Student Spotlight: Andrea Iazzetto
When she was 3, Andrea Iazzetto dreamed of being Dorothy Gale and taken away by flying monkeys to the land of Oz.
“I must've watched ‘The Wizard of Oz’ close to 1,000 times before the age of 5,” she said. “I would put on my red dress shoes, line our encyclopedia collection in yellow paper and put my Pound Puppy in a basket my grandmother gave to me.”
Her first theater experience came in the second grade when she played Sarah Hale in “First Thanksgiving.”
“I remember being very excited about my four lines of dialogue. I was glad to finally be playing another character. Performing for an actual audience instead of my stuffed animals was a very rewarding experience.”
Throughout school, Iazzetto was involved in the arts. She played the French horn in band for five years and was involved with the school choir. But after graduating from high school, she decided to pursue a career in early childhood development and attended the University of Illinois at Chicago.
One year of taking classes “overflowing with students,” Iazzetto took the summer to think about what she really wanted and decided to follow her true passion – the arts. She also decided to enroll in the Music program at College of DuPage.
“Instantly my life changed,” she said. “I was in classes where my teachers knew me by name and had time for one-on-one meetings before school, after school and during their lunch hours. I needed these meetings possibly more than anyone to understand and to apply the theory of music, which at the time seemed like a foreign language.
“I had a lifelong friend who also changed her major over the summer and she chose Theater. This meant the majority of our classes were in the same building and my friends became her friends and vice versa. For the first time in my life, I finally felt I was right where I was supposed to be.”
After completing the Music program, Iazzetto decided to pursue the stage. She was encouraged by a COD College Theatre production called “Heroic Journeys.” The ensemble – which included one of her best friends – switched roles throughout the show, with a script based upon the ensembles’ improve skills. She also was attracted to the technical aspects that shaped the production and decided she wanted to be a part of everything.
College of DuPage proved to be a springboard into her career. She joined several COD alums and started a theater company in the southwest suburbs. Within its first year, Players, Please Theatre (PPT) was voted “Best Live Theatre” by Suburban Nightlife and earned that title again the next year.
“We created something magical – community theater for passionate, dedicated young
artists who brought off-the-wall shows to the stage at reasonable prices and better
parking than the city. From there we expanded and started our own improv troupe, Give
Please a Chance. We donated to several charities and sent items overseas to help soldiers
throughout the holiday season.One of my favorite highlights was a night of original
works, where our members had artistic freedom to submit a script that they wrote or
direct their first scene with us. It was a very rewarding experience for me to have
other people following their passion as I was following mine.”
“From a professional standpoint, I learned what it meant to really work hard. I had a 40 hour-plus regular job and worked sometimes five to seven nights or days a week for the theater. I learned what it meant to be a team and that anything is possible if you are willing to work for it. The lessons I learned through the COD Theater program I applied to our company and clearly it had a very positive outcome.”
After three years as Director of Operations, Iazzetto stepped down to follow her next passion: working in the TV/film industry in California. In the summer of 2012, she packed up her car and drove to Los Angeles without knowing anyone in the industry. Her first opportunity came as a production assistant on an independent low budget feature. She realized that in order to find jobs, she needed to work hard at networking.
But Iazzetto was up to the challenge. She has since worked as an assistant director, production coordinator, casting associate and even started her own craft service business. She has worked on several web series, music videos, commercials and feature films with Showtime, Nickelodeon, Defy Media and The Nerdist.
Her latest accomplishment is working on the first season of the CBS drama “Code Black.” She started off as a gopher and six weeks later was promoted to be in charge of the talent. She was the only production assistant to start and complete the run of “Code Black,” spanning a total of eight months.
She is currently in pre-production for Trigger Street’s “Jameson First Shot Series,” a project that is very close to her heart. It’s her fourth year working on “Jameson” and first year coordinating. The series gives artists their “first shot” as a writer/director with a professional crew and guest artists, such as Kevin Spacey, Willem Dafoe, Uma Thurman, Adrian Brody and, this year, Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Iazzetto still wants to write and direct as well as produce her own projects. She is working on writing a TV or web series about her life in the Chicago southwest suburbs and the transition of living in Los Angeles. She also would love to win an Oscar.
“My goal is to inspire people,” she said. “I want to be the ‘Yes you can’ in a world of ‘No you cant’s.’ I feel like most people are told from a very young age that doing what they love and work are two separate things. I have never believed that. If you love what you do, you’ll work harder than you ever have before in your life because it means something to you on a level you might not even be able to express.
“If you are considering COD, then go to COD! The amount of experience and education you’ll receive will last you a lifetime. Take as many classes in as many different areas as you see fit to figure out what it is you want to do. Make connections with people in your classes, performance groups, peers as well as the staff. It is because of College of DuPage that I have had the honor and pleasure of making some of the best relationships in my personal and professional career.”
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