By Daniel Zychla
On September 9th, Upper Canada College had the pleasure of welcoming Thomas Sadoski to hold a talk. Sadoski is an American actor, writer, and director who spoke about his various experiences as an actor and some of the knowledge he’s gained along the way. This article will focus on Thomas Sadoski and highlight some of the most valuable things he spoke about during his interview.
Who is Thomas Sadoski?
Thomas Sadoski is an American actor known for his roles on stage, screen, and TV. He is best known for his roles on the television shows “The Newsroom” and “Life in Pieces.” A graduate of the Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York, Sadoski made his Broadway debut with “Reckless” before making his professional stage debut with the critically praised production “This is Our Youth.” He was nominated for various awards, including the Tony Award for Best Actor for his exceptional work in the play “Reasons to be Pretty,” he also received the Obie Award and the Lucille Lortel Award for his outstanding work in the play “Other Desert Cities.” He has starred in movies like “Wild” and “John Wick: Chapter 2″ as well as TV shows like “The Slap.”
Stage vs Screen
Thomas Sadoski is a versatile actor who has succeeded both on stage and on screen. Appreciating all his roles and experiences, Sadoski noted some key differences and similarities between what he described as three different types of acting: on stage, in movies, and in tv shows.
Sadoski mentioned that acting on stage offers an incredibly unique experience for both the audience and the actor. From the perspective of the audience, going to a performance and experiencing it live creates a much more memorable experience for various reasons. For example, seeing actors in real life creates a more personal experience and comes with the unique nature of live shows, being that each performance is different in its own way.
From an actor’s perspective, however, Sadoski pointed to the fact that acting on stage can be both a blessing and a burden. Sometimes, when things are going well, Sadoski would enter the set without much need for preparation and warm up, simply feeling great. But on other occasions, he wouldn’t feel that optimistic about the show to come and would have to force himself to go out and perform. Given that shows occur on a near-daily basis and can run for months at a time, these moments come and go, but what is most important is to push through and stay focused.
Acting on stage versus on camera is very different and involves the need for greater and more flamboyant motions to convey emotions that would otherwise be expressed through facial features or subtle movements. This is purely because of the distance between the audience and the actor, which can sometimes be substantial in a room of thousands of audience members.
Movies and TV shows are very different on both ends of the audience-actor spectrum, as they open up the opportunity for closer shots. Sadoski mentioned that this gives the actor room to work with more subtle movements, but also makes creative expression somewhat more limited when compared to the stage. Sadoski mentioned the fact that TV shows allow for further exploration into individual characters and insight that would not be possible in a 2-hour film, which is limited in its ability to explore parts of a storyline. He remains grateful for all of his experiences, both on screen and on stage, mentioning how they have shaped him to become the actor he is today.
Small Things Matter
Sadoski talked about the intricacy of acting and how important it is for every part of a character (costume, personality, and movement included) to be on point with what the actor is attempting to achieve.
He used a specific example in a production that he was in, where a world-renowned theatre critic was in the audience. Sadoski thought he performed very well. But after the performance, he got word of the critic, who was unwilling to leave the audience until she had a chance to speak with him. After stepping out, Sadoski was met with compliments about his performance style and how well he had played the character. But the one thing that bothered the critic was his shoes, which were practically brand new and shiny, which his character would never wear.
The lesson Sadoski was conveying was that no matter how prepared and confident you may be prior to a performance. It is always important to step back and analyze each part of your character to ensure nothing is left out or misrepresented.
Acting is an incredibly hard profession that involves years of dedication to master. Sadoski offered a certainly dampening view on the industry, mentioning that it can take years to decades to escape the challenge of living paycheck to paycheck. In fact, he went as far as to offer an example from when he attended the Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York, saying that 5 years after graduating, 90% of students will likely be off doing other jobs, 10 years after graduating, that number goes up to 95%, and 15 years after graduating, that number goes up to a staggering 99%.
Sadoski mentioned that acting is a profession that should only be explored by students who view acting as their only source of potential happiness; in other words, only to be explored as a profession when they foresee themselves being unhappy working in any other profession. He said that it took him many years to begin living comfortably, and that anyone getting into acting shouldn’t expect anything different.
Thomas Sadoski offered some incredible insights into the world of acting. It is inspiring to know that even actors like Sadoski had to work hard for their success. Specifically, it goes to show the importance that attention to detail and effort have in accomplishing one’s goals.