Australian-Filipino actor FELINO DOLLOSO
What started out as an excuse to skip class has turned into a lifelong career. Australian-Filipino actor FELINO DOLLOSO shares what it’s like to be in the business of acting.
So how did you get into acting and how long have you been doing it now?
I got into it by accident. I was looking for a valid excuse to skip a couple of classes back in high school and I was told that if I joined the high school play I’d be allowed to miss out on some classes because of the rehearsal schedules. So I did and got a role in the play and had one line – “The sun will come out tomorrow.” It was so much fun and I guess it started from there. I’ve been doing it now for over 15 years with some breaks in between.
Is acting your full time gig or is your day job different?
I do have a day job which looks after the financial commitments side of things. I work in an employment agency as a consultant assisting people with disabilities to find work. I do a careers guidance type role, motivating and working on the skills of clients to improve their opportunities to find work of their choice.
For me I think what works is having another career that works alongside my acting career. Employment consultancy seems to work well with this, so for now I am happy to have the two running together.
What do you like about acting?
I like being able to play interesting characters, I guess that’s what I like most. The challenge of being someone that is totally different to the real you and not getting in trouble or hospitalised for doing it I guess.
It’s more about the work for me and trying to create good work. I’m a bit shy in real life so I’m not really into the social aspects of acting, you know, the schmoozing, parties and so on. I’m terrible at networking and actor friends of mine keep telling me that it’s part of it so I guess I’m still working on that side of things.
What is it like being an Australian-Filipino actor?
It’s a bit of a challenge finding work as an ethnic actor. I guess the majority of auditions I get are for roles that ask for a certain look. What I’ve learned to do is to be self-sufficient as an actor. I try to create opportunities, create my own work, meet and work with other creative people in the same situation. Being pro-active is the way to go, I think, and not waiting for that perfect role. Create the perfect role for yourself and then show the industry and prove them, and myself, that I’m an actor that can play more than one role or genre.
It’s all about self confidence I guess and you gain this from doing work, whether it be paid, unpaid work, as long as you’re practicing your craft, the skill level will improve and that in turn helps you become a better actor.
I love working in all mediums of acting, film, TV and the stage. Films are probably a favourite right now. Stage work terrifies me; I get really nervous for some reason. So I’m being picky at the moment when I’m doing any stage/theatre work and make sure that I really like the project and the character. I’m still working on my skills on stage, as well as film and TV of course.
Have you worked in the Philippines before?
I’ve never worked as an actor in the Philippines. I would cherish and would love to work in the Philippines. Their current independent feature films are getting fantastic reviews and recognition from the international film industry. One example is the Cannes film festival. There’s fantastic Pinoy directors blossoming from the Philippines and I would love the opportunity to work with them in future projects.
I think the Philippines has a rich history and with such diversity in the people, there would be so many stories to tell and share with an international audience. I would be proud to be involved in a project there.
What projects have you worked on and working on right now?
I’ve worked on several projects in the last few years in Australia, a couple of them in lead roles. Feature films such as Callabona Red, Balibo, Candy, The Devil’s 6 Commandments and Tallulah Falls Apart.
In TV, guest roles in All Saints MRU, Spirited as well as in TV movies such as Answered by Fire and Hostages.
The theatre/stage works I’ve been in are Empress of China, Jungle Book, Measure, performance readings for His Mother’s Voice, A Quiet Night in Rangoon, Measure, and, Strange Attractor.
Right now I’m working on three feature film projects that are planned for filming this year. One is an action film, the other two are more dramatic projects. I can’t really talk too much about the projects as they are still under negotiations.
I guess I can tell you a little more on one of the projects which is a pet film project of mine. I’ll be working with Director Martin Ponferrada (Callabona Red, Tallulah Falls Apart) on this project. It is an independent feature film and we plan to film it on a very low budget. Our goal for this film is to enter it into the CineMalaya and CineManila film festivals in the Philippines and other international film festivals around the world. It’s a huge challenge for us because we plan to have the dialogue all in tagalog. We definitely welcome any Filipino businesses in Australia who wants to come on board as sponsors as this film project will have a very tight and small budget and any extra financial support would definitely help.
You’ve been compared to Fernando Poe Jr. What are your thoughts on that?
I did hear that I’ve been compared to Fernando Poe Jr, I guess I feel it’s an honor and a privilege just to be mentioned in the same sentence as the great Fernando Poe Jr. Just to have 5 per cent of his talent, charisma and presence on film would be a great gift. I have great respect for him.
Who’s your favourite actor/actress? And if you had to emulate one, who would it be?
I have lots of favourite actors and actresses. I’m always inspired when I see interesting work from actors, especially the ones who take risks in their character choices. Sometimes it works, sometimes it bombs, but it’s always interesting.
I guess if I was to pinpoint a favourite actor and actress at this point of time then it would either Forest Whittaker or Daniel Day Lewis and Meryll Streep. If I were to choose to emulate one then it would be Daniel Day Lewis.