On or about May 16, 2007, I had the opportunity to work as an "Extra" in "The Great Debaters" in Mansfield, Louisiana. This was an opportunity that never in my life would I dream of doing. I'm a retired Deputy Sheriff now working as an Investigator for the Ouachita Parish District Attorney's Office in Monroe, Louisiana.
I share my story because I may encourage someone to do the unthinkable. Denzel Washington is not only a movie star but above all a great person. Day after day I observed his character, his morals and his mannerism. Mr. Washington has truly been blessed with talent beyond measures. An all-around sense of knowing how to get things done. Great accomplishments and wonderful actor/teacher/instructor a hard-working person. The entire staff was just GREAT. They made everyone feel like a movie star. I never realized the many hours of labor that goes into producing a great movie. I have a better appreciation of the movie industry.
Mr. Washington helped me to realize that I had potentials. His words of inspiration I will always remember. At the age of 58 I'm planning on taking the task of engaging in the classes and any teaching tools that will help me to pursue other opportunities in the filming business. Mr. Washington may never know but he enriched my life so much. It was not about the money that I was paid. I met wonderful people and made new friends. These are memories that will last a life time.
After watching the movie on Christmas with family and friends I was delighted to see myself appearing three to four times in the movie. I wish Mr. Washington much success and I know whatever his next movie is, it will be blessed.
PHOTO: On Dec. 13, 2007, Denzel Washington answers questions during a press conference before the premiere of "The Great Debaters" in Marshall, Texas. (Shane Bevel/The Times)