Interview With Actor Dylan Neal, “The Gourmet Detective”

By Ruth on August 25, 2016 in interview, movie, television
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When I think of the show Cedar Cove that ran for three magnificent years on the Hallmark network, I cannot help but think of all the phenomenal people I “met” through twitter and who have now gone on to even more extraordinary endeavors. Had it not been for my sincere affection for all who were affiliated with that show, I never would have connected with the perspicacious gentleman who infused life into the character of Jack Griffith. I am referring to none other than Dylan Neal, whose talent in so many sectors simply astounds me on a regular basis. Recently, I had the distinct honor of having an informative and lengthy chat with this handsome and charming actor, and I have to say he succeeded in impressing me even more than I thought imaginable. 

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RH: Well, now you get to hear what I sound like.

DN: Yes, we’ve been aware of each other for a couple years now, and you’ve been such a loyal follower of everything Hallmark does.

I try to follow everything Hallmark does. And then people like you, I try to follow everything you do. But you don’t tweet as much as some people do.

No I don’t. To be honest, I really don’t like social media that much. I’m not really interested in trying to increase my followers. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing that and playing that game–especially with someone like you who I imagine is trying to increase your writing career, so having online followers in that case makes perfect sense and makes you more employable. My belief–and I’m very much against the grain here–you’ll probably find that in almost every category as we go on with this–I think social media works when you’re let’s say a musician or if you’re a traditional bricks and mortar retail operation, then of course, you’ll want to be across all social media ’cause you’re selling a very specific item or brand. Actors, I think, are a little more nebulous. When you see an actor with over a million followers, more than likely they were already famous or attached to a very big movie or TV series, and the followers just automatically came as a result of that. I’ve yet to see any example of an actor either starting out or being just a blue-collar, workaday actor with maybe ten thousand or fifty thousand or even a hundred thousand followers, and those numbers having any impact on their career whatsoever. Ninety-nine percent of the time it has no impact on whether you get employed or not.

I’ve been watching my friends and colleagues who are actors and are active in social media. Generally speaking, to get over fifty thousand followers on Twitter for instance, you need to have had at least a good recurring role on a popular prime time show or at least a sci-fi show which often have a young, rabid fanbase. If you are a series regular on a prime time show, you’re going to have several hundred thousand followers most likely as a result of that job. What I don’t see happening though, is the career following the level of followers you have. In this industry, it’s either the level of your talent or the level of success your previous show had. Success begets success. For the rest of us who are just blue-collar actors–and that’s what I consider myself–the only thing that gets us hired is our audition or where we stand in the pecking order of Hollywood. Now sure, people will look at followers on social media, but for someone like me, that’s never gonna get me the job. Most of my friends who have many more followers than I do, some around a hundred thousand, are still struggling to find work. If someone already has a large presence, it’s probably because of a successful former series and well, they’re probably already going to be getting offers to start with because of that. On the flip side, if too many years have passed since your last successful show, those offers are going to be harder and harder to come by no matter how many followers you’ve accumulated from those glory years. I’ve had eight series regular gigs, but none of them were hits, and that is something I have to work against in my career. It’s a constant battle for me.

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Anna Bowen, SuperFan

“I was lucky enough to meet Dylan last year when he did Home and Family, and he is the sweetest, kindest person ever. He remembered me from Twitter and took the time to talk with me and let me take a photo, too. He is such a wonderful actor and a wonderful person, and he is always so kind to his fans.”

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Now, I’m sure with some young twenty-something’s who have been on maybe a CW or Freeform series, maybe there’s an argument there that a relatively unknown person who for some reason because of their career they’ve been able to cobble together fifty to a hundred thousand followers, and maybe if they’re basically in a tie for a role and the producers and network are going, “Wow, do we go with this person or that person? Well, this guy’s got fifty thousand more followers on social media–maybe we’ll give it to him.” I do hear of that occasionally happening amongst the younger set, which is really what social media is largely about in the first place – it’s somewhat of a younger person’s game. For someone like me, I think it’s completely irrelevant. For guys like The Rock or Vin Diesel, they’re already huge stars and of course they should use their social media presence to promote their movies – in that case it makes a difference and the studios need them to be actively engaged. It’s apples and oranges though. At my level, I’m not convinced it makes a difference in your career. If I had a hit show, yeah I might be more proactive with it. Without one, I just don’t see the evidence.

And I think what doesn’t get talked about with social media is the ugly side of it. In my opinion, most entertainers–and again, I’m speaking in generalizations. Everything I say is always in general terms- there are always exceptions to the rule. But generally speaking, entertainers, and actors in particular, are about the most narcissistic people you’re ever going to meet {laughs}. We just are to varying degrees. And so what happens with social media is you’re giving actors this platform to have direct contact with people who adore and flatter them and yes, on occasion obviously despise them. But more often than not it’s about flattery and attention and it allows an actor’s ego to run amuck. I find it a little unsettling that it so readily taps into our ugliest traits and insecurities and allows for this level of self-promotion, which I think is at times a little unseemly. Most entertainers are already so needy – throwing minions at them is just a recipe for disaster. I see actors posting stuff all the time that just comes from this bottomless pit of attention-seeking and neediness. I question all of it. I mean it’s not just me saying that our egos can be a little out of whack. Laurence Olivier’s answer to why he became an actor was, “Look at me, look at me!” {laughs}. Does any of that make sense?

Yeah, it sure does. I’m usually interviewing actors who are younger than me, and I’m not much younger than you are. I’ve seen some of what you’re talking about. And I’ve also dealt with cyberbullying.

Oh yeah, that’s ugly. Cyberbullying is horrendous and seeing what’s been going on with Twitter and Lesley Jones with racism – it’s just a really horrendous side of our culture. Those are serious topics, much more important than what I’m referring to. An actor’s ego run amuck and posting under the guise of “Isn’t this cute?” or “Isn’t this funny?” but what they’re really after are fans saying how great they are or how beautiful they are – I mean this endless posting of selfies as bait for compliments is really sad. All of this reminds me of that movie Soap Dish with Sally Field – remember that? In the movie, she plays an actress on a soap opera and whenever she needed a pick-me-up, she would go to the mall with her friend, played by Whoopi Goldberg, and have Whoopi’s character yell out, “Oh it’s so-and-so from that soap opera!” And of course, everyone would turn and look, and they’d all flock around her and ask for autographs. And that’s a little bit what’s going on with instagram and Twitter and Facebook. It’s just actors who are so needy they just have this switch now that they can flip on whenever they need to be stroked. It’s fascinating who falls into that trap and who doesn’t. And I have to watch myself, to be honest. “Are you doing that because you want to be congratulated or are you doing that because it’s a genuinely interesting thing you’re observing?” I find the psychology behind social media fascinating.

GourmetDetective_Dylan_362r - Version 2It’s interesting. Coming from a fan’s point of view, fans love to figure out some way to tweet so they will definitely get a response from the actor.

Yeah, and you can see that. You can definitely see when people are fishing. And that’s a slippery slope too for–I will never use the word celebrity ’cause I am not a celebrity–for anyone in the public eye, let’s say. If you engage a little bit, at what point do you put a line in the sand, knowing that you’re going to piss off some other people who say, “Well, you responded here. Why aren’t you responding to me?” And then again asking yourself why are you responding? Are you responding because you’re enjoying the accolades or are you responding to a genuine question that someone had and that seems like an okay question to answer this time? But another time, I might not. It’s a slippery slope. You can definitely feel people trying to repeatedly reach out, and I’ve never had the policy where I’m just blindly gonna follow you because I don’t know how people do that. If you’re following two thousand people, isn’t your news feed just like–how do you find the stuff you actually want to read? So generally speaking, I’m not really following people unless I know them or there’s a specific interest in them. But I do know that at different times, I seem to be pissing people off because it’s supposed to be a reciprocal thing. But I’m not automatically doing that. And again, I know that’s supposed to be a method if you’re trying to attract followers; you automatically follow people and get them to follow you. And then perhaps you’re tapping into their followers. I understand the business behind attracting more in the game of social media, but again, I don’t really want to play that game. If I weren’t an actor, and of course we’re all asked now to be part of social media when you have a TV series, I would probably be on twitter anonymously so that I could just get my news feed from topics that interest me and be done with it.

I’ve had these conversations with different fans because people come to me all the time and ask, “Why didn’t so-and-so respond?” And I honestly make a science of studying the way various actors respond, and I’m just sensitive to that. I already knew your outlook on social media.

Yes, I’ve seen you watching and how you watch. Isn’t it interesting how you can get a sense of someone’s personality from social media? If you’re on there, you do get a sense. And what I’ve always said is, I won’t ever be fake. I don’t want to play a role where I’m lying to people. I don’t like to lie which is why I don’t like to do press ’cause press is all about lying in many ways. I know people who respond on social media in a way that is completely false because they are either (A) trying to be nice—and that’s lovely and there’s obviously nothing wrong with trying to be nice–or (B) they’re cultivating followers. And privately they’ll say the complete opposite of what they just said on social media and/or look down on fans or belittle them. But publicly, you think this person adores them. And I just don’t like that. I just don’t want to play that game. I don’t want to be a false person for the pursuit of something that I don’t think matters in the first place. I keep circling back to social media. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse here. It’s definitely a game.

And talking about press, I’m a relatively private person, but what most people probably don’t realize is how strange it is to talk about work or your personal life–not so much with a stranger, meaning the interviewer but with what is potentially hundreds of thousands if not millions of people reading the publication. And so who amongst all of us–if you were to switch it around to anyone reading this–imagine if someone were to ask you questions about your work life. Now think about all the different jobs and colleagues you’ve worked with over the decades. Surely there have been bosses or organizations or colleagues that you’ve worked with you absolutely hated. Either they’re not nice people or you don’t respect their work ethic or you think they’re really bad at their job–you know, the list is endless. Now if someone were going to interview you and put it into a publication what you thought about those people– because that’s what we’re always asked, “What was it like working with so-and-so?” “What was it like being on this job?” “What was that director like?” How often do you think you would answer honestly, knowing that the person you’re talking about–it’s going to get back to them or that company? And as a result, you’re gonna lose your job or at the very least, you’re going to have a very awkward relationship with that person or company going forward. Of course, you wouldn’t tell the truth, would you? So it’s no different for us, and that’s why we can’t always tell the complete truth. Hopefully a lot of your experiences are really positive and the people you work with, you really do enjoy. But just like in life, it’s not always gonna be that way. And yet we have to give interviews because of the nature of our industry. And I don’t like playing that game of “Oh, that person was just lovely. It was a dream come true.” Or “that project was just so inspiring for me.” Ninety-nine percent of the time, I take a job because I need to make a living like everyone else, and I don’t have a career where I get to pick and choose. I always laugh when an actor gives some poetic answer as to why they chose this or that project. Unless they’re a star or made huge money on a long series, the only honest answer is because they needed to eat and pay rent. End of story {laughing}

I’m always interested in what’s going on behind the surface and behind the scenes. And I guess that’s probably one reason why I’m an actor and a writer. That’s where I always think the more interesting story is. And you know this–you’re a writer. The shiny, happy surface is less interestesting, and I also think it’s often fake. I think the real story is behind the shiny, happy facade.

So let’s talk a little about Cedar Cove. How did you originally view the characters Olivia and Jack?

In the pilot, Jack and Olivia were two intelligent people. He’s an award-winning journalist. I think he’s a Rhodes Scholar. Olivia is a Yale grad, and she is a smart judge. These are two intelligent people. And the spark between them was always that they saw each other and went, “Hey, what are you doing here in this funny little town?” It was two intellectuals sparring with each other, who made each other laugh because they had different personalities, but they were two smart grown-ups who found it funny that they found each other in this kind of crazy little town.

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The pilot, for me, was something very special. I didn’t know any of you as a matter of fact. I loved what I saw between Jack and Olivia.

Yeah, I worked really hard on the pilot. I was really excited. I had read in the trades that Andie {MacDowell} had been hired. I had been following the story about Hallmark starting their first scripted TV series. Then it was a couple of weeks later, my agent called me out of the blue and said, “Get ready. It looks like an offer is coming for you to be the male lead opposite Andie MacDowell on this Hallmark show called Cedar Cove.” And that was the first time I’d ever been offered a male lead on a TV series. I’d certainly been offered things in TV movies and guest stars and recurs, but to have the male lead straight up offered was new for me and very exciting. And obviously Andie was a big star. And so I was thrilled to get the job. And I said many times that I was actually nervous to work with Andie because she was such a big star and had had an incredible movie career. And I’ve always had a bit of an insecurity about my own work and feeling like I don’t usually do a very good job. And so I really buckled down and gave it my all during the pilot. I really felt like I understood Jack and from a writer’s perspective, I understood what his role on the show was. I also knew that if Jack and Olivia didn’t work on screen, the show wasn’t gonna work. Their relationship is a core part of that show. There are lots of other relationships and other people that are totally important, but that relationship in particular needed to work. Knowing that in the books they do eventually get married, and we were gonna follow those books as much as we could, also put an extra burden on getting that relationship right. There is a slight age difference between Andie and myself and that’s not in the books, and we weren’t sure if that was gonna be a problem or not. And thankfully, it wasn’t at all. I think Andie and I paired up really well and people enjoyed us together, certainly in the first season.

Unit - Dylan 01 - Version 3At the beginning, Jack was all about having this glint in his eye–almost a little bit mischievous–this big city guy reinventing his life in this small town. And yes, he has some melancholy as well–he’s in a bad place. His life’s blown up. He really needs this job to work. And the story was all about the characters in this small town. And that’s what drew the viewers in, right? The bucolic, charming little town, and you need that element. Jack was never there to make fun of it. He was there to be bemused by it in the same way that the audience should be bemused by it. He looks at the “Moon” character, and he may shake his head and roll his eyes, but inside, he’s as smitten with Moon as everybody else is.

I think as the show went on, I’m afraid that some people forgot about the town in subsequent episodes and seasons–that incredible charm and unique flavor of the town. The town is a major player in Cedar Cove. It should almost have a billing unto itself in the credits. And I believe we got it right in the pilot, and it started to fade away a bit over time. Especially as the relationships and storylines became a little bit more soap opera in tone and characters started acting in ways they never had. I understand why the network and Sue Tenney took us down that path, I really do. I can understand why on paper it looked like the smart thing to do. Shonda Rimes shows that have a lot of relationships in them, and intrigue and turmoil work on network TV, but Hallmark is a different animal. It’s not traditional prime time television. I honestly think Cedar Cove was an experiment that discovered a lot of things that work and don’t work for the network. But we all did our best. All of us. We all came in every day giving one hundred percent. All of the writers, all of the executives of the network. And I know it was heartbreaking for the network to ultimately pull the plug on the show after three years. I think Chesapeake Shores will be a stronger show for the network because of everything we learned on Cedar Cove.

You know, you guys always did do your best, like you said. Even in the third season, in spite of any difficulties, I knew that you guys always did give your best.

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We all always cared about it. No one was skating through that show. Andie worked incredibly hard. And coming to television was a big shift for Andie. You know, it’s a very different animal working in television than it is in film. You have so much more time in studio movies to work the material, to rehearse, to ask questions than you do in television. And she discovered that right away, and believe me, she rose to the challenge. She worked very, very hard. Andie always had more lines than anyone else, usually had longer days than everyone else and she was always so professional and prepared. Towards the end, my main struggle was sometimes seeing my character not always behaving in the way I had always viewed him. I always viewed him as a Rhodes scholar, somewhat of an intellectual. He’s an award-winning writer. He’s a journalist. He’s a smart man. I understand that characters change, they grow, but it is hard for an actor when the change seems a bit foreign to you, and your lines don’t seem to make sense to your concept of your character. That happens from time to time on shows, not often but it happens. Usually you have a dialogue with your show runner about why this is happening, and they’ll explain it. I had hoped we would find a way to get the drama and conflict that was needed on Cedar Cove without having to change Jack’s fundamental character, that the conflicts would be organic and he didn’t need to be dumbed down. Ultimately, the viewers weren’t happy either and like all shows, it came to an end.

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Debbie Macombers Cedar Cove 2012 -- (Photo by Katie Yu/Hallmark)KWIK KWOTE

Jesse Hutch, Co-star Cedar Cove

“When I was working on Cedar Cove with Dylan I always felt like he was a big brother to me. He was always willing to give advice and talk with me about anything, from work, to kids, to sports. If the opportunity were to arise, I would grab a coffee, or work with Dylan in a second. He’s an all-round, stand up chap. I’m very honored to know Dylan.”

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After all this time, some of the fans look back now and think Cedar Cove was so wonderful and perfect. But I don’t think they remember because I used to hear about it every single week. People were coming to me and complaining about the show. I actually had people tell me that my reviews were better than the show.

Well, you were always finding the good in the show. Skim over what’s not working and try to find the silver lining. You did a brilliant job, and I was always amazed. You put in so much work, Ruth, in all of your reviews. You know, I really appreciate that, and I know the rest of the cast and network did as well. It was an amazing amount of work you would put in week to week.

Thank you, Dylan. It took a lot of time, but just like the everyone involved with the show, I was doing what I could to hopefully save it and bring it back for another season. Sadly, it didn’t happen. {pause} So, why did you become an actor?

I think I’d always been curious about acting. I was a very shy kid, and when I was at a prep school called Appleby College where I went to school from the fourth grade until the eleventh grade, they didn’t have a drama program, but they did a school play once a year, maybe twice a year. But that was way too much of a leap for me to audition for the play–it was way too terrifying for me. So when I went to a regular high school for my last two years–at that time in the 80’s in Ontario, high school went to thirteenth grade. So for twelfth and thirteenth grade, I signed up for a drama class. And that literally just changed my life. I had a very, very special drama teacher named Jan Barrett, and she had been a professional actress and she was just one of those very, very special teachers that some kids are lucky to get in their life where they can really change your future. And I think she saw something in me. She saw that I maybe wanted to go down this path, but I was very shy and reluctant. And so she kind of pushed me and nudged me. And it was the kind of program where we could write our own plays. We would build our own sets. We would travel with our plays to either festivals or tournaments or go to other schools. We wrote about topical issues. We did traditional classic plays. It was a very comprehensive, in-depth, almost college-level theater program. And I just threw myself into it. I loved everything about it. And she is the one who introduced me to an agent in Toronto–her old agent–as a teenager. And I just started auditioning professionally when I was still in high school, doing the things that beginning actors do. Going out for commercials and bit parts in TV shows and industrials. I wasn’t very good. What I had going for me was that I was a cute kid. I was also willing to put in a lot of effort to make up for my shortcomings, let’s say. And I was certainly ambitious. I had just a modicum of talent that allowed me to get a job here and there–not too much. I certainly wasn’t making a living. And it was at that point that I really decided that this is what I was going to do for a living. I was going to throw caution to the wind and sort of gamble with my life.

I went to college for a week. I was studying to be an illustrator. Art has always been a big part of my background. Maybe I was going to have a fallback plan of getting a degree in illustration at a technical college. Yeah, maybe go into advertising. The school learned of me being an actor and what the constraints were for my ability to be in school all the time, and they said I couldn’t just take off for two weeks if something came up. And so I just gambled again and said, “Okay, well I’m an actor. So I’ll leave.” And so I lived at home for a couple of years while all my friends went off to college and started their careers. It was very slow for me. I’ve always been a slow learner. I was not a strong talent in my twenties and certainly well into my thirties really. But I was a cute kid who was eager to learn. So I think that’s what saved me.

GourmetDetective_Dylan_063r - Version 2I moved down to LA in ’92. I had just met my wife–then girlfriend–and for the next two years, we had a long-distance relationship. And then she came down once she had finished college in Canada. And it wasn’t until ’94 when I got Bold and the Beautiful that I sort of got my break. So for probably about seven years, I was barely making a living. And then once I got on Bold and the Beautiful at twenty-four, I was on my own and able to make it. And getting that job allowed me to get a green card and then ultimately my citizenship. You know, I’ve been a dual citizen now for many years. You just keep plugging away at it. You keep working away at it. I studied with a number of different teachers in LA trying to get better. Aware of my weaknesses. Always, always aware of weaknesses.

There are two quotes that have always kept me going in my life and my career. The first one is by George Clooney in his ER days when he said, “I’ve been bad in a lot of bad TV.” And I’ve always so resonated with that because I’ve got a long resume, but I can’t say that very much of it is any good. And then the second quote was from Kevin Costner where he said, “I always believed I had the right to get better.” And those two things kind of kept me going. I always believed the next job was going to be better. I’m gonna be better. The project’s gonna be better. And just have faith in that. You know, I’ve done a lot of schlocky TV, but on the other hand, I’m lucky. I’ve made a living at this. I think the union statistics are less than ten percent of union actors–and that’s taking into account the actors who have actually made it far enough to get into the union– less than ten percent of them make more than ten thousand dollars a year. If you meet an actor, that person is most likely struggling to make a living. It is a very, very difficult profession. The fact that I’ve been able to be a solid working actor without any other jobs but just acting for almost thirty years now, I’m proud of that. And I still believe that next time out I’ll be better.

You’re one of the only actors I’ve ever heard say, “I’m aware of my weaknesses.” I actually think it’s pretty cool that you said that.

I can’t think of any actor, except one back in the soap days and he was delusional, I can’t think of an actor I’ve met and talked with who isn’t absolutely wrought with insecurities about their abilities. We’re all incredibly insecure. I’m sure Daniel Day-Lewis has his days of doubts. {laughs} I’m not sure it ever goes away. What you do is accumulate more tools in your toolbox over the years and so that when you do find yourself in trouble on set, you hopefully have that toolbox waiting for you to kind of dive into and you’re able to pull something out that will help you get through the scene or the moment. Whether that’s technical craft. Whether that’s experience in how to deal with a person in front of you that is not making your job easier. There are any number of things that can help you get through a difficult moment. And that’s what I love about teaching as well. To be able to share my wealth of knowledge after thirty years in this industry. And because I have made just about every mistake in the book from auditioning, to relationships, to working on set – to all of it – that I can help share some of that knowledge that will hopefully spare you a little bit of that pain I’ve gone through over the years. You’re never gonna bypass all of it, but maybe you can bypass one or two of the mistakes that I have made.

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Natalie Brown, Co-Star Cradle of Lies

“What I remember is that Dylan was a perfect gentleman and a seasoned actor who I learned a lot from on set. “

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I understand what you mean since I am a teacher still technically. In fact, I still do appreciate the fact that you gave me leads on those acting books earlier this year.

Oh yeah, that’s right! I do remember that.

I don’t forget things like that. From my perspective, when an actor or someone else in the industry has gone out of their way to acknowledge me at least once, I don’t forget that. I know not everyone can do that every time, but I really do appreciate it when they do.

I love reaching out to people and helping if I can. An interviewer came up to me at the TCA we just had with Hallmark the other night and she was talking about her daughter leaving college and was asking for advice as her daughter is an actress just starting out. I gave her as much advice as I could and after we had finished, I told her to reach out to me any time. I know what that’s like, starting from scratch. I came from not knowing anything about the industry. I grew up with a single mother. No connections in the industry whatsoever. Absolutely none. And I did everything wrong because we didn’t know any better. And I know what that’s like to feel like you’re stumbling around in the dark, and you just wish someone would help you. Just give you a piece of advice. Anything–you’re so desperate for anything. And if I can do that, it’s wonderful. What a gift they’re giving me to be able to share something and to make them feel better or a little more hopeful.

Since you’re one of the people I pay attention to closely, I love seeing when you’ve given someone advice. Or one of the coolest things you do, I think, is you regularly acknowledge those you work with when they have an upcoming project or wishing them well when they get an award. I think that ‘s great when you do that because I don’t see enough people in the business doing things like that.

You know, I purposely do that because the people I’m doing that for I like and I genuinely want them to do well. But I’m also very cognizant of a very common trait within our industry. I think there’s a quote from Oscar Wilde that says, “Every time a friend of mine succeeds, a little piece of me dies.” And that is something that is almost unavoidable in our industry because it is so crushingly competitive. And we’re all just trying to survive financially unless you have a major breakthrough. We’re all trying to keep our foot out of bankruptcy at different times in our life. No one will ever talk about that. We talk about it amongst ourselves privately when we’re having coffee. I firmly believe that what you put out into the universe will come back to you. And so like everybody in this industry, I’ve experienced anger, depression, hopelessness. And I feel that one way I can counteract that is to genuinely hope for the best for my friends and colleagues. And to support them. Just because they may have had an amazing opportunity come their way, that doesn’t mean that I’m not getting one as well down the road. Even if I auditioned for the exact role they got. Be the bigger person. Acknowledge that they did a wonderful job in getting that role and genuinely wish them the best. Because (A) it’s the right thing to do, but (B), change your perspective, your outlook on this industry and your life in general. It’s a life lesson, right? And we all have this in our lives no matter what industry we’re in, we all have little resentments or jealousies about colleagues–the grass is always greener in someone else’s career. Try to turn that around and wish them the best. And I really do believe that good will come back your way.

I agree. And it happens amongst writers too, as I’m sure you well know. Because I try to do the same thing with people that I know who are writing. Now I won’t tell them it’s good when it’s not. But if they’ve gotten a really great interview or if they’ve written a really great article, then I do try to reach out and recognize them. Now it doesn’t always happen that they want to do the same thing for me, but that’s not why I do it.

Exactly. You’re just doing it because it’s the right thing to do, and you’re putting good into the world, and that’s always a good thing.

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KWIK KWOTES

From the Fans

Renee Chin Hatfield: “Dylan, you are an amazing actor.  Love your work.”

Christy Taylor Crump: “His tweets always make me smile. Hope to see a lot more of him on Hallmark! His role in Gourmet Detective is such a good balance of humor and drama!”

Lisa Viera Colangelo: “He is always positive and terrific with fans.”

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I do have some fan questions here as well. Somebody wondered if you would ever go back to doing soap operas.

Um, well…. {laughing} I mean that in the kindest way possible, honestly. What most people probably don’t understand about soap operas is the hierarchy within the industry. It probably sounds harsh, but soap operas are kind of at the bottom of the ladder. I’ve always had a belief that soap operas are good for two scenarios. When you’re really young and you’re tired of flipping burgers for a living and you would love just a little bit of financial steadiness and just plain old work. And so when you’re young, I think soaps can be a good experience. There’s something to be learned from that genre. I’m always questioning how much ’cause it’s a completely different animal to film and prime time television. There’s so much dialogue that has to be shot in a day. You have to shoot an entire episode in a day, every day, all year long. There isn’t time for perfection. Let’s not even go for perfection – there’s very little time for pretty good. If you grammatically say your words in the right order, we’re moving on. And I mean that quite literally.

What people don’t see is, because there’s so much dialogue and you’re barely keeping it in your mind, what we’re all doing on set is holding our sides in our hands–which are the lines that we’re about to give–and when the director does the countdown for the scene to start–in soap operas, it’s live to tape. They do this countdown of five, four, three, two, one, and then they point at you and the cameras go on, right? We’re still looking at our sides till the point they say “one,” and then we throw them behind pillows or on the floor. We’re barely able to say our lines in the right order because there’s so much memorizing. And under those circumstances, you obviously can’t do your best work. It’s just a marathon of getting it done. And there can’t be any other way.

And also within that genre, soap opera needs to be melodramatic. That is the genre. You have to stretch storylines because you’re doing a whole show every day of the year. If you burned through storylines at the speed of prime time TV, you’d need a writer’s room of fifty writers working non-stop. Prime time airs one episode a week, daytime delivers five in a week. That’s why there’s the joke about how you can watch an episode of a soap and then not watch for another six months, but if you do, you’ll know exactly where you are again in the storyline. Plot lines need to move slowly, characters need to catch on slowly to things going on around them – everything has to slow down. Melodrama is technically not strong writing, but it’s unavoidable in that genre. You also learn some bad acting habits, personally in my opinion, when you’re on a soap opera ’cause you’re wading into that melodrama. And I still have to fight it to this day, and I believe it’s because of my early years in soaps. I get very melodramatic in my acting, and it’s horrible in prime time – it’s just not allowed. That’s when they call the acting police on you. {laughs} I purposely stayed in class with different teachers when I was on a soap opera because I was very worried I was gonna become a melodramatic actor. And I never felt I was very good on Bold and the Beautiful as well. I was always wishing I could get better. “Please God, can I get better?!” When you’re young, that’s all okay. You can deal with that.

The other time you might consider doing a soap is when you’re older and you have responsibilities. You’re married, you have kids, maybe you have a mortgage. And there may come a time when financially..you know what? I have to do a soap opera because I’m drowning. And of course, there’s no shame in that. I don’t think people realize what goes into these decisions sometimes. There’s a stigma about being on a soap opera. You can definitely be typecast. I felt like I was gonna struggle for a long time after being on B&B. When I first left, I wasn’t even able to get some simple guest star auditions because the soap opera was on my resume. We had to take it off my resume for me to at least get auditions. Forget about work – just to get an audition for a guest star on a prime time show. And that was after ten years in the industry! Now of course, there are many very, very talented actors still working in soaps and many stars who have come out of soaps. I also think the industry has changed so much in the past fifteen years. It’s so much harder to work in prime time than it was years ago, and I’ve seen some pretty big names on soaps recently. Again, I’m always talking in generalizations. But if you ask every single one of them, would you rather be on a soap opera or would you rather be on a prime time series, there’s not one whose gonna say they’d rather be on a soap opera. Not only is the material better, but you’re going to make ten times as much in prime time. So that’s what I don’t think people realize. It’s hard out there and you do what you have to do to survive. Now will I ever go back? If you see me on a soap opera, you know it’s because I had to take it – and you know what, I’ll be grateful to be working!  {laughs}

I’ve always found it kind of interesting to see who leaves a soap and who stays a long time. The money isn’t the same as prime time, but on the other hand, it’s steady work if you’re a contract player. And like I’ve said, it’s scary out there pounding the pavement as an unemployed actor. We’re not all wired the same way, even if by definition you’re a risk taker by being a freelance artist. That regular paycheck is too much of a lure for some actors to walk away from, even if they don’t love the work. There’s also a built-in industry around soap operas that I think keeps some actors in that genre. Of course, that’s tiny from what it was when I was there. Soap operas are just hanging on by the skin of their teeth right now. But back in the day, you had multiple magazines. You had TV shows dedicated to talking about soaps. There was a cottage industry surrounding soap operas. You can get a sort of fake sense of celebrity on a soap opera. I was always aware of trying not to buy into that because I wanted to leave. I wanted to keep pushing myself to try to get into prime time. I was never so focused on movies. I viewed myself as a TV actor, and I’ve been very, very happy working in prime time. I always thought that about three years was the max and then you should go or else you’re really gonna get stereotyped. And I saw people chicken out when it was time to leave. And then after awhile, it’s a little too late to come out. You’re so identified with soaps that you’re going to have a very, very difficult time being allowed to cross over to primetime. And perhaps because you’ve not been artistically pushed in a way that you’re gonna get pushed in prime time, you’re just gonna have a hard time switching gears.

Fans also would like to know if you have kept in contact with any of the cast from Dawson’s Creek.

No, I haven’t. I was never terribly close to any of them because of the age difference. I was probably ten years older than all of them. And at that time, they were kids. And I was about twenty-eight, I think. I remember driving Katie Holmes to a dinner like about the fourth episode of the first season. She had her first car and she was unsure of some of the controls. And she asked me to drive her to dinner. {laughs} I mean, these were young kids. First and second jobs for some of them, if I remember. So when I was there intermittently over five years, the closest person to me was Josh Jackson because he was also Canadian and he’s a bit of a smart alec in life–and I mean that in a good way. And he was probably a little bit older than his years in some ways. We would talk and spend time together. And I enjoyed spending time with James {Van Der Beek} as well. He was a thoughtful guy.

My takeaway from those years was it was interesting to watch them because they blew up so big, so quickly. That show was really tapped into the zeitgeist of the day. They were on the covers of Rolling Stone and all of the big magazines. And they all kept their heads together, at least from everything that I saw. You know there were definitely romances going on behind the scenes, which is inevitably gonna happen with kids in their twenties on a show. It’s so incredible when you’re a young actor and you’re on a TV series and you’re working with beautiful, charismatic, interesting people and life seems so easy. I mean, the hormones naturally fly. But they all kept their heads about them. Nobody got into serious trouble, and I always thought that was an impressive thing since you so often see child actors really crash and burn with that kind of success. And look at them now. They’ve all moved on, and they’re all doing so well. And that’s a really fun thing for me to see. When Katie was engaged to Tom {Cruise}, that just blew my mind. Just thinking of this young girl from middle America–if I remember–and here she was marrying her childhood crush – the world’s biggest movie star – for real. It was very surreal.

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So now I think we can fast forward to Gourmet Detective, since we haven’t talked about that. So the third one is going to air on October 9th, if I remember correctly.

The last I heard was October 9th, which I’m really disappointed in ’cause I fear we’re gonna get killed. There’s a huge NFL game that night between the Giants and the Packers. But even more importantly, it’s the second presidential debate. So I’m afraid we’re gonna get annihilated. I’m disappointed because if this third one doesn’t do well, there probably won’t be any more Gourmets. And so it feels a little bit like we’ve done our best to deliver the goods, but we’ve been dealt a hand that we might struggle to win. Fingers crossed, but it’s gonna be a tough night to do well on.

I’m not sure why Gourmet Detective has not taken off like some of the other mystery series have.

In my opinion, it hasn’t because (A) it doesn’t have the star value, especially with me, as some of the other actresses on some of the other wheels. We’re still in there gunning away, but all of the other wheels have bigger names in the Hallmark family. So that’s one thing. And (B) the way that Becky {Southwell} and I have written Maggie is not the traditional Hallmark female character. And that’s always been a little bit of a tug-of-war between us and the network. The end result you’re seeing with Gourmet is not exactly how I envisioned the initial franchise when I sold it. I wanted Henry to be much closer to a Frasier Crane character and frankly the Nathan Fillion character on Castle. You know, when I sold it to them, I said, “I’m gonna give you your version of Castle wrapped up in a Hallmark bow.” Meaning, “I know what your mandate is. I think I know your audience really well. And I believe there’s room for a ‘Castlesque Moonlighting show’ that is still true to your values.”

In development on each one of these, I tried to give something that I’m proud of and at the same time give them something that they want. And from my own personal view, I’ve not quite done it yet. I think we’ve always ended up in the middle ground somewhere with both sides wishing it were just a little different. I think we’re close, but I’m still missing the mark a little and I take complete blame for that. And that’s an ongoing challenge. I’ll call it a challenge. Challenges are a good thing. I’m still learning how to write for Hallmark and not completely lose my voice. And as I mentioned with Cedar Cove, I think the network is constantly discovering things about their programming and their audience, and that’s also a good thing. I know everyone at the network is very committed to excellence in their programming and they want to keep growing not only in numbers but also in scope of their storytelling. They really are great partners and I’m so appreciative of their support in all of my endeavors with them, from acting to writing and producing. I’ve gotta hit them up for directing next! {laughs}

Regardless of how well we do on October 9th, it’s been a wonderful experience on Gourmet. I’ve learned a lot. I have a lot to learn as an exec producer and certainly as a writer. You know, my wife is always the main writer. I’m always learning from my wife. Ideally, if we get so lucky to get another one, I really would like to direct. Everyone always asks me, “When are you getting behind the camera?” Because I’m more of a technical actor. I’ve always studied the craft of filmmaking. I’ve always really paid attention to directors and directors of photography. I’ve collected a number of letters over the years now in support from other directors and DP’s saying that in their opinion, I’m ready. So that’s sort of my next challenge–to direct one of these. If we don’t get another Gourmet, maybe I’ll get a chance to direct a one-off movie that I’ll sell and write for them. Who knows?

You know, I don’t know if I had even thought about the fact that you’ve never directed anything.

Most people assume that I have. {laughs}

Yeah, I’m thinking that I probably assumed you had as well. And now, come to think of it–that’s right, you haven’t.

GourmetDetective_Dylan_280No, it’ a challenge. But I’ve got such a good relationship with so many crew members up in the Vancouver area. Especially where most of the Hallmark stuff is shot. Because of those relationships, I know it will be a wonderful team effort and I will have people embrace me and lift me up and make sure we all get across the finish line together. I guarantee it will be a fun experience. That’s actually what I’m most proud of with the Gourmet Detective movies. On all of them, the crew has come up to me almost to a person and has said, “This is one of the best working experiences I’ve ever had in my career. Please, please bring me back for the next one.” Because I really made it a point to hire people that want to have fun. That are willing to work really hard, but at the end of the day, we’re not curing cancer. We’re here to have fun and to be grateful that we’re even working in the first place.

And that was my main concern when I hired Brooke {Burns}. In that I had say over who we were gonna cast–I’m involved in all the casting, but especially in the very beginning with the first one. I wasn’t just gonna hire anybody. And even if the network was going to try to suggest somebody, I was gonna have a say in it because I was just not gonna let this be a bad experience. Especially with some of my prior experiences in the industry, there’s just no reason why we all shouldn’t be having the best time of our lives. And so I had never worked with Brooke. I didn’t really know her. I kind of knew of her, but I didn’t know her. And so when she was one of the finalists, I made calls around town to get people’s opinions on having worked with her. And everyone just came back saying, “Oh, you’re going to have the absolute best experience with her. Just hire her.” And that’s the way it’s been. She’s just been so wonderful on all of these, and she’s terrific in the role of Maggie She’s a close friend now and she’s been the best partner I could have ever asked for – on and off screen. I can’t imagine doing these without her. I got very lucky there.

I was thinking back on Gourmet Detective as compared to the other mystery series because I know of many people who say that’s their favorite mystery series. My mom and I love it. In fact, I often quote my mom in my reviews because she doesn’t have the same relationship as I do with the actors. In fact, you can be glad–she actually knows who you are by name.

All right! {laughs} Be sure to thank your mother for that.

I definitely will. Most of the time, I’m saying, “Do you remember so and so?” And she’ll say, “No.” I have to go through the list and finally about the fourth movie I mention, she might remember the person. But I say your first name–she doesn’t even need your last name–and she knows who you are.

Aw, that’s so sweet. That’s great. You know, Gourmet has been such a special project. Even more than Cedar in some ways because I pitched it and developed it from scratch. So while I find development challenging–and keep in mind, development is challenging no matter where you are, no matter what network, what studio–making a show or a movie, it takes a village. It just does. You can never just have your own way. And that’s actually a deficiency in me I had to really work on. I’m extremely opinionated. I’m extremely emotional. And so I fight for what I believe in and at times you have to play better in the sandbox. And I have to do a better job at that. I’m aware of that. And I’ll tell you the Hallmark people have been nothing but extremely patient with me and so kind and incredibly encouraging, and I really appreciate that because I know at times, I probably tested that good will. Just with my own battles in letting some things go. Sometimes I try to push too much for more sauciness or sophistication between Henry and Maggie because it’s what I want, and who knows, maybe we’ll get there. Maybe I could have done it all along and could have delivered what I had in mind and could still have made the network happy. I think if we get lucky to have a fourth, I think it will be the best one. These first three were just the warm up! {laughs}

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L-R Christine Willes, Dylan Neal, Brooke Burns, Ali Skovbye Photo Credit: Copyright 2014 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Katie Yu

L-R Christine Willes, Dylan Neal, Brooke Burns, Ali Skovbye Photo Credit: Copyright 2014 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Katie Yu

KWIK KWOTE

Ali Skovbye, Co-Star Gourmet Detective

“Dylan is one of the kindest actors I’ve ever met. He always leaves a little thank-you note in my trailer at the end of a shoot, and he’s super talented. As a young actor, you can learn a lot working beside someone like Dylan. We hope the fans will be tuning in to The Gourmet Detective 3 in October so we can continue to film more of them.”

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Judging from the mystery series I’ve seen, it doesn’t seem like they find their groove till the third one.

It’s tricky. We’ve had a lot of problems in development. When Becky and I wrote the first one and delivered it, Bill Abbott, the president of the network, emailed me and said, “That is the best script I have read in I don’t know how many years at this network.” After that first draft, they wanted two more Gourmet movies fairly quickly, but we still had re-writes on the first movie, and they were suddenly asking for some changes that took time to accommodate. We couldn’t write the next two simultaneously, so we had to hire some other writers. And we had a number of problems and challenges with that.

Writing a procedural that also has a fair bit of romance or banter is kind of like two different genres. We found not everyone could do it quite the way we’d established in the first one. Another problem was after outlining one of the books in the series of the novels, which would have been the second movie, and after a lot of work, like months down the road, the network suddenly changed their mind and didn’t want to do that book as the second movie. And so here we were suddenly running out of time with deadlines, and since the third script was further along the development path, it suddenly became the second movie. So A Healthy Place to Die was never supposed to be the second movie, and it kind of makes sense ’cause Henry and Maggie go away together in that one. And it was a bit of a leap in them having just met and then they suddenly go off together on a trip. It was fine, but that kind of sent us for a loop. And then we had a major, major rewrite because we had hired a writer and she was wonderful, but she didn’t quite capture what we were after, and we had two weeks left before we were supposed to be in pre-production and Becky and I did a complete page one rewrite in two weeks. I mean we threw everything out and started over. And that was a very stressful time. Very hard. We did it, but it about killed us. And then the third one was a complete redo from the novel that had been nixed. So it’s always been a bit of a creative hurdle in development, especially with a fourth movie that Becky and I had sold, unrelated to the Gourmet franchise and which had major developmental obstacles. That’s why I’m feeling like with the fourth Gourmet, we could have a fresh start. And with all my experience, having done four movies with Hallmark as a writer and producer, I’ll have a better shot of delivering something that we’re all going to be one hundred percent behind and think this is the best one. We’ll see how we do in the ratings.

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ms4KWIK KWOTE

Marc Senior, Co-Star Gourmet Detective

“Working with Dylan Neal has been like working with family–so welcoming and warm.”

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Now I know you’re also into woodworking. So is woodworking something you’ve done your whole life?

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One of Dylan’s many “creations”

All of my adult life, yeah. Since I was about twenty. I’m a curious person by nature, and I’m a hands-on creative person. What makes me happiest in life is just creating. So whether it’s portraiture–you know, I worked briefly doing animal portraits during my lean years. Writing, acting, painting, you know woodwork was just a natural hobby for me to take up. I love furniture. I love design. I love the challenge of good proportion and authenticity to different periods. The first thing I did wasn’t that simple. I made a bed, and I had no idea what I was doing. I had almost no tools. I did everything wrong. I didn’t do nearly enough research into what you’re actually supposed to do, but I got bitten by the bug. What happens is with every project, you learn a bit more. And over time, you acquire quite a knowledge base. And with woodworking, you acquire a lot of tools. You do need the right tools. You’re not gonna get them all at once, and they all have different roles and skill level that’s required to use them. I just love woodworking. I love the smell of it. Feeling the raw wood. I love that I can conceive of something in my mind, draw a detailed sketch, and either a couple days or a couple of weeks later, it’s sitting right in front of me. And it’ll exist forever. It’s almost a spiritual thing. I think all artisans will talk about that. The joy of being able to conceive of something and make is appear due to your own imagination and skills. That joy never goes away, and it does bring me a lot of satisfaction. I completely lose myself when I’m working in my shop. Literally twelve hours can go by and I haven’t eaten a thing, and I’ve not been hungry. And it’s fun too when you start a new project; there can bea  certain area, whether it’s in joinery or movement of a piece that you’re not exactly sure how you’re gonna fix or solve the problem but you’ll figure it out when you get there. And I love that when you don’t have all of the answers, you go ahead anyway, you find yourself at that point and you discover the answer. Like, “Oh, that’s how it’s gonna work. Okay.” You have these little victories along the way. And of course there’s huge artistry in furniture because the details and proportion and just aesthetics are so critical, and so often people get it wrong. You have to have an artist’s eye in furniture. And then also in the finishing – the finishing is a huge component. And that’s where I’ve had to learn patience. There’s always life lessons in any kind of hobby or career endeavor.

For me, what I always have to practice is patience because once you finish the build, which can be very challenging and time-consuming, you’re only halfway. Because then it’s the finishing. And the finishing takes lots of patience, especially if you’re dealing with any kind of lacquers or finishes that take a day to dry. And if you rush it, you’ll literally ruin the piece. Or if you’re dealing with layers of paint and glazes, you simply can’t rush the process. And whenever you finish the build portion, you see it in front of you and you feel like, “Oh, I see it! I’m almost done. Let’s get to the end and I can put it wherever it’s going.” But you still may have a week of work ahead with the finishing and it’s something I’m always working against–my impatience. But again there’s so much artistry in the finishing. There’s always so much to learn.

There was a period in 2008–there was a writer’s strike going on in the industry. And I was living in Vancouver. I had just come off a TV series there. And so I went to work for a furniture company called Farmhouse. And I became one of their main builders. I was only there for maybe three or four months. I learned so much about the craft, and it was really a gift ’cause I had always dreamt about going to some in-depth master class workshop where they have these two-week getaways. You learn from journeyman, master builders and learn some tricks within the trade. And there was just no way that was gonna happen being a father and a husband with responsibilities at home, but when I was able to work at Farmhouse, it was basically that experience where there were some extremely skilled master woodworkers there. And my knowledge increased greatly. And I also learned–I think it was a good reminder–about the value of a dollar. Because I was just a tradesperson. Punching a clock at the beginning of the day. Punching out at the end of the day. Bringing my lunch in a paper bag to work and making very little money compared to what I usually do. And it was such an appreciation and a reminder of how lucky I was to be a working actor and to do what I love to do and to get paid handsomely for what I do, but to also have an appreciation for craftspeople the world over who have incredible skills and they’re not getting paid the same, but they’re still doing it and enjoying it. And there’s a real lesson in there, and I was very cognizant of it at the time. I was feeling very blessed and very appreciative of the experience.

My mind doesn’t work that way. I mean, I suppose I could do it if I had to but I would not be really good at it or enjoy it. I have no idea how I am able to do all that I do with computers, but I kept researching it because I had to know.

And that’s all a part of it. There’s a great joy in discovering what you don’t know. As long as you have a little bit of the interest to begin with, the journey is really the joy. It’s not always the destination. It should be the journey. It’s the big life lesson for all of us. Enjoy the journey.

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Besides Gourmet Detective, do you have any other upcoming works you can mention?

I’ve got a couple episodes of a Freeform series called Dead of Summer that is airing right now. I was working with Elizabeth Mitchell from Lost and Revolution and Once Upon A Time. A wonderful, wonderful actress. I just love working with her. A wonderful person too. I’m in episode six and episode nine. And Jesse Hutch was in my episode too.

I’ve got two Fifty Shades of Grey sequels coming up. I think a few of us from the first one are glorified extras now in the second and third movie, but we’re still there in the background somewhere. I’ve had a couple of crushing blows recently with pilots/shows that fell through, but that’s the nature of the business. Right now what I’m focusing on is sort of a writing and pitching phase for Becky and I. I have a number of pitches at Hallmark. And I’m pushing those boulders up the hill. Also some pilots we’re working on for outside of Hallmark. So it’s a little bit of when the acting gets slow or there’s a breather, I’m back to wearing the other hat and formulating what my next pitches will be. I also have the life rights to a family in Chicago that have a remarkable true story that fits into the faith and family genre within the indie film world. Think of like Miracles From Heaven. I’ve had some talks with Sony about it and there’s been some interest, I’ll know more next week. We’ll see how it goes.

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KWIK KWOTES

From the Fans

Stacey Blessing Mathews: “I love how he works with his wife and they create interesting storylines.”

Karen Diana: “That omelet that you made in the first movie always inspires me to create, enhance, and invent more dishes. Has your cooking improved since working on the Gourmet Detective? I’ve read that he said he wasn’t very good in the kitchen. No matter, he’s great in front of the camera and behind the scenes. :)”

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With your kids, would you ever encourage and/or support their getting involved with acting as a career?

I think like with any actor, we’d all be very fearful. I’d be fearful if my kids went into the business because it’s so hard. But of course, if one was really dead set on it, of course I would support them and I’d give them a hundred percent of myself in any way I could to help them. And then they’d be far luckier than myself. I would be able to guide them in a knowledgeable way from the very beginning. I really think there’s zero chance my son would go down that path and it would only be my daughter who is definitely a very creative person who I’m sure will end up in the arts in some way. But I don’t know if she’ll be a performer. She’ll definitely be in the arts.

So if you could spend the day with someone famous, who would you pick and why?

Oh man. Someone I admire greatly is George Clooney. I think because he comes from television. He comes from some very schlocky television, and he was able to pull himself out of it. And he is a very good actor, but he’s also a writer, he’s a producer, he’s a director. I also admire that he’s a good person. Everyone I’ve ever talked to that’s worked with him says he’s such a stand up guy. He’s obviously trying to do so much good around the world with either lending his name or working with causes that aren’t always getting the exposure they deserve, to just always standing up for the little guy. There are all kinds of stories in this town where he stood up for the little guy getting bullied. I just really admire his career and the man himself, and so I think he’d be really cool to work with.

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Before conversing with Dylan, I was already captivated beyond measure, as I have been following his career for the past two years. In that time, he has always been supportive of my writing. (In fact, when I wrote my first review for Cedar Cove, he was the first person involved with the show to comment, and it was considerably positive.) But Dylan is so much more than an actor, a writer, a master carpenter, an artist, and any other of his limitless talents one may care to name. Many of his fans choose to concentrate on what he is rather than who he is. From the beginning, I sought to discover who Dylan Neal genuinely is, and our conversation only cemented the fact that Dylan is immeasurably kind, colossally encouraging, and remarkably hospitable towards people who are just as genuine and as candid as he. Dylan is one of a rare breed in the world of entertainment–personal integrity comes above all else, no matter the cost. While he has learned to navigate this world, despite any of his perceived limitations (impatience, perfectionistic tendencies–having been “cursed” with both of those myself, I fully understand and appreciate that struggle), Dylan is the epitome of a sometimes overused cliche–“What you see is what you get.” While some may choose to criticize his views, his acting skills, and even his willingness to inspire and encourage others, there is one thing of which I am certain. Dylan’s determination and commitment to rise to every challenge as well as the conviction that “next time, he will be even better” is a driving force in his life and his career and definitively sets him beyond the throng of actors who actively seek the limelight and the adulation of the masses. (Did I mention how scary it is that I have so much in common with Dylan as far as personality goes? I only wish I were joking–not really. It’s a good thing.)

I personally entreat all of you to watch The Gourmet Detective: Death Al Dente  October 9th on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel, as it would be a crying shame for there not to be another in this prolific series. In the meantime, be sure that you are following Dylan at all the links below because in spite of the fact that he is not a social media fanatic, he still utilizes it, and he will post updates and interact with fans (I speak from experience). While he may not be a marathon tweeter by any means, when he does respond, you can rest assured that what he writes is what he means!

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth

43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl
Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA
Entertainment Writer
Available For Interviews and Reviews
Substitute Teacher

2 Comments

  1. kelly nicholson August 26, 2016 Reply

    never heard of the show,but im sure going to look for it thanks

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