[Kontrol Exclusive] Shaun Brown: A Millennial And Proud Of It
Over the past couple of years, millennials have been entering the workforce in abundance and shaking things up. The generational differences between millennials and older generations can often wreak havoc in the workplace. CBS has created a new comedy called “The Great Indoors” that will shed some light on how millennials view the workplace. The show is about an outdoor adventure magazine that decides to switch their entire format and go completely digital. Jack Gordon, an outdoor traveler/reporter, is forced to acclimate to his new work environment and having to adjust to his much younger co-workers.
Actor Shaun Brown plays the role of, Mason, a young tech savvy digital conversationalist who makes it a point to draw attention to Jack’s archaic ways. Recently, Kontrol had the chance to speak with Shaun about his new role, his career, and his upcoming projects.
As most actors, Shaun knew at a young age that he wanted to pursue acting as a career. Although his parents wanted him to pursue a different career path, Shaun decided that acting was the only choice for him.
“My dad was in the military and my mother is a doctor, so acting was not what they wanted for me while I was in high school thinking about my future. They always envisioned me as a heart surgeon, which I always entertained as a kid. One day I watched the TLC or the Discovery channel and watched a heart surgery take place, and my mind changed real quick. It was just way too much blood. After I saw that, I was like ‘Nah I’m good’”.
“I always knew that I wanted to be a performer but it wasn’t until I was 16 and saw “Hairspray the Musical” on Broadway that I knew I wanted to be an actor. The energy of the show and the beauty of the story of race and race relations really affected me. Halfway through the show I thought to myself ‘I’m gonna do that for the rest of my life.’ From there, I started auditioning for my school plays, I got my degree in acting, and then I moved to NYC and started my professional career. The rest is history.”
Every actor has their own way or technique of how they prepare themselves for a role. Shaun explained to us how he gets in the mindset of the characters that he portrays.
“Growing up and moving around my entire childhood definitely shaped the kind of person and actor that I am today. The roles I play are just different sides of me. My personal character ‘Shaun Brown’ has been shaped by my experiences, so I just bring out those experiences in my work to make them more honest. I don’t really believe in putting on a ‘character’. I just find the common thread that resides in me and I bring that out in the work.”
“I just try and find myself in the character. I put myself in the situations, and the relationships. I strive to be honest in my work and just make it all incredibly personal. Not in a method way but in a ‘what would I do if this were happening to me’ way. It takes the guess work out of approaching a ‘character’.”
Shaun sometimes includes his friends and family when preparing for a role.
“When I prepare, I go very internal and private. I explore all the different parts of my personality and my past. I’m the kind of guy that goes over his lines with little help from anyone. I’m not shy by any means, but the seclusion creates an atmosphere of focus. I would say, however, that my interactions and relationships with my friends and family help inform more ‘character’ work that I do when making it personal to my own life.”
Shaun Displays His Talents
Shaun is a true triple threat when it comes to his talent. Not only does he act, but he sings and dances as well. Shaun relays to us how he is very similar to his character on “The Great Indoors” but he hopes that he will be able to incorporate more of his talents into his role in the future.
“Mason and I are very very similar. We’re both very playful millennial men who love coming up with ideas. I very much consider myself a millennial and all of the stereotypes (good and bad) that it comes with. I love gadgets, apps, and just technology in general. I’m fascinated by it…In my show “The Great Indoors”, they have incorporated my dancing ability and there have been talks to bring in my singing also at some point. I have no idea if that’s gonna happen or not.”
Shaun’s Perfect Role
Most actors are in constant pursuit of that one perfect role that would show off their acting chops. For Shaun, that perfect role would require him to wear a cap and rid the world of evil doers.
“As of this very moment I would love to play a superhero. I think in today’s world a lot of kids that look like me need that. I’m super excited that Black Panther is happening and is being helmed by Ryan Coogler and I know he will do a masterful job. But there can be more minority superheroes. A lot of people don’t know this but I was a martial artist in my childhood. Sometimes I brush up on it to keep it fresh. I would love to utilize that skill.”
Although Shaun loves to bring comedy into our homes every week, the young actor has a few other projects that he is working on. Shaun talked with us about his upcoming movie “Heart Baby” and gave us the inside scoop of what his character was all about.
“‘Heart Baby’ is a true story set in a 1983 Tennessee prison that follows a man named George Lee Martin. George was an incredible boxer; was just knocking dudes out left and right in the ring which caught the attention of the champion at the time. When he came to the prison to fight George he was knocked out in less than a minute which was unheard of. So George was offered the opportunity to be let out of prison and perform in the Olympics but he turns it down, and the reason he does turn it down is incredible. Viewers can expect an incredible true story about love and human spirit in a place where you would think these things would be squashed or suppressed. I play George’s best friend, Bug. He is described as a southern boy with big eyes and an even bigger heart.”
Shaun also shared with us a little information on his other upcoming projects that he has in the works.
“I have some movies coming out next year ranging from comedy to drama to action. I love acting, so I’m not biased to staying in one genre. People get surprised when I tell them that I’m trained in classical theater like Shakespeare, Chekhov, etc. They think that because I’m on a sitcom that I came from some improv school or that I only do comedy, which I can understand the presumption.”
“I would tell them to get in an acting class ASAP. Study the craft. Become a master at it. Like I said earlier, when you are an excellent actor, it’s difficult to deny that excellence. You won’t always get the part, but you will always be remembered. Also, be the best person you can be because the world needs it, but the producers and directors don’t want to spend long hours with someone that they can’t get along with. If you do those things it will make your journey much easier, in my opinion.”
When Shaun is not acting, he keeps himself busy by supporting the Shanele Jasmine Brown Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship was created and named after the actor’s sister, and it sends one person to college every year. Shaun explains the requirements for students interested in applying for the scholarship.
“The Shanele Jasmine Brown Memorial Scholarship awards students in the DC area who have completed an essay of why they think they deserve the scholarship and the importance of education to them. Also, you must have a 2.5 GPA. Right now we are very local to my hometown, but the goal is to grow the reach and give more high school seniors a chance to further their education.”
Overall, Shaun wants people to know him as a well-rounded actor and he hopes that his work communicates that message to his fans.
“I would hope people would think that I’m a well-rounded actor who’s also a good person. I’ve always told myself that if you are a great person and a great actor then no one can deny the excellence of the two. I just want to do it all I guess. I want to do heartfelt dramas, action comedies, sci-fi, horror, etc. I really love the craft of acting and the process of filmmaking and television. I hope my work communicates that.”
Remember, you can catch Shaun Brown on the CBS comedy, “The Great Indoors”, and you can follow him on social media here.
By Ronda Brooks