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Following their dreams

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'My Crackhead Uncle"

By Alice Du Pont

    When you have a dream, the only way to fulfill it is to be presistent. Harold McNeil knows all what it takes, and then some, to get what you want.
    He's tried a little of it all: stand-up comic, playwrite, rapper and actor.
    "I've always wanted to be on stage. it's just something in me that makes me want to entertain. I've been at it a long time but I'm not about to give up. My idol is Will Smith who has done many great things in the industry," said the 40-year-old McNeil.
    For the past year McNeil has paid his dues as a stand-up comedian. He has been on large stages and small stages and places that hardly had stages. But, he said, it takes time and patience to work on your craft. McNeil wasn't alone on the road trips. A local rap group named "Collage" was his opening act. All seasoned singers and rappers, "Collage" warned up the stage for McNeil and earned a following of their own.
    The group has been at entertaining for about 15 years mostly in north and west Florida.  The members are: Keith "6-4" Kirkland, Veno Holloman, 37, Julius "Daddy Slim" Taylor, 32, and 32-year-old Jeff Austin. Before they were "Collage" they performer under the moniker of "GCB" or Gadsden County Boyz.
    Keeping focused on the outcome isn't always easy. They remembered how, when traveling to difference performances, they pooled their nickels and dimes to get enough money for a meal. They were hungrier for the stage than they were for food many nights.
    "A lot of people think success is over night. By the time you hear a person's record or see them in movies or on television, they have put in years of work and sacrifice. Most successful people today are multi-talented like Jamie Fox who sings, acts and is a comic," McNeil said.
    The Quincy native thinks his big break came last October when he was driving down Lake Bradford Road, near the Florida A&M University campus, and spotted a sign for tryouts for a movie. He went to the audition and won a part in the movie.
    "The name of the movie is 'My Crackhead Uncle' which will be officially released Oct, 1. P play the part of Slim, a man who tries to influence the main character, Deno, to choose the right path when he and a nephew move from Cleveland to Miami. The name is kind of misleading and the crackhead isn't what the movie is all about. It's really a very funny movie, I want people to see it. The lead character is Steve Turner who wrote "Friday" that starred Ice Cube," McNeil said.
    When the producers were looking for someone to work on the soundtrack, they didn't look any further than "College." The group performed the title song and another called "To Young To Die." Kirkland has a cameo scene as a gang member in the movie.
    Most of the feature length film, 88 minutes, was shot in Miami with a small portion in Tallahassee.
    The film is released by Universal Studios and can be ordered on line at www.mycrackheaduncle.com