Blame Shonda Rhimes. Pound Ridge native and John Jay-Cross River High School grad, Class of ’90, Matthew Del Negro was looking forward to his role on the ABC hit show "Scandal" amping up in 2017. Then the storyline changed.
“I went from 16 episodes that season to 3,” said Del Negro. “It got really slow, excruciatingly slow. I couldn’t just wait for the phone to ring.”
Never one to sit around between acting jobs–you may recognize him from "The Sopranos," "Teen Wolf" and "Goliath," to name but a few shows he's done–Del Negro decided to pursue a passion project, a podcast about perseverance and resilience. Hence the title of "10,000 No’s," which refers to the seeming never-ending rejection most actors face during the course of their careers.
“I’ve taken this thing that used to weigh me down and I’ve turned it into my platform,” said Del Negro. “It’s been therapeutic.
“I’ve always loved to sit down and talk to people from all fields; I love to pick their brains and figure out how they navigate the ups and downs of their careers and lives.”
Being a good actor, according to Del Negro, is being a good listener.
“I’ve been trained to ask all these questions about the characters I play,” said Del Negro, who still calls New York home after 14 years in Los Angeles. “It’s very similar to what I’m doing in these conversations – it’s going to what makes you tick and how I can relate to what you’ve gone through.
"As an actor I have to take that information and interpret it and make it real for the audience, and it’s kind of what I do in a podcast.”
His first podcast became available on July 17, 2017, and he’ll hit 100 podcasts later this spring. "10,000 No’s" guests have varied from fitness trainers to successful entrepreneurs to fellow actors to literal mountain climbers and more.
“I’m introducing people who I think are interesting to the rest of the world,” said Del Negro. “Maybe from a business standpoint more famous guests are more appealing, but in terms of quality of content, as long as a person is interesting, engaged and wants to be here, it will be a compelling episode.”
One guest that left a decided impression was Rob Whittaker, a Westchester resident battling stage IV colon cancer who has since sadly passed away. His is episode 5, “Cancer, Schmancer.”
“It was an amazing conversation with an amazing guy,” said Del Negro.
Aside from listening to Del Negro, you’ll also be able to watch him on a Netflix comedy premiering this spring, “Huge in France.”
Podcasting, meanwhile, has opened a second career for the actor. One he doesn’t see ending any time soon.
“I have so many ideas,” said Del Negro. “I wouldn’t call it an empire yet, but it feels like there’s no limit where it can go.”
You can download "10,000 No's" podcasts from its website and iTunes.
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