In my experience, all the best stories start with a central character. All great ensemble casts need leader and in the lives of many, acting coach Anthony Gilardi is the real protagonist.
Born in Boston’s North End and raised by a single mother in a blue-collar Italian neighbourhood, Gilardi spent his youth playing in the street and messing around in school.
Despite his premature departure from high school at 16, Gilardi went back to education at 21, completed his undergraduate degree in engineering and started a successful construction company thereafter.
Unfortunately, like every storybook hero, Gilardi wasn’t happy with the future he had created for himself.
‘My entire life up until the year 2000 – I was in denial about being an artist. I did carpentry as a form of creation. I love to create things, but it wasn’t enough.’ In his deep Boston accent, Gilardi’s emotions are infectious.
And so, one day he packed his life into his car and didn’t stop driving until he hit Los Angeles. That was fifteen years ago, and now Gilardi is one of the best acting coaches in the state.
So what is it that sets him apart from the rest of the teachers in Hollywood?
Firstly, Gilardi does not shy away from the brutal nature of of the entertainment industry.
‘A lot of people come to Hollywood to “make it” and it can get lonely.’
With a family-orientated upbringing where friends were just as much family as blood, Gilardi wanted to create a safe haven for other new comers to the industry, where it was about the art before it was about the fame.
‘To be the best at something, you need to focus 100%. I was told it couldn’t be done,’ he says of his abstract approach to teaching, ‘but here I am two years later, and the studio and students are great and still growing.’
Gilardi’s determination is unprecedented. He’s even created a brand for it – Hippo Life was trademarked and is now the term given to those of us that see a goal, and won’t give up until we get it.
And yet, despite his overwhelming success in both his own career and the careers of his students, Gilardi’s work wasn’t brought to my attention through the media, but through his peers.
“I wish I had more time to think about this. To put in so few words doesn’t seem to do it justice,” says one student, “Anthony’s ability to speak right to the soul is uncanny..and I love him dearly for that.”
To my readers that are unsure of their future, panicked at the prospect of growing up, Anthony Gilardi’s story was chosen from the many I have on my list because it shows that dreams can come true.
As cliché as it sounds, the only person stopping you from living your dreams is YOU.
So what are you waiting for?