Home Actor Interview: Dathan Smith Dons Director’s Hat with Multiple Acting Credits in Hollywood

Interview: Dathan Smith Dons Director’s Hat with Multiple Acting Credits in Hollywood

Dathan Smith

Dathan Smith is a Hollywood acting talent, with acting credits on Pitch Perfect 2, Dallas Buyers Club, Scream Queens, 22 Jump St., Trumbo, Now You See Me, Mr. Right, Homefront, Zoo and more.

Dathan Smith was around 14 years old when he became extremely interested in writing and directing. His mother saw an audition notice for a community theater looking for 3 young boys around Dathan’s age to play the leads in a full length comedy. She asked if he would be interested and Dathan immediately jumped at the opportunity. Dathan auditioned and was lucky to be cast as the middle child in “Our Girls“. It was an incredible experience that won me an award for Best Newcomer.

indieactivity : How did you become an actor?
Dathan Smith : After my first play I was addicted. I auditioned for Everything! The same theatre asked me to be in “Little Women” as Laurie. Then I went on to perform in over 20 productions during my 4 years in high school. From local theatre to high school competitions, the creative outlet was exactly what I had longed for.

After winning Best Actor at an Area competition for One Act Play, I received a scholarship to West Texas A&M where I studied Theater. But my passion grew stronger and I moved to Dallas where I got an agent and began performing as a main troupe member in murder mystery shows. My love for the industry was growing rapidly as I immediately gained SAG eligibility within my first year of having an agent. 

indieactivity : What acting technique do you use?
Dathan Smith : I love Meisner. I have been studying Meisner for many years with Michele Condrey at R.E.A.C.T. studios. I have studied other methods like Ivana Chubbuck, and worked with other coaches such as Jim Gleason in New Orleans. I am currently hoping to enroll at the Actor Factory very soon.

indieactivity : Describe wrong impressions actors hold about acting? Dathan Smith : A lot of actors think acting is about doing. “What can I do in this scene? How should I react when this question is asked? What props should I have? How should I say this line?” This puts the actor too much in their head. Stop thinking about what you are going to do and simply react to the moment. React to what is happening in that very moment. Don’t let the words dictate your emotions. Let them flow.

indieactivity : Do you take courses to improve your craft?
Dathan Smith : I try and consistently stay in class. If I’m not in class, I’m seeking workshops. Acting is like working out. You have to workout or you won’t be strong. 

indieactivity : What acting books do you read?
Dathan Smith : Sanford Meisner on Acting and as many scripts as I can. 

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Dathan Smith in Hold Your Peace

indieactivity : How do you keep fit as an actor?
Dathan Smith : By going to class! But also, a healthy diet. Limit your drinking. Avoid unnecessary “extras” that will slow you down physically and mentally.

indieactivity : How do you prepare for a role, after you get it?
Dathan Smith : I read the entire script. Then I read it again. And again, and again. 

indieactivity: How do you create a character from a script into a person?
Dathan Smith : The character is always me in the situation. I have to put myself in that situation. But not just in that moment, there must be a before and there must be a desired after.

indieactivity : How do you stay fresh on a production set?
Dathan Smith : Never rehearse exactly how you want to say it or it will sound and come out rehearsed. Avoid distractions. Leave your phone off the set.

indieactivity : What do you want from a director?
Dathan Smith : Passion. It’s contagious. If the director is truly passionate about the project, the entire set will take pride in what they are doing. It takes EVERYONE involved to make an incredible project, no matter the genre or goal.

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Dathan Smith with Channing Tatum in 22 Jump Street

indieactivity : What director do you want to work with?
Dathan Smith : Darren Aronofsky

indieactivity : Why?
Dathan Smith : He’s a true storyteller. He captures these incredibly and powerful performances, and you can tell he feels just as passionate about every moment as the actor does.

indieactivity : What advice do you give actors?
Dathan Smith : Never give up. Struggle is half the battle.

indieactivity : Briefly write about your career?
Dathan Smith : I’ve worked on many sets. Not just as an actor. I’ve also worked stand-in for many famous actors. I’ve written, directed, produced. I’ve found that true joy comes from what you put into the project. You may not always get the limelight.

But to truly enjoy the experience, that is the ultimate reward. My goal since I was a child was to work in the entertainment industry. I’ve had the privilege of working on Pitch Perfect 2, Dallas Buyers Club, Scream Queens, 22 Jump St., Trumbo, Now You See Me, Mr. Right, Homefront, Zoo and much more.

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Dathan Smith on the set of Homefront (Arresting Officer)

I’ve worked side by side with A-list celebrities, and I’ve worked in a crowd of 1,000 as an extra. Not matter where I was on set, I was just happy to be a part of it all. Now as I start to move more in front of the camera and I begin the wonderful journey of directing later this month, I can truthfully say I have had a very fulfilling career in the entertainment industry.

And I’ve only just begun. Catch me in the trailer for Numbers out now and fully released July 1st.

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