As a child, FERMIN SERRANO QUINTERO was taught that New York City was “the center of the universe” — a place where you can find people from all walks of life and from every part of the world.
NYC was also the epicenter for immigrants: “My inspiration behind coming to New York lies in the fact that this city is so often associated with the immigrant success story; a place so wonderful that people would cross oceans to get to it with the hope of building a better life for themselves,” said the young artist who is taking NYC by storm.
His travels have connected him to myriad productions and a diverse community of ambitious artists eager to collaborate with each other. And – unlike the NY stereotype – many are ready to look out for each other, and longing to create beautiful and meaningful pieces.
Fermin was – at first concerned that the road would be a tough one – well, it is, but he finds he is not alone.
He is currently running at the famed Gallery Players in their Black Box New Play Festival 2020 – appearing in their second week of productions.
He is also a principle player for anew film using neo-noir, called Framed.
And he even working with a Sketch Comedy Group. OuterStage sat down with Fermin Serrano about his burgeoning career in NYC.
What’s your creative process like?
My approach to developing a character is always a mishmash of many different techniques, and, depending on the demands of the role, I may lean more heavily into one style than another. For Thanks Taking and Head Trauma I chose to lean on Meisner technique to help my performance be flexible, quick, and responsive while also allowing myself to be open to the actors working alongside me. For Framed, I used Strasburg technique to keep my performance grounded while also drawing emotion from a more personal and visceral place. For A Sketch of New York, I enjoyed mixing in a few of Jacque Lecoq’s ideas to keep my body engaged and my delivery playful. However, while I do think any actor can benefit greatly from learning about the many acting styles that exist, at the end of the day, there is no substitution for the everyday meticulous work that all actors do: closely reading the material multiple times to find something new that could enrich your performance, understanding the motivations and driving forces behind your character’s actions, doing your best to be receptive to the people you are collaborating with, and coming into each rehearsal prepared to do your best work.
What did you learn/are you learning about yourself through this process?
Performing in a professional show is its own kind of challenge, and no amount of acting classes can ever fully prepare you for the lessons you learn on the job, which often end up being lessons about yourself. Perhaps one of the most important lessons I’ve picked up is how important my self confidence is as an artist and as a performer. I have learned that being overly concerned with pleasing the expectations of others can often lead to second-guessing myself, and thus restricts what I can contribute to a piece. Needing external validation for the choices I make can rob me of the confidence that is necessary to produce good work. Although I cannot overstate how important it is to know how to incorporate feedback into your work, I have learned that, as an actor, I am brought on as a collaborator, someone who can contribute greatly to the development of a character in a wholly unique way. Since having this realization I have taken my role as a creator more seriously, and have taken it upon myself to take initiative and establish a set of standards that give me the security of knowing that I gave my all to a role. At the end of the day, knowing that you did everything in your power to make a role great is all you need to feel confident in the work you produce.
What are your ultimate goals for the future?
I want to use my career as an actor to not only make a good life for myself, but also to produce impactful work. I hope that one day I can become a role model for immigrant artists going through the same trials I’m going through now. I want to do my part in contributing to positive Latinx representation and to show off the great stories and talent that my culture can produce. I want to play my part in creating captivating stories that celebrate our differences and, in doing so, bring us closer together as a society.
I am always looking for new and exciting opportunities to learn and perform. I am planning to receive training in stage combat with the hope of becoming a certified choreographer, and I am searching tirelessly for my next acting project. Though there is always a sense of sadness when a project comes to a close, it more often than not opens doors for future opportunities. I aim to challenge myself with the roles I pursue, and continue the endless process of honing my craft as an actor.