Many people in today’s society fall into the same trap: they do what is easy rather than what they dream of. It takes true insight to realize the path you are on is not where your true passion lies, and unbelievable courage to alter that path into the unknown. Business student turned Hollywood actor Lucas Zaffari knows the struggle that is working towards what you love, but also how rewarding it is once you make it.
Originally from Porto Alegre Brazil, acting was not something Zaffari saw himself doing.
“My town wasn’t really a rich environment for the arts so it had never crossed my mind,” he said. “It ﬁrst crossed my mind during a conversation that I had with a friend. At the time I was almost ﬁnished my business degree and wasn’t really sure about what work would make me feel fulﬁlled. During that long talk I started listing some things that would make me happy and acting came up.”
Since relocating to Los Angeles, Zaffari’s career has taken off. From being cast in the web series Bloggers, which premieres this summer, to writing and starring in Funny Or Die’s short The Dating Diaries, to dubbing telenovelas for Vox Studios, as well as starring in a variety of short ﬁlms, Zaffari has been adding to his ever-growing list of acting achievements.
One of the short ﬁlms that Zaffari appeared in, 60 Eight, went all the way to Cannes.
“I feel that Cannes was a perfect platform for this ﬁlm,” said Zaffari. “I was happy when Raja, the director, invited me to be part of this ﬁlm. It’s a beautiful touching story and I'm glad it was a success because it deserves a Cannes festival premiere.”
Zaffari and Raja Pothineni have worked together on multiple projects, and Pothineni describes Zaffari as a true professional.
“Lucas’s ability to be emotionally vulnerable in front of the camera, while being able to integrate directions seamlessly into his acting, makes him a very versatile actor and a real pleasure to work with,” he said. “He exudes a quiet conﬁdence that reads very well on the camera, and his dedication and commitment to the moment and his fellow actors helps in creating believable three dimensional characters. He’s very respectful to everybody on the set, and the genuineness of his character translates on to the screen as well.”
Zaffari has received recognition from many people he has worked with in regards to his willingness to learn and study his craft. This is also one of the things he loves most about his chosen profession.
“I’m passionate about acting because it is one of the professions that with every new performance you have to learn something new. You have to understand a different part of yourself, sometimes even learn a totally new skill to master for a speciﬁc character.”
Alison Balnar, a Canadian actress who has worked alongside Zaffari on a number of projects including 60 Eight, Bloggers, and The Dating Diaries, believes this commitment to his characters is reﬂected in each performance.
“Lucas is exceptional at his job. He respects and explores the story and the character. It is evident that he works tirelessly and passionately to bring both of these aspects to life. His hard work and dedication combines so beautifully with his natural talent as an actor,” Balnar explained. “He combines his techniques in the craft of acting with his creative insights. As a result, a fantastic performance is produced.”
“He is a gifted and versatile actor who has the natural ability to translate the character's inner struggles to the screen,” she continued. “He is a complete dream to work with. Not only is he exceptionally talented, he is extremely professional. He treats the cast and crew with equal respect. He is easy to collaborate with both professionally and creatively. It is fair to say that when he shows up for his call time, he is prepared to put forward his best efforts. He is a shining example of what it means to be a professional actor in this industry.”
For every one of Zaffari’s performances, he pulls from everything around him to create as real of an experience as possible. However, Zaffari believes the real challenge to acting can be connecting when it is, in fact, not real.
“You are actually not the character that you’re playing, the time of the story is usually not the present, the environment where you are is not the same as the story, there are one or multiple cameras pointed at you that your peripheral vision can see, sometimes you are not even watching what you are suppose to, like CGI,” he said. “But somehow you need to live under those imaginary circumstances so you can really feel what your character should be feeling. And that is not always achievable. I consider myself very focused and committed but it’s the mystery part of it. You can’t control what you will actually feel during that moment. I wish we had this control, but we do not have. And knowing this really helped me relax and not blame myself sometimes for not feeling the same way as the take before, or the last performance. Knowing that helped me get better.”
To overcome this, Zaffari uses his environment to stimulate his performances. He pulls from his surroundings to gain a greater understanding of how his character would be feeling. He also uses his personal experiences to try and ﬁnd a connection with the person he is portraying.
“What helps me is that I’m very curious,” he said. “I love asking the question of why, and that helps me understand a lot more about human behavior. I consider myself very rational and logical, and I believe I got that from all hours that were spent playing games as a child. It’s interesting that to win a game you need to understand how everything works and how you use that knowledge in your favor. And I loved winning.”
For Zaffari, the real winning in terms of acting comes from creating a true connection with his audience.
“For me there is nothing more rewarding than being able to make someone else have a physical reaction through watching your performance and be entertained and most of all to think differently after,” he said. “To make someone connect with what your character/yourself is feeling and make them be empathetic with you and show them a different side that they might never thought about. A smile, a tear, a laugh, a scare, a breath. I always try to make people sense me, and have a sensational experience, If I can accomplish that, I’m fulﬁlled.”
After his success dubbing telenovelas Allá te Espero, Piel Salvaje, Voltea Pa'que te enamores, Somos Familia, and Celia, Zaffari plans on continuing exploring the opportunities that are presented to him in this ﬁeld. He also plans to continue studying acting.
“I think as an art you need to be constantly sharpening yourself and to never be still. Always keep learning and enjoying the journey, that’s most important,” he said.
Most importantly, he plans on continuing to go outside his comfort zone to improve.
“I love when actors push themselves and completely give themselves to a project,” he said. “I’m an admirer of art.”
And Zaffari is well on his way to being quite the artist.