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How Producer and Philanthropist Suzanne DeLaurentiis Is Helping To Shake Up The Entertainment Industry

What drives me? I’m an extremely excessive compulsive, head-banging, triple-A personality. The change I’d like to see, is that there should be more recognition for independent filmmakers. Sometimes they get lost in the shuffle. Producer, director, writer, and philanthropist Suzanne DeLaurentiis has been in the entertainment industry for over 40 years. Born in 1962, and […]

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What drives me? I’m an extremely excessive compulsive, head-banging, triple-A personality. The change I’d like to see, is that there should be more recognition for independent filmmakers. Sometimes they get lost in the shuffle.

Producer, director, writer, and philanthropist Suzanne DeLaurentiis has been in the entertainment industry for over 40 years. Born in 1962, and raised in Mount Holly, New Jersey, her mother was a teacher, writer and a talent manager. Her father was an ex-pro-football player, coach and teacher.

Suzanne first entered the industry as an opera singer and actress, studying at Carnegie Hall, and performing in various on and off Broadway productions, as well as television and film. As a producer, she has been involved in over a hundred film and television productions, as well as mentoring up-and-coming filmmakers. She is best known for her work on the award-winning mafia drama,

“10th and Wolf,” written and directed by Oscar Winner Bobby Moresco. The film starred James Marsden, Giovanni Ribisi, and the late Dennis Hopper.

She also created and produced, “Suzanne’s Saturday Night Scares,” which she also stars in.

She has been honored with many prestigious awards including: the Terry Scarlett Award for Filmmaking from the Marco Island Film Festival, the Distinguished Founders Award for Excellence in Filmmaking from the Palm Beach International Film Festival, and the Opal Award from Women in Film. She was honored for Lifetime Achievement for Music in independent films by The Hollywood Fame Awards.

Suzanne devotes much of her spare time raising awareness for veterans charities and developed a program called “Operation Hollywood” that trains wounded veterans to work successfully in the film/television industry. In 2010, she was the first female filmmaker to receive a civilian Commendation Medal from the United States Military for her support to the mental and financial well-being of veterans. This award is rarely given to civilians who are recognized for their significant and meritorious achievement.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in a small town, Mt. Holly, New Jersey. My father was an ex-pro football player, teacher and coach.

My mother was a writer and eventually became my manager. I was a singer, dancer and actress from a very young age and was always involved in the arts. My first cousin was Frankie Avalon. My father and Frankie’s mother were brother and sister, so I spent many of my childhood years watching him perform and knew I wanted to be in the entertainment business.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

In the mid-Eightees, I wanted to go behind the camera, writing, producing and directing. I got a lucky break with an investor and made my first horror film. Since then, I have probably been involved with over 70 film and television projects.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I would probably have to say, being active in the USO in the 70’s toward the end of the Vietnam War, I became very active in helping veterans. I then created my own program called, “Operation Hollywood,” where we train veterans to work on movie sets. I was given a Civilian Medal of Honor for my philanthropy. It was quite an honor.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The mistake I made and learned was trying to wear many, many hats at one time. That landed me the reputation of “The Bull in the China Cabinet.” The lesson I learned was that you have to surround yourself with people you can rely on and when the going gets tough, they have your back.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have to give the credit to my parents. They are no longer alive, but they taught me valuable lessons. Be aggressive, tenacious and there isn’t anything you can’t achieve if you work hard enough.

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

I truly believe you don’t pick this business. It picks you. There are different degrees of success in the entertainment industry. As long as you do what you love and love what you do, that to me spells success.

What drives you to get up everyday and work in TV and Film? What change do you want to see in the industry going forward?

What drives me? I’m an extremely excessive compulsive, head-banging, triple-A personality. The change I’d like to see, is that there should be more recognition for independent filmmakers. Sometimes they get lost in the shuffle.

You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?

I’m in the process of working on the infamous 1911 Shirtwaist Factory Fire series. My passion for classic horror films has lead me to star in my own show called, “Suzanne’s Saturday Night Scares” where I host and profile old, classic horror films. As you know, everyone’s future is shaky (with Covid) but all we can do is to stay positive and develop new projects.

We are very interested in looking at diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture and our youth growing up today?

Obviously, being a woman, allows me to mentor other women of all different, diverse backgrounds to work in film and television. I think that all cultures need to be represented visually in some way. It allows our youth to be educated as well as informed that no goal is unreachable.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. That I would never sleep. Because you never sleep.
  2. Stay away from the craft service table. It will make you fat.
  3. Never rely on No Parking signs to actually work. If I had a dime every time I showed up on set and had a place to park my trailers — I’d be rich.
  4. Keeping a boyfriend is almost impossible. That should be self explanatory.
  5. Don’t pay attention to bad reviews. It never affects my paycheck when I’m standing in line at the bank.

Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Please share a story for each one if you can.

I work out and lift weights. It has always been my salvation. I’m not much of a down time person. I like to go, go, go.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Do what you love — Love what you do.” I feel so blessed that I can do something I have a passion for.

You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Live every day to the fullest. Life is short. Make every day count.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

Francis Ford Copolla. Being Italian, I was always a huge fan of The Godfather. It’s one of my classic favorites.

Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram. Just search my name, suzannedelaurentiis.

This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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