PLEASE MEET AWARD WINNING ACTOR, COMEDIAN, PERFORMER, PRESENTER - AND JUST A 'FEW' OTHER TALENTS -
1 Please tell us a little about your background.
A: I’ve been a performer now for 23 years and had my first agent at 8 years old. Professionally since graduating from High School it is the only job I have ever had – working in the entertainment industry.
I completed a two year Diploma of Arts, specialising in acting and theatre at NMIT and various short courses to this day but have always been lucky enough to ‘work’ through my studies in acting.
My parents were born in Italy and ‘Italian comedy humour’ or better known as ‘Ethnic Comedy’ has been a major asset to my performance career.
2 Have you always wanted to be an actor or did you have something else in mind for your career as a child and teenager?
A: Nope, from a very young age I always had the passion to perform, there was nothing else I could think about doing, nothing else that interested me. So much that in year 11 and 12 the full responsibility of Directing and Producing my high school’s annual school production was given to me. In turn this resulted in me returning to my high school the year after year 12 to take on the role again as a paid staff member.
3 What and/or who are your inspirations?
A: I’m inspired by people who create their own work and are successful at it. Within the Australian entertainment industry – production companies such as ‘Working Dog’ have always inspired me. I’ve had the chance to work on a number of projects with them and not only are they always a joy to work for but they just know what they are doing – all the time. I think in my business you have people who work extremely hard, sacrifice a lot and persevere in order to get where they need to get and you have others who are lucky to receive the fortune on a silver platter. That is just the nature of the beast. Both may be quite talented in their own right but I empathize with the ones who sacrifice a lot a little more.
4 You actually seem to be a man of many talents, including MC and presenter. Please tell us about that.
A: In a nutshell – I learnt early on that to survive financially as a ‘performer’ Acting was never going to be enough. One must broaden their skill, which not only creates more work for the person but also creates exposure once landing gigs. I found excitement in working as a presenter and M.C and have howned my skills in this area over the years, coupled with stand up comedy.
Now I travel my state and all over Australia M.C’ing all kinds of festivals and events. On TV I have been a presenter for shows on on Foxtel and Melbourne’s Channel 31.
5 Is anyone else in your family in the entertainment industry?
A: My father is an Italian born playwright and actor. He has spent most of his years here writing, producing and performing in his own 2 act dramatic and comedy plays (In Italian) for the Italian community of Melbourne. He was very much one of the leading people in this niche market in the early 90’s in Melbourne. This would be where I first got my ‘acting bug’ from. He has also appeared on TV between early 90’s and 2000 – mainly in commercials and various small roles when they popped up.
6 What do you enjoy doing in your ‘spare time’?
A: I don’t get a lot of spare time, working as a full time performer is a 24 hour job – which may surprise a lot of people and some may not understand how… but we are never just working on ONE project, there are lots of projects at the same time and things can become quite hectic, booking up your schedules day and night sometimes. When I do get a chance to have some spare time, I enjoy the simple things (as most do) spending time with close friends, seeing family. Catching up on movies, be it at the cinema or on DVD. Love eating out.
7 You have received some awards. Please tell us about that.
A: In 2007 I was awarded an excellence for multicultural arts award by the State Government of Victoria which was pretty exciting and at the time I was one of the youngest recipients for that award.
In 2011 I won ‘Best Actor’ as voted by the audience at the 2011 October edition of ‘Comfy Shorts’ which is a monthly short film screening event in Melbourne. I won for my role in a short film ‘Tiramisu’ which also actually won best film on the night.
In 2012 I was voted ‘Best Male Actor Of The Year’ by StarCentral Magazine which is an online/print entertainment magazine based in Sydney with over 20,000 online subscribers.
8 Whether you have been bullied or not, do you feel that the Governments and schools worldwide are doing enough to combat this problem?
A: I run a very successful company in Melbourne where we go into schools and perform comedy shows for students. Prep to year 12. I have been doing this for 10 years and in that time I have had the chance to see many schools, meet thousands of children and view school structures and I truly believe more then ever, schools have lost a lot of power to combat anything that requires ‘discipline’ of a student. This have changed drastically from back in the day I went to school (80’s Primary / 90’s High School) in some cases it seems the school is fearful of bad reputation.
9 What else do you feel they could do to either decrease or stop it completely?
A: I believe the schools need to go back to old school discipline and by that I'm not at all talking about ‘ the strap’ that was way before my day too. I’m talking about instilling harsher penalties for children who bully and to involve their parents a lot more. I also think parents need to understand that their child sometimes may be an angel at home but at school can become quite the aggressor. Some parents choose to adopt the ‘My child? Never!’ syndrome and they need to realise it’s a reality.
10 Have you done any dancing, modelling and/or singing at all?
A: Yes all of the above but I’m not trained in those areas, sometimes it’s just an extra requirement from other ‘acting’ roles.
11 Are you professionally trained in all that you do?
A: I am professionally trained as an actor.
12 As an actor, what have you appeared in?
A: On TV I have appeared in numerous shows: Neighbours, Thank God Your’re Here, Squizzy –Underbelly, Paper Giants, Satisfaction, Prank Patrol, Hey Hey It’s Saturday, Quizmania, Lift Off, Ground Zero, Planet Unearth – Foxtel , My Community – Foxtel, Fergus in Hell – Ch31, Melbourne 22 – Ch31, Media Strikes Back – Ch.31. Lots of various commercials and some appearance already in the can for 2014 for ABC TV and Channel 7.
13 What is next in the pipeline for James Liotta?
A: This is always the big question! An old school professional taught me to always answer this by saying: “I have various projects at different stages of development”. But really I do!
14 Do you have a message that you would like to impart to the world?
A: Be happy – if you’re not happy. Get happy! Happiness is the key to success. (Oh and hard work!)
15 Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: Google my name from time to time. Haha…
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