After playing for 13 years in the NFL, Thomas Q. Jones, didn’t go into broadcasting or coaching, like most former players. He admits that when he retired he felt aimless.
“When I retired I didn’t know what to do,” said Jones.
So he headed out west to Hollywood. Jones said that he began dabbling with acting after his production company launched a film division. He said he was encouraged to pursue acting by actor Clifton Powell, who recognized his talent.
“He noticed I had a natural ability and pushed me,” said Jones.
His first role was a part in the Showtime’s series “Shameless,” and his career took off from there.
“That’s when I decided I had to take it seriously,” said Jones.
Jones is now a regular on the BET series “Being Mary Jane,” where he stars alongside Gabrielle Union. The show has been picked up for it’s fourth season. Jones said that he is proud of his work on the groundbreaking show which has tackled controversial issues such as fertility and alcoholism.
“It’s a very relevant show,” he said. “It pushes the boundaries. It’s not scared to talk about sensitive issues.”
Being in Hollywood, and a fan of technology, Jones, decided to bring the two worlds together with a new app called Castar, which launched in March 2016. The app serves as a central hub for creative people. It’s a place where they can post their work and connect with people who want to use their services. Jones describes it as “LinkedIn for millennials.”
“It’s a platform that allows creatives to network,” he said. “They can create a portfolio and collaborate with other creatives.”
He added that in many ways Castar is making life easier for casting agents. Technology, especially social media, has changed the way people are discovered in Hollywood. Jones said many artists are now discovered on YouTube and Instagram. Castar brings that all to one central location. Instead of scrolling through pages on Facebook, Craigslist and Instagram, casting agents can go to a central location on Castar.
Jones added that the app is the first of several creative projects from Castar Applications Inc. The company has another app coming out before the end of the year and is working on a 3D printing project, he said.
Jones, who is CEO and co-founder of Castar Applications, has several other projects coming out including “Nine Rides,” a film about an Uber driver, a Black Lives Matter drama called “Loyalty,” and “Naked Choke” where he plays a UFC fighter.
While acting might seem like a completely different career from playing professional football, Jones says there are some similarities. Actors have a playbook (a script), and much like in football the better you are at understanding the playbook, the better you are at your craft, he said.
Jones added that he finds acting therapeutic because it helps him work through many of the emotions he had to keep bottled up when he was playing football.
“As a football player, you’re taught not to show weakness,” he said. “As an actor it’s totally opposite. You’re taught to open up.”