Today’s interview is with Richard Gabai. He is a veteran of Film, Television, and the LA Rock Scene with a very diverse body of work. He just wrapped “A Gingerbread Romance” which premieres December 16th on The Hallmark Channel.
Richard Gabai: Writer, Producer, and Musician,
Shares His Success Story
My questions and comments are in bold, Richard’s responses are in plain text.
About Richard Gabai
Richard (IMDb) is a veteran of Film and Television with an incredibly diverse body of work.
Last year he released his film JUSTICE, a period Western starring Jackson Rathbone, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Steven Lang, Nathan Parsons, Ellen Hollman, Quenton Aaron, and Robert Carradine, which has been picked up by Universal for a Theatrical and Digital release. A graduate of USC, Richard lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.
Tell us about how you got started.
My career began with a series of cult, genre, and family films including the Quentin Tarantino favorite Vice Girls, the Genesis Award winning, The Bike Squad, and the groundbreaking Call of the Wild 3D.
My Indie thriller InSight was theatrically released to critical acclaim with Yahoo Movies calling it, “Well Directed and Acted From Start to Finish”. My period Western Justice starring Jackson Rathbone, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Steven Lang, Nathan Parsons, Ellen Hollman, Quenton Aaron, and Robert Carradine was picked up and released by Universal last year.
I also continue to work as an actor and a musician, and my latest album Double Life is available on all of the streaming platforms. Additionally, I was a producer on both Steve Boyum’s Fox feature Supercross and the Toronto Discovery Award Winner Beautiful Boy, which starred Michael Sheen and Maria Bello.
How did you get started in your career?
My first professional gig was a movie shot out in Sharon Pennsylvania called The Whitmore’s Are Having Company. Not long after, I booked a few national commercials before deciding I wanted to try and write, produce, and direct my own movies.
What does a typical day look like?
When I’m home and not in production, it starts out by making lunches for my three kids and helping my wife get off to work. She teaches 1st grade. Then I try and get some kind of a workout in. After that, it’s on the computer with emails, writing, and reading new material. At least three times a week I’m meeting with somebody regarding one project or another. When I’m on location or shooting something here in LA, of course, my day has everything to do with what’s happening on the show.
I love my family like crazy, so I spend as much time with them and helping out with stuff at home a bunch when I can – because when I leave town, it’s often for weeks at a time.
What is one thing you have learned from being successful?
Honestly, I’ve never considered myself successful. I feel like I work hard and make an honest living. Hopefully, I’m just getting started.
Is there a mistake you have made starting out that you wish you could change?
Well, hindsight is of course 20/20. Early on, had I stuck to film production and distribution I could’ve made a bunch of money, but I don’t know that I’d be happier. Something has to give; you can’t do it all at the same time. I’m an actor, director, musician, producer, and writer. Had I stuck to any one of those I probably would be farther along in that area, but then again I wouldn’t be me. I’m a lucky guy, the luckiest I know.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Make your own luck. Work hard.
Professionally what are you most proud of?
The fact that I have a profession and a career in the arts gives me a great sense of pride. Whenever I’m on set or in the studio, and anyone complains, I remind my colleagues that we don’t dig ditches for a living; we are, in fact, living the dream.
Looking back on your career, is there something you learned from the industry that you found surprising?
Everyone really does want to direct 🙂
What advice would you have for people that are having difficulty making it in the industry?
I’d suggest that only those who are completely dedicated to the entertainment industry jump into the battle because it is one. I think show business is just as competitive as professional sports. What other industry has so many people willing to work for free? On a side note I’ve never had anyone work on one of my shows for free – rubs me the wrong way.
Do you have any tips for people trying to make it in your field?
Create content. Don’t wait for anyone else to do anything for you.
If you could recommend a book (or two) to help people be more successful, what would it be, and why?
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The title says it all.
Any upcoming projects you are working on?
Thankfully yes – but I’ve found it’s best to talk about things once they are definitely happening!
What does your social media strategy look like, any tips?
Now that’s where I need help! I’m definitely not too savvy in the social media platforms.
Where can people connect with you online?
And of course on Facebook.
What is the best advice you have received?
The best advice I received came from my father. Two things. He said, “Don’t count the other guy’s money,” and, “Never pass up on the chance to take a leak before a meeting.” Words to live by!
Do you have any advice for people that may feel discouraged about reaching their goals?
Surround yourself with like-minded, supportive people. I haven’t reached my goals yet – we all need all the love and encouragement we can muster.
How import is fitness to success?
I think it is very important and I’m always pushing myself to stay active. I don’t feel right if I don’t exercise. Amazing how we are always ready to eat but rarely feel better afterward, yet we never want to work out but always feel better after that.
Do you have anything you would like to promote or tell us about?
My latest project “A Gingerbread Romance” premieres Sunday, December 16 at 8/7c on the Hallmark Channel and will be airing through the holidays. I released an album last year called “Double Life”, give it a listen on your favorite streaming service.
Your Money Geek sneak peek
Tia Mowry-Hardrict (“The Game,” “Sister, Sister”) and Duane Henry (“NCIS,” “Doctors”) combine sugar, spice and a love story so nice in A Gingerbread Romance, a new, original movie premiering Sunday, December 16 (8 p.m. ET/PT) on the Hallmark Channel. Successful architect Taylor Scott (Mowry-Hardrict) is poised for a promotion and a move to Paris, but her boss has an unusual request before deciding about her career: Taylor must partner with a baker to create a life-sized gingerbread house.
Though this task is festive, it also has high stakes as she will represent her firm against their rivals in a competition judged by the mayor. Taylor partners with pastry chef Adam Dale (Henry), and though their styles are very different, the two connect and build chemistry while working together.
She even starts to feel a sense of home for the first time in her life with Adam and his daughter, while at the same time inspiring Adam to follow his own career dreams. After hearing news from her boss about the Paris promotion, Taylor is torn about the decision. As the competition and Christmas Eve near, Taylor must choose between making a move to Paris and building a life and home with Adam.
Last question, Die Hard, is it a Christmas Movie?
Thanks for taking the time to speak with me – wishing you and everyone out there only the best!!!
Thank you, Richard, for your great words of advice, and sharing a few moments with us. Make sure you don’t miss A Gingerbread Romance tonight!
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