We had the good fortune of connecting with Ottavio Taddei and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ottavio, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Premise: We’re intrinsically unique therefore no situation is equal.
Taking a risk has to have something to do with your happiness, (at least, what you think happiness is) some people want a relatively predictable life and some are simply excited by the infinite possibilities of the “unknown”.
I attained an economics degree, that seemed to be the “reasonable” and “safe” path as a young adult, problem was, I didn’t know myself well enough back then and my heart ended up directing me toward a different path; I pursued a professional career as a dancer and then expanded into acting.
The opportunity to Reflect about risk taking, dug, from my far away university days, a fond memory of Game Theory, an intriguing branch of economics and social sciences that focuses on rational decision making in front of scenarios with multiple outcomes and degrees of risk.
Now, I’m no expert, but I’m aware that individual psychology differs dramatically from person to person but, similarly to the idea that flipping a coin for a numerous amount of times will come close to a 50% scenario, probably a group with similar cultural and socioeconomic background would in general respond similarly to a certain type of risk.
I embraced the “reckless” risk of becoming an “artist”, I know, I don’t mean to sound self proclaimed and to be honest it’s even difficult to define what that means!
Well, to me it means to have the impulse to express myself in less conventional ways for the pure sake of it, telling stories, with the magnificent instrument that a human body is, and of course, when you get paid to do it, it’s much better!
As a consequence of the great uncertainty coming from that choice I have become pretty cautious in many other aspects of my life, I personally need some form of groundedness even if it may not be so evident to the eye of an external viewer.
Now, with regard to my profession being courageous is vital for an artist, it is what sets you apart, prevents predictable and potentially uninteresting performances, at the same time a great deal of creativity and risk taking is not always recommendable.
for instance, when embracing naturalism, you might be required to play a character executing a task, for instance a cashier handling a receipt, you are probably better off sticking to your duty and keeping it simple without sacrificing your own uniqueness.
I have been lucky enough to have worked on many projects even though I’m certainly hungry for many more challenges, I try to surprise myself constantly and when I do take risks, usually the outcome is the most rewarding.
I experienced the overwhelming competition and talent abundance that a city like Los Angeles has to offer, in the end what matters is to find an ephemeral answer to the question: what makes you happy?
Risks are worth taking for what you love.
“It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult.” — Seneca
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m an actor And ballet/contemporary dancer, I moved to Firenze ( Italy) to further my dance studies and then to Rome ( Italy) to find professional opportunities, then I moved to NYC and started everything from scratch and to LA for a third round of pure challenges, I guess I learned how to be adamant, I never give up, it wasn’t easy and it’s still not easy. My lesson so far is that we are all different, you gotta look at yourself in the mirror and with honesty you have to decide what to do with the gift of life that was given to you, that doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind, but don’t live life passively.
That is my recommendation.
I simply want the world to give me a chance, everybody deserves a chance, it’s up to each person to make the best of it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Even though LA is my home I would rather take my best friend to Italy, my country is not perfect but still offers an overwhelming amount of mind blowing beauty and quality. Every city has old tradition, special dishes and ways of life that are unique. America is the “newer world”, a mix of everything, cultures, religions etc.and like the internet when the information becomes too much at times it’s just hard to find what you are looking for. Maybe I’m just still foreign to all of this and I need more time to process it!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family in Italy has always believed in me, plenty of criticism but the still stood behind me. I had many teachers in my life and I wouldn’t know where to start, Stella Adler Studio of Acting in NYC, Bocconi university, and many dance teachers I had throughout my life.