Ryan Singh talks falling in love with his career again day after day
Think back to when you met your first love: how did it make you feel? Do you remember where you were or what you were doing? Do you remember your heart racing so fast that it felt as though it could burst right out of your chest? Were you scared, or excited? Was it instant, or gradual? For Ryan Singh, it was simple. At the mere age of six, Singh found his first love: acting. The moment Singh first set foot on a stage, he knew that he was about to embark on the greatest love affair he’d likely ever know. Today, Singh has branched into various other areas of the entertainment industry, perfecting his hand at the art of producing and directing, whilst maintaining his love of performing. He is a force to be reckoned with in the film industry and he has no intentions of letting up in the near future.
“I was six years old when I met my first love, but it wasn’t until I got a little older that I realized that in order to be the actor I truly wanted to be, I was going to have to produce the work I wanted to see myself play. Fortunately, my father, Leon Saul, was a writer and I was able to commission one of his projects. He directed while I produced and performed one of the main roles in the script. It allowed me to encounter and solve unfamiliar problems, but more importantly, it allowed me to get myself working as both an actor and a creator, whilst building a relationship with my father. It was this early opportunity that opened other doors for me,” told Singh.
Of the many doors Singh opened for himself, a few hold a particularly significant place in his heart. For instance, in 2013, Singh wrote, produced, and directed an autobiographical documentary titled, Mom. According to Singh, Mom served as one of the most difficult trajectories of his career due to the personal nature of the film’s subject matter. For his audiences; however, this was what made Mom so intriguing. The story follows Singh’s journey of becoming a father of twins and lacking any sufficient male role models in his life. Unsure of his expectations as a father, Singh opted to speak with his grandmother, mother, and wife, in order to ask them what it would take to become a good father in their eyes. At first, Singh felt confident that working with these important women in his life would be easy, but in the process of creating the film, Singh learned about the difficulty involved with discussing personal matters on a public platform. Fortunately for Singh, this resonated with his audiences and Mom went on to receive great praise from his viewers. It even won the Caribbean Tales International Film Festival Award for Best Short Documentary. For Singh, the true honor did not come from the awards or praise the film received, but rather in being able to take responsibility for such a raw, emotional documentary that spoke deeply to his subjects.
In another of Singh’s career milestones, he played the lead role in the film, Mr. Crab. Mr. Crab is centered around ten-year-old Rishi, who both idolizes and fears his father. In an attempt to bond with his son, Richi’s father tells him stories about the crystal-clear waters of his homeland in Trinidad and Tobago. Despite his father’s efforts to bond with his son, an explosive temper keeps Rishi at a distance. In the process of internalizing these struggles, Rishi dives into vivid fantasies of beautiful tropical fish deep in the ocean. As he escapes into his dream-world, however, he is met by the frightening Mr. Crab and his sharp claws.
In addition to the fact that Singh’s character was so pivotal to the plot, he was energized by the opportunity to exercise his representative diverse storytelling abilities. He was proud to know that his artwork can be used as a tool for adults and children to see themselves reflected in the media and to educate individuals all over the world about an underrepresented culture.
The film’s writer and director, Faisal Lutchmedial, was astounded by Singh’s ability to master the role of Richi’s father in a way that made him appear as both a tyrant, as well as a loving caregiver. According to Lutchmedial, Singh portrayed the character in the exact way he was intended to be played. Seeing Singh bring his character to life in such an authentic way was a dream come true for Lutchmedial.
“I cast Ryan, and I am happy to say that his performance on screen was exactly what I was looking for. It can be a challenge to work with children on set, but Ryan did an excellent job portraying both the love the father and the son shared, as well as the overwhelming rage he felt when looking to punish the child. Mr. Crab was a tremendous success, and screened at numerous film festivals, including the Animae Caribe Film Festival 2011, Victoria International Film Festival 2012, ReelWorld Film Festival 2012, CBC Short Film Faceoff 2012, where it was one of Top 9 in Canada. Its massive collection of festival screenings is indicative of not only the success of the film as a larger entity, but of Mr. Singh’s achievements in his performance. The film could not have performed as well as it did without his stellar performance, and I greatly attribute his skill set toward the film’s critical success,” Lutchmedial said.
As was the case with Mom andMr. Crab, Singh seizes any and every opportunity to bring an important social or cultural issue to light before his fans. In fact, in 2016, Singh served as the executive producer for In Real Life, a web series showcasing the intersection of social media culture and contemporary life. Essentially, In Real Life aimed to tell a cohesive story about the impact of social media on young artists. The show was developed in 2015 and 2016 and later premiered on Bell Fibe TV 1. It was also distributed through its YouTube channel to a vast number of online viewers. Singh took great pride in bringing his production team’s visions to life on screen and was humbled by the feedback it earned. Particularly, for the fact that In Real Life won Best Web Series at the LA WebFest and earned screenings at several other festivals.
All in all, Singh considers himself fortunate to be able to call his first love his lasting love. To others aspiring to follow along a path similar to his, Singh had the following to say, “having a career in filmmaking is a full-time engagement that changes and evolves constantly. You have to prepare yourself to sacrifice a lot of time and energy learning, networking and growing personally and professionally within the business. In the end, however, it is more than worth it.”