Actor Stephen Hill on setting career goals and the power of ‘no’

QA_Stephen Hill headshot

A Stephen Hill (Dead Man Down) is a universal actor who can traverse roles, comedic or dramatic, with the finesse of a moonwalker. The Harlem native has loved television production since high school, which led him to major in Mass Media and Broadcasting at Hampton.

It wasn’t until a personal loss that he decided that “life was too short not to do something I truly enjoy,” he shares. “When I returned to New York, I took acting classes with renowned acting coach Susan Batson and fully realized my dream.”

Here, Hill outlines how he sets goals, maximizes social media and praises Mark Wahlberg. –munson steed

How do you set goals and measure success?
As an actor, this can prove to be my most difficult challenge. It’s hard to set goals when you have no idea where your next check is coming from. I am now realizing that you have to be in charge of your own creative outlets in order to set more concrete and fulfilling goals.

What role does technology play in your daily life?
The usual technology suspects play a role in my engagement of my network and audience:
Twitter (@stephenhillacts)
Instagram (stephenhillacts)
Facebook (Stephen Hill Actor Fanpage)
Website (
My number one tech tool at the moment is my iPad. I have about 25 scripts on my iPad but it miraculously doesn’t seem to get any heavier. Shout to Jason Randolph for the hook-up.

Which skill sets are essential to future business leaders and innovators?
Technology and information are moving at the speed of light. Future leaders will have to be visionaries in order to make technology catch up with them.

Who do you consider peers in your field and can you identify those who are great examples to get support and best practices?
My peers are my fellow artists focused on creating regardless of the difficulties we face within our industry. We celebrate each other’s successes and lend understanding to each other’s loses. We are a bunch of folk crazy enough to take on the task of being artists.  We just keep each other sane.

Name your favorite role models for success in two industries.
Mark Walhberg went from jacking hip-hop to becoming a box office draw. Now as an executive, he produced two of my favorite shows and he’s not even on either show: “Boardwalk Empire” and “Entourage.” I need him to hire a few more brothers that look like me, though to make it easy; just hire me. Ha! Especially since he jacked hip-hop … and yes hip-hop belongs to me and I want it back. Not really.  I might be able to muster up a few nursery school rhymes to later become a successful rapper. Yikes! There are a lot of actors in the making right now come to think of it.

Names three books that changed how you saw life and that you would recommend to others? 
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
The Celestine Prophecy
The Drama of the Gifted Child

What does community mean to you? How does it influence your measure of success?
Community is extremely important to me. Having everything without community reminds me of a kid with a huge toy chest with everything he can imagine but no one to play with.

Where do you enjoy vacationing? 
Unfortunately, I don’t get to vacation much. I do enjoy a warm and sunny quiet places but I love to talk to people.  Miami Beach is a favorite. You can find quiet and fun in the same place if you know where to look. Also, a quick trip to Baltimore to visit one of my best college friends is always a lot of fun.

If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?
I would learn to use the magic word “no” more often. I would keep myself out of physically and emotionally draining situations.  Yeah, small yet powerful word: no.

If given 30 minutes a day for self-improvement, how would you use it?
With an extra 30 minutes a day I might meditate and pray more. I often seem to miss the opportunity to do that.

Read more about:

Also read

Watch this video

What's new