Everything with substance takes time to build and develop. My generation is so used to instant gratification that we expect everything to be like that; and if we don’t get what we want quickly, we give up. I used to worry too much about the future, sometimes I still do but something that helped me was the realization that everything worthwhile takes time.
As a part of our interview series with the rising stars in pop culture, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christian Gnecco Quintero.
Christian Gnecco Quintero is a Mexican actor, He was born and raised in Puebla, Mexico.
Christian’s theater credits include “The Keeper of the Vineyard, the off-Broadway production of “Sound Syndrome”, “Trilogy for Juan Rulfo”, among others. Christian is part of The Puckwit Gang, a Los Angeles-based theater group, which produced the trilogy of plays, Chimpskin, The Dangerous Cures of Doctor B, and In Conclusion. In 2019, Christian was invited to become a lifetime member of The Actors Studio. Christian plays the lead role of Lucio in the upcoming feature film, The Sound of The Wind
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thank you so much for having me. First time I ever acted was in my middle school. The theater class teacher made me play one the main roles in that year’s school production. At the beginning I hated it, I didn’t want to do it, but she threatened me that she was going to fail me if I didn’t do it. I complained because I wanted to be a soccer player, that was everyone’s dream, so it was mine too. At the end though I had no option but to do it. After the first show I loved it so much, I had to quit soccer. It felt so freeing to be on stage and to pretend and play. I have always enjoyed playing, and I think as an actor that is something that you can’t lose, you have to keep the inner child alive to be able to act and enjoy it.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I don’t know if I can think of any single moment. I think the most interesting thing that happens is how you change with time, over the course of multiple events, and how your perspective about your career and who you are changes with that.
I remember when I first went to the States for college. I think everyone that goes to college for acting, we think we are going to become stars, so it’s a very competitive environment. I was always in a mode of taking care of myself but making sure I was on top of everything. I learned discipline, I learned the craft, but I didn’t learn that much about community.
It wasn’t until I graduated, when I was out in the real world, that I was forced to deal with a crazy ride of ups and downs. I graduated and I had to hustle. I went to so many auditions. Did so many scenes in front of casting directors. And yet, I hadn’t booked anything. That gets tough. On your ego. On your self-esteem. You start asking yourself questions that you didn’t ask before, like, why am I doing this? Eventually, you find the answers, but it becomes such a moment of uncertainty and you realize that the worthwhile things in life take time.
With that time I started enjoying the process more than the results. Or at least I try to. It’s easier said than done. I also started learning compassion, community, and the importance of people. I now have people who I can create with.
At the end of the day, what matters the most, is the people. The ones who you share your life with. The people you work with. Your friends. Your mentors. Your life partner. It is all about the community and what you share with them that is worthwhile.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I was in New York at the time, It was one of my first booked auditions so as you can imagine I was very excited. I hardly read the email after the first few sentences, and just dedicated myself to memorizing the script they’d sent. The day of the audition arrived. I showed up at the audition, very confidently prepared, and performed the scene. Then, they asked me to perform the comedic monologue that I had prepared. Comedic monologue? I paused for what to me felt like an endless eternity. “Didn’t you get the e-mail?”, the casting director asked; so of course I pretended I had. I went ahead and Improvised a monologue on the spot. The monologue turned out to be more dramatic than comedic, which confused them. They said thank you, and I left as quickly as I could. It was very nerve-racking. Now, every time I get an audition I make sure I read the instructions fully, at least twice.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m most excited about my feature film debut, The Sound of The Wind, which is coming out on April 24th.It is a film that deals with mental health and overcoming one’s greatest fear. It is a film that was made by a group of young, resourceful and determined filmmakers; we did something with a heart that we are very proud of.
Currently, I am working with the film’s producers, JDG Entertainment, on developing two new exciting projects that resonate with me very strongly. As well as, forming part of The Puckwit Gang theater company; where we are constantly developing new plays.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
The most interesting people I’ve interacted with are my fellow creatives, and I enjoy the strong bonds we’ve created while working together. When two creative people collaborate on anything, whether it is a dance, a play, or in this case a film, they share something of themselves with each other.
I met Jared Douglas, the director of “The Sound of The Wind” in New York City, while we were both still in college. He was studying filmmaking. I was studying acting. We started working together doing acting exercises for school assignments. After college we started doing short films together, later on Neeraj Jain started doing the cinematography for some of the shorts. As we learned more about each other and each other’s creative processes, the three of us slowly became a team. Now, just a few years later we ended up doing a feature film and are looking forward to our next big project together.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I have found that a sense of community and collaborative partnerships help me not to feel burned out. Make sure you have a group with which you can develop projects, and your craft. Those projects might not get a lot of attention, but they are the projects that you will learn the most from. I have found a community of people where we all push forward and grow together. Over the years, fortunately, those projects have been getting bigger and bigger.
Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.
The first, I’d say is body. I am not a fan of spending a lot of time in the gym, but I could definitely feel how it affects me in a positive way, it activates my body and wakes up my mind. I have found that doing exercise is very beneficial for my mental health. Could be anything, a hike, a long run or a short or long l session at the gym, it always puts me in a good place.
The second is mind. I think if you are working on a project, that is covered because your mind is engaged. However, as an actor, sometimes there can be a lot of time in between projects. I have found that when my brain is in learning mode, my mind feels very active and at ease. Hence, I became a member of The Actors Studio, where I go to participate in sessions, learn from others, and work on scenes.
The last is the heart. I think having fun, spending time with people you love, and having pastimes are very important. Some of my favorite memories are not of work but instead are of times spent with my wife and friends; making bonfires on the beach, enjoying dinners, and playing music together. I am definitely much happier when I have a proper work-life balance.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
One, Everything with substance takes time to build and develop. My generation is so used to instant gratification that we expect everything to be like that; and if we don’t get what we want quickly, we give up. I used to worry too much about the future, sometimes I still do but something that helped me was the realization that everything worthwhile takes time.
Two, Focus on your personal journey. When it is easy to see all the people ahead of you, you can easily get discouraged or try to compare your trajectory with someone else’s. I always try to just focus on myself and my journey, because if I focus on where I have come from, where I am and where I want to go, it is easier to value myself and to be proud of myself.
Three, Be proud of what you do and how you do it. I’ve learned that when you do something, you can’t think about commercial success because that is out of your control. You have to strive for being proud of the project. If you are proud of what you did, then you have succeeded. As artists, our work is very subjective, some people will love what you do, and some people will hate what you do, that is out of our hands. Striving to be proud of what you do though and how you do it, is the key to keeping yourself grounded and on your toes.
Four, People are important. It is the people that are around me that are the most important. We are never alone in this journey. When ego becomes more important, that is when we start making the wrong decisions.
Five, Just go for it. When in doubt, just go for it. Better to take a risk than a safe choice.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Keep going”. For example, with The Sound of The Wind, since the moment the director Jared Douglas wanted to do it, he brought us on board his vision, there were a lot of obstacles but we kept going and we did it. We were mostly young filmmakers, it was for the most part everyone’s first feature film. We didn’t have a lot resources or people with big names behind us. But we kept going, and now we have a film we are very proud of and are getting to share it with the world in this way.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are so many people, that if I start giving thanks I will need so many pages, but just to mention a few. My parents, Dino Gnecco Medina and Rebeca Quintero Rodriguez. They have always supported my dreams, which is so important. I think life gets way easier if your family is behind you in what you want to do with your life. My wife, Hope Bello LaRoux; she has taught me kindness, hard work, patience. She loves me every day. I would add friends and teachers as well. There are many, but they are the people that have always been there for me.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I think free college for everyone would be very helpful. If everyone had the opportunity to study whatever they wanted without getting into debt for the rest of their lives. Not that I believe college is the solution and the only way. But I do think if everyone had that opportunity, people would have more freedom and more control over their future, and that would help society as a whole.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
I think it would be Diego Luna. He is an actor that I have always admired, since I was a little boy. He does film and theater; he produces and directs; and he always gets involved in the subjects that matter to Mexico. I would love to have lunch with him and get his mentorship.
How can our readers follow you online?
I am on Instagram @chrisgnecco and Twitter @chrisgneccoquin
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!