Oklahoma Born Filmmaker Lance McDaniel

Over the past few years, Oklahoma has seen massive growth in its film industry. Thousands of job opportunities are beginning to open, and while exciting, it can prove to be daunting to new filmmakers here in the state.

OCCC is excited to give you a glimpse into the career of an Oklahoma born filmmaker. Lance McDaniel was born and raised in Alva, Oklahoma and developed a love for films early in life.

“Film was a total escape” Lance said.

Like many filmmakers of his generation, movies like “Star Wars,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and “E.T. The Extraterrestrial” sparked his imagination and began a lifelong passion for filmmaking.

When asked about how movies have impacted his life, Lance responded with one word, “empathy.” McDaniel spoke about how universal of a medium movies can be.

Lance McDaniel (Courtesy Photo)

Said McDaniel, “It has the potential to have the same impact on anyone across the globe, and bridges gaps between countries and cultures.”

The movie that had the biggest impact on Lance is “My Own Private Idaho. Lance is also a huge fan of musicals like “Moulin Rouge!” as well as the works of Shakespeare.

“‘Shakespeare in Love’ is my favorite film,” he said.

McDaniel attended Stanford University where he enrolled in the film program, however, he found that their film program was somewhat limited in its scale. He began shooting commercials along with fellow up-and-coming filmmakers.

After moving between San Francisco, London, and New York, working as an internet consultant for advertising companies, he applied for an internship working for OCCC’s own, Gray Frederickson and his production company, Graymark Productions.

McDaniel worked for ten years running the deadCenter film festival and recently finished work as an assistant director on the upcoming documentary film, “Land of Gold” coming soon to HBO Max.

When talking about why he chose filmmaking as a career path, McDaniel said, “I love the collaborative nature of it. Out of all mediums, collaboration happens the most in film.”

McDaniel has a close connection to OCCC through working with many of OCCC’s Digital Cinema Production program’s faculty such as Gray Frederickson, Sean Lynch and Greg Mellott.

McDaniel praised the DCP program for the professionalism and experience of its faculty. Having worked with many of them he has been able to see their expertise in their given fields as well as each one’s unique approach to filmmaking.

“It allows you to have a confluence of perspectives. If your goal is to get a job in the Oklahoma film industry, OCCC trains you to get a job, it’s well rounded, and it’s affordable,” said McDaniel.

McDaniel also gave some advice for film students and aspiring filmmakers in Oklahoma, He encourages both experienced and inexperienced filmmakers to be patient. 

He pointed out that, for new students, patience means taking time to learn and grow. He tells experienced students to be willing to start out small and work up to the job they want.

“Be patient, be great at the job that you are given, be enjoyable to work with, and always show up on time,” said McDaniel.

Those who wish to see McDaniel’s latest project, “Land of Gold,” directed by Nardeep Khurmi, can view it when it is released in 2022.