Dan Garcia & Mike Mayhall: Hollywood's Best Kept Secret Talks Bronx SIU & More! (EXCLUSIVE)

Dan Garcia & Mike Mayhall: Hollywood's Best Kept Secret Talks Bronx SIU & More! (EXCLUSIVE). Read more here--->>

One of the best things about this gig is when I have the opportunity to meet, talk to and get to know people that I know of and admire. But what is just as great is when I'm able to meet people, that I might not have heard of, but it is such a pleasure to meet, talk to and get to know. Talking to Dan Garcia (Creator, Producer, Financier, Film Executive) and Mike Mayhall (Director, Writer, Producer) was most definitely one of those times. A big "lagniappe" for me was that Dan and Mike both at one time have lived in my hometown of New Orleans. So, I also got the chance to meet new "homeboys!' I live!

We talked about how they got started, their own individual paths, how their paths converged, and about their Emmy Award Nominated show Bronx SIU. These two gentleman are multi-talented and are doing it. And they have been doing it for awhile. For those of you who might have not heard of Dan and Mike before, let me ask you a question. Have you heard of Showtime, BET, Netflix, Starz, SeaWorld and Walt Disney World? Of course you have! Well, Mr. Garcia and Mr. Mayhall's shows and films have been on all of these.

Dan grew up in Brooklyn, New York. When he was about 14 years old, his grandmother sent him down to New Orleans where he attended high school. He attended high school literally 10 minutes from my house. I just noted that for me. LOL. He is, as he calls himself, "Half East Coast, Half Down South." Dan's introduction to the industry was through music. "I started out in the music business and started producing music videos." His first film, a small film, was birthed through Dan's love of music. When you are a creator, like Dan, you march by the beat of your own drummer. This is the unique part. When you are a creator, a visionary, you create a music soundtrack first and then make the movie. "We initially created a movie soundtrack so we could sell the music CD's. Then we figured if we were going to have a music soundtrack, we needed to come up with a movie. So, we went ahead and shot our first film. From there, there was no turning back. I fell in love with it."

From Dan's music video, his path evolved from there. He considers his big break a movie he filmed in New Orleans. Dan had me in all my NOLA feels. "I did a very small film called, The Block Party, which is my first film I produced. It was a New Orleans Classic. The film was a combination of my friends and I hanging out being funny making a movie but sort of halfway serious. It became a cult classic, the New Orleans version of Friday. I was really happy about that. It showed me there was some promise in the film business industry." More than some promise we'd say. Dan has produced over 55 independent films and his work has been on 30 different networks.

Mike, born in New Orleans and lived there until his parents moved about 45 minutes away to Mandeville, fell in love with the entertainment industry at a young age. "Ever since I was a little kid,  all I ever wanted to do was perform, act and be in this business. Even before I really knew what it was. I started doing theater when I was 14. It's all I ever wanted to do."

And that's exactly what Mike did. He got his degree in directing, performance and writing and never stopped. As Mike said, he started in theater and from there he went to live shows to sketch comedy to film. "I spent almost a decade in Orlando, FL doing theater and developing shows. I developed shows for Walt Disney World and SeaWorld some of which are still happening today. These are international meccas. So, to have some of your live work seen by people all over the world and still being seen today, is a huge accomplishment. Then I got to direct a show called The Shape of Things out in L.A. which did really well. Back here in Louisiana, I did my first feature film Death Hunt. It was my first time writing, directing and producing a film. It was a great experience. It sort of cemented the path."

Dan and Mike both cemented, experienced and enjoyed their own individual success. Thus, making their alliance that much more productive and fruitful. Dan and Mike met on the movie, Journey to Promethea. The Creator/Producer/Film Executive meets the Writer/Director; kismet. Dan and Mike worked together on and off over the years. Mike says, one day Dan called him and said, "You want to direct right? I got this thing and it might be happening." Mike was all in. Three weeks later they were filming the now Emmy Award Nominated Bronx SIU. Yep, just like that, like kismet.

We are always curious about the creative process. We can't help but marvel at how creators can take an idea and transform it into the brilliance we see on our small and big screens.  Every and any chance we get to ask about this process, we take it. Dan shared with us about his creative process. He told us there isn't one particular place or way that ushers in his inspiration. It can show up while he is walking down the street, in church, in the shower or can be sparked by something he sees or hears. And sometimes Dan may have so many ideas he has to prioritize. A great problem to have. Dan says, "Being a creative person is sort of like a water fountain. It never turns off. You are constantly coming up with new ideas."

Bronx SIU, currently streaming on Amazon Prime and UMC (Urban Movie Channel), was one of the ideas that sprung from Dan's water fountain like imagination. We asked Dan when and how the inspiration came to him for the hit show. "It had been lingering in my mind for awhile. It was always a dream of mine to create a police procedural type show. I grew up watching all those shows like Law & Order. I dreamed about a show like that but with a different twist. I wanted something a bit more character driven that delved deeper into the lives of the detectives.  I was about eight or nine years old in New York when I got picked up by these detectives that were investigating a crime that happened in my neighborhood, which is actually the subject of the first episode. It was a heinous crime where a prostitute's head was cut off and they were trying to find out who did it.  They drove me around asking me if I knew anything or if I saw anything.  I never forgot the way they acted or the lingo they used. They were real authentic New York detectives and they left an impression on me. I always wanted to create a world where people could take a look into that universe and could understand the inner workings. Bronx SIU is something that has been in the back of my head and in my heart for years."

We discussed the genre of Bronx SIU. I mentioned to Dan and Mike that we had read somewhere the show described as a digital soap. We asked if they had history with the genre and how they embraced the concept. We were pleased to learn Dan was a childhood "soaper." He grew up all around soaps. His grandmother, like alot of ours, loved her soap operas. "Oh yeah, my grandmother she watched them all. I remember Dynasty, Falcon Crest, Dallas, General Hospital, One Life to Live. Soaps were on at her house all day long. We had no choice. So, even if I wasn't trying to pay attention, it was still going through my head; the dialogue, characters and plot twists. As kids we are like sponges. I soaked it all in."

Mike sees Bronx SIU as a mixture of soap/high drama with a real world feel. "When I think of soap operas, I think of high drama. The show is like a traditional soap as in there is always high stakes and high drama. The characters are always playing for a bigger game and for higher stakes. In that sense the show fits into that world. But we also fight real hard to keep things super grounded i.e. like The Wire. The show also has an earthy reality to it. We continually walk the fine line between high drama and keeping our world grounded.  Bronx SIU has something for everyone. If you like high stakes drama where the characters are constantly dealing with things, we've got that.  But if you also like reality where everything is set with firm footing, we've got that too. We have successfully been walking that fine line which may explain the appeal of the show for so many people."

The fine line seems to be working out more than fine. Bronx SIU has completed its second season and looking forward to a Season 3. The show has three actors nominated for Daytime Emmy's; Brian White as Jimmy Blue, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Digital Daytime Series, Shanti Lowry as Yolanda Rodriguez, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Digital Daytime Drama Series and Ameer Baraka as Darius, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Digital Daytime Series. Also, among the show's star studded cast includes; Denise Boutte and Miguel A. Nunez.

The concept of Bronx SIU is all Dan's. He "set out to create an authentic piece in an authentic world. It's not a world where all these cops are superheros, they catch the bad guy, they have no flaws and they never have to deal with anything at home. We wanted to create more human and authentic characters than we would normally see on TV." And it is based on this core foundation that Dan and Mike have written this riveting show with its dynamic characters.

The show is truly a collaborative effort. Mike explained how. "The ideas, plots and initial sculpt of each script were all Dan's for the first season. The ideas were morphed depending on the scripts. Overall it was a 50-50 split for the writing, some scripts heavier with Dan and some heavier with me. In the second season, I took on more of the writing which freed Dan up to be the genius producer that he is."

It couldn't be more evident that this dynamic duo is a winning combination. We will see more from them in the future. They have just begun to break ground on scripts for Season 3 of Bronx SIU.  A House Divided a new UMC series, Dan and Mike worked on together, starring Demetria McKinney, Paula Jai Parker, Brad James and Lawrence Hilton Jacobs is in post production. And Mike told us they are looking forward to, "Dusting off some action movie scripts that have been sitting. These movies are a little more light-hearted. The kind of movies where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride."

We are in for the ride Dan and Mike!

Dan Garcia and Mike Mayhall commit those names to memory. One of the best kept secrets in Hollywood, that needs to stop being a secret.

Check out Bronx SIU on Amazon Prime & UMC!

Keep your eyes open for A House Divided!

Thanks so much guys, my "homeboys", for talking us!

I AM KP Smith



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Soap Opera News: Dan Garcia & Mike Mayhall: Hollywood's Best Kept Secret Talks Bronx SIU & More! (EXCLUSIVE)
Dan Garcia & Mike Mayhall: Hollywood's Best Kept Secret Talks Bronx SIU & More! (EXCLUSIVE)
Dan Garcia & Mike Mayhall: Hollywood's Best Kept Secret Talks Bronx SIU & More! (EXCLUSIVE). Read more here--->>
Soap Opera News
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