We recently talked to an amazing young man about life, his acting and writing career and the subject of bullying in school.
Please welcome H.G. Sansostri, author of The Little Dudes Skool Survival Guide, a book that helps kids learn to deal with bullying in school.
H.G. Sansostri: Writer, Actor and Advocate to prevent bullying in school
Welcome! Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Harrison Sansostri and I’m 11yrs old, I’m from London in the UK. My Mum is English and my Dad is Italian, hence the funny surname! I enjoy writing, reading and gaming on my Xbox 360. I’m also a child actor and have been for 6 years now. I’ve appeared in films, commercials and West End Theatre, theatre being my favourite job bookings. That is where you do learn how to act on stage!
I’m now a newly published author with my book The Little Dudes Skool Survival Guide. I never planned to become an author though, my Mum thought that my book had a serious message for other kids, so she sent it to a publishers and you have it…my Book 🙂
What inspired you to write “‘The Little Dudes Skool Survival Guide” and tackle the subject of bullying in school?
Well… what really inspired me were ‘MY BULLIES’ (thank you bullies) they gave me all the material that is in my book right now, though I never dreamt that it would become a book! I was bullied because I was different: ‘an Actor.’ at first my school friends (no longer are now, my decision!), they were ‘Wow’ ‘Awesome’ ‘You’re famous’ ‘When is your next film?’ Then a big newspaper article came out about me and I was celebrated in school assembly by my Headmistress and that’s when it all went sour and changed for me, they turned…It’s in my book! My book characters are Ethan & Billy, I’m Ethan!
What message can other kids take away from your book to help them when it comes to bullying in school?
‘COMMUNICATION IS KEY’ you MUST TELL your parents, teachers, headmasters. Never, ever feel alone! I was unhappy and lonely and I’m not anymore 🙂
Dealing with bullying in school is never easy. Often, parents have a hard time figuring out how to help their children. Do you have any advice for parents on what they can say or do to stop bullying?
They must put pen to paper and write down all the facts of the unpleasant incidents that have happened, times and dates (important, as this is much needed evidence) as my Mum did. (She even emailed a report in one Saturday night) We learned that having documentation was very important when meeting up with the bullies parents, teachers and the bullies themselves, it really helped. As this was the written truth and evidence!
What is the first thing a kid should do if they are dealing with bullying in school?
If you are in school immediately tell a teacher and don’t wait until you get home. If you don’t go to school but still have something making you sad ‘talk, speak, communicate with a ‘big person’ who you feel safe with. Then when you get home from school, tell your parent or carer. You must stop the Bully before the situation swells up like a balloon?
How can kids overcome the feeling of loneliness and sadness when they are facing bullying in school? How did you overcome it?
First of all like I said before communication is key. Then secondly do something creative (I started writing). By doing something like reading, gaming, writing, Lego, chess you occupy yourself and those sad feelings disappear for a while at least?
Let’s switch gears a bit and talk more about you! What do you read in your spare time?
Well my favourite genre is Sci-Fi, I’m actually writing a book now called ‘The Chronicles of Derek Dunstable’ that is based on an apocalyptic epidemic (excuse the mouthful there!) My favourite author is Mark Haddon who wrote ‘ A Spot of Bother’ and ‘Curious Incident of the dog at brill books for both children and adults alike. Also Patrick Ness from ‘The Chaos Walking’ trilogy, and ‘Hunger Games‘ by Suzanne Collins. So many I could go on and on…!
Can you tell us a bit about the movies and plays that you’ve done?
I have been an actor for 6 years now. I’ve done lots of work and have been involved in film and theatre, commercials and voice overs. I played the part of ‘Percival’ in ‘Lord of the Flies’ in the West End (best job ever that one!) I played Lenny Darwin in a film for cinema called ‘Creation’ when I was seven years old. Paul Bettany played Charles Darwin, my Father and Jennifer Connelly played Emma Darwin, my Mother. I also worked with Warwick Davies in a Christmas horror called ‘Tell Him Next Year’. I’ve also done lots of short films and commercials, though I enjoy Theatre over Film any day! That’s where you are truly acting.
How do you balance school, family time, acting and time with friends with your writing?
I always write after dinner, but if I feel really inspired I will tap away at my IPad because I will probably forget any new inspiration I have for my book. Also, I try to do all my homework first, get that out of the way, then relax on the X-Box, have my lovely dinner. Go to my room and write away, I find it very relaxing to write too. I have no schedule with my writing, I write only when I feel inspired to do so. My Mum is so funny as she asks downstairs to upstairs, ‘Harri what are you doing right now?’ I respond ‘ writing Mum’ she then says ‘oh okay, would you like anything, a snack etc?’ As she loves to hear ‘I’M WRITING’ 🙂
If I get an audition well that’s put into my day too with everything else, the hard part is when they send over the script, you have to learn it to prepare for the audition, that’s the easy part! Though becoming your character for the audition, is the hard part! As you have to forget who you are and convince the director you are Jonny, Ethan, Billy or whoever he wants you to be (hard, hard work).
Do you ever get nervous? If so, how did you handle it? What is your secret for staying calm?
No I don’t get nervous as I can only try my best and I can’t do any more than that. It seems to work for me, as when I’m on stage I become my ‘character’ and by doing that I forget that there is an audience out there. Auditions are the hardest part because it’s the golden ticket to the job, when I go to auditions, I try really hard and what will be, will be 🙂 I don’t think about them anymore because if get the job, you can be sure I will know, as mum gets so excited and runs around the house dancing and screaming ‘Well done, well done’ honestly Mums!
If you could play any character from any book in a movie, who would you choose?
Jamie Carpenter from ‘Department 19’ written by Will Hill though Jamie is 16, I will have to grow up a little to play him.
What are your plans for the future? More writing? More acting? Both?
Both, I love to do both acting and writing. For example – When I’m on set acting, I can still write and study in my breaks. I want to go to university and study law too, but that doesn’t mean that I need to give up my acting or writing? I’m also enjoying all that’s happening right now and I hope to be doing the same in a 100 yrs! 🙂
Do you have anything you would like to add?
I hope my book helps lots of children who maybe feel a little sad or lonely, as they need to talk to an adult and COMMUNICATE!