Introduced to the craft by pure chance, Dan Gregory is an actor who has been paying his dues on the independent film scene, and reaping the benefits.
No stranger to the podium, Gregory is nominated for a best actor award at this weekend’s Brightside Film Festival in Jersey City—going head-to-head with a number of fine actors, including legendary Oscar nominee Chazz Palminteri.
No matter how it plays out for Gregory this weekend, he’s an actor that folks should probably get to know better—if only to say “we knew him when…”
hMAG had a chance to catch up with Dan Gregory, as he prepares for this weekend’s big event.
hMAG: Describe the films and performances for which you have been nominated.
Dan Gregory: At the Brightside Film Festival 2019, I’m acting in two films. In The Hunted, I play a shady dude named Alan who faces his sins when he gets captured by the anti hero. It’s a supernatural horror directed by Giancarlo Orenella. The film is has several nominations including Best Horror short.
In the drama Tell Me Something Good, I play an insane character named Chester who takes three hostages at gunpoint in search of finding inspiration to live. I wrote it as well. The film is Directed by Sean Feuer. I was nominated for Best Actor in a Drama—in the same category with some very talented gentlemen, including Oscar-nominated Chazz Palminteri.
h: How did you get into acting? Can you tell us about your career to date?
DG: I was fascinated with acting since I saw films like Carlito’s Way and American History X as a teenager but I didn’t persue it. I got into acting at the age of 23, my senior year at Kean University, when a student director named Blake Zawadzki told me I should play a bad guy in his film. I jumped on board and had fun. After that, I was determined to learn the craft properly, so I took classes at NYFA and Stella Adler Acting Studio.
Soon after I linked up with the talented brothers Sam & Isaac Platizky (actors/writers/producers) from Bayonne and started acting in indie films with the company called Narrow Bridge Films. Since 2010 I’ve done feature films with them—like the romantic comedy Cabin Of Errors and the WWII-era comedy Yellow Scare. Cabin was picked up for major distribution deal with Summer Hill Films. It was released on DVD last January and is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video now. I play a quirky character named George who is torn between his feelings for his girlfriend and his best friend.
Yellow Scare recently won Best Comedy at the 2018 Golden Door International Film Festival (it’s still in the film festival circuit). I was honored to win Best Supporting Actor in a feature film for my dual roles as Tony and Shamus (father & son). Tony is a perverted Greaser from the 1950’s and Shamus is an obnoxious Irish Pilot who has a major drinking problem.
Some other career highlights include starring in a commercial as bionic cowboy for the EL Rey Network, getting nominated at the 2017 Brightside Festival for Best Actor in a Horror short for In The Blood, directed by the multi -talented Joey Mosca.
Also, I played a character named Chuck from AA in the upcoming short Speculo. It’s written by Jersey City producer P.J. Leonard, and it was exciting to be directed by Emmy Winner Obba Babatunde in that film. He was a fountain of knowledge. Also, I have my own holiday in Bayonne as a member of Narrow Bridge Films. September 23 is now our official holiday as deemed by Mayor Jimmy Davis—That was an awesome surprise.
h: What’s your favorite kind of role?
DG: I love character parts. Comedy or drama, I like to stretch myself and play a bold role. I have no problem playing a lead if any talented filmmaker out there needs me to ;). I like building a character. My goal is to give a standout performance in every part I get cast in, big or small.
h: How would you describe the state of the independent film scene in our area?
DG: The indie film scene in our area is alive and well. Bayonne, Hoboken, Jersey City, they have a ton talented people who work on both sides of the camera. Social media is a great tool to reach out to local filmmakers and get involved. I keep my Instagram profile up to date with film projects, (follow me at @danielmichaelgregory). It never hurts to send someone in the indie film business your resume.
Of course NYC is the place to get involved with creative projects. I am lucky enough to be part of a film/TV/ theatre group called Brazen Giant Ensemble. It’s a group of talented artists who meet a few times a month to work on original material. It was founded by the brilliant actors Bill Sorvino and Christian Keiber. We have a residency at The Players Theatre in the Village.
h: How do you feel your chances are this weekend?
DG: I know I’m the underdog. I work a security job at the BBOED (best security team in the world) to make ends meet. But I believe my time is coming—this a step in the right direction. It’s impossible to persue an acting career without being optimistic, so I think I have a chance of winning on Sunday.
Win, lose, or tie, this nomination can elevate my career. I’m thankful to my family and friends for the encouragement. I give my lovely girlfriend Jayleen Perez all the credit in the world. She deserves an award for dealing with me everyday.
h: Where can we see you next?
DG: I’m currently cast in a Mafia project alongside some gifted female artists. It’s called Housewife, written by Trish Mata and directed by Colleen Davie Janes. It also stars Jack Mulcahy (Brothers McMullen) as the District Attorney. I play a hitman who is obsessed with cartoons. Best job in the world! Once completed, it will be marketed as a short film or TV pilot.