Earlier this summer, I managed to catch Anthony Grasso between two movies. A longtime friend at L+B Design, Anthony is an accomplished Actor/Teacher/Photographer based in New York City.
I was very much interested in picking his brain and get his take on what creativity bring to his line of work and how he channels it.
L+B: You have been in the acting business for a while and have auditioned hundreds of times, when it comes to pitching an idea, what is your secret sauce?
AG: Basically for actors - we have agents and managers that do that for you. Usually, they would express your type to help pitch to casting directors. For example, in my case, my agent might say to me, give your version of "younger Hoffman meets Pacino" with soulful eyes that is hot-tempered. Can play detectives, lawyers, and artists.
How do you find new ideas and perpetually put yourself in new characters?
As I tell my students - the only nice thing that comes with growing old - you gain knowledge and a wealth of experience like love, loss, parenthood, joy, tragedy, so as an actor it can be summoned up faster. I do lots of research.
How, as a veteran in the industry do you still find a renewed energy to do what you have been doing for so long?
The sheer love of the craft. The building process of working on a character is riveting. I love telling stories and being the conduit to an audience. In the end, you hope we gain more awareness and empathy for humanity by walking in other people's shoes.
Before getting on a set or stage do you have any process or technique you use to really prepare for the big moment?
A vocal warm-up and a physical warm up. Then emotional prep. My teacher Larry Moss would say you need carbonate yourself before a scene starts, so all the emotional life is available at the surface. Also, I like to think if
Since actors are always putting themselves in different characters, how do you build your own brand and convey the distinction between your and the characters you play?
Well, I usually say "Honor yourself and Honor the text." No one can do ME better than me. So even though many actors read for a part, if you honor yourself then it's yours and yours alone. Like a great
In the world of social media, how harder has it become to get noticed and do you approach the business of acting and self-branding a different way than you used to before the 24/7?
We had websites and email only, now we link to all social media platforms to gain online presence and followers. It's a bit like running your reality show now. In many cases I have read, there are producers now who would like a huge social media following before considering you for a role.
How do you help introvert build up confidence and become masters at public speaking? Can an introvert be an outstanding actor?
Acting is being private in public, so the character protects you. Many actors are shy believe it or not. Public speaking is different. One would need to build a strong argument and be taught to engage an audience. That's art. Look at some of our politicians past and present.
What would be the one character or play you would want to do if you had the opportunity and why?
I would love to do the remake or type of part in Dustin Hoffman's film "Krammer vs. Krammer." A dream part for any male actor ( father and son piece) or the psychiatrist in "Ordinary People." or a male version of Sally Field in "Sybil" ( she played 16 personalities) All three are challenging complexed roles.
About Anthony Grasso
Growing up as a native New Yorker, his acting career spans over 25 years of professional experience as an actor, director, and teacher in Film, Television, and Theatre. He has starred in numerous independent feature films notably, Gun Hill Road ( Released 2011 -*Sundance ), Billy’s Cult - Released in 2013 and The Pigeon Egg Strategy (*Sundance - shot in Hong Kong).
Some of his primetime television credits include CBS, WALL STREET PROJECT pilot with Jon Cusack, CBS, UNFORGETTABLE, NBC, LAW & ORDER, LAW & ORDER: CI, NBC, THE BLACK DONNELLEY’S, HBO SEX & THE CITY, & ABC NYPD BLUE. Anthony has also been seen in a variety of commercials both regionally and nationally. Most notably THE AMEX Campaign directed by film director M. Night Shamalayan.