Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BLADES OF GLORY - An Interview with Shondo Blades

     My first introduction to Shondo Blades was on ABC's The Quest. Initially, I was interested in the idea of a fantasy reality show. As the show progressed, I became slightly disappointed with the show's 'slight of hand' trick played on the audience. The show claimed to be a test to see who the 'one true hero' was. However, it appeared to be more of a Big Brother type of popularity contest where lemmings determined both the public perception and fate of their counterparts. (We agree. - Ed) But I digress....I'm happy to say that I came away from the show inspired. The inspiration did not come from the gorgeous landscape. Nor did it come from the fantastic makeup. It also did not come from the amazing actors who gave near perfect performances as the lands inhabitants. For me, the inspiration came from one person...Shondo Blades. Why? Because here is what I saw on the show from Shondo: He always gave 100%. He didn't complain. He didn't tear anyone down, and always lifted people up. Especially himself. I think that's what was most inspiring. It was nice to see someone speak well about himself without an excessive amount of hubris. That's why when I had a chance to speak with Shondo on that sunny Los Angeles afternoon a couple of weeks ago I was more excited than I've been in a while to speak with someone. Little did I know that I would find out he was even more powerful and direct one on one than on television.

So, I hear you played football? 
Yeah, I played football all through high school and college. At the tail end of college, I decided to do something that I had wanted to more in control of, and that was MMA fighting.

Wow. It was just that simple. And you seemed to excel at it as well. 
Yes, I did excel in MMA. I think it was the athleticism of football which aided me. That and YouTube. I had YouTube accessibility so I would watch videos of technique and fighting styles. I really do need to give a shout out to YouTube! You can learn pretty much anything on there. Anyway, I went on to do my first fight and I was hooked. Went on to win in the men's division.

A Music Video Featuring Shondo Blades.

So how did you make the transition to acting?
I was training for a fight in LA and I was encouraged to try acting. So, I went back to Texas, packed everything up, and I was in Hollywood a month after that.

And you even booked some national commercials? 
Yes. Nike, Chevy, some music videos. In one particular music video for Wilkinson, I even played a twisted version of a black cupid. After that the deal with ABC to do The Quest went through and it was all good.

That's awesome! How was it auditioning for The Quest
Auditioning for The Quest was like any other audition. The best part of the experience I had was when we each had to stand up and say why we belonged in a show like this. I announced my love of GhostBusters and whoever wanted to challenge me on GhostBusters trivia could go down there and then. Afterward, I was told that I hadn't filled out something correctly on my paperwork. So, I needed to stay for a minute while they had me fill it out. Little did I know, that was their way to slyly get me to stay and do another 30 minutes of audition.

So, what's the next step for you? 
I want to be the next action star. When I watch the movie rush hour I feel like I have the ability to deliver a combination like the film: laughs and ass whooping. Almost a new era of Eddie Murphy's Beverly Hills Cop.

That's really awesome and I can definitely see that. So, your powerfully positive attitude...where does it come from? 
Definitely from my Mom. She's a motivational speaker and always taught me that the glass is half full. She had a simple approach to everything, and now I have a simple approach to everything. I'm very self sufficient because she taught me from a very early age that nobody's gonna love you like you. Positive self talk is vital. It's what I do because the spoken word is powerful and can manifest itself.

Do you feel that minorities can benefit from this positive approach? 
Yes, they can definitely benefit. Especially if they are feeling like they are 'less than' someone or something.

Being a minority in Hollywood, have you experienced adversity or challenge? 
Let me just say that I don't see it that way. I just see myself as a person. Now, keep in mind, I'm not blind to understand the current state of affairs in the industry. However, I feel like that can often be a handicap for others because that's all they see and it ends up stopping them. When I went into the audition room for The Quest, I said to them that it would be beneficial to have African Americans represented, and I would like to be that person for them. You see, I don't see it as a challenge. I see it as something to empower me.

That's really fantastic. So, what are you working on next? 
A show for Bravo might be on the horizon, although, I can't say much about it. I'm currently shooting a pilot for a show that follows me around as an actor/performer in Hollywood. I want to clear up any misconceptions that people might have about me. I've even heard some think that I have childhood issues, but I want to show them the other side. I had loving parents, a good childhood, and I want people to see that and disperse with those misconceptions. Because I'm just normal. Of course, I've been called so many things I can't even count. But the best is when they call me delusional. I'm Shondo, baby, and I was delusional enough to be on ABC on Saturday nights!

Thank you, Shondo. It's been a real pleasure! 

So, as you can see, Shondo is an amazing human being. He doesn't let people or circumstance define him, and does it via positive perception and the celebration of the human spirit in all of us. This kind of positive energy is what we all need. Not just in the entertainment industry, but in all industries around the world. I wish that more people subscribed to this school of thought. Because we might not see the amount of hurt and destruction in the world today. Let's get everyone to let their inner "Shondo" shine and howl  at the challenges that we face.

I have a feeling that you're going to see some VERY BIG things from Shondo in the years and even upcoming months.

Brian J. Patterson is a writer, producer and actor that splits his time between San Francisco and Los Angeles. His house is a shrine to Wonder Woman and Xena.

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