We had the good fortune of connecting with Seth Dolan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Seth, how does your business help the community?
When I started Gladiator Productions, I felt it was imperative that we create a set of values authentic to who we are as individuals and how I wanted the Company to make an impact in the world. Our 6 core principles guide everything we do – and it became clear from the onset, if something doesn’t align with those principles – we let it go. This includes values like Better Together, Good Vibes Only and Level Up. Myself being LGBTQ+, and my initial team being an incredibly diverse and eclectic group – we only want our projects to set waves of positivity and inclusion. Authenticity is critical. We’ve turned down Clients that we know do not align with those values authentically; or pivoted how a project rolls out to be sure it represents us as much as the Client. Some people put the money first, but we lead with our values and who we are – and I think that means more to loyal Clients in the long run.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As a Producer, sometimes people think you lose the artist in you. But I was borne from the Theatre, and art is in my blood. I can’t look at projects from another angle, or I lose sight of what matters. That’s why I have key people around me who have a strong business or financial eye. Kind of like the Roy to my Walt. I think it’s that eye that always leads me to never approach things the same. I like to start every project by diving head first into the topic, story or product – and almost swimming from the bottom upward. Collecting as much information as I can, and embodying what I’m to channel. Then I start ideating in a group setting of what that could be; and then the design part begins. I never like to repeat things, and I never like to take the easiest route. Often if someone presents something to me that’s common, my response is instantly: but what else could this be, and how do we make it different? How does it become special?

Getting to that place was NOT easy. I worked for a long time at MAC Cosmetics and led every activation, experience and event that you saw in North America. It’s really easy in any corporate environment for people to be risk-averse. Budgets are always tight, and you have to rationalize over and over why you are ‘worth’ the budget allocation in any corporate organization. So I had to take smart risks, hope they paid off, and then prove why it paid off so we could keep going. And most of the time, it worked!

But there were and are failures. Failures are tough learning; and the hardest part of any artistry that is tied also to commerce is that failures cost money. And no one likes that. When I took that pro-risk thinking into my own business, some of my risks cost the Company money. And that is not easy for a start-up. But instead of beating myself up about what would happen, and I talk about this openly with the whole team, I refuse to say ‘this was bad!’ nor let anyone else say it. Instead, it’s what did we learn from this? How can we evolve from this? How can the art and experience be better? How can that also help us manage a budget better? Alanis Morissette said it best – “You Live, You Learn.”

So for Gladiator and for myself – we just continue to be our authentic selves. We put out art and entertainment that we ourselves would enjoy. And we are clear about why we suggest the creative choices we do. Some Clients jump on board and see the value in that; and some walk away as they may not love the way we work or the standards we set for ourselves. But it’s ok to know that as long as you are being true to yourself and your vision, everything that is meant to be – will be.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, of course one of the first things I love to do with my friends is welcome them into my home. My home represents me, and I also stock one of the best bars in town so I would bring a lot of those amazing people in my shout-out list to welcome my Guest with food and cocktails galore.

We would also head to The Proper, where the cocktails are curated by our dear friends at Sunset Boulevardier. Sabrina Minx and Danielle Motor are geniuses at cocktail curation and we work with them a lot, so my best friend would have to experience.

I love eating out – so would hit up some core staples like Jar and Cecconi’s, and also hit up Superba in Hollywood (obsessed) and L’Antica de Pizzeria (can you tell I love Italian Food?).

I’m usually watching for various in-town events, so whatever some of the fun moments going on we’d grab tickets for. With June coming up, there are tons of awesome LGBTQ+ organizations throwing stuff that’s keeping me busy in June (when I’m not working).

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
OH MY GOSH the Shoutouts are many. It’s such an interesting way how you get started as an entrepreneur. You yourself have to make the jump, and you have to OWN it. You have to be ok with the risk, ok with the hard hours, and be ecstatic to make that leap. But without support and love of others, I would be nowhere. There are far too many to name – but my right hand, Charlotte Pavlik, is such an epic and creative individual. She helped me pave the way and continues to be a driving force at Gladiator. Our amazing designer Dylan Stevenson is just a genius. My best friend and makeup artist Gregory Arlt has been my constant counsel and is our artistic advisor. PR guru and dear friend James Tuffin helped so much. My family and my brother Shane Dolan literally help me learn every day. Cora Tan of Dior and Suzanne Chu of Bloomingdale’s. And honestly the list keeps going…if I were to write a dedication to a book right now, it would read more like an Oscar Speech – because I have not done this alone. I have done this through amazing love and support from my family, friends, and my team and our amazing Clients. Days and nights where you aren’t sure if you will make it, and they are there. Every time. It’s those people who are there for me no matter what that make the biggest difference in my story.

Website: https://www.gladiator.productions

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sethd_la/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sethdolan/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GladiatorProds

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GladiatorProds

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR2TqJiLmqXj4Zw7Pg2DYog

Other: Gladiator on IG is at: https://www.instagram.com/gladiatorproductions/

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