Dan Cooper: Blue Man / Cheeky Monster / World-Class Collaborator (#91)
Our Guest Today: Dan Cooper
Dan Cooper (@sirdanielcooper) is an Experience Designer, Video Producer and Project Manager who loves working with brands and people. For 10 years, he worked as a Principal Performer in Blue Man Group, a world class entertainment company, touring in multiple cites on several continents. Because of Blue Man Group, Dan learned a lot about experience design, improvisation and persuasion which led him to consult for many companies and clients.
How was Dan discovered for Blue Man’s audition? What are some of the characteristics the company is looking for? How long was the training before Dan could appear on stage? And the brutal elimination process that’s no different than American Idol?
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As a jack of all trades, Dan throws himself at a lot of adventures. His friends and colleagues call him “A hell of an artist, a great guy, a cheeky monster, and a first-class collaborator.” or “Dan reminds me that life is short and to embrace every moment of it to the fullest.”
In this episode, Dan takes you on and off stage as a Blue Man. The types of skills he acquired and how you too can learn from him. Dan also designed workshops for students and employees to improve verbal and non verbal communications. Unlike some of the performers who are exclusively pursuing acting, Dan explores the world much beyond the performing arts. From managing wind farms offshore, to helping musicians from around the world to collaborate on produce projects every week, Dan’s portfolio is a reflection of his curiosities. As a result, it doesn’t take much time for his next gig to come through.
After interviewing performers for over 2 years on Feisworld, we are seeing similarities among these world-class talents including the tools, resources, their unique mindset and journey to get them from where they are to where they want to be.
Listen to a song written and sung by Dan – created as part of his collaboration project called Songs on Sunday. This song was also used as music transition in our podcast.
[Summer Session 2016 by Various Artists]
- [06:00] Dan’s intro on the origin stories behind the show Blue Man Group
- [09:00] How were you discovered and recruited to the show?
- [10:30] What was the audition process like? What are some of the characteristics that Blue Man Group was looking for in their actors?
- [15:00] Dan’s take on how to collaborate and work with other actors.
- [18:00] How does it feel to transform into the character and relate to others, specially after applying makeup?
- [20:00] How was the training in New York (Blue Man Group HQ)? What were you good at and what were some of the new things you learned?
- [23:00] When and why did you decide move abroad?
- [25:30] Dan and Fei talking about the Broadway Show Les Miserables
- [28:00] Tell us about your upbringing. Where did you grow up and how was your relationship with your family?
- [32:00] How was the conversation with your parents about moving abroad?
- [34:00] What have you done outside of Blue Man Group? How do you find the time to take on new projects?
- [40:00] What do people think about your broad skills and experience?
- [41:00] Can you tell as about the communication workshop you conducted at a local school in the US?
- [45:00] Tell us about your career in music and your Songs on Sundays project.
- [47:00] What software do you use to help musicians collaborate from around the world? [49:00] Can you share more about how you create a workflow for music with your backround in project management?
- [51:00] What would you say to young people trying to start a career in performing arts? What would be your advise?
- [55:00] If you want to try something new, where do you find it?
- [14:00] ‘That has really taught me something that I’ve been able to apply in other areas, not just performing, but anything I do: to go into something with an open mind.
- [40:00] ‘I’ve just been very fortunate to have the background and experiences I had, and being at the right place at the right time. I try to say yes to everything…’
- [42:00] The very basis of it all, is all about support. If you feel supported, by your fellow collaborators or colleagues, and you support them as well, then it is easier to communicate, because you don’t feel embarrassed, you feel safe. If you develop an environment where everyone feels supported and valued, then you don’t even think about communication.
- [47:00] ‘It’s just so easy now, we couldn’t have done this 10 or 20 years ago, [technology] has given us this new way of creating music.’
- [51:00] ‘When I talk to young performers, the first thing I say is give up, don’t bother, forget it. Because if you can then go on to do it, then you deserve to be doing it. I don’t think everyone has the right to be a performer, to be a creative person. You have to earn it, because you have to show a dedication, in any field.’
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