After a year of being retired from health care, Frank Sorgenti decided to take up acting to kill his boredom and pick up a new hobby.
The 67-year-old worked until 2016 in health-care administration, assisting various professionals with setting up and managing their practices. After a year of retirement, Sorgenti decided to take acting classes to see if it can cure his boredom and provide him with another thing to do.
“I’ve always been interested in movies and I never really did anything to get involved in that type of industry,” he said. “Everybody has their favorite movies and actors, and I do too, but I never really did anything to get into show business.”
Since picking up the hobby, Sorgenti has appeared in TV shows such as “Power,” “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Blindspot,” “The Americans,” and many others, as well as movies like “The Irishman” and “Joker.”
He has appeared in a total of four feature films, two independent movies, 22 TV shows with some being multiple appearances, five commercials and one industrial film.
Despite his many roles in nationally syndicated TV shows, Sorgenti said acting isn’t as easy as it seems on the big screen. Throughout his four months of acting classes, he said he had to learn how to express an emotion, fitting for the scene, on command and know how to take direction from a director.
As a background actor, he added people in his position are unable to act or change a scene to fit the direction they wish to take it in, and they must abide by the director.
He also stated while he was able to work near the likes of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Martin Scorsese and Tony Danza, it was an “iron-clad” rule to not approach any of the the main cast members.
“The only discussions I’ve had with some of these actors has been casual small talk, but it wasn’t for anything like that,” Sorgenti said. “I don’t think I’m there yet to want to do that, unless I get more involved and have more substantial parts, then maybe I’ll begin to do those kind of things.”
Outside of what viewers see on TV, Sorgenti said he is sometimes expected to be in New York State or Philadelphia for six, sometimes 12, hours filming, for him to show up in a movie or TV show for less than three minutes.
As short as his appearances can be, he said it doesn’t take away from the fun that he has while acting, and he’ll sometimes point out to family members when his role is coming up.
In anticipation for a director to call him on the set, Sorgenti added his mind often wanders off to studying how the crew puts together a scene and the amount of prep work they do to recreate shots.
“It keeps you occupied when you’re there because if you’re interested and you’re watching that, you’re not just sitting around reading a book for 12 hours, you’re watching what goes on behind a camera and seeing what and how they do what they do,” he said.
At 67, Sorgenti said he made the right decision to act now, opposed to earlier in his life because he’s able to act as a side job, instead of being preoccupied with if he can afford the profession or not, or if he’ll land the next big role.
In the age-old saying “you have to enjoy what you’re doing to be good at it,” Sorgenti said it’s evident for him as he gets excited when he’s getting recognized for his work in TV and films, and drives him to want to pick up more roles.
He advised anyone interested in acting to be able to take critiques well and apply what they were told in their auditions and roles, and to not become discouraged if they receive negative feedback.
“When you’re young, struggling and want to be an actor, you gotta use your head and be able to save money and you can’t blow it,” he said. “You never know if you’re going work this week or the next. You have to exercise a little bit of common sense and you have to be prepared for the bad times.”