Actor Edoardo Ballerini lives and works out of New York. His most recognizable television acting credits are “The Sopranos” and currently, “Boardwalk Empire”…amongst others listed below…For Hollywood Actor Prep, he wrote about what his journey has been, so far, along his path of creating an acting career, and working as a professional.
Guest Acting Post by Edoardo Ballerini
When I first approached him about doing a Guest Post for Hollywood Actor Prep, it was because I knew he (then) had just broken through into doing voiceover work, specifically, reading audio books. (Great gig, right?) I thought my readers might be interested in learning how he made his way into that very selective part of that voiceover world.
In the 3 months since, he’s gotten more work reading digital audio books…Additionally he’s got more acting credits on his resume: on camera, onstage. We are Facebook friends, and, when I sign on, it seems Edoardo’s always got another new status… regarding another new acting project.
I grew up between New York and Milan, Italy, with a lot of traveling as a child. My parents were academics, but deeply involved with the arts, mostly the visual arts, so I spent a great deal of time amongst painters and sculptors, in galleries and museums, and occasionally with theater people. It led me to my first acting job, a two character show at Theater for the New City, when I was about ten years old. I still remember it.
I didn’t do any acting in high school or college. My interest was literature, and I was on a clear path towards doctoral programs and teaching, but I veered back into acting after graduating Wesleyan. I was in Rome studying Latin, and joined a group of American actors working abroad. It was a lark. I was bored and lonely and didn’t know many people, so when I saw an ad in the paper seeking “American actors” I just showed up. Following that I came back to New York and began studying a little more earnestly, first at HB studios, then two years at Strasberg, and finally as an observer at The Actors Studio.
My early years in New York were a typical blur of workshops, black box theater, scraping together money where I could, and following every lead I found.
Fortune smiled on me pretty quickly. It didn’t take long before I was working getting jobs in film and television. Theater eluded me for the most part, though I did a couple of things here and there, but mostly I was working in front of cameras, which seemed to suit me better.
My first job was a guest spot on “Law & Order,” playing an autistic teenager. It came my way through a convoluted series of connections. A guy knew a guy who knew a guy who knew an agent who agreed to meet me, and he put me up for the part. I wonder if most careers don’t get their start in some equally random way. Unless perhaps you come out of a conservancy program, which I did not. But that’s how I got started, and it doesn’t seem to be that uncommon a path.
After a few years of working in New York I moved to Los Angeles. I was sick of the city and wanted to see what all the fuss was about out west. I’d done a studio film out there before, and had spent some time visiting, so eventually I just up and moved. The first few years were also a bit of blur of festivals and travel, and I didn’t really notice that I was there right away.
Los Angeles is a remarkable city, unique in too many ways to count, but it didn’t suit me, so many, many years later, I came back to New York. My belief is that there’s no right or wrong place to be in any absolute sense, but there is in a relative sense. It’s important to be in the place that you feel comfortable, where you feel you know why you’re doing what you do. When I came back to New York it was apparent that any plan I’d had for my career and life had been lost pursuing things that didn’t really matter to me. At the same time, I discovered a meditative practice, and found that it dovetailed beautifully with my creative side, allowing me to pursue “me,” for lack of a better description.
Back in New York, interesting things happened pretty quickly. I was cast in a recurring role in “Boardwalk Empire,” re-teaming with some people I’d worked with on “The Sopranos,” and I started voicing for audiobooks. The audiobook work is I’d always been interested in, and I’ve found it to be a remarkable experience. There is something immensely challenging about working for hours on end with only the voice, and it requires a deliberate patience. In years past I had done VO work, but had never cracked into the audiobook world. I knew some producers who worked in the field and I recorded a demo and sent it to them. Over the course of a few months, I kept bugging them about it, and eventually they asked me to audition for a Harper Collins title, which I got, and from there a couple other titles came my way. Persistence, in this case, made the difference.
Most importantly, though, I’m spending more time working on my projects, which is very exciting. There’s little point being in this business if you’re not working towards things you want. It’s no secret that it can be difficult and frustrating and all the million cliches we’ve heard, but it can also be a remarkable journey.
If I had any advice to dispense, it would be very simple: do what you love and know why you’re doing it. The “why” makes all the difference.
Edoardo Ballerini is best known for his on-screen work as the junkie “Corky Caporale” in “The Sopranos,” and the hot headed chef in the indie hit “Dinner Rush.” He can currently be seen in a recurring role in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” For more information, please visit www.edoardoballerini.com .
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ACTING NEWS ABOUT EDOARDO:
Edoardo is appearing in HONEY BROWN EYES, a Helen Hayes Award winning play at the Clurman Theatre, in Manhattan. The address is 410 West 42nd Street, between 8th and 9th Streets; and $15 dollar tickets are available 1 hour before showtime. Here’s a link to Telecharge, in case you wanted to buy a $25 dollar ticket in advance. Break a leg, Edoardo…