New York’s Franklin Livingston or the growth of a successful Pakistani actor: Franklin Livingston is a versatile Pakistani-American actor. He specializes in dramatic roles and has proven his acting abilities in other genres of film, including comedy as well. Franklin was born in Pakistan whereas most of his education has been completed in the U.S. Here, in addition to studying at Northwestern University, Franklin gained extensive acting training from Atlantic Acting School, New York Film Academy, Moscow Arts Theater, the Meisner Studio of Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and Western Connecticut State University. See even more information on Franklin Livingston.
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 has always been in love with cinema and has been making films since the age of 16. He has evolved as technology and style have progressed over the years, and he deeply enjoys the craft in every aspect. Despite excruciating long hours of creative thinking, planning, and executing, and typically being the first to and the last person to walk out of the film sets after sleepless nights, Franklin Livingston never falls out of love with expressing human emotion and capturing stories that need to be told. He believes that a good story must constantly be educating, entertaining and engaging. And that’s what he aims for in his productions.
Like someone that will put the needed effort in and behave like an actor both in the audition room and on the film set. Small acts of respect like turning the phone off before entering the audition room used to be a big indication of that, which is now lost in the “zoom room”. Then there is the emotional connection that you simply cannot make with your scene partner over zoom. So when we show up on set, it can produce some very dysfunctional results. Sometimes you will have very underprepared or undertrained actors that think all they need to do is recite their lines perfectly, but they have completely forgotten how to make that emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual connection with their scene partner(s) and get on moment-to-moment work to re-create a scene on set that they read on a piece of paper.
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.
Franklin not only wants to help tell realistic stories, but he also acts out these stories. He likes to be practical. With his voice, body, and skills that he has been honing for years, he can show Hollywood that they have been waiting for a strong dramatic lead like him, but they simply haven�t even realized it yet. Along with being a gifted actor, filmmaker, and producer, Franklin is an empathic person. He loves being an active member of the community through his participation in social justice-based activities. He also enjoys cooking, traveling, sightseeing, motorcycling, driving through states, and jet-skiing. Franklin has observed the way other actors with brown skin have gained some headway, but they have typically done so through a particular type of comedic role.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories? The most interesting people I have ever met are through random encounters. It was awkward in the beginning because I knew I did not have much time to talk to them in the subway, at a coffee shop, or at an intersection. I have made several friends worldwide through these kinds of chance meetings. Once I was paying for my sandwich at a deli near my acting school in NYC and I noticed that the cashier was wearing a fancy watch. I couldn’t help, but comment on it, and she responded by telling me her story. It turns out that she was an engineer from Venezuela, but her education was not recognized in the U.S., so she was forced to work service and retail jobs instead of in her field. We became friends on social media and after a few years we are still are very close friends.
With possibilities comes challenges: Like many people who have been affected by the pandemic, Franklin is no exception. He mentions that during quarantine, he developed a couple of health conditions. He gained weight, became depressed, and started showing signs of aging. He, therefore, suggests an acting technique that supports the actors and can empathize with their emotional and cognitive state so they can have well-balanced lives. Franklin goes back and reflects on all the popular American acting schools and realizes that they affect actors emotionally or disrupt their mental well-being negatively. He mentioned it’s time for classic acting schools to revisit their curriculums and research why most actors who survive their training are introverts. They after two or three years of training, their actors end up becoming socially awkward, emotionally closed off, and distant from those community members who are not from the same professional backgrounds as them.