When Emmanuel Carter first heard he had an audition for a variety TV show, he had no idea it was for Noggin, a learning app from Nick Jr.
“Fast forward a couple weeks after that, I found out that not only had I booked the show, but they had changed the entire format of the show because of my audition,” the Carmel resident said. “The way the show is now is, it’s a music-based show. We teach the children about different subjects through song and dance. Originally, it was supposed to be more akin to ‘Reading Rainbow’ and ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,’ but because I added musical elements to my audition, they rewrote the entire thing.”
The decision was made by ViacomCBS to place the production in Indiana to keep Carter safe and adhere to COVID-19 protocols, he said.
“I was proud of that because I always try to champion bringing more artistic work to Indiana because there are so many people here that are so talented,” he said. “But because of the stigma of Indiana not being an entertainment Mecca, it’s quite often overlooked.”
“Noggin Knows” made its debut Jan. 4 on the Noggin app. A total of five episodes were filmed at the East 91st Street Church in Indianapolis.
“We filmed five episodes over four days, so it was an incredible amount of work,” Carter said.
Carter wrote all of the episodic songs for the show, except for the theme song.
“We aimed for preschoolers but we put material up for children up to 10 could enjoy as well,” he said. “My class is filled with popular Nick Jr. (animated) characters as my students. We have special guests who explain their profession.”
Carter said the show should eventually be shown on Nick Jr. He said it is slated to shoot Season 2 in February, but he hasn’t received the official word.
“The response from the first show was crazy positive,” he said.
Carter, 33, a Broad Ripple High School graduate, has lived in Carmel for four years. He started acting professionally approximately five years ago and it became a full-time pursuit in 2017.
“I decided to take the leap of faith,” he said. “I was miserable having this dream in the back of my head but not really being able to do anything about it because I was doing something else I didn’t really want to do.”
Carter said his wife, Stephanie, told him he should quit his other job and concentrate on acting.
Carter said he always wanted to pursue a different path than most actors.
“There is the same old story you hear from actors coming out who say they got their headshots, went out for auditions and did everything by the books,” he said. “I wanted to be like nobody else. I try to make my photos a lot different than what anyone is doing. The way I sent in videos was a lot different. I got a lot of commercial work. It’s pretty cool.
“Last year, my agent told me I had surpassed the number of commercials any other actor in Indiana had worked in.”
Carter sought representation outside of Indiana to get more work.
“After I got my agent Courtney (Stump) with Lily’s Talent, that’s when the bigger things started to happen,” he said. “I went from doing commercials to doing TV show roles.”
Carter appeared in “Soundtrack” in the Netflix series.
“The commercial work went from being regional to more national commercial work,” he said.
Carter also made appearances on “Fatal Attraction,” a TV One series, and on “Murder Chose Me” on Investigation Discovery.
“I played a villain on ‘Murder Chose Me,’ which was new for me,” he said.