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Alum of the Month – January

Lance Holloway ’03 Creates His Own Opportunities

Whether in basketball or acting, Lance Holloway ’03 has never relied on others to advance his career. He’s been meticulous about doing his own research, cultivating professional relationships, and seizing opportunities that came his way.

Holloway’s determined nature led to a role in the critically acclaimed independent film Blindspotting, released in July 2018, and starring Daveed Diggs (of Hamilton fame) and Rafael Casal, a story about friendship and the intersection of race and class set against the backdrop of Oakland.

Though he has an agent where he currently resides in Los Angeles, Holloway is always on the lookout for potential acting gigs in other markets. A couple of years ago he was reviewing film projects and found an announcement online detailing the synopsis for a Bay Area based film and the various roles being cast for an Untitled Oakland Project.

“I noticed that the rate they were paying actors meant the film was going to cost around $1 million to produce, and I thought if they were going to shoot a $1 million film in the Bay Area it must be pretty good. Plus the website said the film was going to star Daveed Diggs. I knew I had to submit for a role,” he said.

Holloway read for three roles and impressed the casting director and producers, who selected him for the role of Curtis “Cuttie” Cutworth.

It’s about making connections, meeting people, always remembering peoples’ names and knowing that a production assistant might be a producer or director one day.

“My role is very much Oakland, with so much Bay Area slang and colloquialisms that my scenes were going to be subtitled at first because if you aren’t from the Bay you may not understand what I’m saying,” he said.

Holloway is thrilled to have landed a role in a film that is set in Oakland and discusses important and complex social issues.

“It means so much and it is so gratifying because even though I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my career, the film role, and one that might help my career the most, is in and about Oakland,” he said. “This is a unique and memorable film – one that people will talk about for a long time. It’s not supposed to answer questions, it’s supposed to start a conversation.”

Born and raised in Oakland, Holloway attended Grass Valley Elementary School and Montera Middle School before enrolling at O’Dowd along with his twin sister, Lauryn. The twins continued the family tradition as their mom Carol Goldsby Holloway ’79, aunt Ronda Goldsby ’80 and uncle Rodney Goldsby ’80 all attended O’Dowd.

At O’Dowd, Holloway excelled in basketball and was a recruited walk-on at San Jose State University where he eventually earned an athletic scholarship and graduated in business marketing. During his last semester at SJSU he sought opportunities to continue playing basketball overseas, and subsequently played for teams in Chile, Ecuador and Mexico.

While playing overseas, Holloway struck up a friendship with an American playing for an opposing team and the pair remained in contact when they returned to the states. That connection landed Holloway a chance to audition for a Nike commercial featuring LeBron James. He secured a spot in the commercial, not acting in the tradition sense but playing basketball. “I guarded LeBron face-to-face and I could feel him breathing on my shoulder because I was guarding him so closely,” Holloway said.

That opportunity resulted in Holloway booking several additional national commercials (including a Gatorade commercial in which he was Kevin Durant’s body double) and persuaded him to hang up his own Nikes and go into acting. “I had given myself three years to try to get established and make a livelihood from basketball, but it wasn’t going so well,” he said. “When these commercials came out I was getting residual income for one day of shooting and I thought I would try to transition into acting…which seemed like the natural thing to do given my early success.”

Still, Holloway knew he needed to broaden his skill set. “The basketball commercials were my niche because they didn’t want actors who couldn’t play basketball. So I had an advantage over other people. But I knew I eventually needed to have the acting chops,” he said.

Holloway enrolled in acting class to build up his resume, and produced some short films for his acting reel to show versatility.

“My first commercial with a lot of lines was a Motorola commercial with T.J. Miller (who had roles in Silicon Valley and the Deadpool franchise). He told me I had natural talent and suggested I take more acting classes to hone my skills and understand the craft better,” Holloway said.

Transitioning from commercials to TV and film isn’t easy, he says. “It’s a Catch 22 because TV and film producers don’t really respect commercial credits so it’s hard to get acting jobs and the acting credits when you don’t have credits to start. So, it’s about making connections, meeting people, always remembering peoples’ names and knowing that a production assistant might be a producer or director one day,” Holloway said.

His first TV role was on Doubt (CBS) and he’s had roles in the films All About Nina and 12 Days of Giving.

Looking ahead, Holloway is hoping to book additional film or TV roles, and would like to explore writing for television. He knows the industry is fickle, but is determined to push forward.

“Hollywood is like the hottest club in the world and everybody is standing in line to get into the club. I’ve been in the line – and have been able to skip a couple people in line – but I’m still not ‘IN’. I don’t mind waiting in line as long as I know I’m going to get in,” he said. “I feel like it will happen. I just have to be patient as lay my irons in the fire and put my eggs in different baskets (acting and writing).”


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