As always, it is a pleasure to catch up with the incredibly talented Christian Gnecco-Quintero to find out about his latest ventures and projects. He also shared some great advice for other artists and filmmakers about being successful, here is what he had to say:
Please introduce yourself to the readers and how and when did you first get into performing?
My name is Christian Gnecco Quintero and I am an actor from Puebla, Mexico. I am currently living in California, but the first time I was introduced to acting was during middle school, we had a drama class and we would stage musicals every year. At the time I also, wanted to become a soccer player. In my drama class we started to stage little plays and I remember we performed in front of our families and everything just changed for me. The rush of being on stage was incredible. That’s when I knew I wanted to become an actor. This was nothing that I had ever experienced before the way that acting made me feel. Since that day, I haven’t stopped learning the craft.
What inspired you to get into the entertainment industry?
As I started to take acting classes and learn about acting, I realized that what we really do is tell stories. It was a great way to connect with a group of people and share a message, share a feeling or change someone’s mind about a topic. That to me is an incredible power, which makes me feel empowered.
Something else that inspires me is the passion that the people have in this industry. Everyone that you meet on stage or on a set are 100% committed to the project. You can feel hundreds of people behind a project believing and creating. imagining and materializing. You get to meet a lot of creative people and no job is ever the same. When I was shooting “The Unholy War” we were in the desert, it was really cold during the morning and then very hot at noon. Since “The Unholy War” was a political drama, the project was approached with that energy. Acting in that project was a great experience, it was tough because of the content, but satisfying. Whereas, shooting the comedy “Served” was 100% comedy, we had to be on our toes, improvise on the spot and think quickly. This was a completely different energy, just as satisfying as “The Unholy War” but a different approach, a different kind of fun. No job is ever the same.
What kind of training have you had, if any?
I have been taking acting classes since I was 14 years old and I used to take classes in my city of Puebla, Mexico. It was a good introduction to acting and I certainly learned a lot. After graduating high school in Canada (I did my last two years of high school there) I decided I wanted to study in the States and in NYC. That’s where I received and scholarship from “The American Musical and Dramatic Academy” and studied 2 years in NYC and 2 Years in Los Angeles. I graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Acting and studied with amazing teachers. At The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, is where I found my voice as an actor, where I found my technique and where I met a lot of artists, teachers, that today, I am proud to call my colleagues.
What has been your favorite role to play so far?
In theatre, I have two roles: Julio from the play “The Keeper Of The Vineyard”. I got to create the role since I was part of the world premiere of the play and also was my first role right after my first 2 years of study in NYC. Julio is a character that from the beginning of the play, was struggling to find his identity as a Latino living in the USA. It was a lot of fun to play the lead of the play and to have 100% freedom of giving life to this character. I also felt very connected to him. The other role was “Guido” from Nine. And the reason is because I love how demanding this role was. He was on stage the full show and required to be 100% connected to the story. I love his struggles as a character, his ego, his ignorance, his mistakes which make him very human. How realistic Guido is, is what makes him one of my favorites. In film I would have to say “Dan” from the film “Numb” is another favorite. Dan is a character that is diagnosed with MS in his early twenties and needs to come to terms with loneliness, which at that age, is one of the last things that you want to do. It was fun to play him. To go through all the stages of giving with him.I guess something that all the roles that I have played share in common. In the end they teach you a lesson and you get to discover something about yourself. When that happens, it is priceless.
What has been one of the most exciting achievements of your career so far?
In theatre I was part of the Cast of “Antigone”, which was produced by The Wandering Theatre Company in New York City. We used view point technique to stage the play and in the end, we had a beautiful piece of art in our hands. We went to The Capital Fringe Festival and won Best Physical Play, which felt great. Not because we won, but because we worked so hard that it felt like a pat on the back. We were very happy.
Another achievement that I am very proud of, is when Maria Del Mar Velasquez and I were contacted by German Jaramillo, who is a well known director and actor in NYC and Latin America. We were asked to adapt into theatre and stage the short story ” No Oyes Ladrar Los Perros” by Juan Rulfo and participate in the V BFA International Theatre Festival in Los Angeles. We took the short story and created songs and dialogue and movement. we made from the 3 page short story, into a well rounded 45 minutes play. We presented at the festival and competed against theatre companies from Spain, Mexico, Peru, etc. In the end, we won Best Play. It was a great moment for our team.I guess every single step that you take in your career in a good achievement. To have the privilege to create and materialize ideas is always a win.
What projects do you have coming up?
Right now I am shooting the Web TV Series “Served” which is in production at this point. We are having a blast shooting it and just finished filming the first two episodes. We are now waiting to shoot the remaining episodes to complete season 1. The series will air this year.
In theatre, I am working with some friends on a play that we are creating called “Chimp Skin” which will open this year at The Hollywood Fringe Festival. It is a physical play that talks about the chimpanzee Lucy that was raised by humans who develops some extraordinary behavior. This play is based on a true story, also. In film, I can’t give too many details at this point, but I will be playing the lead in a very exciting feature film that will be shot in NYC for five weeks. Those are the projects that are happening right now and are materializing.
Who would you most like to work with?
I always like to work with smart people and people that believe in a stories. I want to work with people who have drive and are creative. Of course in a more superficial level, I would love to work with some of the people that I have admired since I was younger: Diego Luna, Gael Garcia, Damien Bichir, etc. There are so many people that I would feel honored to share the stage or the screen, with.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans are simple, keep working, keep creating and keep telling the stories that we need as a society right now. I will be working in Mexico this year and at the same time in the US. That is a dream come true, because I get to perform in Spanish and English which is what I have always wanted to do. My plan is to keep it that way and to keep collaborating and creating. I want to also develop my own projects and my own ideas. I think there are a lot of issues in our society that should be addressed and what better way to do it, than with a play or with a film/short film.
What is your advice to aspiring performers?
It might seem scary but just do it! All the people that are in this industry, we are waiting for you, we want to hear your ideas, we want to see what you bring to the table. Don’t be scared of sharing your thoughts and pursue what you want to do. Try to be open and start connecting with people and start creating your own stuff. In my opinion, I would say, get some training. I think it is necessary and being in a classroom learning the craft becomes like a lab where you can experiment, fail and learn. Dare to fail and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
Discover your voice, be confident, humble, bring something special and bring yourself to every project. Fall in love with the story and tell it to the audience.!