Today we’d like to introduce you to Stefan Leach.
Stefan, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Wow honestly now that I’m thinking back on it, the artistic world has been something I’ve been a part of since Elementary School. Even if I wasn’t fully aware of the magnitude of what I was doing like my “writers group” that met every so often or the handpicked “drawing club” where we worked on our art periodically, I knew one thing, that I loved that creative freedom.
That brings me back to not that long ago during my senior year of high school. It’s important I mention this time period in my life because this is when I made the decision to forgo studying Computer Science in college and do something that inspires and excites me. It dawned on me that acting is something that always enticed me since I was like 9 years old watching cartoons and TV shows every Saturday morning in awe. So from that point on I looked up everything a 17 year old in Florida would think would be the correct way of breaking into that industry. That’s when I stumbled across the New York Film Academy. A place that would change my life forever!
Attending the NYFA campus in Lower Manhattan really opened and expanded my mindset and how I think about things and acting specifically. If I’m being completely honest with you guys, I had an incredibly naive outlook on what it is and takes to be an actor. The way I viewed was that you become famous, make tons of money, help out in your community all while looking good on camera, saying lines and crying on cue. That notion, that idiotic notion that I had going into was only supposed to be an 8 week Acting for Film coursed got dropped within the first two days of class. That’s why I am able to be here and tell you guys about my journey thus far. I learned that the craft of acting is hard work and takes every part of you if you want to be any good at it and be able to do it as a career. But the catch 22 about it which I actually love is that you do have to work really hard and fall down on your back and get back up, but you also get to PLAY and just PRETEND to be someone else. Acting is literally an advanced version of pretending.
During what was my initial two month trial run with NYFA I was hooked by the entertainment business. Not only did I catch the “acting bug” but the school taught me so much about taking your career into your own hands, creating your own content/brand. It’s imperative that in today’s day-n-age you become the opportunity maker. Putting yourself in the driving lane. That idea has stuck with me throughout the rest of my training which would then accumulate to get me a BFA in Acting for Film before the age of 21. My goal throughout those 3 years was to work and do as a many plays and projects while having ideas for film and web series concepts along the way.
Which leads me to meeting up with to very influential and important people in my life’s journey. Ali-Han Ibragimov and Rashan Allen. Once we meet in the fall of 2017, we knew we had something good going for ourselves, a core group that wants nothing more to see each other succeed in whatever endeavor they so please. That is powerful. Together we would bring all of our dreams under one roof, MOORvision. That name was handpicked specifically by Rashan and has historic references to the MOOR people of Africa, but that’s a story for another day. Our production company does several things from producing films to creating videos to even our own record label! Everything you could ever want out of one place. With their support I was able to create my final thesis project for school which was a web-series called “Coming To Terms” about two best friends (Nick & Ben) who move in together in Cali all the way from Florida and by the end of the pilot you find out one is gay and we now have to see how these two handle this shocking news.
Since then it has been an up and down battle trying to get a startup company to eventually grow into prominence but with everyone playing their part things will fall into place in no time. Just thinking about some of the people we’ve had the opportunity to collab and work for amazes me, people like streetball legend Bone Collector, musician Jazz Anderson, producer Henry Butler all have helped as we grow and look to advance in this ambitious city.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Far, far, far from smooth. It’s a constant battle everyday to try and get better with what you do and your weaknesses overall. Since day one moving back to New York I had to reinvent myself to a much more artistic and business minded kind of outlook. What I mean by that is that I had to embrace this new me someone who is willing to put themselves out there and fail, get rejected, laughed at etc. all because of the passion I have to act. The business end is just getting used to and comfortable being in big rooms or having big career changing interactions and knowing I can make the right decisions when it comes down to it.
Training to be an actor is a journey all on its own. I mean the many stages of it alone could probably drive someone away from even pursuing a career in this. I’m in my 3rd year of doing this and I still have so much to learn and accomplish but knowing that it’s okay and to not judge yourself and where you are along this path is key to freeing yourself mentally of the pressures of LA and the business. Just keep your head down and focus on what’s in front of you is the best advice I’ve gotten since being in LA.
So many people love to talk about what they do or haven’t truly done and it’s so annoying to keep meeting these type of people because honestly all they ever do is blow smoke. I’ve been told and promised so many different things along my journey that I have become jaded to what people say rather than what they do. That’s definitely been a great learning experience. Making sure I never get my hopes up when someone says this or when they say they can do that, all I can do is sit back and be genuine and hope that through their actions they are as well.
I remember one time specifically right before my final semester at school, Rah (Rashan), Ali and I and the whole MOORvision crew where basically promised that in due time one of Rah’s TV script ideas would possibly have a budget of $1.2 million dollars and would be produced by Netflix. As painful as it was finding out it wasn’t true nothing can fix completely slacking off in school because you think at any minute you’ll be in NYC shooting the pilot episode of your very first leading role. It rocked a lot of us to the core and showed that you have to be ready for the bumps and bruises of the entertainment industry and that you should probably build up a tough shell.
There’s many more but I think that last one encompasses a lot of what it feels like to try to make a name for yourself in LA.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Well I did mention earlier that not only is MOORvision a production company for films but we also have a video game division and a record label, which we are currently building an amazing roster for filled with diverse talent so be on the lookout!
Rashan Allen (the founder) really wanted to pay homage to his African roots and created the play on words between the indigenous MOOR people of Africa and vision, which we have a lot of here. That’s how he came to the name MOOrvision. Its way more interesting when he breaks it down.
Honestly I don’t truly hold anyone specific position with MOORvision. I like to think as myself as an advisor of sorts. Ali and Rah have only been in LA since the Fall of 2017 and I like to think I’ve been at this entrainment thing for some time now (since summer 2015) and between the three of us we spitball ideas and I see with my knowledge how we can act on these ideas and which avenues we should go down to reach a certain goal. It could be tweaks on a script for Rah or producing tips for Ali like it literally doesn’t matter, I and we think of whatever we can do to excel with this company. But if we had to put a title to it, I’m the actor of the group, simple as that. Between the three of us we plan on directing, producing and acting in all of the projects we create. But I do more than just act I direct and write and am aiming to get more into producing and cinematography work as well.
As a whole one thing I’m proud of is the company website which Rah took on as his own little mission and worked endlessly to complete. I must say that final product is a beauty just because of how accurately it represents who we are and what we are trying to establish as a brand and company. It has life, like real personal life that I think people who want to do business with us in the future will really be drawn to! All that hard work Rah put into it came to fruition once we bought the domain name and it really felt like our baby was alive. Now everyone can visit our website to see our body of work and it’s just a feeling I can’t fully articulate with words.
Hmm what sets us apart from others? To be honest I don’t want to give to much about what we have going on here due to the fact that we don’t like talking nearly as much as we like showing but I will say we plan on changing the entire culture of Hollywood. I mean we just want to take it over and incite new ways of telling stories and entertaining a new generation. All of our projects and concepts in all aspects of MOORvision whether its video games, record label or whatever, are stories that are meaningful, timeless and will educate the minds of the viewers. That’s our biggest goal just entertain and educate the world to be a better place. It’s way beyond just making films and music!
What were you like growing up?
Little me was a legend I must say. He didn’t take no for an answer. I can remember myself putting my all into whatever it is I was passionate about in the moment. There was about three things I ever did wholeheartedly and it was skateboarding, basketball and now acting. Funny enough, I really that I was going to be a professional in all of them at the times I was pursuing them.
For example skated for four solid years when I started in 5th grade and it was because my best friend Shakir was supposedly the best skater in the neighborhood so the natural competitor in me took him on and together we become a crazy duo on the boards. And the Virgo in me literally would plot out long term/short term goals on each possible way I’d go pro out of West Palm. Same goes for basketball and now acting. I really like to have order and organization in what I’m doing, I guess it helps makes the road I have ahead of me clearer or something.
Speaking of West Palm I can’t believe I got to this part of the Interview and didn’t mention where I was from. I’m proud to say I am originally from Queens, NY and lived there for 9 years before moving to West Palm Beach, Florida until I was 17 then I moved right back to the Mecca for a year before landing in LA in summer 2016, where I am now. So a grand total of 10 years in New York and 9 years in Florida. Being from New York is the best thing, the amount of history that city has is crazy, I honestly want to have my kids in NY now that I think about it.
I would definitely say my parents kept me very sheltered from the harsh realities of New York but I would have to say as much as I would love to credit New York for my most formative years as a boy growing up that honor has to go to Florida. The three things I mentioned earlier that I was passionate about all started while I was living in West Palm. That state literally helped make me the person I am today and I don’t know if I’d be here today doing what I’m doing if I had lived my whole life in New York. So I am very grateful for my mom moving us down south even though I hated it for the longest.
- Website: Moorvision.com
- Email: Ali@moorvision.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/moorvisioninc/