WRITING AND PUBLISHING’S LEADER
A Q&A with Dan LeRoy
June 1, 2023
It seems to be that our teachers don’t truly exist after the last bell rings. But, after sitting down with one of the most mysterious art directors (Dan LeRoy) at Lincoln Park, two SIREN staff writers discovered the universals we often share with our educators.
Jade Davis: Where do you get your clothes from?
Dan LeRoy: My philosophy is you find the stuff; you spend as little as you can doing it. Cause that’s, like, part of the game. And part of the game is you, like, find things from here, there, and everywhere, and you try to figure out a way that they fit into something bigger.
I like color: color is like a big thing and figuring out how far can you push that, like what colors can you make go together. A lot of people don’t wear color because it calls attention to them, for the most part, and they wanna, you know, blend in.
Emma Giammanco: What made you get into writing?
Daniel LeRoy: When I was in high school, I was not that interested in [writing]. Even before high school, I thought that I’d be a visual artist. That’s what I wanted to do; I wanted to draw. I was a cartoonist. So, I always figured that’s gonna be what I end up doing. [Then] when I was in high school, I thought ‘Well, I’m gonna act. Obviously that’s the way forward for me,’ and I went to college for a year as a theater major, before I realized some stuff. Not about me, but about studying theater in college. I was also in a band in high school, so then I figured music was gonna be something I do. So writing was very low on that list. So, it was only a lot later that it kinda circled back around.
JD: What is the best place you’ve ever visited?
DL: [I]t’s hard for me to imagine that anything tops New York City at its best. I don’t think it’s at its best right now. But New York is a tough city if you’re trying to break in. It just seems, like, ‘Wow, man, like, it’s so big, so daunting,’ that you feel like ‘I’m never gonna do this.’ Very early in my career I was there, and it was like that.
EG: What’s your favorite book or book series?
DL: That’s a lot harder..um. I mean if you’re talking about a series of books, it’s kinda hard to not come back to the Tolkien stuff, including The Hobbit. My son just read the whole series earlier this year. And it’s nice to see somebody else, like one of your kids, do it. I read that stuff–not the whole thing, [but] The Hobbit–to my kids when they were little. So, I have, like, a lot of good memories with that series.
Are those my favorite books? Nah. But a favorite book, that’s really difficult [to pick].
JD: What’s your favorite movie?
DL: Back to School.
DL: Because I learned everything that I needed to know about education by watching that movie.
JD: Why do you hate the movie Ratatouille?
DL: The simple answer is just this: I think The Incredibles was a great movie. Out of all the Pixar movies–and there’s been some good ones–I think in a lot of ways [The] Incredibles is really good because if you study the structure of it, it breaks all the rules. It does not do what you think is standard script writing procedure. It breaks them all and yet it is really successful. So, you know, I took my kids to see it because it came out when they were whatever age, like, all of them were less than 10. So they were all little kids, and we went, and it was cool because as little kids, you know, you get it.
But then there’s that deeper level to it. I mean the reason it relates to Ratatouille is because the guy who made that [also] made The Incredibles, Brad Bird. [He] made this movie and it’s a huge hit and now you can do pretty much anything you want to do. You got a blank check…and that’s your passion project [Ratatouille].”