Written by Jade Ruston
Common, is not a word used to describe the tenacious spirit of Kevin Paul, yet it’s that aspect of him that has led to the budding success of his newly released-self created and directed YouTube pilot Common. The extraordinary becoming of this project physically began with a casting callout to people who have a bad life, who were involved in bad things, who feels like they’ve had no chance in life, that suffers with anxiety, or has any kind of issue at all, to audition for roles to star in a short series influenced by Kevins life as a teenager in the 90’s, which happened to be surrounded by abuse, crime, drugs and poverty, but also alot alot of fun mischief. However, as a late teen, he was kidnapped as a result of what he was mixed up in, which was the calling card to smarten up the game and dedicate his life to doing good for himself for a change, and others.
The cast of common has now flourished from our imagination to full fruition and is made up of rape survivors, former drug dealers, people who had committed crimes just in the act of survival, people who have mental health issues such as bi polar and anxiety, a whole range of people joining and wanting to change. Even the camera man that found his way to Common part way through filming, also has a background of growing up on a council estate. He fit right into the crew, forming a real sense of union and understanding between the whole team as well as being another shining ray of proof that life can get better if you just do the right thing.
Kevin said that after approaching so many influential people about making a real change and being shut down again and again for his Common idea, that was the driving force behind the zero pound solo start up.
In an interview with The Jolly Times, Kevin replays his journey from being a screw up at school, to his infamous tattoo career amongst A-list celebrities and higher, to his social work speaking publicly in schools and prisons about deep real life experiences and making the right choices. Whilst he was getting to know an incredible spectrum of people, a few details were noted;
- Nobody was seriously helping troubled areas in the UK.
- There was no real system in place for knife crime prevention.
- A Lot of charities around are more about making money than actually doing something positive. (it’s important to do your homework as best as possible before donating or promoting.)
“I did it because the government didn’t want to help me. It was fuck off basically. The local council wouldn’t have a bar of it. I approached business people, companies, I tried everyone just to get a little bit of funding so that I could create something to take kids off the streets, nobody wanted a bar of it.-
-I kind of realised that I was on my own, nobody wanted to support me whatsoever, and everything i saw around me that was already in place I thought was rubbish”
“I was using my success to try and open the doors for them because nobody else was giving them an opportunity.” Kevin said, referring to his new Common series.
One casting member confided, – “This is the third best thing that’s ever happened in my life, other than getting married and having kids this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I want to thank you for getting me involved. I suffer from really bad depression and I haven’t suffered once since I’ve been doing this. I’ve had something to look forward to and I’ve loved every part of it.”
Two other casting members who were previously dealing drugs, have now stopped and got themselves real jobs off the back of what Kevin has been teaching them, knowing that if they go back to it then they will no longer be involved in Common.
An imagination bursting with genius, and honest life experience of the team that shines through in their performance, which you could never truly replicate with an already established actor, there are already plans for extensions of Common, taking it to schools and branching off into another series, giving more opportunities to more people in all corners of the country.
“It’s also therapeutic because, they all come from shit, and bad existences, and the best way of getting that shit out your head is by acting it out. If you’ve been in an abusive relationship, say, the best thing you could play is the abuser, because that’s the vision of what you have in your head. You being able to act out what the abuser has done to you, no one knows that better than you. The little things that you pick up on, how they behave and what they say, no one understands that better than you. –
-This is how you deal with knife crime. You give kids something like this, something that leads to a positive future. Half of these lads will have carried a knife at some point, but they don’t want to do that anymore and they see the door that’s open for them”
Coming soon is an extended interview getting more in touch with Kevins life coaching, coping mechanisms, perspectives to definitely consider and more.