What MAKES Sammy Run? – BE THE NEXT SAMANTHA TUFFARELLI
PHOTO CAPTION: Samantha Tuffarelli struts her stuff on WB Television's "GOSSIP GIRL."
So, I was mulling several ideas for my next BLOG when this one just came to me. It should come as no surprise as I’ve mentioned this person many times before, however, for good reason. And, I will continue to mention her until I’m blue in the face for several reasons; mainly because I believe in her talent and I am proud of her.
But, also, because I hope that others will learn from her example.
Miss Samantha Tuffarelli just recently won her second contest here on ForTalent, and this one fact shows a lot about her, and the effort she puts forth. For those of you who have been on aDesertIsland, Tuffarelli won the WILL YOU BE MY NEXT GREAT SUCCESS STORY sponsored by yours truly. To say she made the most of this opportunity would be the understatement of the year.
Since winning this contest, she parlayed a dinner with me – where she asked many intelligent questions, including asking my honest opinion about her headshots, discussed 3 movies I suggested she watch (she had promised to watch 2 on the list I gave her), and even made it fun for me by showing me she is not only charming but easy to get a long with – and a free ‘SO YOU WANT TO BE AN ACTOR’ class into the beginnings of a great career.
From her very first monologue submitted, I could tell this actress had talent; and from her very first meeting, I could tell she was not only an interesting and intelligent person to get to know, but a wonderful person to work with. From her very first class, I could tell she had an old school work-ethic that is not matched by many.
“When she goes to do a scene, she drops into character like a professional,” said Bill Sorvino, a master actor himself and the Executive Director of the GOLDEN DOOR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF JERSEY CITY. “You can see when a professional actor drops into character, because everything else is gone. It takes skill and it takes talent – and she has both.
“Of all of these aspiring actors – yet to be discovered - she’s one of the very small percentage of ‘actors’ who are actually working professional actors, and that is because of the sanctity of her profession. If you don’t take that process seriously – if you don’t give yourself over to the sanctity of the profession, then you’re not truly involved in the profession at all. ”
And, Sam is very involved in this profession. In fact, to show you the difference between Sam and someone else, the second-place finisher in the contest had three months to cash in her prize of a half-price class, and still hasn’t nearly six months later. Unfortunately, this is way too common in our industry. How many people still have resisted joining ForTalent – and it’s free!
Samantha Tuffarelli joined because she wants every added advantage she can get. She entered my contest on a whim, and since then, has become my top student and has been cast in several films by me, the first of which will be “A PLACE FOR HEROES,” directed by Scott Thompson and produced by yours truly. She has since gotten a ton of publicity. She has deserved all of it.
“It’s not always easy to get people interested in you. So, when they take an interest, it’s like a validation of your work,” said Tuffarelli. “It’s kind of like when you win an award - you get that validation. When someone writes something nice about you, it’s another form of validation.
“Plus there’s the hope that it will lead to more work.”
But, even with the recent attention … and validation and the work coming at her, she still had the presence of mind to enter ForTalent’s PUT YOUR BEST FACE FORWARD contest where she won a cover-story on herself in the Daily Single.
Even with a lot of recent publicity, some of which has come in major NYC daily newspapers, and on the major entertainment web-site www.movievine.com , Tuffarelli decided that she couldn’t have enough.
It’s one of her many great qualities.
She doesn’t try – she does. She never stops auditioning, learning, and as a result, working. As I told her, she is a sponge! In fact, I met her the day she won this most recent contest and she was already looking at her next several moves in her career.
She is not satisfied, and that is why she will get to the top of the heap.
She doesn’t stop, while at the same time, others sit silently, don’t enter contests, determine what they think is the right way to go about it. While they do that, Tuffarelli takes advantage and wins.
She listens when I give advice, and when there is work to be done, she is there at a moment’s notice. She is schooling herself on every aspect of the business, from acting to producing.
Then again, this is a girl who took an editing course in college – learned rather quickly – and went out and shot a documentary about her ‘Dance Ensemble,’ edited it herself and had it showcased before her troupe’s performance at Fairfield University. She wound up editing her own reel – and it’s an impressive reel, at that.
In this world there are tryers and there are doers, and in my life, I’ve had the good fortune of being called a doer. So, it should come as no surprise that when I met Samantha Tuffarelli, I saw her as a kindred spirit.
Others tell me how this career is what they want – she shows me … every day. As others take a laissez faire approach, Tuffarelli takes advantage.
Is it a wonder she had small role in the first SEX AND THE CITY movie? That she got her first major break at 7 years of age, as a cast member onSESAME STREETfor three seasons? Taught "Snuffleupagus," how to tap-dance? Even played the infamous Oscar The Grouch’s legs, when the tiny actor who normally did this, called in sick?
Is it shocking that she was featured on an episode of GOSSIP GIRL (pictured above)? That she took a role in a 7-minute short film, NO YOU AIN’T ALRIGHT, with a few minutes of screen-time and made a one-dimensional character, funny, sarcastic and charming – much like herself – and showed screen-presence, giving credence to the phrase, ‘there are no small parts, only small actors.’
And, despite her nearly 5-foot-3 height, Tuffarelli always comes up big. She is not small in any sense of the word.
“Did you just call me small? You talking to me?” Tuffarelli quips, an obvious reference to Robert DeNiro’s famous line in TAXI DRIVER. “No, seriously, You talkin’ to me? You know they don’t call me Tuff for nothing.”
But, don’t let this actress fool you, she may be nicknamed “Tuff,” but she is three quarters charm. But no amount of charm is as valuable as the fact that she takes her craft seriously. It’s a great quality to have.
It reminds me of a great moment in Martin Scorsese’s THE DEPARTED where Mark Wahlberg, playing a spirited cop named Dignam, tells an incompetent officer, “I’m the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy.”
Well, Samantha Tuffarelli is the gal that does her job. Do you other people on ForTalent really wish to be the other guy/s?
But, while I am proud of her, this column, is not just about that. Truly, I hope that others will learn from her example. Let’s see who comments on this BLOG and who enters the next contest? Let’s see who truly has the desire to learn from her example.
Let’s see who wants to be the next Samantha Tuffarelli.
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Film / Theater / TV, Writing
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