I am excited to announce a special Success Story interview. I am a huge fan of The Asylum, from AE: Apocalypse Earth to Z Nation. Dominic Pace from their latest hit Megalodon agreed to give us a behind the scenes look at acting and share his Success Story.
Dominic Pace: Talks Acting, Success, And Megalodons
About Dominic Pace
A native of Ossining, NY, Dominic Pace began his career at age 18 Off-Broadway in the hit comedy, Tony and Tina’s Wedding. At 42, Pace has had a steady career of bit character roles on many popular Television Shows. He is currently recurring on NBC’s Superstore, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and the star of SyFy Channel’s Megalodon from The Asylum.
My questions are in bold, Dominic’s follow in plain text
What is it like being an actor? What does a typical day on set look like?
The life of an actor is constantly unpredictable, which is exciting and frightening at the same time. Day to day varies with ambition and excitement. A constant challenge from before you book a role, to performing the role, and then the fallout after the appearance to find the next project and capitalize on the publicity of the appearance.
As far as a day on set, it’s something I take very seriously for obvious reasons. Every actor works extremely hard to book a role as you’re up against 20-30 people in the audition room. Out of respect for those who cast you, as well as the producer and the director, you want to do everything you can to show them they made the right choice.
That means knowing your lines, knowing what they expect from you with the role, and being fearless and not holding back your instincts. Every set has a different vibe. From very intense to laid back and fun. Personally, I come into the day expecting absolute punctuality, as many budgets do not allow for multiple takes, and if they do they want it for themselves and not for mistakes on the actor’s part.
What is the one thing we do not know about the industry or maybe we as fans take for granted?
That the definition of success in this town is only given to the top 1%. Imagine if every occupation was viewed that way. Just nationally and internationally recognized Teachers or Police Officers were deemed successful. That’s what’s frustrating from those outside the industry.
You could’ve had a blockbuster in the ’80s and yet you’re viewed as a ‘has been’ just because you’re still not at the top. Or be C-listed just because you’re not a household name. That’s sometimes a bit frustrating to me, as I believe there should be a lot more credit due to anyone who has even garnered 15 minutes.
I remember reading a bio on an old character actor who died tragically, Vic Morrow. He starred opposite Walter Matthau in Bad News Bears, as well as Twilight Zone. His bio makes it sounds like he was a failure. I wish fans would acknowledge and respect that even the so-called; ‘non-A-listers’ deserve their respect.
What is one thing you have learned from being successful in acting?
To be your own king. This world may sometimes not root you on, but you keep believing in your ability and strength, and the world will accommodate and reward you. Inner strength is key.
Is there a mistake you have made starting out that you wish you could change?
I tried too hard with the craft. I tried to ‘act’ as opposed to trusting my instincts and just letting the moments be without trying. That takes years to master, and it’s always a work in progress.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
You have to love it, as the amount of time and energy it takes to establish oneself takes nothing less than loving the craft. If you’re in it for fame or being an A-lister, you’ll be severely disappointed and burn out.
As an actor, what are you most proud of?
That I never gave up. Through all the odd jobs, raising my sons, managing restaurants while always keeping my eyes on my dream. To have the resiliency to endure the entire struggle and still stay strong.
Looking back on your career, is there something you learned from the industry that you found surprising?
I remember when I had 5 principal Television credits and how easy I thought it would get after that. It’s never gotten any easier. Each day you have to work hard as the next job has no guarantee. Unless you’re a recognizable name, and even then you have to beat out other names. Don’t expect any leisurely break throughout your journey.
Do you ever get nervous or forget your lines?
I wouldn’t say ‘nervous’ but ‘anxious.’ You get fired up and sometimes overcompensate. You have to stay in control. Sure, I’ll forget a line or two, but most directors don’t care unless it’s crucial to the story. You realize the most important thing is being in the moment and then you won’t worry whether you missed a word or rearranged a sentence.
What advice would you have for people that get nervous giving presentations?
It’s really about repetition. Practice. It will overcome it all. But at least be at peace knowing if you’re a newbie that all those nerves are natural.
If someone wanted to improve his or her presentation or acting skills is there a book you would recommend?
Sanford Meisner on Acting. The Meisner Technique will get you out of your head as it leads your focus towards the other actor, and reacting quickly before you overthink your instincts. Can’t say enough about it.
Any upcoming projects you are working on?
Starring in a psychological thriller titled Anonymous Killers. One of the most thought-provoking scripts I’ve ever had the privilege of working on. Unfortunately, I cannot speak about the story but only to say I will definitely shout it from the rooftops when I can, as I’m very proud of this one.
What does your social media strategy look like; any tips?
No political posts. Lol. My dream since day one has been to make people forget about their life and reality for a minute. Though I respect my peers and their causes and beliefs, I also believe some of us are here to entertain. If I can do that, and make people from both the left and the right smile, then I’m happy. J
Any mistakes you see people routinely make with social media?
Yes, politics. No matter what side you take, guess what? You just alienated half your audience. You can’t tell 50 million people from either side they’re idiots. Especially with a degree in acting or no degree at all.
Where can people connect with you online?
Running the business end of things, and managing social media must be a challenge. How do you manage it all?
I have a very good team here in Los Angeles who has made it affordable as opposed to the standard $1-$4k per month. I tap them on a per-event or per article basis to make it affordable as opposed to a monthly contract. I’ve been very grateful to them. I would suggest being aggressive with LinkedIn, as it’s a free way to network and add contacts within your industry.
How do you manage time?
You have to really discipline yourself in any field when you’re an independent contractor. It comes organically as, when you do what you love, you genuinely can prioritize where you’re needed and what needs to be executed on a daily basis.
What is the best advice you have received?
Not to rely on your representatives for work. You have to aggressively pursue work yourself. I’ve been told, sometimes that can be viewed as desperate but really? What other business would look down upon an employee hungry to work? I’ve done so unapologetically.
Do you have any advice for people who may feel discouraged about reaching their goals?
There’s a beautiful irony to the narcissism of society. No one is truly paying attention to you. So with that in mind, you have nothing to lose. An old acting teacher once told me ‘you have to be private in public.’ Meaning dance as if no one is watching. My mother used to say, ‘100 years from now who is going to care?’
How important is fitness?
Very important, although men have it easy as there are so many character roles where you can be burly or big and still work. If you’re young, it definitely pays to go to the gym, however. Most younger roles, both male and female, demand a healthier look.
Do you enjoy working out?
I enjoy doing it just enough, to be honest. The motivation now at 42, is circulation and lung capacity. When you perform, you can’t be short of breath for being out of shape. You couldn’t play any substantial roles.
My motivation comes from not pushing myself too hard. In doing that, it makes me want to go back each day. Sometimes you hire these trainers, and you get discouraged because you can’t keep up, everything in moderation.
What is the one thing you wish everyone knew?
That money and fame mean very little without true love.
Megalodon Vs. Six-Headed Shark, who’s the bigger threat?
Megalodon, for sure!
I would like to thank Dominic for this great interview. It’s a privilege to host these interviews, and everyone in the geek clan appreciates all the hard work you and your collogues do, to bring us fun entertainment.
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