The partnership between Yianni Stamas and Lights Camera Read and NYPL's Teen Central at Grand Central continues with our 2013 entrepreneurial series for teens — examining jobs in the real world. Our first event featured actor/firefighter Christopher Stadulis.
I have to thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule to come to Teen Central and make his presentation on a pro bono basis. I found our conversation with Chris inspirational and informative, plus Chris showed that he cares about young people in this city.
One thing he said that jumped out at me was no matter what you've been through — you can decide how you feel about yourself — and what you end up choosing has a very major impact in your life.
"Do what you'd like to do," he advises. "Create goals you'd like to accomplish and go for it."
Chris was open about his life story, telling us that his father was an alcoholic and for a long time he was angry and embarrassed about it. For much of his youth he walked around with a chip on his shoulder. Looking for confrontation at almost every opportunity. Hard times and trouble seemed to find him. Chris told us at a certain point he decided to change his life and made a decision to feel good about himself. Chris believes people project certain energies and the more positive the projection, the more positive things and events you attract.
Talking about acting, Chris says he brings positive energy and excitement about what he's doing when he auditions for a role. He will go off script to make a scene more real. Chris also said when you are playing a real or historical character you have to become that person but when you are playing a fictional character you have to be yourself and as real as possible. He got into acting accidentally soon realizing he loved it and had talent. Chris works hard — sending out publicity photos, staying on top of auditioning possibilities — all the while working full time as a fireman, another job he enjoys, while maintaining a marriage and raising two young children.
Of fighting fires Chris says it's scary but exciting and being a firefighter is about helping people, saving property and lives.
What follows are some impressions from teens who were present:
I enjoyed the experience. Chris told us don't give up on trying. It doesn't matter how many times you try, you will get something out of it. You have to go for your goal. Try something first — you may get interested in it. Chris wasn't a fan of acting but learned he enjoyed it because he tried it out.
He talked about working for the New York State Police Department and how the training was so hard it's almost like military training. He volunteered at World Trade Center after the terrorist attack.
Chris told us a story about how he didn't want to hurt Tom Cruise in the movie Jack Reacher when he had to handcuff him — so he didn't lock the handcuffs but they both made it look like he did.
I would say that Chris was an all around great guy, from what I was able to observe. Chris delivered an informative and inspiring interview that left those who where present with an all new outlook on not just the cover but the book that is Chris Stadulis. I was impressed by not only his display of acting talent in the brief moments he displayed it, but by the down to earthiness of some one that has accomplished what he has so far. My overall gain from the interview was not only a bit of a life lesson but how to make serious and positive contributions to not just mine but others' life experiences. Chris Stadulis is without a doubt a future legend — who is at the beginning of a great future in film.
Christopher Stadulis is a very amazing man. I had the pleasure to speak with him for a few hours at the Grand Central Library. At this point in time, I have been going through a rough patch. I would like to pursue a career in psychology but do not want to give up on my art. I live with my grandparents and they are very reliant on me being able to take care of them. I was in a three-way fork in the road, and was breaking down to the point of frustrated tears. I didn't know what to do. After meeting Christopher Stadulis, I felt like I had been lifted of my burdens. He acknowledged that I was only human, and forgave me for that. After hearing what he'd been through and how he became who is, I was completely floored. It is absolutely phenomenal how much he has achieved in life. What I was truly impressed and awed by was that he had a dream, different dreams throughout the course of his life, and achieved them all, just because he could. He believed in himself and worked hard to do what he wanted to do. He taught me to believe in myself and my dreams, and never give up on myself, no matter who stands in my way. Thank you for bringing light, positive chi (and lots of happy tears) into my life. Christopher Stadulis, you are the straight-up cheese!
It was good to have an interview with a fellow actor, especially one a bit older than myself and with more experience not just in the field of acting but in other working fields. Just like myself, he's a freelancer that supports himself through other job opportunities other than just acting jobs. Something else that I agreed with was his philosophy on being positive and having an upbeat energy. As an actor, I've understood for a long time that having positive energy is essential for auditioning and for directors to feel comfortable working with you. This business is all about networking so I was glad to take his contact information so I can keep in touch in case I'm looking for a new gig.