Big Screen Dreams


With help from District Representative, Seth Benjamin is on his way

A lot of young people dream of stardom on stage, screen, or the playing field, but many are never able to take the first step due to lack of support, money, or both.

With help from the office of District I Representative Virgil Wind, and a supportive foster family, one young Band member is moving in the direction of his dream.

Seth Benjamin, a 15-year-old sophomore at Onamia High School, is enrolled in Society Performers Academy, where he takes online classes to learn to be an actor.

And Seth is doing it for the right reasons, too. “I want to help others, not just myself,“ said Seth. “Working towards my goal and striving to be great is a way of helping my family out.“

Seth found the Academy on the Internet, and on a whim, he clicked “Audition.“

“I signed up as a joke,“ he said. “I didn’t think I was gonna get in, because they were only accepting a few. I had to go through a series of classes to see if I was good enough.“

When he checked his email a few days later, he found out he made the cut. “I was so happy,“ he said. “It was crazy!“

From a young age, Seth has imagined himself on the big screen. “I wanted to be in the movies acting with Adam Sandler, but I never did anything about it,“ he said.

He thought about signing up for the one-act plays at Onamia, but it interfered with his other love: basketball.

“I’ve always wanted to see myself in a big movie, with everybody watching it,“ said Seth. “That would feel really nice.“

Seth is most drawn to comedies, but he could also see performing in action movies or science fiction. He likes everything from Disney movies to The 100 — a post-apocalyptic action series.

During his first week of classes, Seth was paired up with other students reading through dialogues. Each day, there were different teachers who brought their unique experience to the class and offered feedback on Seth’s performances.

The classes have 15 or so students, age 13 to 18. Every two weeks, they will get a new script to memorize and perform.
“After you get done reading, they give you things to work on,“ Seth said.

So far he’s learned to imagine the situation the character is in and bring that understanding to the performance. He’s also learned, ironically, to be himself.

“When you’re putting yourself in that role and being someone else, it’s kind of like imagining yourself in a different experience,“ Seth said. “You’re trying to be yourself while you’re playing someone else.“

After a month, he’ll perform in front of a panel of judges to receive more insight on his performances.

Seth is grateful to District I Rep. Virgil Wind for supporting him. “I’ve known Virgil for a long time,“ said Seth. “He’s a nice guy, and I thanked him for helping me out.“

If a career in the movies or on the basketball court doesn’t work out, there’s always music. Seth is also an aspiring rapper who writes lyrics and puts them to beats created by producers he’s in touch with. “I’m trying to get better at everything,“ he said.

Wherever he ends up, it won’t be all about Seth. “I’ve seen what it’s like to struggle, so I want to be the one to help others,“ he said.