Dream Big | Interview with Harley Sylvester

We first met for Harley Sylvester of Rizzle Kicks for his BLAG feature, Sally talked to him about acting and he told us it was his first love. He's done some great stuff since including a lead role in The Guvnors. For our short film, Dream Big we of course invited Harley to be involved. Here we discuss the idea, shoot day and final piece.


When did you first decide you wanted to become an actor?

"I was about 14. I always knew I wanted to do something creative, however I wasn’t quite sure what I was actually good at . Like many secondary school kids, a lot of my early teenage years were based around trial and error; trying everything until I found my calling. I played Mercutio in our school’s production of Romeo and Juliet, and since then, I never really looked back."


How has your work as a musician helped acting?

"The way I think it’s really benefited me is who I’ve been able to meet along the way. It never hurts to know people. I met the director of the first feature film I was in (The Guvnors) whilst doing a TV show, then we both went to the same wedding and got talking about our mutual desire to make movies. After a year or so we met again on another TV show and he’d written his first script. I asked if I could audition, I did, and he ended up not auditioning anybody else for the part. Being in this industry gives you the opportunity to network with people like that, which is priceless."


What were your initial thoughts on the Dream Big concept/story when we presented it to you?

"I was excited by how free the project was. How we discussed different characters I could play based on what would suit me best. It’s rare to get the opportunity to work with directors that you both respect and also know well on a personal level. Luckily for me I’ve had this experience twice now."


How did you find working with Max?

"Max and I immediately clicked. We have mutual friends which always helps too. We’d not done too much stage combat before, so neither of us had one up on the other. there was no competitiveness involved so overall it was just a fun day of learning new skills and techniques."


How about working with Sally and Sarah?

"One of the most important assets needed to be a successful director is having a good rapport with your actors and making them feel as comfortable as possible. Sally and Sarah have this quality in abundance. I never felt like I was simply working for myself but working for the whole team. A stress free environment on set is key to producing good work and the girls made sure this was the case."


How would you describe their Directing and Writing?

"What I thought was very special about this piece was despite the fact I was actually in it, I wanted to be a part of the dream world that they had created. There’s only a few pieces of film or television that I have watched and thought "I really want to fucking be there”. It was effortlessly beautiful."


What was your experience like on-set?

"It began rather hazy due to the outrageously early start. Such haziness didn’t bode well when we began intense stage combat. However, all fatigue disappeared pretty quickly. I never hugely enjoy non stop exercise but due to the beautifully relaxed environment the entire crew created, it made it a massively enjoyable day."


The film is narrated by Chuck D. He's a legend in not only music but culture. What influence has he had on you and how do you feel about the story being told by him?

"Chuck D as you know was probably the main pioneer of conscious rap. Something that Jordan and I think is very important when writing our own music is saying things that people can truly discuss. Obviously our style is a lot lighter but we were genuinely inspired from an early age by the idea of making people think. A lot of these songs are mainly album tracks because for some reason the powers that be don’t think it necessary to bring these ideas to the forefront of music anymore, but for them to sit behind the scenes. Chuck D I feel is an advocate for this idea and he’s proven that throughout his career. I will always look up to him."


What have you taken from the overall experience, that you may apply to what's next for you?

"A Badass attitude and some great new friends! In all honesty, I’ve started writing scripts of my own and I mentioned earlier how important it is to make the reader/viewer want to be a part of your world that you’ve created. And until I’d actually been a part of something where this idea is prevalent, I’d not considered it for my own work. But I definitely will now."


And what is next for you?

"We’ve almost finished our third album so promotion for that will be next really. I’m auditioning quite a lot so hopefully I’ll land some roles. Like I said before, I’ve started writing my own stuff, so I hope to get some of that made soon!