Today we’d like to introduce you to Alessio Mongardi.
Alessio, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I didn’t grow up watching TV or movies, therefore when I got my first laptop I also discovered the infinite desire to watch everything. At 13 I would spend nights binge watching movies and shows and I started wondering what I would be like to be there, along with all my favorite characters.
Throughout the years the idea of working in the industry caught on, and by the time I was done with high school, I knew Los Angeles would be my next stop. After studying acting and writing at New York Film Academy and earning a BFA in Acting, I spent a couple months figuring out my strategy. I researched agents, managers, asked friends, met with people who had opinions about my future.
As soon as I picked an agent, the auditions started flowing. I felt very lucky because I booked a big job almost right away, and then I soon realized that sometimes you get lucky and other times a couple months go by and nothing happens. Between college and the beginning of my career I was cast in several small projects, a few of which have gone to the festival circuit. I wrote, produced, and directed two shorts, I was the lead in a very successful production of the play “Stupid Fucking Bird” – adapted from The Seagull – and I even had time to be naively scammed by a Hollywood theatre director; it was an interesting experience, I guess we could say now. I try to write as much as I can, often script-doctoring for other people’s projects.
Currently, I have the lead in an independent feature film lined up, and I am in the process of writing a feature that I may or may not cast myself in, I’m still deciding on that.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Not at all. I’ve had a few setbacks but so far I’ve been able to make it past them. I had a major breakup – I know it’s silly and cliche – that for a good second made me avoid all kinds of human contact. I spent seven days in bed just being a sad sack of crap and when I finally got out I discovered that the whole ordeal had given me the one thing I never had: heartbreak. I had never been able to portray true love let alone true heartbreak, but after that relationship, I acquired new tools for my career.
Another struggle I’ve had is slightly personal: I feel like I missed out on a couple of castings because I hadn’t cultivated the friendship with the people directing those specific projects. I don’t believe this is me being delusional: unfortunately, some directors are just known for this kind of decision-making which ultimately hurts their productions and it doesn’t offer the right actors a chance to “bring the best” out of the said project.
I try not to dwell on things that are out of my hands, so I don’t really mind if someone doesn’t cast me for personal reasons. At the end of the day, I get my opportunities and if I’m good enough, someone will notice, and I don’t have to care for what happens to the projects I’m not part of. 🙂
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Alessio Mongardi – what should we know?
I am an actor who just happens to be good with a pen on paper – figuratively because we use computers now. I know many actors say they write, but I believe it to be true unless every adult in and out of the industry who’s ever read any of my work decided to lie to me altogether. I am positive that my writing skills have helped me work a script much better than most people, and it comes in handy when developing a character. I can offer plenty of help during pre-production, and when the director/writer allow their actors to give input, I shine.
I’ve also helped friends and a few strangers – for hire – with their projects. I’ve edited short film screenplays, feature scripts, and TV pilot ones. I can’t tell whether my work was as successful as I believe it to be, but I know many writers and many actors, and I feel a lot closer to being a writer. I genuinely have the same amount of fun and gratification whether it’s acting, writing, or directing.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My ability to be a great team player as well as a leader. I know when to speak, and I know when to shut up, and this makes me a pretty useful asset on a set. Directors and writers don’t like to be told they’re doing something wrong, but they appreciate when it happens and a successful solution is offered together with the critique.
Having said that, I also have my BFA, training, multiple experiences in front of and behind the camera, and the usual sass that comes with being an artist – or wannabe.