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Dan Levy finds common ground with veterinary professionals

Feature
Article

The Hollywood actor-writer-director was a featured speaker at the VMX conference in Orlando, Florida

Dan Levy speaks

Photo: Kristen Coppock, MA/dvm360

Actor-writer-director Dan Levy, right, discusses his career and inspiration with moderator Jaimie Roberts at the Veterinary Meeting & Expo (VMX) in Orlando, Florida.

Facing a theater packed with conference attendees, Emmy Award winner Dan Levy spoke about the trajectory of his Hollywood career, development of the hit show Schitt’s Creek, and the inspiration for his new Netflix movie Good Grief. Answering questions posed by moderator Jaimie Roberts, he drew some laughs while also providing inspirational universal messages and heartfelt moments that resonated with the audience of veterinary professionals at the Veterinary Meeting & Expo (VMX) conference in Orlando, Florida.1

The Q&A talk first addressed characters on Schitt’s Creek, which included a recurring veterinarian. Although the character arc for the main characters—a formerly wealthy family that moves to a small-town motel—was one of personal growth, all of the show’s cast of eclectic characters were shown as unapologetically authentic to themselves. Levy said the notion to just 'be yourself' is important. “What makes you happy? At the end of the day, you just want to have [lived] for yourself and not lived your life for someone else,” he said.

Dan Levy speaks

Photo: Kristen Coppock, MA/dvm360

Levy addresses an audience of veterinary professionals.

In getting Schitt’s Creek developed, Levy also stayed true to himself. The show was rejected by every American television network and streaming service but was eventually picked up in his native Canada, he said. In the end, the show was able to retain the artistic integrity that was intended, which Levy expressed appreciation for. “You don’t want to dumb down your stuff because you think people won’t understand it,” Levy said.

Although rejection in Hollywood can be discouraging, Levy indicated that perseverance can pay off. “If you believe in something, you should follow through with it,” he said. “Belief in yourself is the most important part of all of this.”

Levy also discussed how his personal experiences were turned into Good Grief, which he wrote, directed, and starred in. The film explores the experience of loss through the story of a man whose husband dies unexpectedly. The widower then takes a soul-searching trip with his 2 best friends.2 Levy drew emotional inspiration for the project after losing his grandmother, Patricia Devine, and his dog, Redmond.1,3 The movie is dedicated to both of them.3

In his VMX talk, Levy spoke fondly of Redmond, and his experience adopting the Dachshund-Corgi mix dog through a rescue organization.1 “It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done,” he said.

Levy, who said he lives alone, referred to Redmond as his “shadow” and spoke about the special bond shared by owner and pet. While caring for the dog, Levy would adjust the height of Redmond’s food dish to better accommodate the aging pet and drew baths at just the right temperature for his canine, he told the audience.

When asked about a dream he would like to achieve, Levy was initially stumped. “Get a new dog,” he finally said. The audience responded with thunderous applause.

References

  1. VMX kickoff with Dan Levy. Presented at: VMX; Orlando, FL. January 13, 2024.
  2. Dilillo J. Good Grief shows a different side of Dan Levy: everything you need to know. Netflix. January 5, 2024. Accessed January 13, 2024. https://www.netflix.com/tudum/articles/dan-levy-good-grief-director-details
  3. Sheeler J. How Dan Levy’s very real grief inspired his new movie: ‘I was worried I was not grieving properly’ (exclusive). People. January 10, 2024. Accessed January 13, 2024. https://people.com/how-dan-levy-s-very-real-grief-inspired-his-new-movie-exclusive-8424375#:~:text=Dan%20Levy.&text=Dealing%20with%20his%20own%20grief,you%20don't%20understand%20grief.

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