New York Film Academy

During one of the workshops at the New York Film Academy, Ge’Quan Crews practices a short play using a green screen. Crews sees how the green screen and the effects place him into new surroundings on the screen.

Making his way from a school bus driver to a film academy actor, 21-year-old Ge’Quan Crews’ persistence is finally paying off.

“It might be weird, but I’ve always had two dreams in life: to drive a school bus and to act. I’ve gotten the school bus dream out of the way, now I’m on the way acting,” said Crews of Vernon Hill.

Since he graduated from Halifax County High School in 2011, Crews has been searching and applying to film schools all across the United States, even catching the eye of a recruiter that came all the way to his home in Vernon Hill.

The recruiter was from the school of his choice, New York Film Academy in lower Manhattan, which has “The most hands-on intensive programs in the world.”

This year, after sending in three letters of recommendations, a narrative statement and his creative portfolio, Crews received the “yes” for which he was hoping.

“Getting accepted, that was the real accomplishment here. It’s the beginning of a dream come true,” said Crews.

In January he will begin his bachelor’s degree program in New York, and then in January of 2016 he will finish up his schooling in the film academy in Los Angeles, California.

Until then, Crews has been going back and forth to the film academy for interviews and auditions.

His professor had warned him the interviews weren’t going to be like any interview he had had before because it was going to be filmed.

Crews thought it was going to be no big deal, but he was wrong.

When he entered the room, he realized not only was he going to be in front of a camera, but also a round table full of people from the academy, each one interested in knowing where he would fit in at the academy.

“Before I got in there, I got to see the questions I would be asked such as what I hope to get out of the academy, so I thought I can answer these questions no problem. But then being in front of the camera, it was a whole different ballgame,” said Crews.

The auditions he participated in were part of workshops the academy holds to prepare students for their first semester.

Noticing his acting abilities, he said professors already have told him he “won’t have to start from scratch,” so he is expected to be in some of the upper level classes.

He and his future classmates learned the ins and outs of a green screen during their workshop as they auditioned for a short play “Life’s Lemonades.”

Crews played a character named Bill, and the scene was in an apartment.

“It was cool to see how the green screen worked. We stood in a room that wasn’t very big, but you could see on the screen that it made us appear in an apartment,” said Crews.

Overall learning to be in front of the camera, Crews said it was “scary but fun.”

Getting in front of that camera had been a dream of his since he was a child.

“I always liked movies and television, and I wanted to know what it felt like to play certain roles,” said Crews.

The audience plays a role in drawing him into wanting to be on the big screen but also the “thrill, and joy” that it brings.

Now that he is “putting work into fulfilling his dreams,” he said, “it feels good.”

To this day, Crews’ grandmother, Carolyne Crews, questions him on why he watches the same movies and shows over and over again.

For Crews, he can’t get enough of “Taxi,” “The Expendables,” “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and “Walker Texas Ranger.”

He often finds himself admiring Brad Pitt, the actor he admires the most, on the screen as he partners with Angelina Jolie in “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” wondering, “How do you even play that role?”

If he had his pick, he would play a role in an action film, and if he could havehis way, he would have been right next to Wesley Snipes in “The Expendables.”

In addition to Pitt, Jolie and Snipes, he holds the highest regard for Will Smith, Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett.

Now, that he has found his spot in the film academy, he feels like his professor of acting is going to be his new role model.

“She basically described me as the childhood version of herself except she was afraid to take any steps in her dream. She said she finally faced what she is afraid of,” said Crews.

He also feels his classmates as well as himself are going to push each other to do great things.

“Everyone is friendly, and it feels like we are all on the same page. With the help of each other, I believe we will be prepared to handle any challenge,” said Crews.

“I also feel like there can never be too much acting. You can always learn more.”

He also credits his family, his mother, Jobina, his father, Woodrow Woody, and his grandmother, or as he calls her “ma,” as being his biggest supporters.

All three play a big role in encouraging him to continue to fulfill his dreams, but he had something extra to say about his grandmother.

“She supports me in every way. She is willing to always stand by me, and she was even willing to relocate with me. Whenever I am doubting myself, she knows what to say to stand me back up,” said Crews.

Now Crews is waiting to start the Film Academy in January, and he wants to encourage others to not waste time on going after their dream.

“Strive and accomplish everything you can while you have the chance,” Crews concluded.

Ashley Hodge is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com