What MAKES Sammy Run? - Start the NEW YEAR with an 'ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE'
Better late than never.
The fact that my New Year's BLOG (which I intended to write by the first week of January) is a tribute to the fact that I've had a busy and successful start to 2012. And for that, I am extremely grateful. I feel blessed, and I do my best to constantly stay in an 'ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE.'
That is something that young actors and filmmakers need to do: Remain in an ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE; grateful for the opportunities they are bestowed, and grateful to get to do something that not many people in this world get to do. And, also grateful to celebrate their small victories, because to keep your sanity and keep moving forward in a state of progress in this business, you absolutely need to celebrate your small victories.
I have met, gotten friendly and worked with many young actors late last year, and early this year, that seem to convey this very message.
Take Samantha Tuffarelli, for example. She won the contest I sponsored; "WILL YOU BE MY NEXT GREAT SUCCESS STORY." She not only had some very intelligent questions, a ton of passion for the business, but she showed up with a smile on her face for our dinner meeting, just as she had this past weekend when she took her free class that was awarded as part of the prize. She immediately immersed herself in the culture and the personalities of my group, and worked very hard, despite the fact that this particular class was a long and emotional day.
Through it all, she remained, happy and grateful. That is the kind of person most producers and directors, want to work with. Moreover, I've discovered since getting to know her that Samantha has quite a range that will garner her much work and much success in the future. In addition to her talent, her thankful attitude is a blessing.
Take my other student, Anthony Pallino, for example, another ForTalent member: Anthony showed up to this particular class with a costume he purchased (he didn't know that I knew it cost him $), and remained in character in between takes of a difficult scene during the workshop. He is always grateful for what he gets - in the business, and in life - and I already know that is going to work toward his favor in life.
Take another person, Guyviaud Joseph, yet another ForTalent member, who put in to my contest, yet took my class anyway before the winner was announced. In a short amount of time he has become a valuable member of my class, my team and a valued friend. When he heard I was looking to do a deal with someone in particular, and he mentioned he knew someone who might be able to help, he literally dialed this person - without a heads up - and put them on the phone with me, which turned out to be a positive. He made it happen. But, more than that, he keeps a positive attitude and remains grateful for the victories that he KNOWS are coming his - and our - way.
For both young and struggling filmmakers, it is no different than for actors: You MUST remain in an 'ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE.' Be grateful for the victories you've had.
A short that played in 15 festivals and took home 8 awards? Be grateful.
The fact that you made a film and had a wonderful learning experience? Be grateful.
The fact that someone has taken an interest in your work? Be grateful.
If you can remain grateful - through the thinnest of times - and know in your heart you are blessed, you will be happily surprised at the results. What do they say? Good things come to those who wait.
Just be sure to wait in an ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE. Here are some quotes that back that up:
One of my other students, Michael Maugeri, winner of the "DOES THE CAMERA LOVE YOU" headshot contest is fond of repeating actor Danny Nucci (on TITANIC fame)'s line: "I still remember on the set of THE SINATRA CLUB he said to me, 'Every actor is only one job away ...' "
Or as Pallino states, "I am so grateful to be able to get direction from a real award-winning, working director. This class is the closest thing to a set you're going to get. Sam is working in the business, and he takes it so seriously. I really enjoy the class, I love learning about movies I've never seen before, and I just love giving all for the part."
Joseph? "I'm grateful to the Good Lord for every opportunity I get."
How about Tuffarelli? "I always say all it takes is 1 person or the right person to have your back!"
None of the above actors have reached their ultimate goals yet, but they have all maintained a positive outlook. All kept their ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE. And, yes, they have all made strides.
Indeed, Maugeri can be seen in the opening title credits of NIGHT CLUB - my most recent feature - driving a hearse, as well as in my new short subject for Oscar consideration, POLLINATION *.
Pallino was present at Bill Sorvino's GOLDEN DOOR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF JERSEY CITY - the hot new festival that has taken everyone by storm - and got to take his picture with Paul Sorvino. He was interviewed by ForTalent, and took in all the festivities. He is a wonderful actor with a wonderful outlook, and I would like to use him in something upcoming.
Joseph will receive his first producing credit - as a co-producer - on POLLINATION * and is starting to find work in both independent films and on the stages of Off-Broadway. In a short amount of time, he has parlayed a close proximity to my office into an invite for my Inner Circle and a place at the table for a variety of projects.
Though I'd like to think I discovered Tuffarelli, that wouldn't be totally accurate. Could I have discovered a young woman who was working consistently as a child actress? Who was featured on SESAME STREET for three years, beginning at age 7? Who was cast in a small speaking role in the first SEX AND THE CITY movie by Michael Patrick King, himself? Called in for said audition when she was a sophomore at Fairfield University? Who was a member of the vaunted Devils Dance Team? But, because of her amazing talent, huge range and a wonderful attitude, I am helping her along. In many ways, she is a director's dream to work with, and more importantly, a wonderful human being.
Each of the above young actors have maintained their ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE, and don't be so naive as to think it hasn't helped get them some of the victories they have procured.
I know some young filmmakers, as well, that have achieved similar results by staying positive. So, make a pledge to remain in this State of Grace for 2012 and don't be surprised when it turns out to be an extremely positive year for you. Oh, and for those of you who have been waiting for success, remember:
Better late than never. ;)
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Film / Theater / TV, Writing
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