Dominic Daniel is a hard working guy in the entertainment industry. You’ve probably seen his face on national TV ads, TV shows or movies. I first met Dom when he delivered a powerful performance in a theater production at my alma mater many years ago. He’s an actor, writer, producer and forward-thinking creator in a dynamic and highly competitive industry. I’ve always been curious how people manage the thrive in Hollywood, and Dom was gracious enough to answer some questions.
IMM: Your life in one paragraph?
DD: A constant element of surprise. If you commit yourself to being an artist than that means mainly every thing in your life has to be flexible. And I thank God that my wife is so understanding.
IMM: Most people don’t really know what it’s like to be a working actor. Are you just having fun all the time?
DD: To be a working actor means you spend most of your time working to get work. Driving all around town for auditions (basically interviewing for work), getting doors slammed in your face constantly (you must have a thick skin), and then doing it all over again. The fun part is being on set for a couple of days, when you finally book a job. And the pretty handsome check that comes with it.
IMM: You have a pretty impressive acting resume spanning commercials, movies and TV shows. Does this mean you’re professionally secure now and work will continue to flow in, or do you have to continue to grind it out? Are you ever worried about getting the next gig?
DD:(See answer above). There’s probably only a handful of actors who are professionally secure, and I am not one of them. But I’m not really worried, although, it’s always a concern, of course, as a family man because this is how I feed my family.
IMM: What made you think you had the stuff to cut it as an actor? A lot of people go to Hollywood and end up waiting tables, so why did you think you’d be different?
DD: My mom told me shoot for the moon and if you can’t be a moon be a star. So I started out trying to be an astronaut and when that didn’t work out… Actually, it was really simple. I believed my entire life that God uses entertainers to spread messages to the world and I just knew I was a messenger.
IMM: What is your message?
DD: It’s kind of complicated but I can sum it up by saying that as only the messenger and not the sender, I feel that the overall message is about finding ways to help people connect. Most of the work I am doing right now as a writer/producer is all about giving a voice to different groups of people who we normally don’t hear from. And by doing so, close the gap between people of different backgrounds – race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, beliefs, etc. – which I hope, will foster a stronger bond with the creator by exposing a greater design for life than the one we presently know.
IMM: What are some myths and misconceptions people have about the business?
DD: Well, a common misconception is that it’s easy and anybody can do it. But hey, you wouldn’t let a guy who decided yesterday that he wants to be a mechanic work on your car, right? Or a guy who’s never been trained, be your surgeon. Then why pay millions of dollars to a goofball who isn’t dedicated to working on honing his acting craft. And the myth that I always hear about is the actor who became an overnight sensation…only to find out that they’ve been a working at it for years before they became famous.
IMM: Do you see yourself as already doing what you love, or getting work that gets you ever closer to it?
DD: Yep, I get payed to use my imagination and expand the imaginations of those who watch me.
IMM: How much are you motivated by fame, and how much by the desire to create, even if no one sees it?
DD: I’d say I do what I love and everything else is just a byproduct of the work. For instance, I have been writing scripts and stories since I was 12 and out of all that time I’ve only submitted one of those.
IMM: Best and worst thing about being an actor?
DD: Best: It gave me the opportunity to meet my lovely wife and it keeps me sane. Worse: It can drive you crazy, mainly, because of all the people you have to deal with.
IMM: Thanks Dom. I look forward to continuing to follow your career!