Today I am thrilled to announce actress, filmmaker, and the perpetually positive Giovannie Espiritu, who has agreed to share her success story.
Giovannie Espiritu: Takes Us To Acting School
My questions/comments are in bold, Giovannie’s follow in plain text
About Giovannie Espiritu
Actress and filmmaker Giovannie Espiritu (IMBd) was nominated alongside Academy Award Nominees Alfre Woodard and Amy Irving for Best Supporting Actress at Method Fest for the Mynah Films feature film Fiona’s Script. Her primetime credits include a recurring role on ER (NBC), Bones (FOX), Gilmore Girls (ABC), and Trauma (NBC).
She has voiced characters in international video games and cartoons, directed several theater productions at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and produced several short films. She can currently be seen as the series lead in the Amazon series, “Dyke Central,” which was featured in After Ellen, BuzzFeed, and Curve Magazine as a top lesbian series to watch.
She has supporting roles in three upcoming movies: a feminist film called, “Solstice,” with Mynah Films; a thriller called, “Cold Pressed,” that was recently released on Amazon Prime; and a pivotal role in the upcoming thriller, “D-Railed” with sci-fi icon Lance Henriksen.
She is the founder of Hollywood Actors Workshop, a school for kids, teens, and adults who are serious about working in film & television. Her students are series regulars, book national campaigns and sign with top agents and managers nationwide.
As a believer in Gandhi’s maxim, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” Giovannie began writing as a way to create more diversity in the film industry and is currently studying at the Upright Citizens Brigade in Hollywood.
Giovannie’s parody song, “An Introvert’s World,” reached 3.2 million views when YouTube star Tessa Netting took the lyrics without permission and used them for her own channel. Even so, Giovannie’s ultimate goal and “nefarious plan” is to break hearts wide open to create more empathy and compassion through storytelling.
How did you get started in your career?
I actually got started in a weird way. I was part of a cult when I was younger, and I used to WANT to talk to telemarketers on the phone because they were my only connection to the outside world, and one of them said that I should get into voice-overs.
I didn’t know what that was, so I looked it up and I sent a really bad, awkward demo to the biggest agency in San Francisco that I could find.
They ended up calling me in, signing me, sending me out to my first audition, and I ended up booking the job and recording it all on the same day. Looking back, it was kind of insane.
What does a typical day look like?
I will usually have my coffee in the morning, get some writing, paperwork, voice-over auditions done… then go to any auditions during the day, and teach or have class in the evenings.
As a performer, I feel like it’s important to be training like any athlete – actors are athletes of the heart. I also do mom things in between.
What is one thing you have learned from being successful?
That success has ebbs and flows and there are peaks and valleys. And I try to not judge it. I read somewhere – I don’t know who the quote is by – but it said something like: I measure my success by the moments of joy that I create.
I really loved that. I’ve had really amazing things happen in my career – I’ve been given the key to Manila and had parades in my honor, I’ve worked with iconic actors, my students have been given their own shows… but it is all fleeting and we will always be on the chase for the next mountain to climb.
Is there a mistake you have made starting out that you wish you could change?
I think everything happens for a reason, but I wish I had learned that not everyone has your best interests at heart and that you have to learn how to advocate for yourself.
It’s not anyone else’s job to MAKE your career. No one owes you anything. I think I would have wanted to learn that it is okay to not be unlikeable at an earlier age. Even now, I still have a problem with people pleasing.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
In acting? Know the reasons why you are entering the business. It’s honestly a tough industry and you have to have a love for the art of it for it to be sustainable.
If it is advice on life, or starting a business, I love the concept of failing fast and failing often. When we aren’t afraid of falling on our face, we learn so much… as long as you remember to get up after a fall.
What professionally what are you most proud of?
I’m really proud of my students and their successes. I think the new generation inspires me and gives me hope with how inclusive they are.
I’m proud that most of my work has centered around social justice issues. I directed three years of The Vagina Monologues at the Herbst Theater in SF which benefited domestic violence shelters.
My show on Amazon is very ahead of the curve with its depictions of gender and sexuality. We have international fan letters where people are grateful that there is someone on TV that looks like them.
Looking back on your career, is there something you learned from the industry that you found surprising?
I am surprised constantly with how “normal” everyone is and how absolutely unglamorous the day-to-day life of an actor is. It is work.
Even though there are stories of “overnight successes,” most of the time the overnight successes have been going at it in smaller roles for at least 10 years before they even got their “big break.”
I am also constantly surprised with how many of us are still here in the trenches because our love of storytelling and still believe in the power of the entertainment industry to change the world.
What advice would you have for people that are having difficulty making it in the industry?
Have a life outside of acting. Have passions outside of the business. We can only portray humanity if we have a full life. Also, allow yourself to take a break. We need time to rest and recharge as well.
Do you have any tips for people trying to make it in as an actor?
Know yourself. Know how people perceive you. Understand that what they think of you is none of your business.
You can give the greatest audition and still not book the role because you look too much like the lead of the show or they need to do a family match.
What book would you recommend to help people be more successful
I’m kind of a self-help nerd. “Manifest Your Destiny” and “The Power of Intention“ by Wayne Dyer really helped me to change my thinking from a victim mentality to becoming more accountable to what I was creating in my life.
Any upcoming projects you are working on?
I’m in post-production on a short I directed and wrote called, “Ally3000,” and I have a few feature films that are coming out. “D-Railed,” with Lance Henricksen is starting to make the festival rounds.
I am working on writing and producing more content these days because I want to see more people like me in the media, and that starts with the writing.
What does your social media strategy look like; any tips?
Honestly, I’m still trying to figure that one out as well. I used to have over 28,000 Twitter followers but when I announced my role in an LGBTQ series, it dropped by 10,000… I think now it’s around 3,000 or so… I don’t understand it.
I don’t use social media as a popularity game, but I have made some really awesome connections through Twitter and IG of people that I admire and would like to collaborate with.
Any mistakes you see people routinely make with social media?
Oh gosh. Routinely? I don’t know. I feel like having an opinion gets people in trouble, but I can’t help it… I have thoughts.
I try not to find flaws with other people’s opinions. Maybe making the mistake of taking an opinion as a fact?
Where can people connect with you online?
I’m pretty easy to find and talk to (which is why I don’t understand why the YouTuber didn’t ask me if it was okay to use my work beforehand… and negotiated some kind of profit share – as you can tell, I’m still kind of salty about it. But here are my handles:
Acting Coaching: HollywoodActorsWorkshop.com
Do have any apps, books or tips that you use to be more productive?
I like lists. I make lists. And I try to make use of Pomodoro Time when writing.
I have my coaching site integrated with Google Calendar and it sends me alerts 10 minutes before a meeting to remind me to prep.
How do you manage time?
I set alerts ALL THE TIME. Even for laundry.
What is the best advice you have received?
Feelings are fleeting and transient. They don’t indicate who you are – they are guideposts to what you want in life.
Use the information in a constructive way.
Do you have any advice for people that may feel discouraged about reaching their goals?
If you have a desire, there is a way of obtaining it. But the hardest part is removing the mental roadblocks that say you aren’t worthy.
How important is fitness to success?
Whoooooh. Still working on this one. I know if my body feels poopy, I don’t enjoy my day or anything that I’ve worked for.
Do you enjoy working out? If not, how do you get motivated?
I try to find activities that I love. I am OBSESSED with climbing. I can go every day if my hand isn’t sore. I think the key is finding something that you enjoy.
Do you have any cool projects you would like to tell us about?
Yeah, if you or someone that you know want to get into acting – I teach nationwide: hollywoodactorsworkshop.com
Note: Giovannie has a great blog about acting, that has some fantastic posts about topics such as handling rejection that would benefit everyone.
What is the one thing you wish everyone knew?
You can’t actually change anyone.
You can influence them, but the change has to originate with themselves. “You have to be the change that you wish to see in the world”. Total Gandhi quote.
Anything I should ask that I have not?
My super power! I am sickeningly optimistic at times.
My favorite saying is: “But the great thing is…” which helps me direct my thoughts to a more productive point of view.
Even if I get a parking ticket… the great thing is: I like clean streets, and this is helping fund the repair of potholes. I had a really weird upbringing and I think I developed seeing the world through rose-colored glasses as a coping mechanism.
It only gets me into trouble when I find myself saying, “It’s not that bad…” too often and I stay too long in a situation that really isn’t good for me. But that is the path that my personal growth is headed these days.
What is your favorite “geeky” movie?
I have SOOOO MANY. I have a warm place in my heart for The NeverEnding Story part 1. Actually, any movies that feel empowering or have the message that we can change reality or break out of societal conditioning really get to me: Matrix, The Truman Show, Terminator 2.
Those are all awesome movies, but I’m really intrigued why Aliens is a Mother’s Day movie? That feels like a good story if you do not mind sharing.
Ripely is very motherly when she protects the little girl and the Alien is the MOTHER of all MOTHERS!!!! ???
Thank you, Giovannie for this great interview! I am looking forward to D-Railed it looks like an awesome movie, and I can’t wait to see more of your upcoming projects. – Michael
Today’s interview is with Daniel O’Reilly, an American actor born in New Jersey. From TV to movies, he has a natural ability to process material and make it his own, which allows him to live truthfully in the moment, earning the respect of his creative peer group.