North Springs Pops for Actor/Alum Corey Champagne

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Corey Champaigne with his former band instructor, Mr. Craven.

Interview transcribed by Dream Nelson and Nelson Cummiskey

 

North Springs alum Corey Champaign (class of 2010) visited his alma mater prior to Spring Break to talk to theater and A/V students about his career and his role on the Netflix series Seven Seconds. He spoke to two Performing Arts classes and at two 45 minute assemblies, showed clips of his role in the show, posed for pictures after his talk, and sang upon requests. He even gave a shout out to his teachers who had him in class over eight years ago, including Mr. Craven, Mr. Landreau, and Mr. Throne. The Oracle caught up with Corey at one his talks and afterwards in the band room. Here are the highlights of what he had to say:

On his life lessons at North Springs:

“I had my first lead role in a play at the Alliance Theater: Case of the Missing Metaphors. At the Alliance, we learned improv and we did plays, but I think at North Springs, a lot of the people kind of forced through me music at the time because I switched my concentration throughout my years here. I think North Springs taught me life lessons that I took into my career. I thought I would be coming to North Springs the year after I graduated and talking to you guys and it took me eight years to finally come here, but everyone kept going. Follow your dreams, not your momma’s dreams. If you want to go to college and major in whatever you want to major in, I don’t care what your mom or your dad says, it’s your life and you have to live it.”

 

On how he got started in “the biz”:

 

“Coming out of college, I had to start over. I came back to Atlanta and I actually got a job working at Ross. Hated it. It was around Christmas time, so I had to do the little announcements, like, ‘attention all shoppers, would you like to try the new gift card?’ And it was so many times and they would play music and I was like, ‘Yes, all shoppers, Santa Claus is coming to town.” They would get on me for it and I said that it was my creativity and too much personality to be working at Ross. After that I started doing other work and that got me behind-the-scene knowledge of how the film industry worked. I just worked my butt off. Do research, like anything you want to do. Google is your friend; when you have a question, just Google it. Eventually I landed my first major role on The Originals [a CW show that spins off from The Vampire Diaries, about the original vampire of the world in New Orleans].

 

On auditioning:

“I got to audition for Seven Seconds on a weekday, I turned in on Friday and was in New York shooting on Monday. That happened that fast, which doesn’t always happen, so that’s just very nerve racking to go in there because they never met me in person. I thought it would be like oh ‘My God, they got the wrong guy.’”

 

On working with established and world-famous actors: (including actors in the film Selma and The Walking Dead):

“It’s just about going there and owning my space because I’m going in there working with Emmy-award-winning actors and Oscar winning directors. I had to really just own my space and realize that I earned my spot to be there you have to realize that you earn your spot no matter what you do.”

 

On handling rejection:

“I think in any industry if you really want it, you have to be willing sacrifice the risk of failure because you fail often, but it’s the people who sustain that make it. They’re the ones who say, ‘I’m going to do it’ and get back up again– and it’s not just in the entertainment industry, I don’t care if you want to own a garbage company, if you’re not willing to take that risk of failure then it’s not going to work out. Like not winning the talent show, campaigning for most likely to be famous and not getting it, campaigning for homecoming court and not getting it; all those things drove me forward to ultimately be here. There is a lot of rejection in the entertainment industry and it’s not for the faint of heart. I think that if you knew how hard it was, a lot of people wouldn’t do it.”

 

On sticking it out:

“I don’t remember the first time I got rejected but it is a lot of rejection. I absolutely got discouraged sometimes because I put my whole life up for this; I risked so much. I just got my own car last year. I went all this time without a car that was really mine; that was a sacrifice that I made so that I could live my dream and I was blessed enough to have a really good support system help me out. But, I bought my first car with money from acting and that’s something that nobody can take away from me now. You have to just hold on to your dream.”

 

On his current role in Netflix’s Seven Seconds:

“I play the news reporter Kadeuce Porter. The show is about a boy named Rick Butler and he is riding his bike down the street one day. Out of nowhere, he’s accidentally hit by a cop and what happens is they try to cover it up because they thought because the officer was white. They thought it would turn into a racial war and then it did because they covered it up and it gets really deep.”

 

On his career and goals:

“I see myself working and consistently progressing in my career within the next 5-10 years. Ultimately, I just want to play characters that are three-dimensional, have layers, and are not just stereotypes; that is important to me. Hopefully I’ll start producing my own shows and my own films, but I’m open to what the future holds. I don’t want to just be famous; I want to do it for the art of it My goal is just to inspire the next generation. So, to come here [to North Springs] and finally be here is a big deal but because I didn’t have a platform of a show like I do now that is in 192 countries around the world.”

 

On the best advice he was ever given:

“I did have a teacher in fourth grade, Mister Riley, who said, ‘For as talented as you are and as you plan to be, you have to make sure that you keep your character in check. Because you could be the most talented, but if you don’t have your energy together and you don’t have your mind right, that’s not going to matter. So just always maintain a good attitude.”

 

On his advice for budding thespians:

“Trust your journey in anything that you do. Just trust your journey because we often times put certain limitations and certain time tables on ourselves, and if something doesn’t happen at a certain time we feel really discouraged. Just trust in your journey knowing that if you stay the course, you will make it. Own your space, don’t let anyone intimidate your dreams, and don’t hate on your fellow actor.

McV

Corey cuts loose with Mr. Craven and American Idol participant Victoria McqQueen.

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