A Man of Many Roles


Actor, Director, Filmmaker, Author and Motivational Speaker Tom Malloy Talks to Nitish Shah About his Efforts in Helping Students Cope with Various Issues

For as long as he can remember, Tom Malloy wanted to be an actor. This dream turned into reality when Tom starred in films such as Gravesend, The Alphabet Killer and The Attic and received critical acclaim. Tom has also been a part of popular television shows such as Law and Order, Third Watch and Kidnapped. Tom then decided to learn about the business of filmmaking and founded his own production company, ‘Trick Candle Productions’, in 2005. He has also authored a book called Bankroll: A New Approach to Financing Feature Films, which provides valuable information on film financing. In addition to this, Tom is also a renowned motivational speaker for kids and adults and has spoken to more than 100,000 people over the years. By addressing issues such as drug addiction and bullying, Tom has helped numerous students across the United States. Tom recently visited India to look for potential collaborations with the Indian film industry. Nitish Shah took this opportunity to find out more about this multi talented actor’s many roles.

You have inspired thousands of people with your speeches. What inspired you to become a motivational speaker? 
I knew I had something to say and share. I had produced a documentary about a guy who was the greatest bowler of all time but had ruined his life because of drugs and alcohol; and he spoke about this issue at the film screening. Someone from the ‘Speakers Bureau’ was present there and realised that he was not an effective speaker. So I told him that I could so this; I love kids and I love helping people. He asked me to prepare an hour long speech and then I had to do a private speech for him and his assistant. At the end of the speech he said, “let’s start booking you”. That was nine years ago, and now I have spoken to over 100,000 kids in the United States; at one point I did 18 speeches in just 12 days!

What can people expect from a motivational session with Tom Malloy? 
No matter what topic I am speaking about, whether it is film financing, anti-drugs or anti bullying, the effect is always the same. At the end of the session you feel uplifted, motivated and very positive. When I was a kid, I used to hear anti-drugs speakers, most of whom were former drug users, and they would say ‘Don’t do what I did’. I don’t believe that was a good approach because some people might look at him and think he didn’t end up that bad despite doing drugs. On the other hand, I didn’t do drugs and I attained success in my field; therefore my antidrugs speech was an example of how I didn’t need drugs to get where I am today and it became the first ‘Do what I did’ approach to the issue. Nowadays anti-bullying has become a hot-button topic and a lot of schools are focusing on this problem. What I try to do is equip students with a clear-cut plan that they can walk away with so that they feel empowered to take action.

Did you ever experience bullying when you were in school? If so, how did you cope with it?
Yes, I was a victim of bullying when I was young because I was skinny. However, I was sharp with my tongue, and because I was fast and funny, people usually wouldn’t mess with me. If anyone tried to pick on me, I would retaliate by making fun of them. I realised early on that I was powerful and people listened to me, and by fifth grade, I felt powerful enough to not only take care of myself but also help others. In fact, I would always jump in if anyone was being bullied and verbally defend that person.

Tell us more about your innovative approach to the antibullying message.
When I talk to kids, the main thing I emphasise is personal power and by that I don’t mean physical power. The way people feel about themselves is very important and so I try to provide steps to becoming a powerful person. Because such a person can never be bullied as they believe in themselves and have self worth. Also, a powerful person would never bully somebody else and if they saw somebody being bullied, they would jump in and help that person instead of looking away and saying I don’t want to get involved. So I provide kids with the right steps to becoming that person since I really believe in personal power.

Our readers would love to know more about your motivational speeches on ‘Making Positive Choices’.
‘Making Positive Choices’ was a part of the anti-drugs speeches that I used to do. Peer pressure exists in every society; sometimes it can be positive as well. The key in tackling peer pressure is to make positive choices. For example, if your three best friends are doing something negative, like drugs, and you have to make a positive choice by saying no, it is definitely not easy. You have to have a great amount of personal power to say no because most people generally have a follower mindset. When you make positive choices, you make your own decisions and don’t base these decisions on what somebody else is doing. When I do my speeches, I tell kids how to say no and why to say no. When I tell kids the steps to become a powerful person, they do not need drugs anymore. One of the most important ways to becoming a powerful person is to set a goal, put it down on paper and do something. Whatever your goal might be, you have to set a time limit for it as well. Because if you say I’m going to be happy someday, that will never happen. So you need to set a goal and a deadline for yourself and say, for example, “I’m going to be happy by the end of this month”. If kids have something to live for, then it takes away the need to escape that are coupled with the dangers of drugs. Hopefully this causes the balance to shift in favour of living a drug-free life.

You have written a book ‘Bankroll’ and released a 6-set CD called ‘Get the Gold’. We would love to know more about this. 
‘Bankroll’ is a book about film financing, which in reality it applies to a writer, actor, producer or anybody in the film business. Earlier, most books about film financing were like dissertations and very difficult to read. So, I decided to write a book on the same subject that’s actually exciting and fun to read. Last year, during the Sundance Film Festival, 12 people came up to me and told me they were fans of my book. In fact, one woman approached me and said that her film was being screened at the festival because of my book. My seminars usually last for about five hours. ‘Get the Gold’ CD set has about five and a half hours of focused material, which is the same as my seminar speech. The benefit is that you can listen to it over and over again.

Is there anyone in particular who has inspired you in your life?
Dr. Wayne Dyer has written a book titled ‘You’ll See It When You Believe It’, which is a philosophy I follow. I have been inspired by many spiritual people in my life, but he was the first one that I connected with. He has also written a book titled ‘The Power of Intention’, and I personally use the philosophy from that book in my life.

Do you have any advice for our young readers?
I love the phrase ‘people who succeed believe that they will’. There is also a quote by Henry Ford which says, ‘whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right’. So you have to believe in yourself. Whatever it is that you want, you can achieve it, if you believe you can make it happen.

The way people feel about themselves is very important and so I try to provide steps to becoming a powerful person. Because such a person can never be bullied as they believe in themselves and have self-worth.


Volume 2 Issue 2


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