From the Military to Hollywood, Feature Film Actor, "Carlton Caudle" Uses Acting as Therapy!

Tell me about your background?

I grew up in Austin Texas. I was born at Bergrstrom Air Force Base. Which was not closed a few years ago and became the Austin international airport. Funny how things change in time and other things will stay the same.

My dad was in the Air Force and my mother was a preschool teacher at our church. I would say I had a normal upbringing. From the earliest time, I can remember I was on stage. I love to sing and I love to play instruments. And I mean by instruments banging on a triangle loudly. But by the time I was five years old my mother put me in piano lessons. Which I truly enjoyed and stayed with even today I enjoy playing the piano. I was born an entertainer.

I sang in church and in the local mall at Christmas. I played piano anywhere someone would listen to me. That means in my school, church, nursing homes, and the occasional impromptu concert and all my friend's houses it had pianos growing up. By the time I was in elementary school I was doing plays for local theaters. By the time I graduated high school I had done over 20 musicals and several plays. After high school though I join the military and did not pursue my dream of being an actor. Are used to lay awake at night wishing on a star if I could move to Hollywood and just be discovered. But I did nothing about it. I joined the military and chose a life of service over entertainment. Well, until just a few years ago in my late 40s had an opportunity to be in a film. It was a life-changing experience. Long time overdue. And since then I’ve pursued my dream of being an actor.

What inspired me to be an actor?

I think my greatest inspiration came from watching films when I was a child. My greatest all-time favorite actor to this day was, Danny Kaye. Are used to dream that one day I would work with him on a film. He could sing, dance, tell a story, his face contorts in 1000 directions... and one minute he would have you laughing in the very next moment he would have you crying. He conveyed emotions through his acting. I wanted to be that kind of actor. It took people from where they were and transported them to a world of make-believe and touch their emotions.

Why acting? What intrigues you about it?

I love acting and everything about it. I love studying a character. I love becoming that character. I love acting out as somebody else. My favorite is when I get to wear someone else’s costume or clothing so I’m completely lost in the role. I love and I don’t have to be Carlton. Whether it’s a gangster or a real person out of history I can transport myself to aid another place both physically and mentally. As someone who suffers PTSD from Iraq and Afghanistan, I have to tell you, acting is pure therapy for me. It lights me up. It touches my soul like nothing else. And when I’m doing it and I look around on set and I see the cast in the crew all just looking at me watching me do my thing it is so exciting. Again, I love to entertain.

How do you prepare for a role?

Every role is different. I never approach any role the same way. Sometimes I am a method actor. And let me clarify that because there are a lot of people that use the title method actor and they do crazy things to get into character. That’s not what I mean at all. What I mean by a method actor is I draw on experiences. I use what I’ve gone through to make the character better. For example, if I’m doing a military role, I think back to what it was like to be in the military. I draw on those experiences and that makes me play the role from a legitimate standpoint. The other technique that I like to use is Meisner. Getting completely out of my head. I enjoy letting the character take me over. This can be really fun when you’re using accents and costumes to enhance the character. I am lucky about one thing though, I have a photographic memory. It doesn’t take me long to memorize a script. That’s my secret weapon though don’t tell anybody!

To date what was your favorite role?

This one’s a hard one to answer for me. You would think it would be just so easy to pop out the first thing in your head that was your favorite. But there have been several roles I have played that are my favorites for different reasons. First, I haven’t had a role yet but I didn’t like it. I played a racist cop once in a film. The role took me to a place I had never been before inside myself. Dealing with that character was a challenge. But why is that role one of my favorites? Because it was a narrative on the current situation in the real world. It was so well received it went viral.

I received many calls, emails, comments, and messages. They told me that that role spoke to them. That film made a difference for them. I was told people were moved by the performance. And that made me feel really good about my acting that role out. Probably the role that I enjoy the most as far as just becoming the character and letting loose was playing Pastor Scott, the lead role in the film, “cast in the first stone“. I got to really experience letting my improv and all of my acting skills come together in one place. I was able to be loud and boisterous, funny and entertaining and at the end of the day it turned out great on film. This was a TV evangelist who was a fake healer. I got to sing and dance and just let loose. You don’t get many roles like that in a lifetime. A big shout out to the Director, Cyndell Addison, who cast me herself in that role.

What type of role do I enjoy? What type of role will you never play?

The type of role that I enjoy the most is one that allows me to use my creativity and improv skills to bring the character to life. In 2020 I won an Addy award. That’s the covert award for advertising. It’s the Emmy for commercials. I won that award for playing a doctor in a Commercial for a minor emergency center. The commercial was 100% improv. Meaning it all came out of my head at that very moment. I really enjoyed that. I have not found a role yet that I would not play. I have played the bad guy, the racist guy I even had a chance in a film to play gay. I had no problem with any of those roles. I just wanted to make sure that the authenticity of them was genuine and that I did them justice. Of course, I guess so it might say what are your boundaries. Well, I haven’t been asked to play nude yet. But nobody wants to see that. LOL