Music

Being Brandon

Ring Games actor talks about creating character

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

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It has been just over a week since the finale of season two of Ring Games, the drama series aired on Television Jamaica, and ardent viewers are still elated that the character Brandon, played by singer/actor DBurnz won the affection of the lead female character Maggie which was played by the show's creator and writer Dahlia Harris.

For DBurnz the ride has been phenomenal.

He told the Jamaica Observer that initially he had concerns as to whether he could truthfully portray Brandon and bring him to life in a way that would be appreciated by the Jamaican audience. Those fears, he stated, were swiftly put to bed once the first two episodes of the season aired.

“I really had mixed feelings going into this. It was my first time on TV in this major way. I have done small roles before, but this was something different. My main concern was people wouldn't find me believable and as such may not connect with the character. So I was nervous and there was a tension when the first episodes aired, and really didn't even want to watch myself on screen.”

But that changed quickly.

Not only did the drama attract its fair share of fans, but people started connecting with Brandon, who is enjoying a May-December romance with Maggie. By the end of the season there were clear lines drawn, as Brandon began to win more than just Maggie's heart.

“I was at a funeral on Saturday and the moment I walked into the church I could feel the stares, and you heard the whisperings... 'A him dat? Yes, man, a Brandon'. Then there were people in the street who just come up to me in the streets during the season and tell me how they were enjoying the show and offering me advice as to how I should deal with Maggie, or some situation I was facing on the show. Truthfully, it wasn't until that started to happen that I got over the nervousness and apprehension about my portrayal. They always say the Jamaican audience is hard to please, so I just needed that affirmation,” said DBurnz.

He believes the connection the viewers have to Brandon was that he was relatable.

“Brandon was young, serious, not into frivolity and was allowed to show his vulnerable side. That vulnerability made him human. On top of that, he was fiercely independent and because he was the younger person in the relationship he wanted to prove that he was not in it for what he could get from Maggie, and also had to step up his game to show his mature side. People just loved that and it seemed to work for the character.”

DBurnz also took an unorthodox approach to playing the character. Instead of becoming the character, he made Brandon more like himself. This was all part of making Brandon not just a character on a page but rather a real person. DBurnz would ask Harris to change situations or the language to something more in keeping with what he would do, or the way he spoke. That he felt was also part of the success of the character.

He also credits Harris with explaining to him the subtleties of working on camera, as opposed to the larger-than-life persona actors take on for stage. This was something he never understood and it had baffled him many-a-times on previous work in film and television.

“I remember working on another TV show and I was introducing myself and I was loud and dramatic, because that is what I was used to on stage. I was constantly told to tone it down and I was confused and frustrated. Dahlia said my TV audience is right there, much more up close and person so there was no need to overextend, just be natural. It took me a few days to get into it but I believe I got it ,” he shared.

The 27-year-old was born Melbourne Douglas in Linstead, St Catherine. His love for drama and music were discovered during his earliest years, but really came to the fore at Glenmuir High School. In addition to being a recording artiste, DBurnz is completing a degree in Entertainment and Cultural Enterprise Management at the University of the West Indies.

“Right now I am really working on completing this degree. It has been looming over my head for some time as I have gotten distracted with the music. so that's my focus right now. I have some new music which should hit the streets early next year and there is more to come regarding the acting, but I can't speak about that just yet,” said DBurnz.


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