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Time, Priorities and Movies – My Interview with Actor Dan Franko.

February 18, 2014

After interviewing so many awesome moms who are juggling being a parent and an artist (Shannon Plumb, Barbara Barna Abel, Wendy Braun, Joy Dewing, Jennifer Weedon) I thought it was about time to get a DAD on here!  Cue the fantastic DAN FRANKO!  I especially love his Veep story – such a great reminder for me that even when plans/scheduling fall apart and stress is high, if you can let that go, an awesome outcome is possible! Be sure to check out Dan’s website and follow him on Twitter!

Dan Franko - Photo Credit Ken Arnold Photography

Dan Franko – Photo by Ken Arnold Photography

How do you navigate balancing work and family?  Is balance possible?

As with most actors, when you say “balancing a work and family”, the “work” part is kind of open ended. I’m not fortunate enough at this point to make my living solely from acting. So that balance includes my 9-5 “day job”, my acting work, my wife’s work schedule, and family schedules. Even the simplest audition requires the coordination of a lot of moving parts between all of those things.

You find a way to make it work…or at least as much of it as possible. My wife and family have been amazing in supporting and accommodating the situations where I have to be somewhere else for an audition or a booking. If I’m at a class or audition and can’t get to after-care to get our son, my wife does…if neither of us can, the grandparents or one of our cousins who live close by will. It’s definitely a team effort. It makes it easier to keep chasing my goals, knowing that I have a team…that I’m not in it alone. (In fact, I think my wife has a harder time with the whole “when will you hear something?” part of audition process than I do. Drives her crazy that we don’t get some kind of response one way or another).

What are the biggest challenges juggling being a Dad and an actor? 

I think that time management is the biggest challenge…trying to be where you need to be for acting work, and prioritizing the things you absolutely can’t miss as a Dad or husband.

When I had my callback for Veep, it was on a Saturday morning. My son had a football game that day (and I was one of the coaches for his team). My wife had a commitment that she couldn’t take our son to, so I took my him with me to the callback in his football gear I did my callback, changed into my coaching clothes and raced to the football field, because that’s what I had to do in order to make it all work that day. (I got the part…thinking maybe I should starting bringing him along on all my auditions for good mojo!)

Dan Franko in  "Frozen Yogurt" Season 1, Ep 2 of HBO's VEEP.

Dan Franko in “Frozen Yogurt” Season 1, Ep 2 of HBO’s VEEP.

How has being a Dad helped your career? Or vice versa?

One way that it’s helped me is that being a Dad really connected me to my emotional core. That was one of my hurdles as a younger actor – making that emotional connection, particularly in vulnerable situations or the dreaded “crying” scenes. I find it much easier to connect and draw on my emotions now that I’m a Dad.

I wouldn’t say that being a Dad has hurt my career. It has caused me to evaluate the kind of projects I choose to pursue. I don’t go after stage roles at this point, because the time commitment is so great. It’s not fair to my wife (who is already so awesome in accommodating my acting stuff) to ask her to fly solo on dinner and bedtime every night for 6-8 weeks because I have rehearsal or I’m in another state doing a run of some show. And this is time that I don’t want to miss. My son is almost 9. Before I know it, he’ll be in high school. These years are too important and short to miss out on.

Dan, his wife and son enjoying a film premiere. (Personal Photo from Dan)

Dan, his wife and son enjoying a film premiere. (Photo Credit – Dan Franko Personal Photo)

What is your favorite part of being a Dad?  Your least favorite?

It’s hard to say that I have a specific favorite part of being a Dad. The whole experience is amazing. Yeah, there are bad days where things don’t go well at school, or arguments over turning off the tv or stuff like that. But you kind of forget those, and the good is what stands out. And it’s the best thing I’ve ever been part of.

One thing I do love is going to the movies with my son. My Dad and I used to go to the movies all the time. (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Rocky, Star Trek, James Bond…) so I love being able to share that experience with him…especially those movies that I loved as a kid, like Star Wars and Princess Bride. Those kinds of movies are what put me on the path of being an actor, and it’s really cool to be able to share that with him.

Also, sharing my acting life with my son is very cool. We have a group of actors who will get together and do script reads from time to time. Last Christmas, we did readings of Disney’s Prep & Landing and the Will Ferrell movie, Elf. My son sat in on Prep & Landing as the little boy whose house the two elves visit. It was his first time doing anything like that, and it made it so much more special for me to have him be a part of it.

Thanks so much for sharing your acting and parenting journey with us Dan!

To learn more about Dan’s experience shooting Veep, check out this great article!

To connect with Dan – tweet him at  @DanFranko  or check his website at –

Talk soon,

The Mothering Actor Signature

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