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Meet Eric Paterniani

Today we’d like to introduce you to Eric Paterniani.

Eric, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I come from a small town in northern Italy where the career of the actor is a utopia more than a dream. That didn’t do for me, so I moved to Rome (which at the time was considered moving far far away) to start my acting studies in theatre. And then it was by chance that I auditioned for an American school which liked me and granted me a scholarship that I couldn’t say no to. That was the big move: moving to America, the land of hope.

New York City was my home for five years. It was there that I realized that I was a bit different from the other actors: a thick Italian accent, goofy and most of the time inexplicably funny to Americans. That was my big luck: I had the fortune of working with so many inspiring and creative theatre company, acting in 3 different languages (I happened to pick up Spanish along the way) and sometimes not even with words as I ended up being a part of a mime company.

These years were great, but I always had in me this curiosity if what it’d be like to live in Los Angeles, where the movies that I grew up with were made. So I’ve decided to leave almost everything I built in NY to have this experience. And I ended up loving Los Angeles, especially because it’s the birthplace of my first play as an author dedicated to all Italians away from home called “Longing Pinocchio.”

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has been a year now and, sadly, there is a big wall in front of me. Apparently, movie and TV productions frown upon hiring someone without a Green Card (even if you have legally been working for years with the already challenging Artist Visa).

And today being an experienced and working actor is just not enough. Managing to keep your talent and passion balanced when there is always new paperwork that silently hints to give up makes you wonder if it’s even worth it.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I wouldn’t change any of my steps. If it’s not gonna work out here because of something out of my control I’d still be happy for everything I have accomplished. My project now is building a bridge between Italy and the US: there is always space for an Italian sidekick here and there, and I dream to cover that figure.

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