After following the conventional (read safe) path of going to uni, getting a degree and then starting his own business in security, Danny Elacci decided it was time to follow is real passion. Acting – which had been something that attracted him since he was in school and after seeing a friend perform on stage – he changed direction and headed down the acting path with a bag of determination and healthy dose of life experience. With a short film that has just been screened at Cannes, a couple of feature international films in the works and most recently playing the role of Ali in Urban Theatre projects Home Country, Danny may have started later then some but is coming out leaps and bounds ahead of the rest.
I feel that with acting you can step out of your reality and go into another world for a moment.
The Westies: You’ve only been in acting for a few years, what were you doing before that?
Danny: I studied Electronic business, e-business and marketing. It was very different to what I’m doing now. But it helped me to set up my business, which is security surveillance. Running my own business has its’ own security as I have a good foundation, but it wasn’t my passion. I only got into acting five years ago, which is my passion.
The Westies: How did acting come about?
Danny: I went to see a friend of mine, he invited me to his play at the Enmore Theatre, it was my first time I’d actually seen a play, and I was really excited about it all. The rush that you get being in the audience, let alone on stage – I noticed that he was so happy doing what he was doing. I always wanted to do it [acting] in high school, but I guess I was trying to make my parents happy, that was important to me to do that, but then I realised as I got older that I need to make myself happy too.
The Westies: So how did you start?
Danny: I started doing classes at NIDA through their open programme. I did maybe a year at NIDA, doing all those classes, then I moved on to doing one-on-one sessions with Les Chantery at The Hub Studios. And it just started growing, and the love for it became stronger and I started to see my work on-screen develop, and I thought, “Wow, I’ve got something here.” And it just started to grow more and more.
As long as you’re affecting people, you can make them laugh or make them cry, you’re doing your job.
The Westies: What is it about acting that really attracted you to it?
Danny: I think it’s the ability to live a life that you don’t necessarily have. I feel that with acting you can step out of your reality and go into another world for a moment. To me that’s something that really helps you with my life experience. I feel it builds you as a person and you understand the world better, through putting yourself in different situations, whether you’re playing a poor person or a rich person, or a physically able person or someone disabled, when you play these roles, you start to get a better understanding of the world. And you grow as a person.
The Westies: You’re doing more than acting – what are you doing? Give me a rundown.
Danny: If I’m not acting. I’m producing my own content. I feel like there’s no point sitting here waiting for a phone call to be in the next film or TV show. I feel like, “You know what? Don’t waste your time. Create something that you want to do.” And that’s what I’m doing.
I’m currently producing my first feature film in Australia. It’s called “Silo”, it’s about a law student who exploits the homeless and profits from their from their bad situations, until the police get involved and it becomes an ugly mess. What the film is supposed to do is show that everyone has their bad side, and their good side.
The short film that I produced called “Inside” is screening at Cannes Film Festival in Short Corner that’s a big achievement. I’m proud.
If I’m not acting. I’m producing my own content. I feel like there’s no point sitting here waiting for a phone call to be in the next film or TV show. Create something that you want to do.
The Westies: For someone who only started in the industry five years ago, you seem to have achieved a lot!
Danny: I think it’s because I take charge, like I’ve been in the position before where I have relied on people, and people have either given me bad advice, or promised me things and never delivered. I got to the stage of my life since where I built my own business and I thought I should just run my own life exactly as I want as well. I don’t need to take a back seat just because I don’t fully understand it.
It’s a lot of long hours, I am putting in hours every night. It’s not like I am just winging it, it’s a lot of hard work.
The Westies: What influence do you think Western Sydney has had on you?
Danny: Oh, a major influence. I grew up in Guildford West, went to school at Merrrylands High, And then after that we moved out here to Ermington. Growing up in Guildford West with the various cultural backgrounds and the people that you meet, I don’t think you can get it anywhere in the world. You really can’t.
The Westies: And you’ve chosen to stay living in Western Sydney as an adult, when the common thing as an artist is to move away – why is that?
Danny: You know, I could live anywhere in Sydney, but I love to live here. It’s very close to everything. I’m four minutes to Parramatta, five minutes to Auburn, thirty minutes to the city and it’s only a 35 minute drive to the mountains. I find it very central. I have a lot of my friends here. I want to keep in touch with the real people that count. I’ve got friends and family who encourage me to do what I do. And they are why I’ve stayed here.
The Westies: If you were reading the best review about yourself ever, what would it say?
Danny: What would it say? “Danny Elacci affected me. In a good or bad way.” That’s it. “He affected me in some way.” As long as you’re affecting people, you can make them laugh or make them cry, you’re doing your job. That’s the main thing. It’s not about being the best actor in the world, or making the most money, or being famous. It’s about affecting people.