Joseph Ausanio is an actor, screenwriter, and creator of the webseries ‘Troy’s Big Break’. Joseph also happens to be deaf but he does NOT allow that to keep him from doing all the things he dreams of and he encourages us all to follow suit. Another thing you should know about Joseph is that he is a gay man who is representing in such a positive way.
The unique thing about ‘Troy’s Big Break’ is there are no spoken lines. Almost all of the dialogue is signed and there are captions for those of us who do not speak sign language. You really have to check it out for yourself! Here is a little about the show and Joseph as only he can tell you:
Q: Can you talk a little about Troy’s Big Break?
Joseph Ausanio: Absolutely! It’s a unique show because it showcases Deaf talent. It’s about a Deaf director who faces different types of life challenges while looking for the perfect actress for his production. Things start to unfold to show what’s going on in his life.
Q: What has the response to the show been so far from the deaf community as well as the hearing community?
Joseph Ausanio: It’s pretty popular with the Rochester, NY folks, because that is where we filmed the show. And the people know us there. Rochester also has a large D/deaf community there and it’s truly a nice thing. The people who watched the show always approach the cast members and let them know that they are fans of the show. That really means a lot. I had hearing people messaging me saying that it was so different from the other things they watched because they’re so used to seeing shows with a full hearing cast, but the reception from them has been really positive.
Q: What guest stars would you like to have on the show?
Joseph Ausanio: Ooh, this is a tough one. I’d love to have Marlee Matlin on the show. She’s one of my inspirations. I would LOVE to get Amber Zion on the show. She’s an incredibly gifted Deaf actress and I love her work. I would also love to get Rikki Poynter, who’s a super awesome YouTube vlogger and I love her videos. She’s not afraid to speak out and I have tremendous respect for her for doing that.
I’d also love to see Kelsey Lindhorst’s character faint when she sees Nyle DiMarco show up in an episode. That’d be hilarious. Or even Troy’s mom to go out on a date with him! (Think Sophia Petrillo going on a date with Burt Reynolds in an episode of “The Golden Girls”)
I’m all about showcasing more Deaf talent out there.
Q: Who were some of your idols/role models growing up?
Joseph Ausanio: First, Marlee Matlin, because she inspired me to become an actor growing up. Also, Lucille Ball is one of the greatest comediennes I’ve ever watched. When I first saw her on TV, I couldn’t walk away from the television. She never fails to make me laugh every time I watch “I Love Lucy”. I admire her so much.
Q: Do you think we will see more shows that involve hearing impaired characters like Switched at Birth and your show?
Joseph Ausanio: I REALLY hope so. I would love to write a TV series for any network that features characters that are D/deaf because I want to support diversity. We have millions of Deaf people in the world and it would be great to do more shows for them.
Q: What would you say to others who are trying hard to make their dreams come true and trying to overcome some obstacle they have no control over?
Joseph Ausanio: I would say this:
“If you want to make it happen, do it. If you want to travel all over the world, go for it. If you want to make movies, do it. Don’t wait for things to simply fall in your lap. I learned this life lesson the hard way. Just listen to your heart. If you want to follow your dreams, now is the time.”
Q: What made you decide to create a character who is also gay?
Joseph Ausanio: The reason why I decided to create a gay character was because the LGBT #DeafTalent felt that they weren’t always showcased, so I wanted to showcase them more.
Q: What would you say to those out there who are dealing with issues around coming out? Both in the deaf community and in the hearing community?
Joseph Ausanio: I remember when I came out, it was very scary. I was 19 and in college. I broke up with my ex-girlfriend and I was slowly coming out to a few close friends and then my family members. My family and friends are incredibly supportive and I feel fortunate for that. For the others, I want them to know that they are not alone in this. I can’t speak for other people, because we all have different experiences. I can say that no matter what, you will always get support from the LGBT community and their allies. If they’re scared, I’m here to talk. I want to lend a hand to provide support. We have a big support system. We have a lot of LGBT people and the allies in our Deaf community and we are so incredibly supportive of each other, and the same goes for the hearing community.
Joseph Ausanio: I had a great pep talk with a dear friend two weeks before he unexpectedly passed away; he was incredibly supportive of my dreams of moving to Los Angeles. He said, “Seize the day.” He was right.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever given? Are you normally good at taking your own advice?
Joseph Ausanio: I’m bad at taking my own advice, but I try to give great advice to people. I would tell them, “Life is way too short to be unhappy. Never give up your dreams even through the tough times, when you realize how strong you truly are. Nothing….nothing is impossible.”
Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?
Joseph Ausanio: I can’t live without my family, who have been my rock. I wish we could all live without hate and violence; there is way too much of that in the world right now.
Q: Where can we find you and your show online?
Joseph Ausanio: You can find me on Twitter via @JosephAusanio and you can find Troy’s Big Break’s Twitter page via @TroysBigBreak. We also have a Facebook page of the show. You can also find the full episodes on our YouTube channel at youtube.com/troysbigbreak. All of the episodes are captioned for the D/deaf and hearing audiences.
Q: What’s up next for Joseph Ausanio and Troy’s Big Break?
Joseph Ausanio: I am hoping to do a third season of “Troy’s Big Break”. I have the season premiere’s script written already. I’m planning to chat with my cast & crew to see if they’re game. I work with the most amazing people – both cast and crew. They have all taught me a lot. I wrote a few pilot scripts here and there. I’m always writing new stuff.
I recently wrote a feature screenplay that focuses on a Deaf woman and her struggles with life and love. I’m hoping that it might catch someone’s attention because the story is so powerful. I gave it to an actress I want for that role and she loved the script. Maybe something will come of it soon.