Actor Brian Plazas was born in Chicago. His mother is from Colombia. She had split from Plaza’s biological father when he was 1 year old. He spent a lot of weekends at his cousins’ houses, and he recalls riding buses and trains during the brutal Midwest Winters. He was raised in a loving home with memories of pop and classical music constantly playing in his apartment. To this day, whenever he hears Duran Duran, Prince, or Boy George it reminds him of those days in the 1980’s. From the age of 6-years old to 10-years old, his mom was in a relationship with a U.S. Marine, but they separated and she raised Plaza by herself until his stepfather came into the picture when he was 13-years old. Plaza’s remembers fondly that he took him to his first Cubs game and they spent time racing radio controlled cars on the block.
He began his interest in theater during 6th Grade where his Art Teacher, Mr. B., had a local theatre company called “Circle Theatre” in Forest Park. “To be honest, a lot of the attractive girls were in theatre and I was a somewhat of a shy kid who didn’t know how to approach the opposite sex. I went to the audition for Grease, because I had a crush on a girl, and landed the part of a T-Bird. It was such a great experience, I then went back and auditioned for West Side Story and Fame. That was it. I was hooked!”
Music has always been his first love. He dabbled as a Rapper, Music Manager and Producer in his early 20’s. He worked on the show “Cipher” as an Associate Producer and Guest Host from the Comcast building in Naples, Florida for UPN. It was a video countdown show broadcast once a week in Collier, Lee and Charlotte Counties of SWFL. They would shoot transition scenes in neighborhoods or nightclubs while interviewing patrons, business owners, and celebrities of South Florida. They would sponsor a concert for Mr. Cheeks of the Lost Boyz, the Ying Yang Twins and interview the Slip-n-Slide crew.
When Plazas first started acting he was typecast a lot like an Italian Mobster or Mexican Drug Lord. While those stories are thrilling and worth telling, he really enjoyed stepping out of his comfort zone. He looked for challenging roles. Roles that made him dig deep and use the spectrum of human emotions.
What is it about acting that you enjoy? “I get a rush. After we wrap, there is an unexplainable euphoria. Exploring the human condition in its myriad forms. During his/her lifetime an Actor can be a lawyer, doctor, gangster, homeless person, or a factory worker. Experiencing, for however briefly, people dealing with life’s obstacles and successes. These stories also help people empathize. Someone can see a play or movie and realize they are not the only ones who feel a certain way, that others in the world are going through relatable experiences.”
He began directing theatre in Southwest Florida as Creative Director of the NewSense Players. I brought students together from Edison College and formed a theatre troupe that wrote its own scripts and performed social conscious shows. He wanted to give back to the community and raise awareness through the arts.
He wrote and directed a psychodrama about domestic violence for the 2012 Child Protection Summit in Orlando. He was contacted by someone in Florida DCF who knew of his work on “NewSense Players” and asked him to speak at the 3-day conference. “I wanted to do something impactful and different, which turned into a psychodrama with a Q & A after. I subtly incorporated statistics into the show, and it was the first time they had a theatrical performance at this Summit. The play was about how a child who witnesses his parents in a domestic violence situation is impacted by psychological trauma. The negative effects of constant exposure to aggression and verbal abuse.”
Plaza’s witnessed much violence and abuse as a kid. “People I personally know had their lives destroyed and are still recovering from damage 20 years ago. I wanted to do as much as I could to help innocent children who are victims. It breaks my heart.”
What is unique about you as an Actor? Director?
“I have my own style as a Director. My buddy dubbed it “Urban Avant-Garde.” As a Director who has been on the other side, I can relate more to the Actors going through discovery and character development. I guide them rather than command them.”
“As an Actor, I do the research and go above and beyond when preparing for a role. Voice inflection, mannerisms such as ticks or licking of lips. Everything down to the most minuscule detail of the character. I go hard.”
In the Spring of this year, Plazas was fortunate to be a Reporter on an FBI-style pilot starring Katie Holmes. He was also a Reporter on the Fox show Empire.
He is currently working on another socially conscious project dealing with the current state of immigration in the Latino community. He is also writing a screenplay with a colleague that he will direct this Fall or Spring (depending on funding).