Student Artist Profile: Dalton Snider-Smith

By Dominique Evans, Copy Editor

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Dalton Snider-Smith from a photo shoot for the MSU Players “We Found Wonderland” dance show. Photo courtesy of Marty Keating

Dalton Snider-Smith is a sophomore majoring in filmmaking and minoring in musical theater. Snider-Smith describes the thrill of performing on stage and shares her passion for filmmaking.

Q: How would you define yourself as an artist?

A: I tend to identify first as an actor since I’ve done it for so long and second as a filmmaker. However, both are very important to me.

Q: What is the best part of being a multifaceted artist?

A: The best part about having multiple forms of art in my life is that there’s always a creative outlet; I never get bored! I can throw my energy into practicing a monologue or scene and preparing for an audition. I can organize information and get ready for my next film set, but I can also just sit down in front of my laptop and write for hours.

Q: What prompted you to start acting?

A: My parents were both theater majors in college so I’ve always had an appreciation for acting. I also loved reading aloud in class, even in elementary school. In middle school, I acted casually but high school is when it really picked up. I was in a drama class sophomore year and my teacher offhandedly guessed none of us would choose acting as a career. That made me so mad for some reason, and I realized it was because I never wanted to stop acting. I started to take acting super seriously and made sure to audition for every opportunity that came my way. That same teacher ended up awarding me the school’s drama scholarship two years later, which felt pretty good.

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Dalton Snider-Smith performing in a one act play put on by the MSU Players.
Meg Foley | The Montclarion

Q: When did you start making films?

A: My friends and I just always had a habit of picking up a camera or our phones and recording silly stories at sleepovers. Our films got much more refined as we got older. Eventually, we were recording short films with intricate plots every time we hung out. I tended to gravitate towards directing them.

Q: When and why did you decide to pursue filmmaking as a career?

A: I was watching “The Princess Bride” and I was thinking about how I want to make people feel the same way. I decided to pursue it as a career for that reason.

Q: What is your favorite part of acting and performing?

A: My favorite part of acting is when I first start my performance. I get so anxious and unsure while I’m preparing, but then I meditate and remind myself how hard I’ve worked. The second I walk onto the stage into the blinding lights or when the film director calls “action,” all my fears melt away. I become that character for the duration of the performance. It’s a cathartic feeling and I thrive during it.

Q: What have you learned through being a filmmaker?

A: I have learned just how difficult making art can be through being a filmmaker. There are so many facets to making a film and each one of them needs to be under control for the final product to be successful. It’s an expensive and precise art, but it can yield such awesome results.

Q: What have you learned through working in theater?

A: In theater, I’ve learned how deeply people can connect through performance. A good performance can make an audience cry together, laugh together and get mad together – anything!

Q: Can you tell me about performance or piece that you were particularly proud of?

A: A performance I was particularly proud of was my junior year of high school when I played the lead role of Annie Sullivan in “The Miracle Worker.” It was my first lead role and I had so many lines to memorize. I put my whole heart into that performance and for weeks afterward, students and teachers would come up to me and tell me how much I struck them in the show. My pottery teacher told me that it was the first high school show she went to see in years and that it was one of her favorites. She was glad she went because she had never been so affected by an Annie Sullivan before.

I was very close to my freshman year math teacher, who worked behind the scenes for the theater. After the show, I met her at the stage door still in makeup and we both cried. It was an incomparable and indescribable experience

Q: What is your biggest motivation?

A: My biggest motivation lies within my passion. I honestly can’t see myself working anywhere else but the entertainment industry. Nothing else would fulfill me as much this. I do it not only because I feel like I have to, but because I love it.

Q: Who are your biggest supporters?

A: I believe my parents are my biggest supporters. My mom has given me nothing but encouragement. Both my mom and dad check in to see what projects I’m working on. They have the utmost faith in me and always push me to be my best.

Q: Do you feel your art has helped you grow as a person?

A: I definitely have grown so much as a person through my art. It has given me a positive outlook when I’m upset, taught me how to be professional and determined and taught me how to handle stressful situations with hope and patience.

Q: What’s your latest project?

A: I am currently casting for my latest film project, which is a comedy about friendship and werewolves. I will be filming the last weekend in October and I’m so excited to finally put it all together. Coincidentally, that weekend is also when I will be performing in Player’s annual rendition of Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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Snider-Smith playing Annie Sullivan in Cedar Grove High School’s production of “The Miracle Worker.”
Photo Courtesy of Cedar Grove High School
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