My Photoshoot with Bright Futures UK !
I’m very proud to say I was invited by the charity Bright Futures UK to take part in a photoshoot for their upcoming campaign. Bright Futures was set up with the mission to support young people who are forced to take time out from education due to medical circumstances. They support young people by providing programmes that bridge the gap between illness and normality. Programmes are available for individuals of educational ages, fighting physical and mental health illnesses.
For more information please visit their website.
My Interview with Mandy.com !
Child actor Harrison Sansostri on starting out, working with Benedict Cumberbatch and more
Harrison Sansostri is a child actor known for films Creation – starring Paul Bettany and Benedict Cumberbatch – as well as a string of TV, theatre and commercials work. Here he tells Mandy News how he started out, the realities of juggling acting work – and writing books – with school and more.
How did you start out as a child actor?
I now understand that a lot of kids get into acting because they have done modelling work. That goes for me too. I started work at the tender age of three months old and did all the baby stuff and worked for a few years as a little model.
It all changed quickly as I was put up for a Petit Filous commercial when I was four years old. I got down to the final two boys and so my final casting was with Julia, the then Petit Filous girl! We were on our own with the casting director in the studio, and she had a chat with mum and said she would recommend me to a very good agency as I had what it took to be a good little actor. I changed agencies and worked a lot with them.
I have worked in theatre, TV, commercials, short film and voice overs and have loved every experience I have been lucky enough to have. My favourite jobs being Creation my first cinema film, in which I played Lenny Darwin and Paul Bettany played Charles Darwin, my Dad. Benedict Cumberbatch played our family doctor! (He was so nice.) Another great experience was Lord of The Flies in the Open Air Theatre – Regent’s Park in which I got the press night and met lots of great actors too!
I became an author by accident. Yes, by accident! In primary school, I was pretty good at English and won lots of awards for creative writing. Also, unfortunately, I was bullied, so I put my creative writing to good use by writing about my way of coping with what primary school can throw at you. (Though this was after the whole bullying episode was sorted out by my mum and the school.) I wrote The Little Dudes Skool Survival Guide which I never ever expected would become a book and also a best seller in Primary Schools.
I wrote it because it helped me work through what was going on in school and it really helped me as it was very therapeutic to write. I still get emails from kids telling me how my book has helped them too! RESULT! I was only 11 years old when I wrote this book and I’m now 16!
My second book, The Chronicles of Derek Dunstable, I wrote when I was 12 years old and finished it, two years later, at 14. This is my first fiction and it’s doing really well too. I have also, for the past three years, gone into primary schools on a regular basis to talk and inspire kids to read and write more – and talk about my books of course. Here is a link to my website which explains all more in depth.
What do you prefer – film TV or theatre?
Theatre – I love live. A live performance and live audience. The whole experience of meeting the cast, readings, rehearsals in many venues, then moving into the theatre, tech runs, then dress rehearsals leading up to the press night…MAGICAL!
How do you keep on top of it all?
I’m quite a geek and an academic – not sporty at all! So I have a good work ethic and study hard. If I have a casting, I make time for it. If I have a booking for my books, I catch up with studies in the evening. I embrace both acting and writing and know that I have to make sacrifices also.
How important has it been to have supportive parents too?
Wow, I’m truly blessed, I really am. Mum was cabin crew and stopped flying as she felt that she needed to be home to support all that I do and she does. She makes sure that I’m never too tired, helps me with my studies, runs me everywhere and makes sure that all is well with me at all times. Dad is great too and, though not a big talker, he is there when I need him. We go to church together and, afterwards, go to breakfast where we catch up on the week 🙂
What’s your process of preparing for the roles you’re given?
When I prepare for a role, I fit any script work into my day in preparation for when filming starts. Last year, I did a Christmas horror film in Kent, Nightmare on 34th Street. It was two days filming. I arrived, knew my script, met the cast and crew, and hung around a lot, waiting for my scenes, as you do in film. I stayed the night in a nearby hotel with mum, filmed again the next day, and job done!
At the moment, it’s hard to get a job as I’m sixteen and they can’t place me as neither a boy or man! I’m looking forward to when castings pick up again though.
You do talks in schools about following your dreams. What are the main pieces of advice you impart to aspiring actors? What’s the main thing you get asked too?
Yes, I visit lots of schools and sometimes my audience is 320 kids strong. I am aware that I must choose my words wisely because the children are very young and impressionable and that is a big responsibility to have. I try to, first and foremost, make the children understand that we are all good at something, whatever that something is and that they must believe in themselves.
I do get lots of questions regarding acting and I realise that not all kids can have an agent, for many reasons, and that most castings come through your agent. So I advise them to join any and every drama club on offer, whether school, or their local church hall, or a performing arts school, and work hard at their drama classes. One thing will lead to another, if they pursue what they love to do (some kids are spotted by agents in plays etc.)
I also tell them that, even if you are well represented, the acting business is a hard one and you need to have a strong mindset to accept all the rejections that come your way. This is why I want to continue acting as a second job and go to university and study. Who said the two can’t work? I’m more than prepared to work a script, alongside my studies.
What’s coming up next?
Right now, I’m in the midst of my GCSEs – a whole month of them! I’m on full study and examination mode. I’ve put myself as N/A to my agency whom are Abacus. I have some marathon bookings for the end of June/July for school book talks.
And at the end of June take off my N/A status with Abacus and hopefully get some castings, while I eagerly await my GCSE results on August 23. I hope to nail a casting and work as an actor this summer!
Then in September I start sixth form and driving lessons when I turn 17. The perfect scenario would be…some theatre work, a new book out and a new car!
And now some from words from Harri’s mother Deborah about how she has navigated the world of acting with her son.
Well, wow! What can I add to that?
I have supported Harri in all his ventures, and I still do now that he’s 16. Children need as much support as possible, as they combine their school studies with acting/castings. There are lots of trips after school to central London and afterwards lots of catch up too, with homework!
When I’ve been on set, my role has been to nurture my son, make sure that he’s fed, he’s watered, he has some downtime too and doesn’t get stressed with long hours. I make sure he is happy and, most of all, am there for him while, at the same time, being almost invisible to the other actors/crew. I just keep myself to myself, with a keen eye on my son!
We also have a great philosophy with castings. We see them as an added extra to our already busy lives. Harri usually does get recalls. In fact, at home, we call him ‘The Recall King’. We have had so many close calls to big roles and so many big let downs, however if they happen “brilliant, fabulous and all that” and if they don’t we congratulate Harri that he got so far and that’s that.
We also say that every casting is a mini drama lesson and that’s what we take away.
I think that Harri is a gifted, young actor and, believe me, I’m his biggest critic too! However, in the acting business, it’s not just talent that nails a part. It’s timing, luck, the right people and the right place – and, of course, a sprinkle of talent! What will be, will be for my son and I’m already very, very proud of him.
It’s a wrap! Shooting finishes for Nightmare on 34th Street
It’s official! Proud to announce my new agency – Abacus Agency
Tel: 01737 821 348
Mobile: 073575 670108
A fantastic day of book signing at Waterstone’s High Barnet
A winning review from Sci-Fi Author Stewart Bint!
Unique Monsters For Teenaged Author
I guess this book is aimed firmly at the YA market – in particular young teenaged boys. But, hell, I’m 60 and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The author has a remarkable advantage over most other YA authors, in that he was only 13 when he wrote this book (he’s 14 now), which means his portrayal of the characters, how they act and how they speak, is absolutely spot on, as he is in the very age group he is writing about and for. How many YA authors can say that?
So, what a wonderful achievement for one so young, having this novel under his belt already. The story moves along at a cracking pace, through powerful descriptive pose, and – to my mind HG’s strongest point, his dialogue, which rings true at absolutely every turn.
If I have one criticism, which is the only reason I’m giving it four stars instead of the five it otherwise richly deserves, it is the constant use of alternative words to “says.” For example, instead of says, we have laughs, sighs, tuts, screams, whistles, apologises, mutters, sobs, pants, instructs, suggests, answers, tells, etc. Occasionally such words are necessary for reinforcing a feeling or emotion, but in most cases HG’s superb dialogue does that job by itself. Maybe the book’s copy editor should have picked that up…after all, that’s their role, not the job of the writer.
The early part of the book took me right back to my schooldays. It seems schools are still the same hotbed of geeky teachers, strong friendships, and bullying that they were when I was there in the 1960s and 1970s.
Then suddenly this somewhat normal scenario is overtaken by genuinely frightening horror with some excellent, vivid gory details. All I’ll say about the storyline is that it involves a thoroughly modern and unique take on zombies – well, I’ve not come across this type of zombie/monster/creature before, anyway. It’s a truly innovative idea.
It’s also written in the present tense, which is extremely difficult to achieve, but makes a book much fresher and vibrant when successfully accomplished. And HG pulls it off effortlessly.
So, other than my one nit-picking piece of constructive criticism, which I’m hoping the author will take in the spirit I’m intending it, this is a superb book which I enjoyed immensely, and will recommend to anyone of any age who likes a cracking, well-written, good story. And I’m definitely looking forward to HG’s next offering.
It’s out now! The Chronicles of Derek Dunstable – at Waterstones, Amazon Books and Kindle
On my way to the Premiere of ‘My Guardian Angel’ June 2016
At the Premiere of ‘My Guardian Angel’ with the lead Holly Jacobson. June 2016
On set with the feature film
‘My Guardian Angel’
Had a great day filming on Sunday 31st May.
Just great to be back on set where I feel at home!
I play ‘Alex’ the next door neighbour to the twins Hannah & Angel, both parts are played by Holly Jacobson a really talented actor.
Holly & I have worked together a couple of times before, so it felt really comfortable to be working with her again.
This film is really creepy & very, very dark, my character is a friend to the twins and he has a feeling that all isn’t as it should be for them… Oops, sorry can’t say anymore I’m sworn to secrecy!
My part is a small part, but I’m happy that I got the part! Taz the director was a really lovely guy who was really easy to work with. Fingers crossed that I work for him again.
Hey Taz??? 🙂
MY LATEST BIGGEST EVER BOOKING!
I have officially been invited to attend ‘The Manx Literary Festival’
Yes, its true, we received an email from The Isle Of Man, from a teacher and author whom had purchased my book a while back.
Ms Cheryl Davis is part of the committee for the festival and she put forward my book and name to be considered to take part in the festival! A lot of big name authors are attending so I feel really privileged to be a part of the event. Now fingers crossed my school give me permission to attend?
June 4th 2014
My latest audition for the BBC!
‘No Broken Voices!’
Last week I went to audition for a period drama for the BBC. I went for the part of Marcus, two scenes to learn in three days, no sweat!
Character analysis studied, read the whole script, then learnt my scenes!
Now I’m ready for my audition and looking forward to it too, just one thing though, it says on the brief, no broken voices?
So Mum rings my agent and says ‘This could be a waste of time as Harri’s voice is well broken?’ the agent replies, ‘No worries, we will call and ask them if they still want to see Harri?’ well the answer was yes, they did still want to see me, even if my voice had broken?
Then off we go home, 3 days pass, 4 days pass, 5 days pass…we hear nothing?
Isn’t it ironic, we then see a new casting call on a kids acting website advertising for the same part I went for ‘Marcus’ and it clearly says ‘No Broken Voices!!!’
May 22nd 2014
My book is on the Shelves of Brunel University!
On Thurs May 22nd, I was invited to experience an ‘Away Day to Work’ why? because I was fortunate enough to receive the invite from a Professor Ian Rivers, (whom worked at the university) as I already knew him from ‘Twitter’ we started to talk because he had a copy of my book ‘The Little Dudes Skool Survival Guide’.
So to cut a long story short, I went to spend the day as a ‘student of psychology’ the most rewarding part being was that my book went onto the shelves of The Brunel Library, why? to be used for teacher training for any bullying issues that might arise in the classroom #proud!