Disclaimer: This interview was conducted on Thursday, January 15th, at the time Shon was representing “Shooting Star Studio.”
In the gritty, cutthroat industry of film and media, many aspiring artists will never have the help they deserve in order to succeed. No matter how great a person’s motivation is, he or she will need help at some point. And what a blessing just a little help can be. “My dream is to help people,” said Shon McGregory, who runs “Shooting Star Studio,” a modeling and talent agency in St. Charles, Illinois. While on the phone with Mr. McGregory, I learned about his aspirations with this agency, as well as his numerous accomplishments that have helped many other people.
“‘Shooting Star’ does acting and modeling auditions for short films, TV shows, commercials, and print ads,” McGregory began. “I look for people with lots of experience – very professional.” I asked what exactly qualified as “professional.” Aside from headshots, McGregory answered that he “looks for talent. I can show someone to different filmmakers or companies based on what I see. I know it’s hard though, I’m an actor too.” McGregory went on to talk about his experience as a growing actor in Chicago.
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. I started as an extra and moved my way up. In the meantime, I had normal jobs like UPS and the post office, and that’s what I’m trying to help people do now. I’m the type of guy who loves to help you get into this industry. I’ll hold someone’s hand. I won’t just help people get auditions; I help them get jobs too. I’m just a guy from Chicago trying to help people make it.”
By knowing the “right people,” Shon eventually became the one who managed “Shooting Star Studio” and now does “almost everything there.” Within the past year, McGregory was able to obtain roles for over 100 zombie extras in the horror comedy, Not Another Zombie Movie…About the Living Dead (2014, Jack Johnson, Donte Williams).
As an actor, McGregory has had roles in short films such as Orphans of God (2015, Andrew R. Cintron), and even landed a small speaking role in A Conspiracy on Jekyll Island (2015, Aram Rappaport), co-starring Minnie Driver. “As an actor, it’s competitive, but in Chicago, everybody helps each other like a family.” McGregory also helped cast other actors in Orphans of God.
With that in mind, I spoke to Shannon Marie, a Chicago-based actress who has worked with Shon since spring 2013, when she met him on the set of Divergent (2014, Neil Burger); she was acting as an extra – a Dauntless soldier. “As soon as I met Shon, I could immediately tell that he had a passion not only for acting, but for helping others. It was evident to me that he would be able to succeed in both avenues,” Marie said. “Thanks to Shon’s hard work at tirelessly working towards guiding us to higher achievements, I went on to get cast in several speaking roles,” she continued, going on to talk about Shon as a “good friend,” and “the kind of guy who makes sure everyone has a way home and that everyone makes it safely to their cars at night.” She concluded by telling me that “you can almost guarantee that Shon will be there at your modeling show or filming shoot supporting you on the sidelines and even on the stage!”
It was inspiring to talk to Shon and the people who know him and learn to appreciate the work that he does and the effort he puts into it, and the effort he makes sure others put into it. Below are links to Shon’s IMDb page, Shannon’s IMDb page, as well as the IMDb pages to the films Shon has had roles in, whether casting or acting.
Shon’s IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5682665/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Shannon’s IMDb: http://m.imdb.com/name/nm6345193/filmotype/actress?ref_=m_nmfm_1
A Conspiracy on Jekyll Island: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3297382/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Not Another Zombie Movie…About the Living Dead: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3499632/?ref_=fn_al_tt_4
Orphans of God: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4082898/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1