Dionisio Neto of Satellite of Love Company On The 5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful…

Posted on

Dionisio Neto of Satellite of Love Company On The 5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career in TV and Film

Jobs are like waves of the sea, they come and go In between use your time to live life and evolve as a human being, you will certainly be a better actor.

Many times the lack of work leads actors to depression and paralysis. Only 15% of the world’s actors are employed, and of these only 5% achieve fame. You cannot despair at the first no, and neither can you despair at periods of scarcity. Live one day at a time, after one wave there will always come another. Our best role is always the next one.

As a part of our series about creating a successful career in TV and Film, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dionisio Neto.

Dionisio Neto, 51, is a Brazilian actor, writer, director, and producer. He was born is São Luís — Maranhão, an island in the north of Brazil in 29/12/1971. He wrote eighteen plays released in the books of Giostri and Benfazeja, like “Perpétua”, “Opus profundum” (presented in the BluePrint Series Festival at the St. Mark´s Church in New York with American actors), Nico & I and others. He performed in plays directed by Antunes Filho, Bia Lessa, José Celso Martinez Correa, Lucia Segall, Ivan Feijó, Marcio Aurélio, and others. In movies he acts in Carandiru (Golden Indian Catalina Best actor award) and My Hindu friend (with Willem Dafoe) directed by Hector Babenco, Up against them all produced by Fernando Meirelles, and others. On TV, he performed in soap operas such as Dulce Ambición, A favorita, Travessia (Globo) among others. He plays the journalist Dionisio Silva in Crime Time (Canal+, Netflix) and a delegate in O rei da TV (Star+). He was the bandleader of a rock´n roll band Krepax. He also wrote articles for Vogue Magazine and the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I spend my childhood in an island in the north of Brazil — Sao Luis of Maranhao. I was a happy kid. My mother loved art. She bring me to theater plays, movies. She was Miss Maranhao. I remember watching Pinocchio in the theater with her. It was unforgettable. Another famous play in Brazil that made me love theater was Os Saltimbancos. She also gave me cardboard masks as a gift. I used to play characters with them. The fact that I was born in front of a movie theater was also very important for the construction of my imagination. When I was six years old, she unfortunately died trying to have an abortion. A doctor who also loved culture adopted me. At school, at the age of nine, I wrote, directed, produced and acted in my first authorial play. As a teenager, I met José Celso Martinês Corrêa, an important Brazilian theater director, and participated in a performance with him. At nineteen years old, I went on a delightful journey with a theater company — Marinho Piacentini Performance Brazil. We performed in Paraguay, Colombia and Mexico. On my return, I joined the CPT (Centro de Pesquisas Teatrais) and worked with the director Antunes Filho, to whom I owe my education. At twenty-three years old, I founded my own company — The Satellite Company of Love — and I am with it to this day.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

Although I had already done theater in school as a child, my first epiphany with this art was at the age of fifteen. I went to see two plays by Nelson Rodrigues — the greatest playwright in Brazil, the Brazilian Shakespeare, directed by Antunes Filho — Paraíso Zona Norte — consisting of A falecida and Os Sete Gatinhos. The sensation was magical. There I was sure that I wanted to do theater forever. Not to mention my baptismal name — Dionysus is the Greek god of theater — which also always brought me closer to this art. When I returned from a tour of Latin America, I was part of a group where we did Shakespeare’s Richard II. Soon after, I was approved in the auditions to work with Antunes. He introduced me to Marlon Branso in A Streetcar Named Desire by Elisa Kazan, adapted from the play by Tennesse Williams. Actually, the first time I had seen Brando was in Superman. He had already caught my attention, but nothing compared to his performance as Stanley Kowalsky. When I saw him, I was in a state of shock. In addition, I was sure that I was on the right track. In addition, I am to this day standing on the shoulders of this giant that is Bud.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

During my career, I have been lucky to work with extraordinary artists like Antunes Filho, Fernanda Montenegro, Walcyr Carrasco, and so many others. I really have many stories to tell. However, I believe that spending an afternoon at the home of film director Hector Babenco acting with Willem Dafoe in My Hindu Friend, the director’s last film, was something out of the ordinary. I acted in Carandiru, a great film by the director, in the role of Lula, the nurse who smoked crack to operate on the inmates. With the role I won the Golden India Catalina award at the Cartagena de Indias Film Festival as best supporting actor, together with the leading cast. Babenco used to say that I was his charm, that starting the filming of Carandiru with me had brought him luck and that he wanted to start his last film with me. On the day of the shoot, I was waiting to go onstage and Willem Dafoe saw me and came over to greet me. We remembered that he had seen my play Opus Profundum in New York and he complimented me on my performance in Carandiru and said that I had to move to Los Angeles to work as an actor. I was very happy with the meeting and especially to be acting with him in the director’s house, acting in English. Babenco, in the end, said that I was handsome and that my career would work out. Moreover, it is working.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I directed the Trilogy of the Offspring the media, who called me the enfant terrible of Brazilian theater, worshiped me. I was only twenty-four years old when I was the main attraction of the main theater festival in Brazil, the Curitiba Festival. I was treated like a pop star. I made money, every day I was in the media. I did not have much political ability, even though I was the son of a politician. I guess I must have had my rebellious days, which is perfectly natural, even more so for someone at that age. I believe that if I had such ability, and especially the knowledge of how to produce my pieces, I would have achieved a lot more. Everything is politics. Long-term human relationships are what keep us going for so long in this medium. As Shakespeare said, “the hard thing is not to get, it’s to keep”. I was also very honest with an author who wrote a very bad play. Two Brazilian stars invited me to direct. After we finished reading it, I asked them why they wanted to do a play that was not even a play, it was just a sketch. They called the author for another reading and at the end, I said: “your play has two women that you don’t know who they are, they are there, you don’t know why, they talk, they talk, nothing happens, they talk, they talk and the play ends. Result — she who was the one who had gotten the sponsorship sent me away. Lesson learned. It is necessary to be polite in relationships and always leave the doors open.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I am currently producing the Trilogy of Solitude for the theater. Franz Kafka’s Letter to his Father; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sufferings of Young Werther, and Her, which I wrote myself. I direct all three and act in Kafka’s in the role of the father and son. I have been rehearsing these plays since the beginning of the pandemic and now we have invitations to perform. I am also producing the play Nico & I, which I wrote about the life and work of the lead singer of The Velvet Underground & Nico — Christa Päffgen. It is the only play in the world about her today. In cinema, I wrote the script for Perpetua, adapted from my first theater play, and I would love to do it with Anitta. It’s her face. I will make a special participation in the film As aparecidas, by Ivan Feijó, in the role of a Paraguayan pilgrim, acting in Spanish. In addition, in Literature, I will launch my first novel — Perla Stuart — the ex-wife and I have started writing Perla Stuart — the ex-husband. Moreover, I am open to new roles and possibilities to practice my sacred craft in theater, film, streaming and tv. Just call me and I will happily go.

You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

Failure is an illusion, so is success. The most important thing in this profession is longevity. The advice I give is to never stop studying, to never stop being curious about life and people. This is the working material of the actor — life and the human being, feelings, emotions. It is always necessary to rescue our humanity so that machines do not replace us. Perseverance and faith.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

1. The world is diverse and plural. The more so is the industry, the closer it will be to reality as it is.

2. The more diversity is represented on the screen, on stage, in stories, the more people will identify with it, and the more they will want to see themselves represented. The audience will increase in quality and quantity. And certainly the catharsis will be greater.

3. It is necessary to escape from clichés and seek new ways to tell stories. If diversity is ignored as it has been for decades, decadence will be inevitable. Diversity is life!

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

1. Don’t trust everything people say, do not believe in false promises of directors and authors who only want to exercise the power of their own ego.

During my life, I have always heard from directors and authors that their dream was to work with me. Lies. Somehow, I was paralyzed by these promises. It took me a while to understand that they were just exercising their ego. In addition, the one who had to fight for my career was solely and exclusively me.

2. Produce your own content; do not wait for invitations to fall from the sky.

From the moment I started producing my own work, the invitations came therefore, not the other way around. Happiness is the path to success, not the other way around.

3. Learn the bureaucracies of production and execute them with joy, they will be the dose of reality for your dream.

Bureaucracies may seem boring, but they are actually very important for the lightness of productions to happen organically. Without the manager, there is no artist’s career.

4 Be political, but don’t be a hypocrite.

We usually live in social bubbles where everyone gets to know each other in one way and another. Our good reputation is critical to the longevity of our careers. It is necessary to be political because we all depend on everyone else. However, never go against your ethical principles, or you will be betrayed by yourself.

5. Jobs are like waves of the sea, they come and go In between use your time to live life and evolve as a human being, you will certainly be a better actor.

Many times the lack of work leads actors to depression and paralysis. Only 15% of the world’s actors are employed, and of these only 5% achieve fame. You cannot despair at the first no, and neither can you despair at periods of scarcity. Live one day at a time, after one wave there will always come another. Our best role is always the next one.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Follow your heart, breathe, be free and spontaneous, and always keep a smile on your face. This is the fertilizer of prosperity.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Love is the answer.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I was fortunate to have excellent godfathers in theater, film and television. Great artists who admired my work and wanted to help me out of sheer generosity. Without a doubt, the one who helped me most was director Antunes Filho. He had a very special appreciation for my work and me. I worked with him in my early youth. I did theater by intuition, without any technique. I was a performer, not an actor. He introduced me to the world of world and historical theater. Working with him made my mind explode in many directions. After three years with him, I decided to go solo. I wrote and acted in Perpetua. He went to see it and loved it so much that he said I was as good a playwright as Nelson Rodrigues and Plínio Marcos and as good an actor as Marlon Brando. He personally called the owners of the Curitiba Festival (the biggest in Latin America) and recommended my play. In addition, he opened the doors of the SESC, a very important institution in Brazil and in the world. I owe my education to him. He taught me to believe in my work and express it. Moreover, to persevere.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Always leave the doors open.” A Candomblé saint mother once told me that. That phrase changed my way of acting in the world. As I said, the important thing is longevity, doing work during life. We are always meeting and meeting again people, we never know when we will help each other. It is important, when people remember us, that they have a good memory. Open doors allow coming and going to be a natural and continuous flow of life. For many, many years.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

When I watched Leonardo DiCaprio in his first films I knew he was a gigantic actor. Since then I have watched all of his films. I would love to act with him. And I’m sure he would also love to act with me. Preferably in a Walter Salles movie.

How can our readers follow you online?

Instagram and Tik Tok: @dionisionetoator

Facebook and Twitter: @dionisioneto

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

It is my pleasure!

Photos By Nelson Aguilar

Costumes by Nicole Nativa and Renato Cardoso

Images processing by Estefani Fontes

Dionisio Neto of Satellite of Love Company On The 5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.