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Meet Dr. Chris McDaniel of Semi-Rebellious Films in North Scottsdale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Chris McDaniel.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Dr. McDaniel. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
For as long as I can remember, I have been completely enamored with music and movies. Buying tapes and CDs the day they came out, waiting in line for summer blockbusters, staying up late to watch the Oscars, or the latest Planet Hollywood opening… I always knew I was going to work in this industry, but I also knew it was a hard row to hoe, so I decided to follow two passions. I loved helping people, and always wanted to be a doctor, so I figured if I got a gig that could pay the bills, then I could follow my artistic dreams without getting mom or dad the wooden spoon out. After a few years in private practice in Scottsdale, some friends and I opened a boutique record label called Dreamy Draw Music (yes named after that cool little area in Phoenix). That love of music led to some music documentaries and the hunger was born to go bigger and better with every effort. First came The Heart is a Drum Machine, exploring how we all have a soundtrack to our lives. After meeting TOOL front man Maynard James Keenan while filming Drum Machine, we decided to make a film about his unique story. Multi-platinum record sales and Grammy awards didn’t keep him from leaving LA for the Arizona sunsets to grow wine, so we decided to document it. We kept the momentum going and made a comedy called Queens of Country starring Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls, Masters of Sex), Ron Livingston (Office Space), Matt Walsh (Veep, The Hangover) and Joe Lo Truglio (Brooklyn Nine Nine). Of course Maynard showed up in that one too as our villain. I love me some MJK and so does the rest of the 48th state. I then decided to branch out on my own with my directorial debut, Music City USA, a love letter to Nashville (I was born about an hour north of the music mecca). What a cast, Zac Brown, Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Kenny Rogers, The Oak Ridge Boys, and about fifty more. That one won lots of award and I’m really proud of it. Currently I’m shooting my sophomore effort, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. This film discusses the undeniable connection between music and movies from some of your favorite 80s guilty pleasures. Talk about bigger and better every time, this film is loaded. I’ve got Kevin Bacon talking about Footloose, I’ve got Huey Lewis discussing Back to the Future, and Billy Bob Thornton talking about Billy Bob Thornton. So many people from a decade of great soundtracks…Jon Cryer, Corey Feldman, Kenny Loggins, Richard Marx, Sammy Hagar and more. Just submitted “Soundtracks” to Sundance and South by Southwest, so keep your fingers crossed. In between Music City and Soundtracks, I helped some friends make a really cool film called Battlecreek, in theaters November 3rd. Battlecreek is a dark love story starring Bill Skarsgard (Yes, the dancing clown Pennywise from this year’s blockbuster, IT). We also have Claire Van der Boom, Paula Malcomson (Ray Donovan) and Delroy Lindo in the film. Battlecreek was produced by one of my favorite people in the world, Connie Hoy (Raising Arizona, Dead Man, XII), and was directed by one of the most gentle and talented humans I know, Alison Eastwood (Yes, THAT Eastwood). Such an amazing team and family. This is probably why I like making films so much. Every new set brings different people into your lives. You become family, truly, family. I will go the rest of my life loving these people that I’ve worked with. Some I talk to every day, literally, every single day. What a ride.

I want to do it all. I want to suck every last drop from the marrow and live every second to the fullest. I’ve done my best to make that happen every step of the way. President of my dorm in college, President of my class in Chiropractic school, founder and President of the University of Kentucky Alumni association in Phoenix, and hands down the best son my parents ever had. I want to do it all, and hopefully I will.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I think smooth is a relative term. I’ve gone over a few bumpy roads, and made it through virtually unscathed, but if I had a different family or support group that may have been another story. My mom is a dreamer like me. She’s a bucket-list person, so I’m a bucket list person (this is why we went skydiving to celebrate her 64th birthday). She stays up all night to get things done, no matter what it takes, so of course, at 11:59 tonight, I submitted a film to SXSW that has a 12 a.m. deadline. My dad never met a stranger, so I’ve never met a stranger. He spins a yarn every chance he gets, and now I tell stories for a living. They can do anything together, so I never really worry about failing. I come from good stock…two people that are filled with passion and adventure and rarely take no for an answer, if ever. My sister is also a combo of the two, and supports everything I do with gusto. All you have to do is watch our episode of Family Feud to see how great we are together.

So, like I said, I may have some rough patches behind me, but with my clan in my corner, I continue to move forward. I look at life like this, the universe is going to play with you, and all you need to do is decide how you treat the obstacles it lays in front of you. You have to decide if it’s a wall, or a speed bump. If it’s a speed bump, don’t treat it like a wall. Don’t be afraid to go right over it. Don’t let it slow you down just because it’s there. And if it’s a wall, treat it like a speed bump, and fearlessly knock it down. If you want what’s on the other side bad enough, you’ll get it. Don’t be afraid to stand up and knock the dust off. Forever forward.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Semi-Rebellious Films – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I’m lucky enough to have two businesses that I’m really proud of. In my day to day life, I am a Chiropractic Physician in North Scottsdale. What sets me apart from most chiropractors is a separate degree that I have called the CCEP. This is a Board Certified designation in extremity adjusting and sports injuries. I’m one of the only practitioners in the state with this degree, so it really helps make my practice unique. I am so blessed that I chose a profession that allows me to help people every day. Dozens of times a day, people tell me how much better they feel, or how they were able to sleep for the first time in weeks, or how it doesn’t hurt anymore to do this or that. So rewarding. It isn’t even work, I just go in to the office and see friends coming and going all day.

My second job is all of the arts and entertainment items that I do with Semi-Rebellious Films, and 33 Entertainment. I have the afore mentioned film work, on top of constantly planning scr intoeenings and entering festivals, and such, plus creating new projects. I have about 12 undeveloped scripts right now, one that I will shoot in Phoenix next year. Besides the filmmaking, I’m constantly writing. I published a poetry book years ago called Loss of Voice, and released a children’s book called The Adventures of Dusty Popsallot after that. The sequel to the Children’s book, Dottie Digsallot and Her Dinosaur Discoveries will be out this Christmas. I’ve got a self-help book in the works and stay busy hosting a weekly radio show with my friend Ed, called 1980 Something.

What I’m most proud of within my entertainment world, is the Best Director trophy I received at the Costa Rica International Film Festival. My directorial debut, Music City USA won Best Film awards in several festivals, but to be recognized as a director was really special to me.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I have so many plans of the future. Right now I’m shooting a documentary about We are the World, that I will release on the 35th Anniversary of the songs and proceeds from the film will go to USA for Africa, which is still very active charity. Also, a baseball comedy that I’m writing should get made in the next year or so, and one of the greatest men I’ve ever known, the late great Buck Holland wrote a story called XII that I’ll be producing alongside director Connie Hoy. On a personal note, I hope to be married and starting a family. My nephew Connor and my niece Katie are the two most amazing creatures in my life, and I want a couple babies of my own to share my love with. I’d like to play more golf with my dad, and I’d like to travel more with my family, because mom and I haven’t hiked Machu Pichu yet. NO matter what happens, I know the universe has a plan for me, and I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the ride.

I’m an eternal optimist, so the future is bright and I know it. Like a spectacular Arizona sunset, it may be too bright to look straight at sometimes, but it’s definitely worth watching.

Contact Info:

  • Address: Semi-Rebellious Films McDaniel Family Chiropractic
    8700 E. Pinnacle Peak Rd.
    Suite 109
    Scottsdale, AZ 85255
  • Phone:480-342-9191

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