We had the good fortune of connecting with Franco Machado-Pesce and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Franco, why did you pursue a creative career?
Pursuing an artistic career is never an easy choice. It comes with a lot of risk and with that, determination and dedication. Growing up, I was always certain of one thing: I was never going to work in an office. My journey has led me here, pursuing acting and filmmaking as my full time job.
I could never pinpoint one or two reasons as to why I chose this path. As cheesy as it sounds, it chose me. I never feel as free and happy as when I create. Entertaining and telling stories was always something that was natural to me. I think that stories are what keep us going as a society. Without them, we don’t learn important values, themes, or universal lessons. Acting is a very active experience that puts this at the center. I always want to go into every production with the objective of creating a valuable experience. There’s nothing more special than knowing that the stories we tell can touch the hearts and spirits of others.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Acting has become an integral part of who I am. Not just because it’s (in my opinion) the best job in the world, but because it has taught me how to become a better person. At a superficial level, one might think that acting is about putting on a performance, but it’s about listening. Focusing on your scene partner and letting the text be a roadmap is what brings out a good performance, but it’s also what helps develop better relationships. So with that said, I want to keep improving my craft to continue to grow as a person.
I just wrapped on “Ni Aquí Ni Alla” a short horror film that reflects my experiences as a Venezuelan-American. Nacho Rosales, played by Jorchual Gregory Vargas, is a victim of racism and physical abuse by his peers. His mind creates a dark entity known as El Malo, played by Matt Gomez Hidaka and designed by Santino Ferrese. My team consisting of Alexa Cha as DP, Nestor Valenzuela as a Gaffer, Tania Ghaffari as Production Designer, and Juan Manuel Leguizamon as a composer to name a few are what have made this project an absolute blast. From beginning to end, my team have been crucial to the storytelling of this film and I owe it all to them. I’m excited to finish the post production and process and introduce this short film to the world.
It took a wild ride to get where I am today. For most of my life I strived to become a professional soccer player. That was my “first love” of a career path. Things didn’t pan out and the arts were always there for me. Whether it was break dancing or acting, I always knew that it was there for me. In college, I studied screenwriting, thinking that I could audition on the side while having a writing day-job. That wasn’t the case.
In 2020, I left my job at a creative agency to pursue acting full time. Some might call it a risk, but it’s been worth it. I understand that stability is important (100%), but if it’s keeping you from doing what you love, you have to ask yourself if it’s actually worth it. I’m able to video edit part-time so I’m lucky in this respect, but opportunity will come if you take the chance. But being a hustler has definitely been crucial.
Something that a lot of people don’t notice is that acting is a business where you as the actor are your own boss and employee. It’s up to you to make all the choices, do the research, and study. If you don’t hold yourself accountable and put in your 8 hours a week, it’s going to be a very long road. I’ve enjoyed reading a lot of plays, books on acting, and watching roundtables where artists discuss the industry. From other’s experiences we can learn so much.
Being Latiné, but growing up in the United States has also influenced me as an artist. Through the diverse communities I’ve been a part of, I’ve come to understand what I stand for and what kind of stories I want to make. There are many stories that aren’t being told and I think it’s important to give underrepresented voices a microphone. At the end of the day, I want to be an actor who other kids from any group or community can look up to and strive to be like.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ohhhh! The great thing about LA is that is has a little of everything.
Hands down gotta take them to a soccer game at Banc of California Stadium. If El Tráfico (LAFC vs LA Galaxy) is scheduled, then that’s a huge must.
Since I live in West LA, I also have to say that I love Santa Monica area. From 3rd Street Promenade to the Pier there are a bunch of fun things to do there. There’s this great English Tavern called Ye Olde King’s Head and it’s a fun time for sure. I also believe they serve tea time so if you have the time and cash, could be a fun experience if you can’t afford to go to London.
I also really enjoy Culver City. On Tuesdays there’s a farmer’s market that is a good spot to check out local vendors. Downtown Culver is great though. Again it just a good general spot to hang out especially post-covid.
On Saturday’s there’s another farmer’s market in Playa Vista that has a Venezuelan joint called the Arepa Stand. They are delicious! 10/10 would recommend to anyone who wants an Arepa—a taste of my home country.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people who deserve credit in my life.
To start off, I’d like to thank my parents, Lismeth Pesce and David Machado, for being the best mentors I could’ve had. My mother always told me to express my creativity and encouraged my artistry. My father taught me that through hard work we can turn defeats into victories. Each of them gave me a different set of skills that I apply daily to everything I do. Without a good foundation, nothing can stand so they deserve all of the credit.
Thank you to my family and friends who have been there each step of the way.
I appreciate all the teachers I had at Chapman University’s Dodge College for demonstrating just how important our work is to different communities around the world and for allowing me to connect with talented young artists.
Thank you to AMAW teachers Frances Brennand Roper and Kyle David Pierce for their constant support and knowledge. Thanks to them I am able to keep exploring who I am as an actor and what I can push to create.
Other: IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm8876977/?ref_=nv_sr_1
A lot of the BTS (crew photo, on the bus, with the monster) is from “Ni Aquí Ni Allá” photographed by Johnny Guerra and Lismeth Pesce. The photo with the Coke bottle in the diner was by Harrison Bliss. Still was from “The Cherry on Top” directed by Johnny Guerra.