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Rising Stars: Meet Leo Allen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Leo Allen.

Leo, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Ever since I was young, I knew my passion in life would be in the arts. It was something about the endless possibilities that I could create in the craft. Out of the many artistic mediums I was interested in, acting was my number one. I love immersing myself in the many worlds that drama can take me.

Crazy enough, I didn’t start taking my acting career seriously until I enrolled at Northern Illinois University. I figured college was the right time to dig in and mold what my life would be after graduation. Along the way, while learning the ins and outs of my future acting career, I traveled to the other side of the camera.

I took a production class that taught me all the fundamentals, from how a camera works to the subjective teachings of composition and film rules. I use to sign the university’s cameras out every chance I got and film crazy short films and skits all over campus with my roommates. After filming many short performances and starting a Youtube page to post the silly videos, I met Bryce Hodges.

He was a fellow videographer who just enrolled at the university as a freshman but was already in pursuit of becoming a well-renowned director under the production company name of JVisuals312. He saw my skills with the camera and convinced me to start filming and photographing music videos and concerts with him, which started my career behind the camera. It seemed like we filmed everything we could during that time in Chicago, from the drill music videos to the vast concerts throughout the city.

I was still very active in doing extra work on tv shows that aired in the city throughout that time. Before I graduated from Northern, I met the incredible Michelle Hayes. She is the owner of Hayes Talent Agency in Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, the only African American SAG agency in all three cities. I auditioned for her in 2016, and she saw my potential as an actor and now represents me today.

Fast forward to now, with my acting career taking off and the JVisuals312 brand moving to Downtown LA, I have been able to submit to more acting auditions and even film some incredible productions out here. Being able to be both in front and behind the camera is still remarkable to me. I would have never imagined that my life would go in this direction, but I’m more than happy to be here.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As smooth as a California highway, lol.

It was not easy at all. Even though both careers have their similarities, trying to pursue both simultaneously was very difficult. For one, editing can be a nightmare, and as fulfilling as completing a production can be, I was still not ready for all the work in the post-production. I couldn’t use the school camera to take on the road for the shows or music videos I did, so I ended up getting and maxing out a credit card to buy a camera that took three years to pay off.

Signing with Hayes Talent Agency came with a considerable influx of acting auditions. Some I was ready for, others not so much.

One of my biggest struggles in both careers was not always being fully prepared for the opportunities that came my way.

Luckily for me, I dug my feet in, got focused, and started taking the time necessary to prepare for the prominent career I planned on having.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am an actor, photographer, and cinematographer.

It’s always fun saying the whole thing because it makes the journey here worthwhile.

I always say I am an actor first because that will always be my number one passion. Even though my career behind the camera has superseded my acting career, I would still choose acting every time I had to pick.

I’m most known for my photography, videos, and editing skills. I’m most proud of all the connections I’ve made in LA—working with great creators like photographer Brandon Almengo or dope choreographer Michele Soulchild.

The thing that sets me apart from others in my videos or pictures is how I capture those moments. I always want my content to take people on a journey and give them a breathtaking experience.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Never give up on your passion, no matter how farfetched or out of reach it might seem. Be patient with yourself and be excited about the journey. Honestly, the only reason I can continue to go full force in pursuing these two careers I love is from the excitement I get on this journey of creating.

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

All photos by me, Leo Allen II

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