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Meet Dan Real of DAN REAL FILMS

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dan Real.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
“Always believe in yourself,” that’s how I can start my story…

When I graduated in Paris in 2007 of a master degree in software engineering and project management, I start working for high end IT Services companies as a software developer. I’ve always been attracted to the cinema, the picture science, and production.

Somewhere in my mind I had this idea and wish to be someone who can express a certain type of creativity through the motion picture. While I started my work life in IT, I decided a year later to create my production company and improve my skills in the cinema industry.

In the same year, I was hired by the biggest French television network TF1 as a project manager (but in the IT division)… guess why I chose to go to work there… Then you’ll ask me… how can you get clients without knowing anything about the cinema or even the filming process?

As a project manager in my day job, I learn how to be surrounded by great people who can work hard to achieve a goal. I used this model and applied it to launch my company with a team of great videographer and editor. Quickly, I found myself being able to pitch ideas to agencies and one of them trusted my vision and quality of execution to work with prestigious clients… It was the beginning of five years of collaboration…

During this time I had the opportunity to start by covering trade shows and events for Alcohol brands as Martini, Bacardi, Grey Goose but also video game companies as Sony PlayStation to name a few. At the beginning, I relied a lot on my people cause I had my day job and couldn’t do everything by myself. Step by step I start being attracted by all the camera technics and the post-production process.

When it was the time, I was more involved, bought my own cameras to go and film events and being curious about this new world. Then the agency put me on bigger projects, jumping from event coverage to create commercials. As I was expending my team in Paris, I was also more involved in the execution. Hopefully, I learn a lot from my team by observing carefully, speak with them and getting interest to the hardware and software components.

When the time came to cover for Martini all their events during the Cannes Film Festival, I never hesitate to sacrifice my holidays (from my day job) to go there and work for my own business to give the best service and results to my clients. More I was involved in filming, editing, producing, managing resources and more it starts to speak to my inner by feeling happy and fulfilled.

I always liked computer science I grew up with a keyboard in my hands… but I felt as a businessman and an artist that this new world fit for me as a Producer for the business side and a Director for the creative side. Feel that you can be your own boss, a young entrepreneur and manage your time the way you want was a life value I wanted to have.

Then during years, I started to visit Los Angeles for holidays and fun, not for work this time. 🙂 When I came here the first time in 2006, I couldn’t imagine that ten years later I would be living here… Los Angeles gave me this curious feeling of “being home” and being welcome here. As the mecca of the entertainment industry, this city was on my bucket list as a goal to live here to improve my life and career.

I start visiting Los Angeles in 2009, 2012, 2013 always for a few weeks… Then in 2014, my mind starts to grow, my skills in the production and the filming process was good enough to think “moving in LA from Paris.”

By the end of the year 2014, I applied to get a working Visa to come in the USA and guess what… I got it in a few months… I will always remember this day when I got my passport back from the embassy with the Visa inside. I was so excited to tell everyone and to my family!

For me, it was a sign… this is it! In 2015, after seven years of great work at TF1 and also great production projects for my company in Paris I decided to sell my home and my car, quit my day job and take two big luggage with me and fly to LA by myself. The irony is… one of my first jobs when I came here was to cover the Oscars Red Carpet Ceremony in Hollywood Blvd. for the biggest French news show of… TF1.

It’s funny how life can sometimes be… when I watched my footages on national TV in France it was an emotional time for me and so motivating for going forward and tell to myself that I have something to do and bring here.

When I arrived in LA, I had few friends from my past travels but nothing really accurate in term of connections to give me a shot and start working here… Hopefully… one of my strength is my personality. I have this natural way of being very social, open, smooth and flexible. Being able to adapt myself to any situations as a chameleon. It probably comes from my sign as a Pisces…

In the entertainment industry, I had to understand that network is everything and not only by just knowing people and hang out with them but make sure to meet the “key” people that can open the door of their office and give you the shot to showcase your work.

The first year I was out almost every single night, not to go clubbing and party as it can be very easy to lose yourself in this city, but always focus with one goal “improve my business in the USA.” I start going to professional event and gathering, meet people at private day parties, bbq, nice lounges in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

My strategy is split into two parts; the first one is to improve the commercial and branded content work and the second part to improve my skills as a director in the film industry. When I was in Paris, I never had the opportunity to work and develop narrative projects, and I knew that I needed to add this stone in my portfolio if I wanted to make it in the film industry!

English language was a challenge as well, I used to speak English in Paris but not as much as I had to do by leaving in the US. By watching a lot of Netflix tv shows (with English subtitles) day and night during months and also start reading a lot of books… that was very helpful to improve my level.

Btw… I think I read more books in English since I moved in LA than all the books I read in France… huh… Talking about the first part of my strategy, I knew that the competition was hard in this city…

At the beginning, when I introduced myself as a director and producer, some people didn’t take me seriously… I was kind of a shock for me cause I knew what I’m capable of and what I’ve done before… but… unfortunately in a city where everyone “is” a director, actor, actress, producer… it’s hard to make the difference. But I had an advantage; I had connections in France interested to develop content in Los Angeles.

We often say that timing is everything and when I decided to move to LA I did it cause I knew that I was coming here without an empty bag… I got my portfolio… my skills… my « savoire-faire »… and a great sense of intuition! Enough to start something great right? The first half of 2015 was mostly how to create a life “from scratch” here and the other half the business development.

By the end of the first year, I produced my first commercial for a sneaker brand, worked on motion graphics scene for the feature film Beyond The Sky produce by my friend Martine Melloul and cover video shoot for fashion brands. The more projects I started to do here and the more I could start talking about what I’m doing and develop my capabilities.

It’s like a virtuous circle…
– Do.
– Communicate on what you do.
– Catch new projects.

In 2016, I started to expand my network in the city and being able to work with agencies as Bold + Beyond LA who gave me my first shot to produce and direct a commercial for the nutrition brand Hum. Also met Matt Stefl who has a marketing program at Loyola Marymount University and trusted me to develop video content for his students until today.

By the end of 2016, I’ve been introduced to Cashmere Agency by one of my great friend today David Abplanalp, that I met at a pool party… to produce and direct a corporate video for General Electric. I quickly improve my portfolio in the US and start to feel very proud of achieving great goals for my first American clients!

I always keep in mind that as soon as I put my feet outside, I always have to be ready, you never know who you are going to meet, always be well dressed, the first impression is always the most important and gives your business card! People can contact you even year later! It actually really happened to me when I got a call from France to produce in 2017 interviews for the launch of the new video game by Ubisoft…

With good ideas… by being a nice person and great strength of conviction anyone can make it. What is a challenge as an entrepreneur even if you’re not from the country and especially here in LA you have to stay focus on your goals! So yes it’s not always easy, we all have bills to pay.

I had some hard time when I had to do DJ (yes another of my skill that I will probably talk about to another chapter lol) to be able to pay my rent. But I stayed focus and try to stick to my plan the best way I could. If you do something else to live here try to make it during the evening and focus your daytime to your dreams and ambitions.

One thing brings another…. Lately in 2018, I was part of the production team for the 10th season of the biggest french reality tv show « Les Anges 10 », filmed in Los Angeles and broadcast nationally in France and Europe. Thanks to my friend Fabrice Sopoglian who gave me a year before the opportunity to connect with the production team when I direct a commercial for a local motorcycle brand.

This mission gave me the opportunity to work with key people in LA to be on camera as mentors and also brands involvement and studio access to create professional challenges for our candidates. I had the opportunity to deal contracts with celebrities for their appearances in the show for Tyler Henry the Hollywood Medium, Sam Asghari, Nick Cooper the top celebrity vocal coach, Wendy Starland who discovered Lady Gag and the TV Host Erica Olsen to name a few…

Today and in 3 years I built a six figures business… with great references in branded content, high-end corporate companies, education, reality tv show… and also a solid network. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to have a vision and understand the world (very fast) where we are living.

Being in LA is a great advantage, I feel that we are at the top of the trends before everyone in the world (even if we are the last one in the world to wake up). In the meantime, that can sound scary and make you feel old and obsolete… That’s why since I moved here I always do my best to “Rethink” myself.

What person I want to be? Witch people I want to hang out with? How can I improve the quality of my delivery to my clients? How can I get new clients and develop my business? For example, this year I decided to diversify my services and launch Dan Real Media (Official launching by the end of 2018) by creating a media agency that includes Talents, Influencers, Live Broadcast solutions, and TV production to complete Dan Real Films who is focused on the Commercials and Films development.

The idea of this agency is to help American brands to expand their business in Europe by working with key influencers overseas and vice versa and bring innovative solutions.

Based on my experience and knowledge we can provide and control a high production quality for the content in the digital marketing space. I decided to start exploring new horizons by working with agencies in New York City to bring my Hollywood experience mixed with my French « je ne sais quoi.» As a businessman, it’s important to go where your instinct is telling you to go, and for this new year, my goal is to go back and forth between LA and NYC.

Let’s see which great idea I’ll have next year… 😉

Please tell us about DAN REAL FILMS.
Dan Real Films is a production company specializing in branded content, commercials, corporate video, and short films. We have a diverse portfolio going from alcohol brands to nutrition, fashion, video games, and tech startups. We also produce content for Television as a reality tv show, news report and live streaming.

My pride as a company owner is to be able to give work to people and make their life better by working with great clients in diverse fields. It’s always a new story, and I love that! It’s never boring, and that helps to improve creativity!

I think there are values that my clients appreciate by working with my company:
– I’m reliable.
– I’m a man of my words.
– The work is done on time.
– We work fast and deliver quality.
– The American seriousness with the French flexibility.
– Peace of mind for my clients as we are taking care of almost everything.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
When I was a boy scout going in the forest for three weeks and build the camp with all my friends and watching the stars during the night.

Contact Info:

  Image Credit:
William Kidston

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