Our next Artist Spotlight is Actor/Writer Dan Gregory. Dan has been with NBF since Day 1 and has appeared in all but one of our projects (Rex Steel & the PC Officer). Last September, he won Best Supporting Actor at the GDIFF for his work in Yellow Scare, and recently came away with a Rising Star Award for his work in Tell Me Something Good, which he wrote and starred in.
DG! Thank you for doing this. I know you. I’ve known you since High School, but tell the people reading this a little about you.
I’m a guy who believes in himself. I’m stubborn when it comes to my goals. About 11 years ago, I decided to call myself actor. It fascinated me since I was a teenager, I’d do comedy skits on a tape recorder with Billy Farley (now a NBF producer) just for fun. But in 2008, I was confident that I could do it for real. Despite what anyone said, or any job title I’ve had to support myself along the way, I know I’m an actor. The idea has manifested in the material world.
Also, I like 80s music, working out, napping, black t shirts, strong coffee, red wine, good cigars, and watching movies. I enjoy reading biographies about artists that I admire and writing screenplays for myself and my friends to work on. I love to hang out with my wonderful girlfriend Jayleen !
You’ve been a part of all but one NBF project. What is it that keeps you coming back for more?
I stand by an ambitious film company built by dreamers. The material is diverse and the product is getting better with each production. NBF has a wide range of talent. These men and women in the group are gifted and successful, they motivate me to elevate my game. Collectively, we are really starting to explode. There’s a lot of positive energy and support within our team. I’ve been with the company since BGR, I’d like to be there for that one film (or films) that goes mainstream and propels everyone on board to the next level. It’s possible we already made it. If not, the next movie will take NBF to the the promised land.
Do you have a favorite role or roles that you’ve played in the NBF films?
My favorite NBF roles so far have been playing Michael Walsh in the series “Lost & Found” and Shamus & Tony in “Red Scare” & “Yellow Scare”. Michel allowed me to explore the insecurity and vulnerability of an immature man in a serious relationship. I also provided some romance and dark comedy to the overall story. It was physically demanding. I would depend on fitness to embody a ladies man type of character. I hope to revisit the role for a second season or a reboot soon. The series tackles uncomfortable material and deserves much bigger audience.
As for Shamus and Tony, it was fun to use new voices and make choices! I could eat and drink a lot to get into the mindset of these father and son characters. Also, improv was tolerated. I’m thankful for the room they give me at NBF to round out a character and be creative. Quality writing inspires me to use improv well. It’s a fun environment to work in.
What are your goals? What kind of roles do you want to play in the future? We’ve talked about this many times, but how do you view success as an actor?
My goal is act in the industry full time. I want to play daring roles on film, TV, and occasionally theater. I want to push myself to excel even if means an exhausting days on set and going though an emotional roller-coaster. I want to be proud of the final product. If I can make people laugh, that’s cool too.
I view material success as making a comfortable living doing what you were born to do best. I know I’ll get there. Hopefully soon. Artistically, I’m proud of my progress. I still have a lot to learn. In the future, I’ll produce and write more. I might direct one day as well.
You’ve done plenty of indie work besides working with NBF. What are some of the benefits you’ve seen working in indie film?
The benefits of doing indie film is the potential exposure for an actor. Film Festivals, websites like YouTube, and distribution deals are possible . Also, the opportunity to meet new filmmakers and book new work. I fear missing out on the next “Pulp Fiction” or “Napoleon Dynamite” because I had plans to drink with my friends instead. Mostly, experience is valuable to me. I learn a lot from others. I became a better actor by working non stop and keeping an open mind.
What are some of the drawbacks?
The drawbacks of indie film in my experience consist of: little to no pay (at times), long hours, and working hard on projects that are often miscast or shot poorly… I don’t burn bridges, but it upsets me when a filmmaker gives up on a production that I worked on. Some projects never get finished, others never make it past the post-production stage, and for some reason, certain films just get buried. I put a lot of energy into a role. It stings when that goes to waste. I can honestly say, NBF doesn’t bury good work, they push it.
You’ve won two acting awards in the last six months. How did that feel? What thoughts go through your head when (A) you find out you were nominated and (B) you hear your name being called?
It feels tremendous. Winning Best Supporting Actor in a feature film at GDIFF and the Rising Star Award at the Brightside FF has been a rush. I’m on a hot streak. I get a sense of validation from accolades. When I find out that I’m nominated for work that I love doing , I’m excited and thankful. Getting an acting nomination in the same category as Oscar Nominee, Chazz Palminteri was surreal. Gratitude is everything. I’m grateful for all my co workers in the films, my friends, my parents, my girlfriend, even my haters. Having my name called as a winner is just icing on the cake. I take these wins as a sign to keep going.
I have never seen someone push themselves so hard on social medial. I can’t count how many times I have seen you reach out to filmmakers letting them know you’d love to work with them etc. That has never been my favorite thing to do. How do you feel about it?
I’ve used social media to get more work. It’s not to brag about booking, it’s to show filmmakers I’m hungry and qualified. I post about the films I’m working on, and how proud it makes me feel to be involved. I think people can sense the sincerity of my enthusiasm. As a struggling actor with day job, I want to show industry people that I am versatile and professional. Facebook and IG helps my career move forward, it makes me a contender for new roles. I shamelessly and “Brazenly” (#brazengiantensemble) reach out to people asking to get involved. Until I have a publicist, I’ll self promote.
One last question. If you could give young DG from, say, 2009 any advice, what would it be?
Advice to Dan at 25 would be to put the work first, party later. When you prioritize, doors open. Also, the brilliant Anderson Johnson gave me great advice a couple years ago after we filmed “Cabin Of Errors” (streaming now on Prime Video). To paraphrase he said, “Get over yourself. Get out there and make connections. Step out of your comfort zone. You could be THE guy “…My advice to 35 year old me is, be the F***ing guy, and step up!
Dan can be found on Instagram as @DanielMichaelGregory, Facebook at Facebook.com/Dan.Gregory.54, and IMDB at here.