Change Maker’s Story
By Paoa FM News
He wrote this goal down on paper one day saying, “I want to be in a feature film”, two years later he scored his goal as Soccer Team Kid 1 on Paramount Pictures film – Dora and The Lost City of Gold.
At a very young age, Roland Tivon Toito’ona known by everyone as Tivon was very curious with how emotions were portrayed in films. Now at 19 Years Old, he paved his way into the global film industry where he got to portray such emotions himself. Through endless praying and faith of becoming involved in filmmaking, he got his break to be casted into Dora and The Lost City of Gold and Australian TV series Reef Break.
His acting journey began when his family sent him over to Australia to complete his high school studies at Marist College Ashgrove. In school he had the desire to undertake drama class.But being in twelfth grade, school studies outweighed his passion for acting. His careers counselor in school advised him to give up drama and focus on hard subjects that he performed well in, especially math. Tivon humbled himself but managed to attend acting classes outside of school, every Saturdays. He described it as more than acting sad or angry. “It’s more in-depth for you to understand the character, like you got to know why they do what they do, why they feel what they feel”, he adds.
During his time in Marist College, he met his first friend at school, Jake Harrison, who coincidentally shared the same acting interests as him. Through the help of Jake and his mum, they helped Tivon get an agent.
Fast forward to two years later and you will get a glimpse of Tivon in Dora and the Lost City of Gold as Soccer Team Kid 1.
He was in Honiara when his agent contacted him about the booking of the spot. Realizing that Dora and the Lost City of Gold was huge and it was under Paramount Pictures, Tivon had to take the chance.
Booking the Soccer Team Kid 1 was commitment and believing that his family gave him. They waited until ten o’clock at night to get the silence they needed to tape his audition. No proper lighting and audition room proved that they were against all odds. “My dad pulled out the long bulb light from under our house”, but everyone helped, they held the light in place, my sisters pulled the curtains to straighten my background”, he recalled. Though he had doubts about his audition tape being sent to Paramount Pictures, he submitted it anyway.
Two weeks later after returning to Australia, his agent called. “We have good news, you got the role for the Soccer Team Kid 1”, the first words that rang through his ears over the phone. “I was so happy, I ran everywhere in the dorm”, he described of how he couldn’t hold back the excitement of such news.
On-set of filming Dora and The Lost City of Gold, Tivon was lucky enough to meet the main casts himself. Especially, Hollywood star Isabela Moner from Transformers: The Last Knight and Sicario: Day of the Soldado and Instant Family. He recalls the on-set moments, “We hanged out and chilled, ate together”.
Even off-set, Tivon recalled of how he met his biggest inspiration of becoming a movie actor none other but Hollywood star, Dylan O’Brien of American Assassin and MTV’s TV Series Teen Wolf. “I saw it on the news, I heard he was Brisbane, but Brisbane is big, what are the chances that you’re going to see him,” I was standing in the streetlights, and I was thinking about that, and then BOOM! I saw him on the other side. He was coming in the same direction. I was star-struck, I was shocked, and I was like that’s him”. Adding onto his excitement, “I waited for him to come close, because we were going in the opposite direction. He was by himself, just like a regular guy, so down-to-earth. He came over and I’m like I have to get a picture. He was so nice, but was in a rush at the time to have dinner with his producers. But he said to walk with him, so I walked with him and we talked a little and I got a picture with him, it was just so cool”.
Still building himself for the Hollywood scene, he addresses the challenges of what it’s like as a still-learning individual. When asked what they were, he responded, “Probably when you start, you’re nervous and afraid to audition in front of people, like they’re going to cast you out of a hundred or a thousand, it’s a tough industry.” With being casted into Reef Break, he happened to be the lucky one out of a two hundred applicants.
“The challenging thing is that you have to be confident and believe in yourself and you have to be positive about it. The thing that helped me was just praying and having the confidence in Jesus and having the confidence in God that he’s going to bless me with movie roles and when you go in there and just got to show them that you’re confident”
“It’s like you’re acting before you act”
At the moment, Tivon will continue with his studies in Australia in Business Leadership and Management course at TAFE, as well as planning on getting more acting classes and most of all continue to pursuing his dreams in acting.
Tivon hopes to take more movie roles this year,” you know you got to keep it fresh, you know just keep working and practicing my acting skills”.
Tivon showed that writing down your goals on paper sets your focus on what you really want to achieve. Through Dora and Lost City of Gold film, he has opened the doors to Hollywood, this is a small step as an actor but a big one for a Solomon Islander.
Truly a Change Maker, with his inspiring story in pursuing his dreams in acting, Tivon is paving the way for other young Solomon Islanders to also make their dreams come true in taking acting to another level, and putting your country’s name known in the International filming industry.
Tune in to Paoa FM for the Change Maker’s Program, where you’ll get to listen to stories from inspiring young people from different walks of life, who are trying to a change in our country today, listen out on Mondays at am, pm and pm, the Change Maker’s Program is brought to you by the Side By Side Campaign, through Oxfam Solomon Islands.