INTERVIEW: An Evening with Actor Dave Paul and ‘Company’ by Calvin Schwartz Jan 27th 2017
I continue to marvel (just like I’m a little kid, wondrously looking at the window of a toy store a few weeks before Christmas) at the exigencies and connectivity of Facebook and other realms of social media. Perhaps I can make the statement, even as a denizen of the sixties era, that social media has changed the course of the river of my life. So, yes, I dig social media. It digs me too. Somewhere, there is an essay tied into a prominent Saint dealing with people being brought together. Lost in space. This has been the set-up.
The forces of synchronicity and commonality came together back last June when Dave Paul and I connected on Facebook. We were now friends and communicated often through the utilization of the messenger service. Dave’s focus was when we could meet in real life and do that actor-journalist-interviewer thing. Right from the starting gate, I was intrigued with Dave’s aura of energy, confidence and love of acting. I’m partial to the acting profession; a long story. It took five laborious months of planning, cancelling and resetting appointments to finally settle in at the end of November.
I opened the door, there was Dave and fellow actor and friend Paul Vito (ergo, part of the ‘company’ of the night) We had spoken often in the preceding months so I really knew him to be the affable young actor standing in my hallway. Of course, I felt like it’s been years instead of our first live meeting. We sat down at that other social media phenomenon, a kitchen table, with two pizzas, one plain and one embellished, still warm. We ate and talked.
Dave is working on a movie, ‘That’s Life’ being filmed in Monmouth County by director, film maker Sean Guess. Synchronicity is alive. My very first video interview on a red carpet took place five years ago at Sean’s Red Bank premiere of ‘Nothing for Christmas.’ Dave continued, “When I was eight years old, my mother put in for me to be in Romper Room. But mom turned down the offer to do more. She got scared.” He graduated West Orange High School and his father wanted him to work in wall covering.
In 1996, ‘The Home Boy’ with Julie Brown was being filmed in West Orange and Dave became an extra. “I stayed for more scenes and got more into it.” Then Dave talked about his athleticism. “The first time I went bowling, I bowled a 185, signed a PBA card and became a professional athlete in 2009.” He did some work at Bane Haunted House in Livingston which was interactive theater. By now, each of us had fully masticated a slice of pizza. The haunted talk segued into a discussion of para-normal investigations. Dave is multi-layered and we drifted around ghosts and electronic voice phenomenon.
“I did a skype audition for a western, but didn’t get the part. I made the last cut which fueled my energy. Along the way, there was six student films, background (extra) work.” I was fascinated when he told me, “I never did acting schools. I wanted to experience life which is the best way to learn. I like to be a renegade. Maybe it’s helping me be successful.”
He continued to do short films and student films. His confidence was rising. Next, Dave went to an independent film, ‘Dara Ju’ where he played an SEC investigator. The film is at Sundance as we speak. He laughed when he talked about playing an executive in Atlantic City. “On break, we gambled at the Borgata.”
In the movie, ‘The Set Up’ (2016) he plays ‘Ace’ a mob boss which appeared in the Urban Action Film Festival and was asked to act in the sequel. By now, our kitchen table group had maxed out on the second slice of pizza. Dave talked about Paul Vito, their friendship and how he tries to get acting parts for him. For me, there was the depth of his character and loyalty which impressed. The doorbell echoed and a very fascinating Anngeannette Pinkston arrived; a very talented playwright, producer, author and part-time theatrical manager. The ‘company’ was complete.
‘Crow Hill’ is a web series for TV. He plays Paul, one of six zombie survivors. He also got Paul Vito a feature role in this film. All the while, through the past hour, I absorbed Dave’s devotion and passion to his craft, acting. The guy really loves what he does. I did my usual blink of an eye while my wife brought coffee and dessert. During the blink, I saw Dave as a guest on Jimmy Fallon. He had finally arrived and I had interviewed him way before Jimmy.
Angeannette’s play, “I Lost My Heart in Haiti” premieres in March at the Producers Club in New York City. I asked her about the story line. “One woman’s struggle to mend her heart as the country mends after an earthquake. I wrote each and every song.”
Dave’s list of credits is growing. His career is notable in its dedication and pursuit. I was impressed (so was my wife) when he told us that he played a disgruntled bank customer in a Christian Slater movie, ‘Mr. Robot’ on the USA Network and appeared background in ‘Vinyl.’
Dave met Paul on the set of ‘There’s No Way Out,’ a TV series now looking for a home on a major network. This past summer, I had a chance to work their red carpet after they finished shooting in Newark but I actually wound up in Senator Booker’s office down the street; a long story. Paul spent four years as a standup comedian and is still doing it. He finished a six-month course at the New York Film Academy.
Nobody did coffee and cake. But it was time to go introspective; a signature part of our interview time together; to get the essential Dave Paul. I asked Dave, “What makes you cry?” “Seeing my twins in an incubator. And if a loved one passes.”
“Do you have a philosophy by which you live?” “Loyalty and friendship is everything. When I pass, I want to be known as a true friend.” The best time in his life was when his three kids were born. “Amanda, 8, and the twins, Michael and Amy, 1 year. Of course special thanks to Jenn.” And the worst time in his life was when his grandpa died. “And now my uncle Jack who has Alzheimer’s. I’m dedicating my life to him.”
Hey Dave, “Does anything keep you awake?” “A good movie or sports.” His favorite movie, ‘Top Gun.’ He loves The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello and James Dean. I didn’t tell him, but there was something about him, all the while sitting around the table, that reminded me of James Dean in ‘Rebel Without a Cause.’
It was now a late November night. It was a fun time for me meeting this actor and his company. One last question. “Before I leave this earth, I won’t be satisfied until I…………….” A few seconds of thought until he answered. “Until I become an ‘A List’ celebrity, win a few nominations and give back to my family.”
I had an unusual request before he left; to sit with him on my dark cold leafy stoop outside and pose for a photo op; a long story. As Dave was walking to the car, I yelled about blinking my eye and seeing him on Jimmy Fallon. I’m not sure if he heard me.
YOU CAN FIND: DAVE PAUL on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010269757660
and MOB DIARIES PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/Mob-Diaries-1075791545880165/
PAUL VITO: https://www.facebook.com/paul.laruccia/about?lst=1527695958%3A528167633%3A1485546938
ANNGEANNETTE PINKSTON: https://www.facebook.com/anngeannette.anngeannettepinkston