ST. LOUIS – Persistence, perseverance, and staying true to himself are what helped a longtime dream come true for a Hollywood movie producer from Fenton, Missouri.
Growing up, Ryan DeLaney had a passion for training quarter horses and did so at Valley Mount Ranch in Valley Park. In 2008, he was National Barrel Horse Association state champion.
However, the Rockwood Summit High School graduate wanted to get into the entertainment business. In 2010, he moved to Miami, Florida, and started a modeling career where traveled around the world.
After having success in modeling, DeLaney spoke with his agent on acting roles and attended acting classes/workshops at the University of Performing Arts of Miami. He appeared in “The Hunger Games,” and had his own talk show, “Real Talk with Ryan DeLaney,” where he interviewed celebrities on major red carpets.
Then, he started working behind the scenes on films, developing skills as a producer.
The film “Night Night” premiered in St. Louis Saturday, Nov. 20, at Marcus Ronnie’s Cinema where DeLaney made his red carpet debut as the lead movie producer.
Directed by award-winning actress Nikki Koss, “Night Night” stars Brenna D’Amico who survives a horrific car crash and “must find a way to work through her trauma and find the will to survive a recovery from hell,” according to IMDB.
DeLaney’s first red carpet movie premiere was “incredible,” he said.
“It was more than I could ever dream of. It was so surreal just to see the support of my hometown. There were so many people there when I walked in. It was just mind-blowing. Everyone has been incredible. I’m living a dream and floating on Cloud 9 right now,” he said.
DeLaney was in charge of reaching out to theaters for hosting the movie premiere.
“I really wanted this movie to be in my hometown because I was born and raised here in St. Louis,” he said. “And I always went to Marcus Theaters, which was Ronnie’s back then like 13 years ago.”
While watching movies at Ronnie’s, he had always dreamed one day of having his movie being on the big screen.
“I’ve always known I wanted to be in the entertainment business, and it was just so surreal that this moment actually happened,” DeLaney said.
After years of hard work and long hours on the movie set, Saturday night left him speechless with all of the support.
“When I stepped out on the red carpet, everyone showed me just so much love,” DeLaney said.
The movie had sold out in three theaters at Marcus Ronnie’s Cinema with the first showing selling out in 24 hours. The online traffic crashed the Marcus Ronnie’s Cinema’s website and people had to go in person to buy tickets for the other showings, DeLaney said.
“We knew this was going to be big and I wanted to really show the world and let them in on this journey, and that’s why I brought here to St. Louis,” he said.
Not only did DeLaney, Nikki Koss, and Brenna D’Amico walk the red carpet and give interviews, but St. Louis business owners had to opportunity as well.
“I was really excited to have them come out and share this moment and talk about their company,” he said.
To make a movie takes a village, according to DeLaney.
“Every single person is so important – not just the actors or the directors, or the producers like myself, it’s every single person even down to when the movie is over,” he said.
DeLaney expressed gratitude to his family and sponsors that helped make this red carpet premiere possible, including Nick Metz with Coldwell Banker Premier, Amanda Baker with Delmar Mortgage, Sue Davis with Rocking J Venue, and his mom Jennifer Cox, sisters Lindsey and Rachel DeLaney, among others.
Set of ‘Night Night’
As the lead producer, DeLaney had a multitude of responsibilities, including hiring and firing the cast and crew, as well as location scouting, working with the director, making sure artistic and creative goals were completed, and making sure everything ran smoothly in each department such as wardrobe, hair, and makeup.
“There’s always some sort of like hiccup or what we say on a film set, ‘a fire to be put out.’ So, I was known as the fireman because I think my way of producing is very truthful. So with that, I go with facts and that’s how I was able to complete a lot of stuff and kind of put out all these fires,” he said.
DeLaney’s favorite aspect of being a movie producer was keeping everything running smoothly.
“On a film set, I love to have that control because that way I knew that if I’m in control of this, it’s up to me to not let this ship sink and so I really liked that because I felt like it propelled each scene and it propelled each day to be better than the next,” he said.
There were multiple hardships throughout the making of the film, but one that DeLaney was not expecting was firing a lead actor three days into filming.
“It’s always a little awkward when you want to let people go, but I have a good way of delivering that. I think that’s very important to stick to the facts,” DeLaney said. “I think it’s all about the deliverance to accomplish what really needs to get done.”
In regards to budget, time, and finding a new actor, this put “everyone on the edge of their seats.” However, DeLaney said he was on top of the situation and hired Nick Marini, who is in Netflix’s “Cobra Kai.”
Everyone working on the film was incredible to work with, DeLaney said, and was blown away by everyone’s professionalism.
“Every single person who showed up was just so kind and professional, and on time and they were prepared, and that was a breath of fresh air as a producer,” he said.
He mentioned lead actress Brenna D’Aimco, who not only was on time for work and was always prepared but also made an extra effort to make everyone on set feel special, which exceeded DeLaney’s expectations.
The production of “Night Night” wrapped up just before the pandemic hit.
Three months into the pandemic, DeLaney was asked to produce “Corsicana,” which will come out in 2022. DeLaney said everyone working on the film had to get a COVID test every 48 hours.
“That’s a lot of COVID testing for 70 people, but we did it,” DeLaney said.
“Success Doesn’t End Here”
DeLaney said he wants to continue his movie-producing career.
“I have so much more to accomplish with other films and producing them from start to finish,” he said. “It’s just an incredible thing to have ‘Night Night’ as my first one under my belt – successfully done, successfully made with incredible people.”
DeLaney offers advice to those who aspire to be in the entertainment industry.
“Stay true to yourself, that’s very, very important because everyone will try to change you,” he said. “You will change, but you should be changing for the better. And you have to believe in yourself because if you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will believe in you.”
DeLaney added that it’s important to follow your dreams even if people try to deter you away, or if they do not give you the opportunities right away.
“It will be hard, you will have roadblocks, you will be shut down, you will have the door slammed in your face,” he said. “You have to stay persistent and if you really believe in something and you’re doing it for yourself, it will happen.”