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Industry Player: Lance McDaniel

Lance McDaniel
Filmmaker, screenwriter, McDaniel Entertainment CEO

Lance McDaniel has been in Oklahoma’s film industry just about as long as the industry has existed.

A filmmaker and screenwriter, he is CEO of McDaniel Entertainment, which has produced feature films, television for the Armed Forces Network, served as a consultant for different film offices and allowed him to focus on writing screenplays based on published books. 

And that’s all after a career which includes working on Million Dollar Baby and other films in California, and a decade back in Oklahoma leading the deadCenter Film Festival. Like many, his roots and reason for coming back to Oklahoma start and end with Gray Frederickson.

“I moved home and worked with Gray on low-budget scary movies,” McDaniel said. “What I love about that fact is that’s the kind of person Gray was for thousands of people here. The breadth of people that he influenced hundreds of people each year and all of them got to listen to Gray. And there is something so tangible to listening to someone who made “Apocalypse Now” and the “Godfather.”  It is a great legacy.”

He said the legacy Gray left helps grow the momentum for hundreds of filmmakers like himself now.

“What Oklahoma is doing now continues what he developed,” he said. “It has been a perfect storm of great filmmakers that have been working here a very long time, grown up here and stayed in Oklahoma. And there has been a great infusion of people from Oklahoma that have come back. And the marriage of those two is what is really making it take off. We are getting people to come back here when the locals are also getting really good at what they are doing.”

Moving images will be a major part of many industries moving forward, not just film, McDaniel said, making Oklahoma’s investment vital to numerous industries.

“Moving images will define the future,” he said. “Filmmakers will become more integral to all corporations. People are now correctly seeing this is a booming industry, not an artform that needs to be donated to. We are a part of commerce, and that makes a really big difference.” 

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