John Pallotta Mission Statement
John Pallotta is "The Actor Whisperer" - an extraordinary acting coach with almost four decades of experience who has consulted everybody from brand new babes in the woods thespians to seasoned veterans of stage and screen that come straight to him when it's time for a tune-up. Whether in private one-on-ones across the country or at John Pallotta Acting Studio,
Right in the heart of New York City’s Theatre District every *weeknight* night, Pallotta makes it his business to make an actor capable of metamorphosizing into character within split seconds. He's also the author of 19 original works for the stage that have been produced, work shopped and/or read at esteemed venues such as Steppenwolf in Chicago, the Actor's Theatre of Louisville, and by members of The Actor's Studio in New York. Three of his plays have been optioned into films.
John came up diligently studying under 20 different masters of the acting craft, giving him a broad range of techniques and approaches to call upon when it comes to fine tuning himself and the specific needs of his students. "From Lee Strasberg I absorbed incredible discipline," he explains. "From Uta Hagen, I learned the profound truth behind the work. I learned many more things from people such as Anne Jackson and Herbert Bergdorf of HB Studios, but I learned the most from Bill Hickey. He was my teacher off and on from 1981 to 1997 when he died. He was a tremendous storyteller and passed down so much to me in this way. Bill used to say, 'You have to love what you do. You have to be able to look in the mirror everyday, say to yourself, 'I am an actor'...and believe it.' With each one of these people, I remembered what made students pay attention to them in their classes - their phraseology, the tone of their voice and the profound silences between what they said that made those truths sink in."
John now has his own technique and a book on the way, which is gaining popularity amongst many actors. Johns technique relies on the actors, Innocence, Imagination and Vulnerability, Its about actors practicing the potential qualities that you were born with. The less they think like an actor and the more childlike and innocent they are, the more productive and in the moment they will be.
After negotiating all of that wisdom and putting it to use in over 300 productions as an actor, Pallotta now qualifies as a master teacher himself. He's performed the role of "Quasimodo" in the classic 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and been in acclaimed Off Broadway `80s productions such as "Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie" and a long-ended run in "Line, alongside Chazz Palmintari." Working actors such as Joseph D'Onofrio. Danny Aiello, Kevin Kline, Johnny Alonso sing his praises and steer hungry hopefuls to him as a pro to pay attention to. "I pride myself on is changing actors on the drop of a dime," Pallotta states. I specialize in character development and character actors. why? Becasue 'character actors work!' The average actor becomes a character vicariously through themselves. The real character actor becomes the character through the character, which goes against any 'method.' By the time I'm done with them, they know how their character eats, sits and thinks by creating their whole back story instead of just the circumstances in the script at hand."
Discussing how he came to be a teacher, Pallotta shares, "A lot of people begin to teach when they reach a significant milestone, age or level of success. I started my school because I wanted to help people by sharing my experience of having studied with the very best. Some of the people I came up studying with almost 40 years ago are now my students or assistants." Pallotta has assisted countless students in overcoming bad habits, taking their natural gifts to the next professional level and nailing their all important first big breaks.
"I had a guy named Alphoso who'd never acted before land a number of 'under 5s' (speaking roles of under 5 lines) on 'Law & Order,'" Pallotta proclaims. "I just had another girl who'd never acted before do her first play of Shakespeare. A student named Theo got picked out of nowhere by Joel Schumacher for a role based on his look, but he had a horrible Turrets problem. Though I'm not trained in that sort of thing, I gave him a tip based on my gut instinct and he sailed through that audition. Same thing with another girl who came to me on the eve of an audition with a lisp even her vocal teacher couldn't tell her how to overcome. A quick fix (gum under the tonged for air flow) I shared gave her the confidence to go get her role as well."
It is success stories such as these that earned John Pallotta his nickname "The Actor Whisperer," a title that has been used in reference to him in many articles appearing in periodials such as The Tribune, The Chronicle and In the Spotlight as well as several radio shows including Google news. "I got that name one day when a journalist came to observe me on a set during a delicate scene for a movie called 'Tucht," a story that dealt with rape. The actress was a woman who'd actually been raped in real life...which is one of getting maximum effect with the least effort on a small budget movie of about $300,000. This was a particularly touchy scene, so I leaned in and gave the actress a direction in her ear using a soft flat monotone. She did a brilliant take after that so the writer dubbed me 'The Actor Whisperer.' It stuck ever since."
Fast forward to the present, Pallotta has 22 plays under his belt with intriguing titles such as "How I Killed My Roommate and Got Away With It," "Fragile X" and a 1-man play about a serial killer. "I remember actor Harvey Keitel once telling a class at The Actor's Studio, 'Nobody gives a damn about you! You've got to write, produce and direct your own stuff as soon as you can. You can't just be an actor if you want to make it in this world.' That definitely inspired me to continue with my writing." Putting his Dragon Voice Recognition 11.5 program into overdrive with capabilities of transcribing 100 words per minute, Pallotta began spinning out story after story from his lurid imagination.
Three of John Pallotta's plays have been optioned into films. One is called "Hustle," a gritty urban action cross between "Pulp Fiction," "Sin City" and "Shaft" that takes place in 1972. "We'll film it as a short and hope someone picks it up for a feature," he strategizes. "There are 16 roles in that film. I will be playing the small part of a homeless, mentally ill man in this film. My younger sister Donna Pallotta (an Oscar nominee as Co-Art Director for the documentary "My Architect") will be directing."
The other play to film transfer is his 2005 production "Jane Ho" based on a high school friend's story. "She went to Julliard and I went to Queens College but we stayed in touch," Pallotta begins. "All the time I knew her, I had no idea she was one of the highest priced call girls in the city. The play got amazing reviews.
John Pallotta landed on the world map as a native New Yorker in the streets of Ozone Park and Howards Beach. Early jobs including waiting tables in pizzerias and restaurants for clientele that included Mob bosses John Gotti and Sammy "The Bull" Gravano. It was after seeing Al Pacino playing stressed out bank robber "Sonny Wortzik" in Sidney Lumet's notorious 1975 crime drama "Dog Day Afternoon" that young John's eyes were opened wide to the world of acting. "We'd seen bits and pieces of Pacino before but this was intense," Pallotta remembers. "There was an enormous amount of emotion, and my friends and I were imitating that all the way home. I have a photographic memory - I can look at a script and take a mental snapshot. I remembered the entire monologue when they were robbing the bank. After that, I started looking into how to get into acting."
Pallotta didn't have to wait long because the very next year in `76, while walking in Hell's Kitchen, John ran smack into pacino as he was entring a place called The Actor's Studio...and followed him right on in. "I thought, 'Wow, actors go to acting school!'" In 1981, John moved into the city and started his acting careerin earnest after already studying with the likes of Strasberg, Hickey and HB Studios.
A huge pet peeve for pallotta is when he hears today's young actors whining with excuses about not being able to make class on any given day. that's not the way he came up through the ranks. "I know what it's like to be broke, homeless or to choose acting class over food and the electric bill. I've walked 40 blocks to an acting class. I've jumped a subway turnstile and had cops chase me to take an acting class...when I was faster. (chuckles softly) You can't fathom what I've gone through to get where I am. I'm not rich or famous, but I've taken the stage with broken limbs. The problem with a lot of young actors is they're in love with the fame but they need to fall in love with the craft. So when people say, 'Aw, gee, it's raining. I don't know if I can make it in today,' to them I say "Get your ass to class!"
Today you can find John Pallotta web streaming classes for potential casting directors and working closely with potential star clients like handsome young Clark Gable-type Brandon Tyler, And Broadway Star Valerie Renee Campbell, Penwar (from Family Matters), Dom Mancini, Americas next Top Model as well as Ms America Runner Ups. You will also find Academy Award, Emmy Award, Tony Award Nominees and Winners singing his praise as well as some of them in his class. He is the actors best kept secret, but the word is getting out.
I tell them, 'Stardom is in my heart. I know that on any given moment on any given day I could command a room - be it 40 seats or 38,000 seats. I have the training and the ability. I treat every performance as if it's Opening Night! But I didn't get into acting to become a star. I love the joy in my heart from the feeling of taking a stage. This is how I've survived so long." And when you are rejected - The bigger the headache the bigger the pill. Just get up and do it all over again
"My fame is within me. I don't rely on anyone else to validate that for me."
Visit John Pallotta at www.johnpallottastudio.com