We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Danner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michelle, how do you think about risk?
My life has been all about taking risks. I left home early, at the age of 17, to move from New York to Los Angeles by myself. I built 2 Theaters and an Art Gallery in Santa Monica and raised a million and a half to do it. When I signed the lease, I was still fundraising and was able to get some fantastic people to believe in the mission of 2 live theaters. We cut the ribbon in September of 2002 with Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw in attendance and many other theater supporters. I started principal photography on a few of my movies without all the funding in place but I believed that it would all come together because every time I tackle a project, whether it would be in my personal life, raising children, or with my career I have faith that it will happen because I visualize it to make it happen. And because of that I enter into my fearless zone. The one that allows me to take risks and prevail. I have grown through that process, I always quote Al Pacino, who said: “It’s a risk not to take a risk and that alternative is scarier to me than the risk taking.”
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I was creative at a very early age, inspired by my father who opened the first WME agency in Paris and my mother who was a singer, I acted, wrote, directed and continued in those footsteps in my adult years. I travel all over the world teaching acting and will again after this pandemic :-)Everything that I did was a stepping stone, acting to teaching, teaching to directing, directing to writing. Every step of the way I pushed myself because I never really want to take on challenges in life but I feel like I have to. I have certainly learned to be persistent, to trust my guts and sometimes to not overthink it too much and just take action. I always tell my students, my children, my friends that nothing is impossible, all dreams are attainable if you really believe in them.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There are tons of fantastic places in Los Angeles. I would bring them to Abbot Kinney because there are some unique boutiques and introduce them to a great Venice vibe, have lunch at Gjelinas and get Ice Cream at Wanderlust and I would show them Montana Avenue. I would take someone on a drive to Malibu all the way up to Santa Barbara on the PCH, stop at Moonshadows for great seafood, walk on the beach at sunset, watch the dolphins. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m dedicating this to all my teachers, young and old that I have crossed paths with and that I have learned from.
1 – Stefania Rossini 2 – Gabriela Batista 3 – Denni Christopherson