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McLeod went into the Navy right after high school where he was in the marching band. While serving his country, he and some shipmates formed a band where he played bass guitar. It was in the Navy where he was first fascinated with the word “versatility,” and he embraced it. Upon leaving the Navy with an honorable discharge, McLeod became a hairstylist, while his passion to write, perform and produce grew stronger.
It wasn’t long before McLeod began writing, choreographing, directing and producing fashion shows for local organizations. At the same time, he played in professional bands doing many gigs for various special occasions and clubs. Later, he dedicated his focus on writing for the big screen and although he got two close calls, nothing really worked out.
McLeod admits that he was encouraged by the late Professor James Haskins (The Cotton Club). “He critiqued my first screenplay and told me that I had potential. I was fascinated by his story of working with Francis Ford Coppola to make the movie from his book. Somewhat of a mentor to me, I learned from him, and I took off like a rocket in search of a new destination,” McLeod says.
While every pathway has its own set of challenges, McLeod, determined to go forward, shifted to writing, directing and producing his own original stage plays. He also acted in them and toured with some of them. He was unceasing in writing 20+ screenplays, 16 + stage plays and also wrote and self-published four books. He continued playing in bands and DJ’ing while producing short films and comedy sitcoms.
He won an award for his romantic comedy stage play, Divorce N’ Us. Positive testimonials from many people have added to McLeod’s popularity. In fact, Gainesville resident Brenda Vanessa Bryant-Rose called his performance in DNU fantastic. She said the play was a perfect example of what people in marriages go through. “It was funny, creative and the actors did a good job,” Bryant-Rose said. “It related well to today’s marriages.”
Relating well to his audiences has contributed to McLeod’s longevity in the industry. Some of his accomplishments include:
· Used his productions to raise funds for student scholarships and outreach ministries.
· Committed to feeding the homeless annually in partnership with Deep Sea Ministry in Gainesville, Florida.
· Spoke at churches and allowed them to utilize his productions for their fundraisers.
· Organized a youth mentoring program by training young people how to operate and facilitate a live stage production that entailed operating the lights, sets, props, sound, hosting and more.
· Toured numerous productions and presented in several Florida cities such as Gainesville, Jacksonville, Key West, Tampa, Orlando, Melbourne, Lake City and several small cities and towns throughout. Outside of Florida, McLeod toured in Shreveport, LA, Augusta, Brunswick, Columbus and Valdosta, Ga.
· Entertained residents at nursing homes.
· Wrote, directed and produced videos for artists.
· Wrote and produced a song entitled “I’m Sorry” as a ‘Woman’s Anthem.’ (Considered By R&B Legend, Lennie Williams)
· Wrote an anthem for the American Beauty Contest and performed it for them in Ft. Myers, Florida.
· Participated in several author’s showcases.
· Wrote and produced his own R&B CD, entitled Ten. The CD is the soundtrack from McLeod’s 4th book “Why I Did Them That Way.” Each chapter speaks to a relationship and has its own song.
· Conducted several relationship workshops for both churches and women’s groups.
· Created The Woods, a puppet comedy show whereby McLeod created the puppets himself and did the voiceovers, filming and editing.
Throughout his career, McLeod has certainly done a spectrum of work in various capacities such as personal growth, relationships, inspiration, comedy and more. A fuller perspective can be seen on his website.
McLeod will be touring “I Became Me,” and he is open for sources that would like to host and/or sponsor the show.
When asked if there’s anything else in addition he’d like to do, McLeod says, “I desire to do more speaking engagements and book signings. I especially want to encourage those with their AARP cards already, to keep believing and acting on their dreams. I also want to share with more young people what the journey is like if you believe in yourself and understand what your natural talents are!”
Time and again Florida’s Own, Barry S. McLeod has showed that versatility is the name of his game. He is truly “the right kind of different” and has proved that your natural talents can take you far, but he’s not done yet. He will continue fulfilling his destiny.
For booking, interviews, book signings and speaking engagements contact McLeod at 352 371-2700 or his website.
The Write Side of Me Productions Contact:
Barry S. McLeod
T: 352 371-2700
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