The upsurge of a Pakistani actor and influencer : New York’s Franklin Livingston: Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path? Living in the Midwest of the United States for nearly a decade made me feel that I was expected to spend my life in a specific stereotypical way. It began with my job at the local Christian church that helped me get settled in the U.S. I was astonished when my supervisor asked me why I needed to go out and have a nice dinner, once in a while, when I had tin can soups at the place I was living at. The senior pastor of the same church explained to me that people from my background should NOT even consider dating or having a family life because we don’t understand relationships and people from the Middle East could die at any given moment. In my opinion, they were basically stating that my life and people like me should not expect to progress any further than just being sacrificial lambs. We are not entitled to normal lives and should never experience it. We are less than the standard and lucky to participate at all. Find extra information on Franklin Livingston New York.
What makes Franklin Livingston different? Franklin has been described as a living legend. His legendary persona comes from his unique and creative ideas mixed with his diverse cultural upbringing, world travels, his ability to relate to people of diverse socioeconomic class, and his teachable spirit. He is also comparable to World’s best content creators like Charlie Chaplin, Rowan Atkinson, and Chuck Lorre. The unfortunate reality that hit Franklin is that he came to birth when American film and television largely undermines the creativity of people with Non-White accents and skin color. Classic Hollywood still doesn’t consider people of color as intelligent, dynamic, and in-demand as someone of the Caucasian race. However, Franklin is motivated and getting started to prove that the paradigm of racism among American actors is long gone!
Franklin Livingston grew up as a religious minority in Pakistan. He constantly faced persecution and prejudice, which shaped him to be a unique human being. He is a wounded healer — someone who embraces the people from all walks of life, empowering them to be whoever they want. Like Pakistan, in the United States, Franklin is once again a minority. But this time, it is not because of his religious affiliation but his ethnicity, where he has experienced terrible racism and discrimination on all levels. Livingston utilizes these experiences to evolve into a humanitarian advocate, share his struggles, and much more through his films, plays, and social media content.
Please tell us the one thing that separates you from your competition. I do have a unique perspective to bring to the table. Currently, there is no person of Pakistani origin in Hollywood’s big-budget movies or TV networks that has the training I do. Especially not one playing a dramatic role that will be taken seriously and not a funny guy character. I would love to put my extensive experience to good use and not only go up against the competition for a leading serious role one of these days, but actually get a call back for it!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that? Al Qually has been a tremendous help on my journey in New York. When I first arrived in the Big Apple, I was angry and depressed because I had so many negative experiences. I believe that it was my growing and learning phase, but I met Al in 2016 who collaborated with me on numerous projects. He always went out of his way to help me with scripts, filmmaking, and much more without any expectations or hidden agendas. We have shot several short films in and outside of his apartment in Queens (including “Down-Range”) where he would be making coffee and running around trying to make sure all actors and crew were taken care of. Since our initial encounter and through Al’s network, I have met many great professionals who have helped me become a better human being and a compelling storyteller.
Even still, most of these actors tend to be from India or other southeast Asian countries and not from Pakistan. Although Pakistan and India share some commonalities, their culture, language, human behaviors, and social etiquette make them distinctly different nations, which Hollywood has yet to present in its productions. This difference is not in contrast to those that the British and Americans have in terms of their anthropology. Countless people of color in the United States and a significant community of Pakistani immigrants in the United States have waited long to see themselves in Hollywood movies and television shows with a true representation. Franklin Livingston is ready to face this challenge, and that day is not far away when Franklin will tell stories about Pakistani Americans through his inimitable work in films and television.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that? I was in a meeting with my first TV commercial agents. They asked me if I was working on getting rid of my accent. They said that getting work without having a native sounding American vernacular is impossible. I laughed to myself and replied bluntly that I don’t believe I could ever eliminate my accent and that local people tend to search for a foreign accent when they need a medical specialist or a cosmetic surgeon in Beverly Hills. I think it’s only the Media, the formula, and the system that believes that actors shouldn’t have their native accents if they wanted to play leads in the local projects. Upon seeing their facial expressions, I realized my honesty was a mistake.
Franklin has studied a multitude of acting techniques at Guildhall School of Music and Drama London, Moscow Arts Theater, New York Film Academy, Atlantic Acting School, the Meisner Studio of Tisch School of the Arts New York of New York University, and Yale University where he received training in acting, filmmaking, and directing as well. Franklin is a true New Yorker and enjoys exploring the city on foot and via subway absorbing the incomparable diversity of NYC. He loves to engage the local communities in breaking boundaries and building connections. When not on a film set or involved in community development, you will catch Franklin researching the past and the present anthropology, cooking, traveling, sightseeing, motorcycling, road tripping through the U.S., or maybe even jet-skiing.