Jaq Walker is a recent graduate of the BFA Acting for Film program at NYFA’s South Beach Campus. Walker who considers Memphis, Tennessee his home town grew up an army brat decided to attend New York Film Academy while he was serving in the United States Air Force in Italy. “I had a friend at the time tell me about it (NYFA) and it sounded like I had found my life after the military. A few years later, I noticed that I was burned out and no longer passionate about my military career and that’s when I decided to let my superiors know that I was separating. My instincts led me to believe that I could make a better life through acting and creativity.”
His instincts led him to NYFA’s South Beach campus located in the heart of Miami. “Living in Miami, which is a growing market for the film industry, allowed me to venture outside of school projects and participate in local projects such as music videos and a couple of short films. The major highlight for me was when I got a crash course lesson as a film producer and as a casting director when myself and some of my classmates produced our own movie/tv show trailer concept called Shotgun. The purpose of producing this was to pitch it to showrunners and producers when an opportunity presented itself. Shotgun was filmed in just our second semester at the NYFA acting program. We were hungry and talented individuals who wanted more than just classroom work.”
Part of NYFA’s philosophy of learning by doing has students working with faculty members, all currently working in the industry, on a semi-individualized basis. This can have a profound and lasting impact on students, and that proved to be true for Jaq as well. “Patrice Arenas (NYFA acting for film instructor). She knocked me right out of my comfort zone and unshackled me when it came to performing different characters. She also gave a lot of life lessons which only made me grow more as a human being.”
During his time at NYFA, Jaq and four of his classmates created their very own industry network when they founded The Round Table Collective. “Five charismatic and artistic dudes: Tim Gray, Michael Bradway, Noel Cesar, Josh Reyes, and Yours Truly! We felt that in order to be successful in this industry you have to have a network of some kind. So when one of us is connected to a big production project, that would be an opportunity to refer one of the guys in the collective and promote their talents to producers, casting directors, and talent agents. So when it’s known that Jaq Walker is associated with RTC (Round Table Collective), people would see our reputation as a whole and hopefully would want to do business with us. When one of us wins, we all win! Even though each of us has a different approach to creativity and different paths through life, we all have one common goal and that is to be impactful and influential in this industry.”
In honing his acting skills Jaq developed his desire to be challenged and expand his repertoire. “I’ve been called a ‘character actor’, a ‘throwback actor’ and I’ve been called a ‘Chekhov-style actor.’ These are all true descriptions of me but I feel that I’m just a storyteller with a big and vivid imagination. Most of the roles that I play and have played are alpha-male authority figures which I’m very happy to play. But I’m wanting to step into darker roles in psychological thrillers and I would like to play roles where I could perform as the ‘down on his luck’ Joe Blow/victim of society.”
Jaq has worked to expand his skillset and put it use by writing his own projects. “During my time at NYFA, I was able to better my writing. So naturally, I like to create and produce my own material and create my own characters. I did so recently when I wrote a concept trailer for myself called ‘The Janitor.’ It’s based on a character I created and was inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve already shot and produced the trailer so right now it’s in post-production.”
Jaq recently appeared in the sci-fi series The Red State and plans to continue his career in London while he seeks out his Master’s degree. As for some parting advice to NYFA students and aspiring artists, Jaq had this to say, “Network, Network, and Network. Meet and get to know other creatives on campus and in the local area. Apply what you learn at the school into creating your own stuff while in school. Don’t let it interfere with your classroom assignments but establish yourself as an actor or filmmaker early on in your NYFA journey.”
New York Film Academy wishes Jaq Walker continued success in his future endeavors and can’t wait to see what comes next!