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Rising Stars: Meet Daniel Guyton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Guyton.

Hi Daniel, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
As a child, I was deaf in one ear and had a speech impediment, so I often came across as shy and withdrawn. It’s not that I wanted to be shy or withdrawn, I just had difficulty hearing what others were saying, and they sometimes had trouble understanding me, so I felt it was easier just to stay quiet most of the time. Instead, I developed a love of reading. I read ravenously – anything I could get my hands on. Books, comic books, magazines, newspapers, you name it. I loved to read. I also loved to write. I wrote my first short story in second grade, and my teacher loved it. She had me read it out loud to the class, which was unnerving and a bit strange – however, my classmates seemed to love it. I, in turn, loved that they loved it. I wanted to write more. By 7th grade, I was writing and drawing comic strips for my classmates – most of them about my teachers. My classmates thought they were hilarious. I was still mostly shy, but I was growing a fan base. I soon began writing short stories and poems – also about my teachers at first (because hey, you gotta play for your audience), but eventually about all sorts of topics.

In 10th grade, I was asked to perform some of my poetry in front of the school in a large auditorium. This was my first time performing in front of a crowd that large. The poems were mostly funny, and the audience roared their approval. It was mesmerizing. Better than any feeling I had ever experienced by that point in my life. I was hooked. Addicted. I needed audience approval like a shot of heroin. I started taking acting classes, performing in poetry slams. Whatever I could do to get in front of a crowd. By this point, there were many advances in hearing aid technology, so I was able to hear people much more clearly, and the acting classes were helping my speech impediment and my confidence levels. By the time I reached college, I knew that I wanted to write and to perform. I took every theatre class they offered and every writing class they offered as well. Before long, I was writing plays and screenplays, and… well, the rest is history, as they say.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It was definitely not a smooth road. Like any artist, writers face rejection constantly. I’d say that for every ten scripts I send out, I get one “maybe”. For every ten maybes, I get one production. That adds up to a lot of rejection. Luckily, I submit hundreds of scripts a year, so I do get quite a few acceptances, but that number pales in comparison to the rejections. I had to develop a thick skin early on. Also, the reviews I receive are often positive, but a negative review can be very painful. It’s all just part of the process. Additionally, these past two years have been terrible for almost all artists, thanks to Mr. Covid. I had several shows scheduled that were closed down in 2020. My royalty income slowed down to a trickle. I’ve never made enough as an artist to retire on, but I could usually count on my royalties to pay off a few bills a month. That was not the case these past two years.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am most known as a playwright. I have written over 100 plays and have been produced nearly 600 times around the world. I’ve been published over 50 times and have won dozens of awards. I used to be humble and shy about these accolades, but the reality is that I am extremely proud of my plays. I have also written screenplays which have won awards, though none of my feature-length screenplays have been produced as of yet. What sets me apart from others is probably the tone of my writing. I tend to write very dark, satirical comedies. While this is hardly unique in the world, I have been told that my work has a style all of its own. Love it or hate it, it is definitely mine.

In addition to writing, I also act and direct from time to time, and I am a teacher.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
I think most people are surprised when they realize how laid back I am. I tend to write stories about terrible people doing terrible things, so I think sometimes people expect me to be like that in real life – but I am actually the opposite. I tend to write about things that scare me or confuse me, which is why my characters are often so poorly behaved. This has very little bearing on my personal life, though, and I think that surprises some people.

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