Stop me if this sounds familiar. And if you’ve watched season one of “Glee,” it might.
One day in high school, football player Brandon Tyler Moore sat in speech class, waiting for the lesson to start. He started singing to himself, and his teacher – who also happened to be the director of the school musical – stopped him. “Brandon, follow me,” she said.
She walked Moore to the choir director’s room. “Sing,” she commanded. “I was like, oh!” Moore said in an interview as he recalled the incident. “Okay, sure.” He sang, and ended up landing a solo in the school musical.
“It wasn’t something I even was trying to have a solo for,” Moore said. “It was just that I like singing, and they ended up picking me for it.”
This anecdote genuinely does feel lifted from the first episode of “Glee,” when Mr. Shue (Matthew Morrison) hears jock Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) singing in the locker room showers, and decides to recruit him for Glee Club. But according to Moore, his duality between football player and performer was a little less dramatic than television might have us believe.
“My senior year, I had our bench and our squat record in the weight room. But I also had a solo in ‘Godspell’ in our musical,” Moore said. “My dad made me take the mic when I was nine, and preach, you know? So being in front of people was never an issue.”
Moore would go on to be part of the University of Alabama football team that won two National Championships under Coach Nick Saban and is now a working actor in Atlanta. His most recent work includes a role on “Law & Order” (S22E11, “Second Chance”) and a role on the Taylor Sheridan show “Mayor of Kingstown” (S02E02).
Born in the Cincinnati area to two youth pastors, Moore was interested in performance from a young age. He grew up making home videos with his sister and other friends who would come over to the house. He said those filmmaking endeavors left the family with tubs full of tapes – including a spin-off of a popular game show.
“‘Who Wants to be a Dollar-nare,’” Moore said, laughing. “I remember that one, because I didn’t have a million dollars. I had one dollar, and I’d ask questions like, ‘Alright, for two nickels!’”
In addition to playing football, Moore did gymnastics, dance, and performance growing up.
“I think dancing, and just having good footwork in general, helped,” he said. “It definitely did turn over to football, there’s no question.”
But even though Moore loved performing, football was his first love. After graduating in 2017, Moore pursued the NFL track.
“That was always my first dream, was to play in the NFL and all that,” he said. “I would tell my family, after I’m done with football, I’ll act.”
Moore never got signed, and in 2019 he pivoted to acting. He jumped head first into a move to Atlanta, figuring he would sleep in his car or get an Airbnb until he decided what to do. What follows next is a game of six degrees of separation. According to Moore, his brother-in-law’s boss’s friend heard that he didn’t have a place to stay in the city. The brother-in-law’s boss’s friend wasn’t having any of that – he invited Moore to crash on his couch without ever meeting him.
“I called him on the phone, like once or twice,” Moore said. “But I met him in person when I knocked on the door to stay.”
After that initial act of kindness, more followed. After about four months, Moore moved off the couch and into the extra room of a friend from church’s apartment, and then later got his own place with a guy he met on a movie set. Things seemed to be moving in the right direction, particularly when Moore learned about a movie set gig a few days into a new day job.
“I got a job at Jeni’s Ice Cream. I went through my orientation and training, and I had worked there for three days,” Moore said. “I booked a featured extra role on this movie … and I quit [laughs]. I was like, Momma I made it!”
Unfortunately, the experience wasn’t so great. Moore said after a 15 hour day, he never received a check. The incident left a poor taste.
“That was my first experience,” Moore said. “So it was almost like, are you sure you want to do this?”
Luckily, acting gigs improved after that job. Through his experience with extra work, Moore said he began to meet new people who helped him through his acting journey. Along the way, he heard about Actor’s Access, a service that helps connect actors and casting directors.
“If anybody is trying to be an actor, and they don’t know where to get some speaking roles, they definitely need to go on Actor’s Access,” Moore said.
He booked a show called “Brides, Grooms and Emergency Rooms,” and was given an emotional scene where his sick character wanted to marry the girl he loved before he died. That scene was enough to land him an agent, he said.
“After taking a meeting with Brandon, we could tell he had such positive energy and a drive to succeed,” said Susan Tolar Walter, agent and owner of STW Talent Agency. “I knew we would work well together and we hope to continue to do great things in 2023!”
With the help of an agent, Moore has been able to book more featured roles on shows like “Law and Order” and “Mayor of Kingstown.” However, he said he thinks extra work is an important part of any young actor’s journey.
“I always encourage people to do extra work,” he said. “Just because it gets you on the set, and who knows who’s going to see you?”
Moore had that “you never know” experience when he worked on the set of “WandaVision,” the Disney+ MCU show starring Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen. He said one day when he was picked to drive a car during a scene, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige just happened to be on set.
Moore said that initially, the camera wasn’t going to show him at all, opting instead for coverage of the main actors. However, that didn’t change how he approached the scene.
“Even in football, we all have a role. At Bama, my role was more behind the scenes. I didn’t play a ton of snaps on the field. But I would take 120 snaps every day in practice that nobody saw, and I was giving it everything I had,” Moore said. “So in these scenes, when I knew the camera wasn’t going to be on me … I knew that the guy beside me and the girl behind me that was in the scene, they could feed off my energy … If I could help them in any way in their performance, they deserve that.”
What Moore didn’t know, however, is that there was a camera on him. He said the director ended up using a take where he is visible in the scene – prompting a lot of congratulations from his friends who saw the episode. He learned a big lesson that day.
“You never know who’s actually watching,” he said.