Never give up. Follow your dreams. If you feel burned out take a small break and get right back in there.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Saquella.
Actor, Director, Writer, and Producer Michael Saquella is a true jack-of-all-trades in the entertainment industry. He has been entertaining for over 39 years and has a number of projects in the works. His most recent films include El Coyote, alongside Robert Costanzo and John Capodice. He will also star in Dream Round with Richard Grieco, which is set to be released November 10th. Throughout his career, Saquella has worked on a diverse slate of films and shared the screen with Hollywood legends such as Burt Reynolds, Charles Durning, and Raquel Welch. He is also a blues singer and performer.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in Rochester and Fairport, New York. I played baseball and took theater in high school. My parents are immigrants from Italy. I learned Italian before I learned English. I was very athletic and always on the go. My dream was to be an actor. Fun fact: Phillip Seymour Hoffman and I graduated from the same high school, Fairport High School.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I got the bug when the drama coach grabbed me from my unicycle and got me to read for the high school play. I got the lead role and when the curtains went up, I was hooked.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I told Burt Reynolds when I was 15 on a summer vacation that I would work with him someday. That came true on the movie Forget About It. I was the co-lead with him.
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 jumped the fence at the Warner Brothers lot which, at that time, was shared with Colombia. I got caught and somehow escorted to casting for the movie 1941, which I had a small role in.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I have a film coming out November 10th called Dream Round, which I star in. It’s about a man who struggles with the tragedy of losing his wife and children in a car accident 15 years ago. He loves golf and is inspired to play the dream round of his life. It will be released in over 60 countries as well as on RedBox, Hulu, Vudu, Roku, Google Play, XBox, PlayStation, iTunes, and Amazon Prime. The film will also be available at Best Buy, Target, Walmart and other retail outlets.
Carolina’s Calling iscoming up as well, a comedy film I directed with an Alien twist. Also, Mike Logan Returns. It’s about a retired New York detective who has to come out of retirement to save his niece and take down a fake cartel. That one is only a script right now.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
In today’s society we need to be clear about our views and the one way to do this through entertainment is by showing the public our diversity, not only in the subject matter but in the culture and the look of the film / live show.
1. Show a variety of actors from all over the world in the project. Letting all walks of life in and seeing them doing a wonderful job.
2. Showing off the beauty of the land / countries of the actors from overseas in the film, along with the local actors.
3. The subject matter today needs to be spot on with the current times. From love to current crimes to different races to tragedy.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
I’m going to answer this a little differently with 5 things that I’ve been told during my years in the entertainment industry.
1. It hard to make in show business you will never make it. It took many years to make it, if you call it making it by having some good roles in large films. I am still trying every day to “Make it”.
2. You are not the leading man type. I tried to get the lead roles in lots of films when I first started. They were right, I never got the leading man role back then. Only sidekicks and comedy roles.
3. You need to constantly take acting classes or actor workshops to keep on top of your game. I did not listen and when I finally got an acting job, I remember being very rusty and nervous. I said to myself I should have listened to that person who told me to study.
4. I was told that making your own film was hard and it was almost impossible for a newcomer to raise any money to shoot a film. I had a restaurant when I was a young man that I sold for $50,000.00 I started a film thinking I could do this and the friends I had said they would help and could raise additional funds to complete the film…they lied. I lost all my money and the footage sits and will never be made.
5. Just quit acting and get a real job! I was told just that so many times because I was always out of money and could not pick up the dinner tab. I wanted to quit but the acting bug stuck in me like gorilla glue. I got a job in Las Vegas for six years on a main stage and the money flowed in like a river of cash.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Never give up. Follow your dreams. If you feel burned out take a small break and get right back in there. It’s like when you fall off a horse…when you fall off you have to get right back on or you never will.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire 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. :-
To better oneself, to go Above and Beyond. To outdo your friends and neighbors with good deeds and kindness. If you go out of your way and your friends and neighbors see you going above and beyond, you encourage them to match your level of this wonderful act. That would cause a better livelihood in our homes and our communities.
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?
Actor Jack Warden. He took me under his wing when I was 21 years old. He helped me with an agent and introduced me to many influential people in Hollywood. Jack bought me a new car because mine was old and about to break down at any moment. He even got me a couple of small roles in his films.
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 just see this, especially if we tag them.
Anna Faris. Her comedy inspired my 7-year-old daughter in 2008. I could not stop my kid from laughing every time she watched an Anna Faris film. I would love to take the time to tell how wonderful she is and how she helped little girls grow up with a huge smile on their faces.
How can our readers follow you online?