1.) Hi Al, welcome to Vents Magazine! Before we do the proverbial deep dive into all of the exciting things you have going on, how have you been doing during some pretty historical and tumultuous times?

Well first off, thanks for having me. Great to be here! I’m actually doing quite well during these times, considering the fact that they are very challenging and oppressing. I think with all the attacks on both people’s health by a global pandemic and the shocking state of humanity and the government, I’m staying positive and feeling optimistic about the future.

2.) Congratulations on all of your stellar work, particularly the exciting projects you’ve got waiting in the wings to drop in 2020 such as the Netflix series Ginny & Georgia. Can you tell those of us not in the know what the series is about and what your role is in it?

Thank you! I appreciate that. I am proud of my past work and can’t wait to keep building and challenging myself. But yes, I have a few productions coming out by year’s end. But specifically Ginny & Georgia is something I’m looking forward to, as not only is my character Judge Williams Walters a dynamic figure, but I get to delve into using an accent for him. The series itself is about the complicated, up and down relationship between a teenage girl who often feels more mature than her “unique” mother. A lot of people are comparing it to the long-running series Gilmore Girls.

3.) The cast of Ginny and Georgia is made up of some of the most exciting voices in Hollywood such as Brianne Howey, Antonia Gentry, Diesel La Torraca and Jennifer Robertson. What was it like for you as an actor to play off of this impressive and talented ensemble?

Well between all of us, several of our scenes are adjacent. All are solid actors in their own right. It’s great to be involved with such a talented cast and crew. Our directors are amazing too! It’s a great production. I’m looking forward to binging it on Netflix myself.

4.) Although only slated for one episode in season one, do you feel that your Judge William Walters character might return of there is a second season of Ginny & Georgia?

We as actors can only, always hope so. But I do believe based on the story, you could definitely be seeing Judge Williams Walters again. He’s that kind of stand out figure.

5.) This is a surreal time throughout the entire world, and Hollywood is no exception to that particular rule. Going forward, do you think that the entertainment industry will be forever transformed by the global pandemic?

Yes! Definitely. I mean, we work on set with hundreds of people on a weekly basis. A lot of them are in and out; coming from other productions. So there is a lot of cross-pollination (for lack of a better word). The guidelines that I’ve seen already are very specific, including a lot of restrictions, social-distancing and unique rotations of people working. It’s going to be a challenge for sure. But hey, as they say in Hollywood, “the show must go on”. People are going to need new things to watch, so we have to continue performing; just carefully.

6.) What do you have coming up in the future? Can you give readers any hints about upcoming projects?

I have quite a few projects coming out in the new few months. Unfortunately I have NDAs signed, so I can’t speak on most of them. But I can announce that I’m in the new biopic film about the legendary female rap group Salt-N-Pepa. I play a cool character named Lamont, who is sleazy concert promoter slash gangster. I’m a DJ, and literally the first vinyl 12” record I ever got when I was very young, was their first album. So to be in this project was really cool since I’m a fan.

7.) You got to play in the wonderfully fertile grounds of Rod Serling’s and Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone. What was this experience like for you and were you a confirmed Zone fan before signingon to work on the Blurryman episode in 2019?

Ohh, what an experience. I loved working with Jordan Peele. A very talented and down to earth guy. I remembered him from his comedy back in the day, but he has such a knack for drama. Working on that show was very fun and in a relaxed environment, with cool people. I mean in that episode alone were great talents such as; Seth Rogen, Zazie Beatz, Jason Priestley etc. And then directed by the amazing Simon Kinberg. Just an awesome time. Literally. I just remember watching the original and remakes as a kid, and being so scared but intrigued at the same time. It was a cool full circle moment.

8.) The Twilight Zone has been with our society and culture for over the last sixty years. What is it about Serling’s vision that has allowed it to maintain its timeless appeal?

Honestly, besides it being such a creative production, it’s the fact that every episode is a new story. There’s no continuation. So it’s like watching a new mini movie every episode with different characters. And of course the fact that it’s a thriller, will always keep you interested and on your toes. Just a great concept overall.

9.) You’ve worn many different hats: A well-known and respected actor, a celebrated disc jockey, a stand-in and a photo double. Where do you find all of the time to juggle these demanding professions and is there a job title that you feel more of an affinity for than another?

Well, let’s just say, I’ve had to learn and become very friendly with the term “time management”. I like to keep busy. And better yet, self-employed in entertainment. So it takes a lot of time and sacrifice to do that and do it well. But I’m someone who enjoys the process. I like the “come-up”. I have no problem learning and starting from scratch, as long as I love what I’m doing. I think out of them all, my affinity lies with both being and Actor and DJ. I love entertaining. Always have from since being a kid that sang in the mall at talent shows or rapping in a cypher on the block with my friends.

10.) As a disc jockey you’ve been given one of the best sounding nicknames I’ve ever stumbled across – “Teknique The Kingpin.” What’s the secret origin of this memorable name?

Ha! Okay, so here’s the story. I was given the name “Teknique” very young because I was, and still am, a kind of Jack-Of-All-Trades type of guy. I’m pretty much good at everything by default. I’m skilled. It’s a blessing actually. There’s not many things I suck at let’s just say. I just changed the spelling to make it unique. “The Kingpin” part was just something I added on to take on the moniker of a “don” type figure. Someone who’s the boss. A mythical figure, you just heard about all the time and was impressed with. I felt it just went well together.

11.) I have your first listed acting job as being in the 2001 television series Drop the Beat. Any memories of that first acting gig?

Wow! I was so young. To be honest it was a blur. I just remember being so excited to be in front of a camera, getting paid for it and it happen to be a show about “hip-hop” my favorite music. It was a cool experience. I wish I still had the footage, it would be funny and nostalgic to see.

12.) Are there any particular actors that have inspired your own work?

Yes, definitely! I’ve been inspired by such great talents as Denzel Washington, Edward Norton, Al Pacino, Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett and more. I take pieces of all of them and combine them with my own flare in my performances. I’m a fan of film, so I think it’s important to watch all types of work to challenge your range. Similar to a sprinter, who runs faster when against others in a competition rather than by themselves on the track. Plus I just love movies, series’ and visual projects.

13.) Most actors harbor a desire to write and direct. Do you envision yourself ultimately going this route, directing your own film?

I do see myself getting into directing for sure. I think I have the skill it takes to bring a vision to life. I’m very creative, but I also know about detail and taking risks. I’ve directed small projects before. I would love to do it on a bigger scale after I reach my acting goals. As far as writing, I’ve tried it and I’m not a fan of how tedious it is. All do respect to the writers, but I don’t have the patience for it. They can keep it. Ha! lol

14.) You worked on the CW’s Supergirl series. What was that experience like for you and did you go into it as a fan of comic books?

I wouldn’t say I was comic book fan, but I used to read them as a kid for sure. As far as being on Supergirl, it was a fun learning experience. I played a secret service agent that apprehends Supergirl in her alter ego form in regards to breaching national security. And a lot evolves from that. The action sequences gave me a whole new respect for stunt performers. Plus, from the director I learned more about how certain camera angles bring out a better performance in dialog. Very cool experience.

15.) Final (Silly) Question: You’re stranded on a deserted island. Which one album and which one film would you have with you to while away the time while awaiting rescue?

That’s easy! The album would be “Illmatic” by Nas. And the movie would be “Scarface” starring Al Pacino. Don’t judge me, I like street life tales and I root for the underdog. LOL!

About Ryan Vandergriff

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