Versatile local actor remains focused, wins Telly Award


Johathan McFadden, a Telly Award winner, owns Prodigy Talent Training in Rockledge. | PHOTO BY ROCHELLE PELLJonathan McFadden, 32, prides himself on working as an actor in a variety of ways.

That work includes commercials and as owner of Prodigy Talent Training in Rocklege, where for the past year he has built a business of passing along real-world acting skills.

McFadden has received recognition for acting in the form of a Telly Award for his work on a 2014 commercial for the National Restaurant Association.

“I did the gig, got the check and didn’t think much about it until I got a call recently that I had won a Bronze Telly. They had called me to do another commercial and said by the way you won a Telly. It’s your peers that decided that the work is exceptional. That why it means so much to me,’’
he said.

Founded in 1979 under the mission to “strengthen the visual arts community by inspiring, promoting and supporting creativity,” the Telly Awards  are now in their 37th year as the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional and cable TV commercials and programs, video and film productions and web commercials with new awards added regularly. 

The Telly Award is both a national and international award. It receives more than 12,000 entries annually from all 50 states and many foreign countries.

The judges, who are made up of former winners, rate  each entry on a 10-point scale. Entries do not compete against each other. Rather, they compete against a high standard of excellence.

 Judges score entries on a performance scale and winning entries are awarded as Silver or Bronze Telly Award winners. They represent the best creative work from the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world.

McFadden opened up his own school operation a year ago “to give actors on-set experience so they know what it’s like,’’ he said. 

And that experience can take many forms, including actually shooting commercials and model portfolios and giving the students — teens and adults — valuable hands-on experience, McFadden said.

“I tell people it’s like learning how to swim by waving your arms in front of a mirror. You’re not learning how to swim until you actually do it in the water. 

“And that’s what we do at Prodigy Talent Training. We put students on a real set, in a real production scenario. Then we use those fully produced scenes as demos to send out to agents and casting directors. Our students book paying gigs all the time. I’ve really thought this through, and it works. I’m not just somebody who owns a school for acting, modeling and production. I live it every day. It’s nice to have recognition from people in the business.”

More opportunities

In July, Prodigy Talent Training students from the teen and adult acting classes will go to Atlanta for six intense days of workshops and master classes taught by experienced actors, stunt performers, agents and top casting directors. They will experience what life is like as a working actor in the nation’s newest film and television hot spot. Prodigy: On Location — Atlanta 2016 offers dedicated talent of all ages a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

For more information, call 321-693-8438.