The Deception Of Arrogance — The Power Of Kindness and Humility

And How It All Fits In With Talent

Herbie J Pilato
4 min readJan 30, 2020


Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

Years ago, I directed a musical for a local theatre community, spending weeks auditioning countless actors, singers, and dancers of all ages. A diverse group of talented performers gave their all during the process, and of course, I could only narrow it down to a chosen few who would win the various lead and supporting roles. But it soon became clear who would round out the cast.

I was impressed with the theatrical range of some but more impressed with the kindness of others. Some of those with the most talent, unfortunately, did not have the best personalities — nor the kindest of demeanor. Some of those with less talent — and in some cases, no talent at all, appeared to be less egotistical and potentially the easiest to work with.

So, I was faced with a dilemma:

1. Hire the most talented who were also the most egotistical and difficult personalities?


2. Cast the least talented who were also the gentlest of souls?

Ultimately, I went with a good mix of those individuals from each category. I cast the actors who were both talented and kind, while I also selected performers who may have lacked talent but who were good-natured. And I refused to cast those who were egotistical and somewhat mean-spirited — no matter how talented a performer each may have been. Those candidates would have to at some point try again later for another production of mine, or somewhere else in town.

Years after this production, I started teaching acting in another facility, and I found myself in a similar predicament. Many fine actors enrolled for my classes, and in doing so, they had to audition. I was a tough teacher and expected a great deal from each of them. However, many who attended those classes went on to great things, in and out of the entertainment field.

In any case, there was this one particular student who stood out — but not for the reasons that one might expect. Let’s call him “Joe.”

Joe was an awkward sort. He was tall, gaunt, not very coordinated or particularly talented. But he had heart — and passion — and determination. And he also…



Herbie J Pilato

Herbie J Pilato is a writer, producer, and TV personality whose books about life and pop culture include THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS.