the days of In Livin’ Color and the Chapelle Show. I have a very twisted mind. So it’s going to be very politically incorrect. It’s pretty funny. I have some stuff pushing the envelope and I don’t want to tick anybody off but I have some stuff that I hope isn’t going to tick anybody off. I have a way of doing it. Whatever the joke is, I’m gonna make sure the punch-line is a REALLY good one.”