INTERVIEW WITH A DIRECTOR
“My career represents more than just a vehicle to survive and pay bills, it is one of the reasons I wake up every morning and go after a dream. It's an inspiring feeling to go after the unknown while trying to master a skill. I love and embrace the amounting challenges that come with directing and writing and when it all comes together at the end, be in the form of a script, or a film or a voice over project, to see the idea come to life as it reaches people in a positive, artistic and emotional way, truly is a great feeling, the ultimate form of accomplishment, I suppose."
1) When did you start directing?
I wrote and directed my first play at the age of 10. It was my first exposure to the world of storytelling. When I was 15 years old I directed my second play Count McFisto and Angelis followed by a comedy called Holy War. I became a professional actor at 16 while working with incredible directors in various plays until I moved to New York City at the age of 19. I graduated from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan in 2001. That same year, the second play I wrote called The Panacea got accepted into The Fringe International Theater Festival also in Manhattan. The director we had originally hired to direct my play left the production two weeks into the rehearsal process due to scheduling and artistic conflicts. I stepped in as a director alongside my producing partner Juju Stulbach. The show's run in the festival was a success and I can honestly say it was my first experience as a professional director for the demanding New York City audience. In that same year I assistant directed the Off-Off Broadway play A Question of Mercy. As a voice over actor I worked on many films; such as: The Wolf of Wall Street, Olympus Has Fallen, At Any Price, The Laws of Attraction, Begin Again, The Quartet, etc. I've done ADR and Voice Over for over 15 years, and being exposed to this platform and gathering this type of experience has assisted me immensely as I progressed, and expanded, to the other side of the mic so to speak.
2) How was the move to LA?
Moving to New York City at such an early age, going through the struggles one endures as one tries to find his/her identity, paying bills while never letting go of your dreams, was a lesson that I will take with me forever, wherever I go. So my move to LA was, geographically speaking, easy. I easily adapt to new places and circumstances. I only had one friend here, no job, no car, and no money. Now that think about it, I only had resilience and a sense of adventure. And though it wasn't easy to overcome some of the obstacles, I feel like it was part of the journey I had to go through in order to grow as a professional, and most importantly, as a person.
3) How and when did you start working at Voxx?
I was studying screenwriting for film at UCLA when I came on board as a Director at VOXX Studios after an audition early in 2015. I joined our beloved sound engineer and brother AJ Argento and, I believe, we were the first people hired at VOXX Studios. We all connected immediately and I couldn't be happier, or more inspired, to work with a team of passionate professionals who truly strive for excellence in storytelling every single day. I've directed one Unscripted TV Show and four Soap Operas in the past 15 months, and we are about to start our 5th soap opera. I love being part of something from the start, and seeing all the cooperative components come together as we grow and expand into new and exciting territories!
4) What are your upcoming projects?
At VOXX Studios, we just wrapped a soap opera entitled: "Alla Te Espero (Waiting For You)", and started directing a new one called: "Somos Famila (We're Family)". We have many other projects in the works, but more details on that coming soon! Independently, I'm writing a novel and doing re-writes on a full feature script called Living with Grace that competed in the Oscars' writing competition last year - The Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. I hope to enter the event again this year, as well as produce/direct it in the near future.
5) What is Sebastian Zancanaro like as a director?
How am I as a director? Ha. Well, you'd have to ask our cast and our producers, I guess. But I believe I can say that I am obsessed with quality. I don't care about the hours or the effort that is put into a script, a film, a soap opera, a show and what not. To me, great quality is great quality! Period. I can be very demanding and thorough. I'm very attentive and command mastery regardless of the department I'm dealing with. I practice by watching a lot films and by reading. If I can bring my best to the table, I believe I can be better equipped to be of assistance to an actor. If I know the project, the script, or the scene before me like the back of my hands, and if I can get myself inspired to tell it, then I'll be a better vessel to inspire whoever I'm working with, whether it be the actor I'm directing, a composer I'm guiding in the creation of a soundtrack, or the producer who is bringing it all to life. Preparation is the key. And I don't mean only in the physical sense, but in a mental and energy sense. I like to align myself with the moment and let it flow into the work. It is not easy when there's a large group of people around in the studio or on the set. But that's when patience and the focus training come handy. A great accomplishment to me as a director is to feel when the actor truly feels what he/she is saying.