Skip to main content
  Cornell University

Cornell in Rome

College of Architecture, Art and Planning

Lessons for the Working Actor


So there’s something I’ve been keeping a secret for quite a while. I’ve been weaving in and out of my schedules, traveling to the unseen and the forbidden. I’m making a movie. Yes, I’m making a movie with two Italian directors.  I’ve shot about two weeks’ worth of footage already in the countryside, amidst abandoned churches and atop the Vittorio Emanuele monument. It started with a fortuitous trip to Termini Station with my drawing class. Sitting above the noise making impressions of passersby in my moleskine, I spotted two men peeping at me between snippets of conversation, making periodic eye contact. Equipped with neglected suitcases whose contents were chimerical in nature, they had been there all day, waiting for someone to come into view. And they happened upon me, or I upon them. After a long debriefing, a few auditions and emails bounced back and forth, I became one of the curios in their cabinet of humanistic stories.

vittorio emmanuelethe rig

Filming hasn’t been easy. Although the movie is narrated, which means I don’t have any lines to memorize, it’s still hard to fit all the traveling and action into my school schedule. Weekends and audited classes were sacrificed in order to pursue my indie dreams. Because the movie’s an indie and the budget is virtually null, we do a lot of rogue shooting with small rigs. Making art certainly isn’t free, expression is gauged by permit after permit, request after painstakingly humble request. What I gained were places I’d never see, aspects of life I’d never imagine, characters who without my new-found connections could not reveal themselves to me. I got to hone my Italian in the company of exclusive speakers, but I also got to explore forgotten aspects of the Italian countryside—those places riddled with stories of Italian contemporary culture between shards of stained glass and blades of grass. Most of all this film has brought me the consciousness that comes with being on screen—the kind of attention to the details and the potentiality of each moment for a cinematic richness that speaks beyond images and transports the viewer through experiences. And a chance to connect with other actors, namely one Hal Yamanouchi, whose vast knowledge and guru like tranquility gave me the strength to tackle some particularly tough shoots. Never did I imagine leaving New York that I would ever find acting work while I was here, but it turned out to the be the opportunity of a lifetime, let alone the chance to become part of a new art movement.


tarkovskij shots


if you’re interested in sampling their previous work, I’ve left their last film trailer here:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar