Sunday, 16 October 2011

Entertainment Media Show: An Interview with Dan Shor

This interview can also be found on Step2Inspire.

As an actor, writer, director and teacher with a career spanning over thirty years, Dan Shor is certainly a veteran of the media industry. Having featured in one of my all-time favourite films, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, as Billy the Kid, I was looking forward to talking with him about his experiences in the movie, as well as his current career as a producer.

BJ: Hello, Dan Shor! You having a good weekend?

DS: Oh, yeah! What is that?!

BJ: Sorry, yeah, I'm recording!

DS: It looks like a laser gun or something!

BJ: It's the new model phaser; the iPod nano of Starfleet weaponry!

DS: Yeah, that's what it looks like! Anyway, yeah, it's a very good weekend. I didn't sleep last night, so, I'm like dizzy man. Literally the whole world is spinning.

BJ: Did you arrive in the UK recently then?

DS: I've been here three days, and I'll be here three more days, that's it.

BJ: Probably still a bit jet-lagged then!

DS: I'm quite a bit jet-lagged! Also, beer. But it should be gone, it should be out of my system! You never know...

BJ: Hmm, a good mix! You're well known for playing Ram in the original Tron, and of course Billy the Kid in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, and yesterday you and Jane Wiedlin held a Q&A on the latter. Did you do much preparation for your role in Bill and Ted?

DS: When I initially auditioned for Bill and Ted, I did that generic cowboy act. But when I got the part I went back and studied Billy the Kid, read up on all his history. The guy was a syphilitic lunatic! So when I turned up on the first day of shooting, I started to twitch and do all this weird stuff, and they shouted “cut that shit out! Do it like you did in the audition when you played Generic Cowboy Number 1. I want you to play Generic Cowboy Number 1.” Ok...

BJ: After all that work!

DS: Yeah! I worked my butt off for that! And then of course we're rammed into this phone box...

BJ: And they actually used a real phone booth didn't they?

DS: It was an actual British phone booth. It was just a normal sized phone booth, and you all get in. Do you know how long it takes to light any scene?! They shoved all these actors into a phone booth, and they squashed us all in at the back and put Keanu and Alex in the front. We're all like “I can't breathe! Abe Lincoln get the f-”. The next day they figured that they didn't have to squash Jane in because you couldn't see her, so she escaped it!

BJ: Ha, sounds like an experience and a half! Yesterday you also mentioned your production company, ShodaVision. Obviously you started out as an actor, so how did the production company come about?

DS: I left the United States and moved to the South Pacific and to Asia for seven years. During that time, I became a video director for visitor channels on four different Mariana islands, and did exposes and documentaries on the island culture, history, music, dance and sports, and became a documentarian. I then created my own soap opera, then created commercials that played around the world, then did a reality television series that I hosted and wrote in the Philippines, and all that knowledge, when I came back to the States, I used to create my own production company. I now shoot music videos, web stream videos for major power companies on the east coast of the United States and their energy saving programs.

BJ: That's an impressive amount of stuff!

DS: I've started a whole new career out of the sea, literally, and I still plan to act, but it's few and far between when I wait for people to ask me.

BJ: Have you got any projects your currently working on?

DS: Yeah, I just finished some. I've got seven web streams that are going to be airing on the web for major power companies, and I will be doing many many more. I'm lining up close to thirty-one, and that's going to happen in the next six months.

BJ: Blimey!

DS: That's all that I know of right now. I never know what's going to happen, actually, I just hope, you know.

BJ: Yeah, that's the nature of this industry!

DS: Especially when you're a freelancer. When you're a freelancer, you freelance! My daughter wants me to get a job, I want me to get a job! But, doing what I do.

BJ: That is a perk of being freelance – you can get on and do the work you want to do. But unfortunately it's also quite insecure when it comes to getting that work...

DS: Yeah, it's very insecure! You have many many many days that you can't explain to your child. “Dad, why are you still asleep?” Because I can!

BJ: Ha, both a blessing and a curse! Well, thank you for your time, it was a pleasure meeting you. Best of luck with the web streams, and all your future endeavours!

DS: Thank you, you too.

For more information on Dan Shor's production company, check out his website at www.shodavision.com

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