Here is another segment of Success Stories, the column devoted to the triumphs of our hardworking actors. This month we have chosen the accomplished artist, Anthony Fanelli. Anthony is originally from Akron, OH and attended John Carroll University in Cleveland, OH. He was a communications major and an All-Conference football player (defensive back/punt returner) and captain. He moved to Chicago, IL roughly four years ago to pursue a career in comedy and acting and started out studying, writing, and performing comedy (improv, stand-up, sketch) as much as he could. After submitting some of his work and performances to a few agencies Anthony was signed by Lily’s Talent Agency and Shirley Hamilton, both in Chicago, IL. Since being with the agencies he has booked some great jobs; most recently as a spokesman for Philips Norelco shavers (seen on Facebook & Amazon) and a great print spread for Monsanto. Anthony continues to perform live comedy around the city and at festivals as much as he can with his two-man improv group “Tape Deck Grade” and with his news parody show (which he writes as well), “News in Review with Anthony Fanelli.” He also recently ended a run of his comedic one man show (which he also wrote), “Stop and Smell the Grindstone,” and was a winning principal contestant on ABCs “Take the Money and Run” this past fall. He is currently acting in a few different web-series, including one he wrote and directed, “The Super Awesome Show Show with Alan Jenkins.” He continues to act and write as much as possible when he isn’t dealing with his basset hound and cat who love to fight! Although he currently resides in Chicago, he will be making the move out west very shortly. So he hopes someone out there reads this and wouldn’t mind meeting him! Also, no matter where he goes, he will always be a Cleveland Browns fan.
How long have you been on Actors Access (AA) and how did you find out about the service?
Anthony: I’ve been on Actor’s Access for about 2 years now. I found out about Actor’s Access when I was signed by my Talent Agencies and it has been an amazing tool to be able to submit myself for local and national projects.
What success have you had with AA?
Anthony: I’ve been able to book a couple of great jobs through AA, most notably a great (and high paying) print ad that shot outside of my region. This was especially rewarding because I honestly wasn’t expecting to do much print work, but the opportunity arose. By adding this job to my portfolio and reel, it has opened up a few new doors for me! I have also been able to book a few web commercials here in the city. Through AA I have been able to work with really talented people and that has helped my career grow by making these connections.
How has Eco-Cast helped you with your career?
Anthony: Eco-Cast has helped me to better prepare for auditions. Filming and submitting an Eco-Cast Audition gives you the luxury of reading it a few more times than you would in person and then submitting your best performance.
What are the pros and cons of being a regional actor?
Anthony: A pro of being a regional actor is that it can feel more like home here and you are comfortable with your surroundings and your place. However, that comfort can sometimes lead to a sedentary work ethic. A con of being a regional actor is that there are not as many opportunities here than there are out east and west. The window of opportunity is a bit smaller, but if you’re looking in the right place, and doing your due diligence, big things can happen even in regional places.
What advice would you give to your fellow actors?
Anthony: From experience I can say perseverance is key. Being able to take the good with the bad, bounce back and keep working. As corny as it sounds I have always believed that hard work can and does pay off. Keep acting, keep writing, keep performing! You can’t get caught up in what others are doing, what they are booking and how you stack against them. All that does is make you lose focus on your own work and your craft. Don’t’ waste any time being bitter and upset, because the truth is, is that there is going to be something out there again for you soon. Acting is something that as good as someone may be, you can always make gains and become even better at. So, keep at it and get involved.
How long have you been acting and what made you go into the field?
Anthony: Like most actors, I have always wanted to do this, but growing up I was always involved with athletics (even playing college football), so I didn’t start to get involved too heavily until after college (albeit a few screenwriting and theater classes in college). I moved to Chicago, IL roughly four years ago to pursue a career in comedy and acting. I started out studying, writing, and performing comedy (improv, stand-up, sketch) as much as I could; really whatever I could do to get better and gain more knowledge I did. I saw shows, I took classes and before you know it I was performing pretty regularly to good size crowds. All of that ground work in comedy has helped make me a better actor in general. After being signed on with two agencies, I have been focusing on my acting career full tilt, and look forward to what the future holds.