Carlos Joseph - Supplemental Police Constable by Day, Actor by Night!
  Dixie-Ann Belle
April 2018

Carlos Joseph - Supplemental Police Constable by Day, Actor by Night!

During the sold out premiere of local film The Lies We Tell at last year’s Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, the enthusiastic audience was clearly riveted by the suspenseful story. It was a different experience for one of the viewers though. Carlos Joseph found himself squirming in his seat as he watched. This was not surprising as he was seeing himself on a movie screen for the first time in his role as the Accountant.  “It’s so intimidating to watch yourself on the big screen,” explains the actor, but it was also an enjoyable experience for him. He was happy to see and hear the reactions of the audience and to witness the standing ovation as the credits rolled.

This is clearly a dream fulfilled for 43 year old Joseph - Supplemental Police Constable by day, actor by night - who has been pursuing his craft since he was a little boy in San Fernando. “I always loved drama,” he recalls. He has been following that aspiration ever since, beginning with acting in a village drama group. He has also appeared in plays by Raymond Choo Kong like Pandora’s Box and performed with the Theatre Company of Mt. Hope in Sin 69 and Sans Humanité. He has also appeared in the music video for the song “Long Ting Christmas” performed by Morisha Ransome and written by Davlin Thomas. In 2009, he played a true to life part as a law enforcement officer in the short Sweet TNT.

More recently he responded to a casting call for The Lies We Tell. Under the direction of local film veteran Clifford Seedansingh, he got a chance to play the dangerous Accountant. “I always wanted to play a villain,” says Joseph of his character who he describes as the exact opposite of himself. He doesn’t want to give away any of the suspenseful details of the plot, but he encourages everyone to see it. The story of a serial adulterer and his attempts to blackmail the wife of his friend clearly captured the interest of audiences at the film festival with its web of deception, intrigue, relationships and betrayal.  All of the screenings were sold out, and it got rave reviews.

Joseph clearly revelled in the opportunity to work on the The Lies We Tell. He describes Seedansingh as a really down to earth director, and he is excited about the movie’s future.

The actor’s love of local cinema is clear as he talks about his experiences. He was happy to finally get a chance to go to the annual festival as he is usually working when it is going on. He speaks with enthusiasm and admiration of the contributions of home grown film makers like G. Anthony Joseph, writer, producer and actor in the Men of Gray series; Kamalo Deen, actor and director of the 70’s production Bacchanal Time; Michael Rochford, who directed the recently released Pendulum, and many others.

“The industry was struggling way back when in the 60s and 70s and stuff,” Joseph observes. “I believe that people learned the lesson. It wasn’t that we didn’t have great film makers.” He also notes, “We have great actors. We have good stories to tell but in order to tell those stories we need the help.”

While the movie making business in Trinidad and Tobago is progressing, film makers are still facing one of its most enduring obstacles.  “I will be plain straight up. We need funding - the money,” Joseph says, observing that people here want quality productions but are often not willing to help finance them.  The list of expenses on a movie budget is long - actors, crew, food, location, transport, generators, electrical current and so much more. Not surprisingly some artistes have been known to put up some of their own money to help pay for studio time.

Despite the disadvantages, Joseph is eager to become even more involved in the “business”. He hopes to try his hand at the technical side such as editing. He also hopes to one day direct music videos.

To aspiring actors, who like Joseph dream of crossing the stage to accept an Academy award one day, he has some firm advice. “Yes do it,” he says,  “but you have to be disciplined. You have to be on time. You have to be able to take direction. If you can do these things then by all means go ahead and do it.” Of course talent and drive are important too. “The camera does not lie,” Joseph explains. He encourages acting hopefuls to be “honest and true to the craft”.  One of his favourite maxims (coined by Denzel Washington, one of his favourite actors) - “Fall down seven times, get up eight” is advice for those who also want the chance to see their faces on the big screen one day.

Joseph embodies these qualities in his own life, carefully juggling his demanding work with his acting  roles, rehearsing and acting in the evenings and on weekends. “You just have to balance yourself,” he advises.  Of his acting ability he asserts,“My talent is a God given talent.” He adds, “With the talent that I have opportunities come. I’m thankful, very, very thankful.”

With the commitment and ability of actors and potential film makers like Carlos Joseph out there, there is reason to hope that Trinidad and Tobago’s film industry will continue to burgeon and grow to reach its full potential. Perhaps Joseph’s dream of one day seeing a local movie receive an Academy Award for best foreign film will be realized.  Hopefully they will keep Joseph’s rallying cry in mind as they progress. As he states, “Let’s continue to make films not only for T&T but for the rest of the world to enjoy.”

By: Dixie-Ann Belle | FEATURES | April 2018