Fans of BET’s breakaway hit, “The Game,” will instantly recognize Barry Floyd from his role as Tee Tee. The series, a hit with critics and fans alike, is about to launch into it’s seventh season on March 4th — which is no small feat in the world of television. Early on in the series, Floyd was originally only set to appear in a few episodes of the show, but his character was so well received that he was added on as a series regular. This dynamic young actor cut his teeth on the series and has been able to flex both his comedic and dramatic might in the process. Known for his work ethic and fearlessness in front of the camera, he has established himself as a talent on the rise in Hollywood and leaves himself poised become a breakout star in 2014.
Last season on ‘The Game,’ fans of the show saw Floyd’s character “Tee Tee” Carter transition from being a sidekick to Malik Wright (Hosea Chanchez) to becoming more involved in his own Cluck Truck business. This season, fans will get to see Tee Tee in an even more dramatic light as things take a turn for the worse.
Always showcasing his versatility, Floyd is also a lead-writer and director of the online sketch comedy series and has several other exciting projects in various stages of development. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Barry Floyd to discuss his unique journey into the entertainment industry, the challenges her has faced along the way, his evolution as an actor, upcoming projects and much more!
From what I understand, you didn’t break into the world of acting in the traditional manner. What can you tell us about how you got your start?
I wanted to screenwriter and I went to Temple University to pursue a degree. Then I moved out here and took a production assistant, which is kind of an entry level job out here. You don’t get paid a lot but they are plentiful and you do it to learn and work your way up. I was a production assistant on a show called “Girlfriends.” Basically, I had to stand in for another actor who wasn’t there. I took it pretty seriously when they asked me to stand in. They thought I was funny and after the rehearsal, they asked me if I wanted to audition for a part on another show called “The Game,” which I am on now! That was seven years ago!
How do you cite as some of you biggest personal influences? Who do you find inspiring?
From an acting standpoint, once I decided I wanted to act, I started looking at other actors and my favorite actor and biggest inspiration is Samuel L. Jackson. I say that because he works all the time and he works consistently. If you go and look at his IMDB page, you will see he has been in the game for a very long time. His career started out kind of slow and you might see him have one or two projects a year in the beginning but as time goes on, the numbers kept going up and up until he finally caught his break and became the Sam Jackson we know today! Long story short, I would love for my career to mirror his. I don’t necessarily need to be a household name, I just want to work consistently and be able to put food on the table!
You mentioned your role on “The Game.” For those who haven’t caught up with the series previously or are discovering it for the first time, what can tell us about the character and the experience of being a part of that world has affected you?
If you haven’t seen the first three seasons of “The Game,” I would encourage you to go on Netflix and check them out! We get a little bit of money from that! [laughs] The show is about a football team and the trials and tribulations they go through on and off of the field. My character is named Tee Tee and he is best friends with the quarterback, who is named Malik Wright. The interesting thing about Tee Tee’s character, as opposed to everyone else, is that everyone else is a football player, an agent or a sportsperson in some way. Tee Tee is just a regular guy who is along for the ride. He started out as a comic-relief, side-kick type character but over the years he has grown and turned into a business man. He owns his own business called “The Cluck Truck,” which is a lunch truck that sells chicken. His journey is interesting because he started from the bottom around all these larger-than-life-people and now he has made his own way and made his own mark with the faction. It has very much mirrored my career as an actor. When I started out, I was a guy who, quite frankly, got lucky. I was in the right place at the right time. I was offered the opportunity to audition for a part that I was fortunate enough to get. When I started out, I knew nothing about acting but I was surrounded by all of these big names like Wendy Raquel Robinson and Tia Mowry, just to name a few. They are established actors and those where people I looked up to. Over the years, I was able to grow and have established myself as well. Instead of someone who is just lucky to be here, I am a veteran in the game. I have been acting for seven years and I feel I have definitely earned my spot.
Do you feel that glimpses of your own personality shine through in this character?
I definitely do. I would say that about any role with any actor. You bring a little bit of yourself to every role. In the case of Tee Tee, I am a sarcastic guy who is always joking around. I provide that comic relief role in a group of friends. I am also a little guy, I am only 5′ 7″, so growing up I was always the smaller guy in the group who was always joking around and stuff. I mirror Tee Tee in that way but there are other ways we are completely different. Where Tee Tee takes a lot of mess from people, especially Malik, I don’t think I could see myself taking that. But to answer the question, yes, there are parts of myself in Tee Tee.
You are seven scenes deep in “The Game.” Without giving too much away, what can we expect from the show this season?
This season Tee Tee gets into some financial trouble with his business, which is interesting. I am excited about it because so far Tee Tee has been a character that everybody likes, so nothing really bad or tragic has happened to him up until this point. I am really excited to have an opportunity to explore the dramatic side of the character this season. You see him go through a lot and see him at his lowest point, one lower than ever before. Instead of being happy-go-lucky and joking all of the time, I get to flex my dramatic muscles as an actor. It is an exciting opportunity to let all of the casting agents out there see I am more than a comedic actor and I am able to drama.
What have you learned from your time working alongside this very talented group of individuals?
I have learned from everyone just by observing. Pooch Hall, who is no longer with the show but over on Showtime’s “Ray Donovan,” really took me under his wing. He came into the industry in a similar fashion to me where he wasn’t really intending to be an actor but caught a lucky break. He got thrown into the mix without knowing too much about the business side of it. He really took me under his wing and coached me on the set a lot and schooled me on a lot of the business side, which I know absolutely nothing about. I probably would have figured it out eventually on my own but it was nice to have that extra support because I could have really been lost those first couple of years, so I was really grateful to him for helping me out.
What do you feel your biggest evolution as an actor since those earlier years?
I have learned a lot about patience along the way. Because of the way I caught that extremely lucky break, I got really far in a very short amount of time. I was only in Los Angeles for three years before that happened to me. A lot of people have been here for a much longer stretch than that without catching any break at all and are still grinding and working really hard. For me, I had that initial success but then started to find out that if I really wanted to maintain and be in the business for a long time, it would take a whole lot of work. Lucky breaks like that are few and far between. My biggest evolution has been learning patience and learning to go into auditions and be rejected. Not everyone is going to love you all of the time and you aren’t going to book every role. I guess a lot of people don’t realize, and I certainly didn’t, that you audition way more than you work. It takes a whole lot of time to get to where you are a Sam Jackson, a Brad Pitt or a Will Smith, where people are picking up the phone and calling you. Even people who hit that stratosphere struggle sometimes with hot and cold periods in their careers. Just learning patience was the biggest evolution for me because when I first started out I was looking for work because I am a worker and have a strong work ethic. I was like “Where are these other roles? Why are they not coming in?” I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out what I had to do to keep working. At the end of the day, I figured out what I needed to do was to keep grinding and be patient, as well as to diversify. I couldn’t give up being a screenwriter. I am still writing my own projects. I bought into a production company, with a friend of mine, called Dumbbell Productions. Staying busy and being patient are the two biggest things I have learned over the past seven years.
You have so many irons on the fire. What can you tell us about those and what you are most excited about?
As I said, I just bought into Dumbbell Productions with my friend. I am on my way to meet with him for a development meeting. We are looking to break into the world of reality TV. We have a few relationships with Spike TV and Oxygen, so we have a couple of pitch. I also did a sketch comedy show called Purple Stuff TV on the internet a few years and I am getting back together with that group and we are doing a pilot. We want to do a guys version of the show “Girls” from HBO. Women have a great platform where there are a lot of shows where they get to be honest about what it is like to be a woman in the contemporary world. There isn’t really a show like that for men. The closest thing we had to that was “Entourage” but even then it was more of a fantasy than a really realistic look at what it is like to be a guy. We are coming from that perspective with this new pilot, so I am really excited about that!
I also have another going with a guy named Sebastian Burton, who is a professional gamer. Basically, he plays in video game tournaments for a living. He wanted to do a show about his life, so he reached out to me to write a pilot. That is in the works! I also had some guys down in Atlanta reach out to me to do a movie called “Brazilian Wavy.” You might remember Chris Rock doing a movie a few years ago called “Good Hair.” It is about the hair industry and all that goes into it. The hair industry in the black community is a big moneymaker. It is an interesting story, the journey of the hair, which sometimes gets smuggled in from other countries and the distribution process. These guys want to do a comedy based on that world. They reached out to me to play the lead in the film. It’s tentatively title is “Brazilian Way” and we are trying to work with the budget right now. If all goes well, we will start shooting that soon. I have a lot of prospective projects going on in the future. There is nothing definite yet but that is the nature of this business! You just have to keep working and keep yourself in the mix! You are going into it blind and never know if you are going to hit. You have to have faith in yourself and know that sooner or later things are going to come together for you!
That leads me to my next question. What is the best piece of advice you can pass along to young people who are looking to make their career in the entertainment industry?
You have to be patient, have determination and you can never give up because it is a long journey. Along the way you will catch breaks but in between those breaks, it can be a real grind. You have to be willing to work. It is just like anything else really, there is this perspective on Hollywood where it looks fun from the outside looking in and it is fun, There is a lot of earning potential but in order to get to that potential, you have to be willing to put in a whole lot of work and be willing to have a lot of downtime. You have to be willing to struggle and be Ok with it. You have to have faith that if something is not happening right now, it will happen eventually as long as you keep working and don’t give up.
When you aren’t working really hard on developing your career, what do you do with your downtime?
I like video games a lot, which is why I am working on that project with Sebastian. That is my idea of unwinding! I come home after a long day at work, sit on the couch and zone out for a couple of hours with a video game! Also, I don’t get to the movies as often as I would like too. That is interesting considering I work in this business! [laughs] I do like to go to the movies, which is always a treat when I get to go and check something out. The last thing I had a chance to see was “Her” with Joaquin Phoenix. I am interesting in seeing what kind of damages they do at the Oscars because it was such a great movie!
Where are the best places for people to catch up with you online and see all of the cool stuff you are a part of?
My Twitter is twitter.com/barry_floyd. I am on Instagram at instagram.com/barry_floyd. Lately, Instagram seems to be a lot more active than Twitter. I guess the kids are more into Instagram these days! Check out me out on Facebook as well, it’s my real name, Barry Floyd. Those are the social media outlets!
Anything you want to mention before I let you go?
Yeah. “The Game” Season 7 premieres on Tuesday, March 4th. I hope people enjoy it!
Absolutely! Thanks again for your time today, Barry! You certainly have a lot going on and we look forward to spreading the word!
Thanks a lot! I appreciate you time!