Five Questions with Paul Santoli '17

Paul Santoli ’17 is an actor and aspiring filmmaker living in Los Angeles. Though he admits he is not taking a conventional route after earning his bachelor’s degree in business, every bit of the skills he learned at Mercy are in action as he pursues his dreams in Hollywood.

We asked Paul to share a little bit about his journey so far.

Q: Your proudest accomplishment so far?

A: My proudest accomplishment so far is this movie I wrote with Cooper Tomlinson "Because of Mika." I think I'm extremely proud because I know it’s what the world needs right now but I am also so blessed and humbled at how much love and support people gave me so far both financially and verbally. I've done a ton of short films in the past but I am just so proud that I allowed myself to finally have that clarity and confidence to say to myself that "I can write a movie". One month later I did.


Q: What motivates you the most?

A: My mother - She's been through hell and she's a saint. I just want to leave some good projects on this earth to show that she is a wonderful mother and she did a great job with all of her children. 

For this movie - the support. I had over $10,000 worth of donations for this movie which motivates me to push it forward anyway I can. It's such a unique process making your own movie because you are kind of your own boss. I need to make decisions and take routes through experimentation but also having faith that eventually one of these routes will help this movie come to life. 


Q: How did Mercy impact your life?

A: Mercy allowed me to have closure on my old life. Growing up as a kid I was a very talented lacrosse player until my dad passed away and then I lost my way completely. My whole life I created this idea that I had to be a star to "be complete.” Jordan Levine and Mercy College were so kind to allow me to play for their team and allow me to realize that being a college lacrosse star and accountant wasn’t my path anymore.  I didn't love the game like I used to, and that was okay.

I also was in a lot of classes that involved public speaking and the art of persuasion which are extremely important out in the real world and especially Los Angeles. People can tell if your lying based on the tone of your voice and the look in your eyes. These classes taught me to stand tall, believe in my idea and persuade them to join your team. It goes hand and hand with acting.


Q: What are three words that describe your Mercy experience?

A: Find your way


Q: What is one piece of advice you would give a college student?

A: My advice is don't be afraid of change and don't be afraid of the unknown path. Also, trust your gut feeling on certain situations. Say what needs to be said in the right moment and do what needs to be done. I find that if you speak your complete truth you live with less regret.