EMGWorld speaks with a Hollywood newcomer on the rise
From the city that never sleeps to the city of angels, Jenn Pinto is wasting no time in making her mark in the industry. EMGWorld goes one on one with ‘Brooklyn’s Finest’ as she discusses her first year transition from the Broadway stage to the bright lights of Hollywood.
Background: Professional Actress
From: Brooklyn, NY
EMGWorld: What's the best advice you've received since you moved to Hollywood?
Jenn Pinto: To keep the fire and passion I have.
EMGWorld: When did you officially arrive here in the West Coast?
JP: I moved to Hollywood May 16, 2011
EMGWorld: What gave you the belief that you could pursue a career as an actress?
JP: Since I was a kid I loved performing. My Dad always instilled in me anything is possible as long as you believe in yourself and have faith.
EMGWorld: What was it like to be bit by the acting bug at such a young age?
JP: It was bitter sweet. It’s great to start young because it builds character. This business can make you or break you. Sometimes at a young age when things are going great in your career you feel on top of the world. But when you are rejected it can take a toll on you. When you're a kid, your emotions are magnified.
EMGWorld: For those who may not know, what are some projects you’ve been associated with?
JP: I was the runner up on the VH1's acting competition Viva Hollywood and I’ve done several independent films that hit the film festival circuits.
EMGWorld: If not for acting, what other career would you have pursued?
JP: Teacher. I love kids. I think it’s one of the most rewarding professions.
EMGWorld: Describe your transition during your first year in Hollywood?
JP: Coming from NY, which is very fast paced and aggressive, I had to adjust to the laid back environment of LA. I studied, trained and worked on a lot of projects in NY so I could come to LA with something to show. I didn't want to be placed in a situation where they ask to see what I've done and I'm not ready to show it. I was able to jump right into work mode out here.
Although I'm enjoying the calmness LA offers you can’t get that NY hustle out of me so I'm on overdrive out here. I can’t imagine being anywhere else right now. The transition was pretty smooth.
EMGWorld: What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen since you’ve moved here?
JP: Hollywood is crazy in general. I think just seeing people lose themselves for the price of fame is what I always find crazy. You can’t pay me enough to lose myself. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype out here. So you have to be careful who and what you surround yourself with.
EMGWorld: You've experienced the success of being on the weekly TV reality show VH1’s Viva Hollywood! How was that experience?
JP: A NIGHTMARE…lol. Don't get me wrong. I thank God for the experience because I know every position I’m placed in is for a reason. Reality TV is definitely not real. You're placed in an environment that tests you mentally. I was hesitant to do a reality show, but I was pitched a show of quality to show Hollywood that next "big star.” However, when I watched the show it was more like let’s take a bunch of Latino actors and make them look stupid on TV.
Granted, I was still able to showcase my talents so my runner up position did get me recognized to an extent. I learned from it, moved on and have done great things since.
EMGWorld: Would you ever consider doing reality TV again if you were offered to?
JP: I'd never do another reality show again. I wouldn't recommend it to any serious actor in this business. The networks don't care about your image, only ratings. So if it means tainting your image for ratings they WILL do it. As a professional actor your image is very important.
EMGWorld: Exactly how competitive is it to book a job in this industry?
JP: I think it’s as competitive as you make it. I think if you come prepared mentally, physically, spiritually and really train and focus you can accomplish a lot in a short time. And one thing to remember is what’s meant for you is for you. Do your best and the rest is in God’s hands.
EMGWorld: Give us a glimpse of what it’s like at a casting call.
JP: You walk in and sign your name in the sign-in sheet. You wait to be called [to the audition room]. The audition room usually consists of one or two people (sometimes more), which are the casting director and the person reading lines with you. You are then asked to stand on your mark and state your name. Then you do your scene.
EMGWorld: What happens after you’ve performed your scene?
JP: The casting director will either dismiss you with great feedback, no feedback, or they will give you direction and have you read it again. This isn't always a bad thing, it’s basically to see how well you take direction. Callbacks usually consist of a room with the writer, director and producers of the project. The important thing in auditions is to be yourself and have fun. Acting isn't about "acting" it’s about being.
EMGWorld: People spend hundreds to thousands on photo shoots to get the perfect headshot? Honestly, how important are headshots?
JP: When I moved here I got new headshots and I loved them. I submitted myself and my agent submitted me, but I hardly went out on auditions. I changed agencies and my agent tells me my headshots are pretty, but don’t show ME. He tested them out and submitted me… nothing. He referred me to a photographer. Since my new headshots I go out [on auditions] VERY often.
EMGWorld: So having good headshots really does make an impact?
JP: The picture is the first thing a Casting Director looks at before making a decision if you physically fit the role they are casting for. That picture is who they want to see when you walk in that room. The first step is getting in that room, then after its showcasing your talent. So the headshot is one of your tickets in that room..
EMGWorld: Is it possible to get great headshots without breaking your bank account?
JP: Yes! Do your research. It’s out there trust me. Don't just get headshots done from your "friend" that’s a photographer. You need headshots from a photographer who specializes in it. It’s a really important investment in your career. So don't always go the "favor" route to save money. Quality over quantity!
EMGWorld: How important is it for an actor to be versatile in this business?
JP: Very! Train in different genres, comedy, drama, improv etc. Never limit yourself in the roles you can play.
EMGWorld: In your own words, what would you say it takes to be a working actor in Hollywood?
JP: Strong support system, drive, determination and most importantly faith in God. It’s a roller-coaster type of business so as long as you know everything will happen in God's timing, you're good.
EMGWorld: How can EMGWorld fans connect with you?
(Top photo courtesy of Greg James Photography)