Stepping into the limelight


Photo Courtesy of IMDB.COM

Alumni Arthur O’Daly (left) plays Charles in “Silicon Valley,” on HBO.

Samyuktha Vellaiyan, Asst. Photo Editor

Unlike many high students who strictly adhere to their studies, Diamond Bar High School class of 1994 alumnus Arthur O’Daly has prioritized his time on chasing his childhood ambition of working in the film and television industry.

O’Daly’s inspiration to pursue acting and screenwriting came when his father’s friend, a cinematographer, frequently invited him over to his studio to watch shows being filmed. Those studio trips were an unforgettable experience.

“I was probably five or six the first time I got to go to a set, and I can remember it so strongly because it made me so happy. Once you’re bitten by a bug like that, you never get over it,” O’Daly said via email.

O’Daly writes, produces and acts in his own Amazon show, “Successful People,” with co-creator Theresa Ryan, with whom he created musical covers on their popular YouTube channel, “Skip and Terri.”

It is about an unsuccessful songwriting duo trying to make it after ten years in the business and failing. They are on the verge of giving up on their dream until they try to give it a final push. The series was even featured in Amazon’s Trending TV list the week the second season was released.  

At DBHS, O’Daly auditioned for every school play organized by drama and considers those experiences to be invaluable. Some of the plays he performed in include “Class Dismissed,” “Museum” and the first DBHS musical, “Oklahoma.” After graduating from DBHS, he attended Fullerton College to study theater and writing.

 His hard work paid off as he received the opportunity to attend the Acting Conservatory at State University of New York at Purchase, a prestigious acting program in New York. But he didn’t stay long, returning to Fullerton to attend Cal State.  

 “I didn’t really want to be in college because I wanted to be out auditioning immediately,” O’Daly said. “And if I’d known how to do that, I probably would have.  But it’s good I went to college because of the tons of stage experience I got and because of the relationships I formed.”

O’Daly’s college education has led him to great heights as he earned guest roles in popular TV shows, such as Joshua in “Modern Family,” an intern in “Grey’s Anatomy” and a thief in “The Big Bang Theory.” Since 2004, O’Daly has appeared in over 20 TV series and has written and directed two short films.

He considers auditions for these roles to be the most important and daunting step to gaining roles because “the most important thing as an actor is to get seen.”

“They say just getting the audition is the win, and that’s very true because out of the hundreds of actors out there, you got a chance to audition,” O’Daly said.

O’Daly said that the best part of his profession is working with other actors.

“It’s validating and exciting and nerve-wracking because you don’t want to be the guy that screws up the scene for everybody, especially when there’s a whole crew watching you and a lot of money being spent to make the show happen,” O’Daly said.

According to O’Daly, the most important skill that is necessary for any actor is self-sacrifice.

 “The thing is, being an actor actually requires a lot of sacrifice,” O’Daly said. “You see friends going the ‘traditional’ route, climbing their career ladders, moving into bigger houses and all that, while you’re plugging away, chasing the dream, living in a small apartment and trying to make ends meet.  But because of that, I’ve gained a lot of insight into what makes me happy.”

O’Daly advises high school students to pursue something they cherish and to remember to be hardworking.

“Make sure it’s something you really want and make sure you’re willing to learn,” O’Daly said. “Be prepared to work hard because it’s the thing you really love to do, whether you make it big or not.”