Dream state: Get to know ‘Maestro’ actor Germano Blanco
Maestro tells the story of Brazilian immigrants struggling to build a life in the United States. John is a young man struggling to balance his ambition with his familial obligations. He spends his days driving for Uber to support his family while yearning for something more.
Directed by Dan Roman, Maestro features an all-Latino cast, including Germano Blanco and Brazilian soap opera star Franciely Freduzeski. Blanco will bring John and his story to life when Maestro makes its way to film festivals later this year. He has previously appeared in award-winning indie films like Primeira Vez and The Monster’s Club, for which he won an Actor’s Award in 2020.
We had a chance to speak with the actor to discuss his career and the upcoming project.
Tell us about your journey into acting. What did you do before becoming an actor?
I started taking acting classes in high school but I ended up going to college for a couple years to study Communication so I just was a full-time student before I decided to go in a different direction with my career.
Was there any particular film or TV show that inspired you to become an actor?
I’m not sure there was a particular film or TV show that inspired me, but I do remember watching movies as a kid and entering their reality. I remember I watched the first Harry Potter movie in theaters with my family and once we left I’d be saying the characters’ lines out loud which only gave my sister a reason to make fun of me. I also loved the Disney Channel sitcoms and wanted to be in one really bad as a teenager.
What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an actor?
I had that realization very early on, probably around 5 years old, so I don’t actually remember not wanting to be an entertainer.
What was the first project you worked on, and what did you learn from the experience?
Before I dropped out of college to become an artist I did a couple student short films while in school. They were very low budget – it was literally just the director holding a DSLR camera. I was terrible at it. I had no idea what acting was, but I learned that I loved it enough that I wanted to work on it and become great at it.
Who are your current influences?
I’m constantly changing and being influenced by what I watch and listen to. Though I find a lot of my friends inspire me. I have great female friends who I know will be big names in entertainment in the future and I’m glad I got to meet them before that happens and watch them grow.
Do you have any experience with mentors? If so, would you recommend them for up and coming actors?
My mentors were my teachers. I’ve had incredible teachers along the way who I have to credit for actually teaching me how to act. I’ve also had not so great teachers who didn’t help me grow as an actor at all. It’s important to know what works for you and what doesn’t because we all learn in different ways so not every teacher will be a good fit for your artistic development.
When trying to get into character, what do you do to immerse yourself?
It depends on the role. I’ve played characters that were very similar to me either at the time or at one point in my life. That isn’t necessarily easier because then you have to work on layers and specificity to make the character its own person. But generally speaking I always find the core of the character – their heart – very naturally. It’s all in the script. Once I connect to that, everything else comes together.
Along with acting, you also are a singer-songwriter. Could you ever see yourself putting out a full album?
Yes. That is definitely the goal. I have a crazy amount of songs written that I’ve been saving to be recorded and released. When it comes to my music, I like everything to be perfect so it takes time.
What are five films you think everyone should watch?
I’ll just name some of my personal favorites: “The Basketball Diaries,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood,” “Harry Potter” and “Rebel Without a Cause.”
How did you get involved with Maestro?
I actually self-submitted. I didn’t know anyone working on the project prior. I just went in and auditioned for Dan, the director. We did a scene a few times and there was no callback – I just got an e-mail a few days later saying I got the role.
What was your experience working on Maestro?
It was the biggest project I’d done as a lead at the time of filming, I was very green and everything was new to me. There was a rehearsal process which was crucial because I was still learning how to act and letting go of my shyness and insecurities. I worked a lot with Franciely Freduzeski who is a Brazilian soap opera veteran so she made my job a lot easier too. I was in basically every scene in the movie so I learned a lot about how things work on a set.
How would you describe your character John in Maestro?
John is a young man that feels trapped between his family obligations and following his dreams. He has a good heart so he never stepped away from his responsibilities and taking care of his family, but at the same time he wants to do more with his life which wouldn’t allow him to work full time to help his family, so he’s going through an internal struggle.
The majority of projects you’ve worked on have been filled with Latinx actors and crew. Why do you find it important to work on these projects?
I honestly feel very lucky that I’ve got the opportunity to work on Maestro with a Brazilian director and cast. I also shot a feature, Aguanta, with an all-Latinx cast… It feels more special to me because we’re supporting each other and creating space for more Latinx voices and stories to be heard. The subject matter in these two projects in particular, the struggles of immigrant families, need to be seen more often so I’m more than happy to be part of them.
What do you hope viewers take away from Maestro?
I hope viewers realize that immigrant families have to make a lot of sacrifices and be incredibly resilient just to be able to work and make a living in this country. It is a foreign concept to most people born in the United States, and understandingly so, but I hope it opens their eyes to that reality.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’ll be doing the same thing but on a bigger scale hopefully. I would love to be in more movies and TV shows and release a lot of music.
You’ve directed some music videos on the side. Would you ever direct your own film?
Absolutely. I’ve written a few short films that I will hopefully get to direct and star in soon.
If any actor would play you in the story of your life, who would you cast and why?
I’m not sure… I feel like my story is still being written and the best part of my life is yet to come. Although I’d like to cast a Brazilian actor to play myself so that it’s more authentic.
What would be your dream role to play, if you haven’t played it already?
I would love to be in a horror film, I grew up watching horror all the time even as a kid so it’s a dream of mine to be in one. To me it’s more about the story than the character itself. I would also love to be in a great drama that touches on important topics that should be in the spotlight more often.
What has been your biggest success and failure to date in your career?
I love the projects I’ve worked on as an actor but my biggest successes so far are my music videos. I suppose I was acting in them as well but I wrote, directed, produced and edited them myself so they have a special place in my heart and I’m really proud of the final product.
What advice do you have for up and coming actors?
Make sure you’re in it for the right reasons. If not, you won’t have the drive to keep going after being told “no” so many times. Perseverance is key to succeed in this industry. Also, don’t wait on luck, start creating opportunities for yourself.
What’s next on the docket for you?
I have a long list of songs to be recorded and produced right now. And before the end of the year I’m going to be starring in a short film written and directed by my best friend, Marlee Forsyth, which I’m very excited about.