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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best entertainment magazine in the UK“, actor Ary Satish talks about his career, what inspires him, and his latest projects.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Ary Satish about his life and career, what he loves about acting, and the creative work that has gone into his most recent projects.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
My name’s Ary Satish, or Aryaman Satish and I’m a stage and screen actor located in New York City. I work in film, television, commercials, voice over, dance and modeling. I’m also a film producer and love the process of filmmaking. I come from Kerala India, but had grown up in various parts of India (Bangalore and Kerala), The United States (Boston, Tampa, and Dallas) and even in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
I’m an alumni from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts and the Stern School of Business, where I majored in Drama and minored in Producing and Entertainment Business. My training is specialized to the Meisner Technique, originally from Sanford Meisner and taught to me at The Meisner Studio in New York City.
I have lead roles in projects produced by Goldfin Films, Auvera Films, Native Pictures, Stonestreet Studios and Plus Ultra, among other production companies. While at NYU, I starred in over 100 student films and projects, receiving global critical acclaim at film festivals such as the Manhattan Film Festival, Big Apple Film Festival, DRUK International Film Festival, Nice International Film Festival, OTB Film Awards, WorldFest, IndieX Film Fest, Shockfest Film Festival, New York Long Island Film Festival, New York Flash Film Festival, Long Island International Film Expo, Washington DC South Asian Film Festival, 4th Dimension International Film Festival and DFW South Asian Film Festival.
Since beginning my career in freelance acting outside of the educational sphere and in New York City, I have appeared in various films such as Model Minority, I Can’t Live Here Anymore, music videos such as Sean Leach’s official music video “OutWithOut (feat. Daleela)” and The Yesters official music video “Kingston City Morgue”. I have also appeared in commercials for Markup.io and the 5andGo Game App.
Soon I will be appearing as the leading man in the role of Roger, in an Off-Broadway production of Le Bijou de Paris, staged at the prestigious Chain Theater in Manhattan, New York City.
When did you first realise you wanted to be an actor?
In early high school, when it became that time to start thinking about what you wanted to do in the future, where you wanted to study (if you’re going to college) and what you wanted to major in, I remember having a long talk with both of my parents, who made it very clear to me that no matter what I chose to do, they would support me and my decision as best as they could. This opened me up to considering any and every potential career I could have and really do some soul searching.
Having been an actor, dancer and performer since an early age, it was always something that I found the most rewarding and something I enjoyed putting work into the most. At the time, I was also doing theater show after theater show in Colombo, Sri Lanka. There, I would have these specific moments backstage during shows, where I’d walk by walk through the most elaborate and beautiful sets, see actors walk by me dressed up as the most immersive and exciting characters I’d ever seen in person and felt like my time backstage/on set felt like I could be anywhere in the world.
My life didn’t feel like my life. Just as it’s easy for an audience member to suspend their disbelief and fully buy into the story that they see in front of them on stage, it was easy for me to completely suspend my disbelief and become immersed into this new life I’d live for the next two hours of this show. It was moments like that when I would just think to myself, “Oh, this is where it’s at. This is what I want to do.” Having been given my parents backing to go into any career I wanted to, gave me that security to feel I could do this and that I will go far if I really applied myself.
What is your favourite thing about performing?
When I really think about it, I really love moving people. I love being able to tell people a story and see it move them, I think, because when someone is truly moved by something, you’ve been able to make some level of impact in their life, giving them an experience that they wouldn’t have had without you.
I think what I find appealing about this is that there’s something really truthful and vulnerable about someone allowing themselves to be open to being moved or to have an experience. By them allowing you in, it almost feels like a very pure form of connecting with people. Given the high stakes and entertaining stories that come with performing, it also makes this a very magical form of connecting with someone. It feels larger than life.
When I ask myself why I chase the feeling of connecting with people this way, I think it has to do with having always wanting to do more to have a greater sense of belonging with more people. In my childhood years and up until college, I had moved either cities, states or countries almost every three years of my life. There was a constant sense of moving on from the old, starting new and finding my place once again. Because I moved to such varied places, with different languages, cultures and people, I was almost always a third culture kid growing up. Going to new schools or places and having to adapt as often as I did, I had a yearning for finding my place wherever I went. And this almost always started with the people.
Connecting with people became my way into the new life I relocated to. It felt like the most special, rewarding thing to find your place and to connect with people growing up. You felt special because you were accepted by things that could be very different to you. This in a sense, even goes back to performing once again. It’s all about the audience accepting you being real, in their entirely made-up reality. It all ties in.
What classes or training sessions have you taken to support your acting career?
I had been in some sort of acting, drama, theatre or dance class throughout my childhood, all of which I think have supported me in some way. Of course, it was my time at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts which allowed me to really hone in on my craft by placing me into one out of eight different acting studios, based on an aptitude test during my audition. Training at the Meisner Studio for a two-year intensive course there, allowed me to understand the fundamentals of acting using the Meisner Technique developed by Sanford Meisner.
Primary training at the Meisner Studio taught me to sharpen my ability to create organic behavior under imaginary circumstances, a concept which is a core derivative of The Stanislavski Method – developed by Russian theatre practitioner Constantin Stanislavski’s. It’s a practice which focusses primary in realism in theater and behaving as truthfully to the character and circumstances as possible, as an actor. This technique, accompanied by an array of classes such as Voice and Speech, the Williamson technique, on-camera acting, clown, accents/dialects, the Tadashi Suzuki movement technique, stage combat and several more, is what lead to the most practical and hands-on learning I first had as an actor. They have informed my ability to create a fundamental process of developing a character when taking on any new project.
On the movement and physical side of acting, things like receiving my Certification in Unarmed Combat by the American Society of Fight Directors and taking classes in the Tadashi Suzuki technique had improved my physical presence as an actor. Classes such as Accents and Voice & Speech had improved my vocal and performance, while classes such as script analysis worked on my academic study of the text/script when building a character.
Later in life, I also trained at the Stonestreet Studios in New York City, where the focus was on developing one’s camera-acting skills, specifically for Film and Television. This was also he studio where I would have weekly “industry night” where I was able to audition in front of actual industry professionals (agents, managers, casting directors, etc.) and is also where I landed being represented by an agent and then a manager from.
What was your most recent professional acting job?
My most recent professional acting job had been shooting for a big budget short film known as, I Can’t Live Here Anymore. I’m so excited for it to be released!
Tell me a favourite experience in your career. Something that stands out in your memories and makes you want to find more experiences like it.
One of my most favorite experiences in my career was having the film I played the lead role in, Model Minority, be featured at the Angelika Film Center at the heart of New York City. This was a favorite due to sentimental reasons.
As a student, I would often go to the Angelika because it had always been my favorite movie theater. So when it became time to have a screening for my film which I played the leading role in at the place I grew up idolizing, it felt really special. The screening has 200 seats and was a sold-out show. You also can’t get more prestigious of a cinema than the Angelika. The screening was followed by a cast talkback, where I was given the chance to be a speaker at.
Previous guest speakers at the talkback at the Angelika include Mark Ruffalo, Willem Defo, Julianna Moore, Shia LaBeouf, Saoirse Ronan, Brendan Fraser and many many more. To have my name amongst the ranks of those people who had talkbacks after their film has screened (just as I did) was an honor and really was the cherry on top. To see my film for the first time on the big screen, live in New York with a sold out audience… I mean, there’s just no feeling like it.
What was your toughest experience in your acting career?
The toughest experience in my acting career thus far was actually to balance both my roles of producing and also acting in the film I did called Take Care. The experience working on the film was of course very rewarding as well and even lead to my receiving a Best Actor win at the New York Film Awards, a Best Actor Nomination at the New York Independent Cinema Awards and an Honorable Mention at the Independent Shorts Awards.
So in all actuality, the toughness of this experience did lead to the most rewarding outcome. To play both the role of the producer of an independent film on set while also being an actor, I found at times it can pull you in two different directions, to could provide resistance when working on your craft as an actor. Through the challenge of balancing acting and producorial tasks on set, I was able to practice compartmentalizing my jobs when you have multiple on set.
Have you family and friends been supportive of your acting career?
My immediate family (parents and my sister) have always been so incredibly supportive of my acting career. Like how I’d mentioned before, they put full trust in me at a younger age to figure out what career path I wanted to go down and have stayed supportive ever since. They do a great job of staying in the loop with my career work and often and questions and have conversations to know more about what I’m doing, so in turn, I’m always excited to share new advancements in my work with them. I also am surrounded by actors and artists here in New York City, to support through them has of course always been present.
In the beginning years, when I first started out as an actor and as an acting student some years ago, I was of course met with some resistance from some external family members and friends. Truly this must have just come from the fact that I’d ventured out into a field that I was the first in my family and friend circles to do, so people’s lack of understanding often translated into little support.
I am now however well supported by several likeminded friends who all want the best for each other in our careers and promote each other’s work.
Tell me some career goals. What would you like to achieve?
As far as film goes, I would love to become a series regular on an OTT streaming television series (like a Succession or a Euphoria) and also start in big budget feature films, from action blockbusters to coming-of-age A24 indie films. Both of these goals have been top aspirations for myself across the years and both will lead to an immense amount of opportunity.
In terms of theater, I would love to perform on Broadway and also act in shows devised by some of my favorite brown, south Asian theater companies here in New York City, such as Hypokrit Theater NYC. Within both film and theater, I would love to play an array of roles, having performances vary grateful in character, style and genre. This way I will be able to have a very mixed, well-rounded arsenal of performances to my name, increasing my value as both a dramatic, comedic and serio-comedic actor.
Tell me something you were surprised by, something you had never realised about being a professional actor.
I was actually surprised to find out that only 10-15% of acting is actually acting; meaning acting on stage or on camera. The other 85-90% is in networking, working with representation, submitting for projects, auditioning and more. You have to either love the entire process the way it is or you have to love that 10% enough to justify doing the rest.
The job of acting really is in creating work and opportunities for yourself, always making sure your next project is your best project and constantly moving forward. The actual acting is of course the fun part!
What are words of advice you have for other aspiring actors?
Be kind and respectful. I can’t stress this enough. What’s interesting enough, is nine times out of ten, those who cast you in a film, cast you in it for several reasons besides how talented or hardworking you are. You of course have to have those two traits, but you also need to get along with collaborators, spend time connecting with people in the business, and be a person that people actually want to spend time and work with.
The “kindness” part of my advice is just to go the extra measure. This work all really just comes down to respect. Respect the project that you’re on, respect the people working on a film (as everyone shares the same goal and works hard to get there), respecting the craft and what work you brin to the table as an actor, and also respecting yourself enough to be able to say no to the opportunities you aren’t comfortable with or don’t want to take on it you’re not feeling it.
If you treat the career, it’s people and your work with respect all of the time, you will go very far in this industry.
Give me your social links so people can come and find you!
Absolutely! You can follow me at:
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/arysatish_/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arysatish/
- IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm13196460/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0
- My Website: www.arysatish.com
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@arysatish2269
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