A Force of Talent

Noel Braham (B.A. ’11) parlayed his Star Wars fan film into a promising acting and filmmaking career.

Noel Braham is a man on the go, splitting his time between Atlanta and Los Angeles as he pursues his dreams of becoming a professional actor and filmmaker. His leap of faith is paying off.

Last year, he wrote, directed, produced and starred in an official selection to the Star Wars Fan Film Awards. His film, “Star Wars Exile,” made it to the contest’s final round.

He first got hooked on “Star Wars” after seeing “The Empire Strikes Back” when he was seven years old.

STUDIO CITY, CA - February 17, 2017: Actor Noel Braham on the CBS lot in Studio City, California on Friday, February 17, 2017. (Photo by Brinson+Banks)

Noel Braham on the CBS lot in Studio City, Calif. (Photo by Brinson+Banks)

“I fell in love with ‘Star Wars’ because it made me think about my own purpose,” he said. “Beyond the science fiction, the lightsabers and the blasters, the message is inspiring.”

In January, Braham appeared in “The New Edition Story,” BET’s three-night biopic on the rhythm and blues group New Edition. He played the role of Ray Parker Jr., an American guitarist, songwriter and producer.

He was also recently selected as one of 12 finalists out of 10,000 applicants nationwide for the CBS Drama Diversity Casting Initiative, a new program designed to reach untapped acting talent across the country and increase opportunities for underrepresented groups. Braham submitted an audition tape and was one of 450 people selected for a callback. He auditioned in Atlanta and received a call that he was a finalist while celebrating another victory of landing a national GEICO commercial.

“It was definitely eye opening. The network wanted to see us within scenes to evaluate how we look — our acting, the blocking and so forth.”

CBS’s new program allows the network to showcase a broad array of talents that represent communities across the nation, said Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, executive vice president of Entertainment Diversity, Inclusion and Communications at CBS Entertainment.

“The casting call … garnered 10,000 submissions,” Smith-Anoa’i said.

The casting directors searched for fresh actors who have studied their craft.

“Obviously, you want someone who is very authentic, and that’s what he brought to not only his monologue, but his subsequent auditions and ultimately his screen test. His demeanor on set, his likeability as well as his talent really shined through,” she said.