From the cornfields of Indiana to the bright lights of Hollywood -- it’s a dream most have, but for Darren Zancan, of Lowell, Indiana, the dream became reality.
Zancan won a walk on role on “Days of our Lives,” during the “I Wanna Be a Soap Star” tour. He plays the role of Justin, a forensic specialist called in to assist the Salem PD, during a shooting in Salem with a very interesting twist. He will work closely with Josh Taylor (Roman) and James Reynolds (Abe). He will air November 12, 2007.
“You know…I’ve had this acting dream since I was three years-old,” Zancan shared with Soapdom. “It’s really want I want to be in life. An actor. I just love it.”
Zancan has been acting, singing, and dancing in a small capacity. He’s been involved in community theater, as well as directing. And he has appeared in some independent films, and some cable TV shows.
He attended Purdue Calumet majoring in theater, and still hopes to finish college with a degree in journalism, because of his love of writing. Some of his work appears on some online sites, and he has written for various hometown papers.
One day last June, he and a friend decided to move to Lexington, Kentucky. Zancan found work as a Marketing Director, but said things out there in Lexington just didn’t seem to be working.
Turns out, things did go Zancan's way. He caught a promo on the local NBC affiliate in Lexington talking about the “I Wanna be a Soap Star” tour. His girlfriend encouraged him to go, and the rest is history.
SoapNet sponsored the contest in several cities as part of its “I Wanna be a Soap Star” TV series, where a the winner wins a thirteen-week contract on a soap. On October 16, 2007 in the first ever live season finale, Ashlee Howard was named the winner of season 4 and recieved a 13-week contract role on Days of our Lives. Previous winners include first season winner, Mykel Shannon Jenson, who won a contract role on General Hospital and has just been signed as a contract player on The Bold & the Beautiful, and second season winner, Alex Musser, who has played the contract role of Del Henry on All My Children for two years.
For the "I Wanna be a Soap Star Tour," Zancan beat out 300 contestants at interview, script-acting and improvisation. He was in the top eight. He was chosen by Michael Bruno, a judge on I Wanna Be a Soap Star and Hollywood manager, and Cameron Mathison (Ryan), of All my Children, Dancing with the Stars and host of I Wanna Be a Soap Star.
“I was given a script, and told to go for it,” Zancan said. “Then you were given a scenario, like if I can’t have you, no one can.”
Flown to Los Angeles, he competed with four other winners (all women) from the different cities, and said the audition environment in LA was much different.
“This was more personal. It was with the powers that be,” Zancan said. “None of us contestants saw each others' work. It was a closed audition.”
Soapdom wants to know, how long it took before you found out you were the winner? And what was it like to be on the set with the big stars of Days of our Lives?
“Oh God. It was surreal! As soon as I had gotten back to the hotel the phone rang saying I won! I was told that the character was a bit changed to accommodate me. I am still reeling it in.” Zancan said. "And as for the stars…they were great. Martha Madison (Belle) came up in the make-up room and said‘ Hi Darren’! I was like OK! It was just a great time.”
His background training made it easy for him to fit in on set. He had no trouble with the script, and said that the crew had told him “It was flawless.”
Back in Indiana, his family is just as proud and excited, and will all be watching. “We really are. Darren always had a goal. Growing up he had a timeline on his wall, saying if he doesn’t make it by 30 years-old, it’s time for a career change. Well he’s 26 years-old," said his mother Cindy Zancan. “Darren was always outgoing. He always told his dad and I that 'it would be wonderful to get paid doing what I love.'”
Zancan said he hopes this is the start of something big, and would love to do more work on Days of our Lives. He left with a feeling that they really liked his work. “This was an experience I will never forget,” he said.
Tune in to see Zancan star as Justin on Days of our Lives on Monday, November 12, 2007. Let us know right here how you like his work! Should Days invite him back for more? Inquiring soapdom minds wanna know.
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