Master of Trades Chris McDaniel Makes His Mark in North Scottsdale
Without a doubt, Dr. Chris McDaniel wears many hats. From seeing patients in his private practice, producing and directing feature films, and writing songs, books and poetry, this master of all trades balances each role flawlessly while also spending time with his wonderful family. Although his projects are diverse in nature, there is one common connection: passion.
“Nothing is worth doing unless passion is at the root of it,” says McDaniel. “Because if your passion shows through, then people will love the outcome.”
It is passion that has led this creative spirit to grow and thrive in all his endeavors, making nothing impossible or out of reach.
Originally from the small town of Park City, Kentucky, McDaniel moved to North Scottsdale with his family in the second grade, only to return once again to Kentucky for his undergraduate degree. However, the allure of North Scottsdale was too strong to keep him away for very long, and he returned to open his own chiropractic office right next to one of his favorite sites, The McDowell Mountains, which turn a wonderful hue of purple at sunset.
“I could practice anywhere in the world, but I chose North Scottsdale,” explains McDaniel. “I chose here because I love the weather, I love the people, and I love the local restaurants and the Harkins Scottsdale 101 Theatre, where I see movies almost every week. North Scottsdale is home, truly.”
An added bonus, McDaniel is only minutes away from his wonderfully fun, tight-knit family—the clan made an appearance on Family Feud two years ago.
“I’ve got an amazing family, very supportive,” he says. “I dedicated my directorial debut, Music City USA, to my sister and I dedicated my book of poetry to my parents because they have given me an amazing life. They took me around the world. I am blessed with the desire to see things and dream because of them.”.
A career as a chiropractor seemed like a perfect fit for McDaniel, a natural-born helper who always knew he wanted to be a doctor. After attending chiropractic school, he opened up his own practice in North Scottsdale a little over 12 years ago. Since then, the business has flourished thanks to his dedication to educating patients and helping them feel the best they can.
“I have a passion for my chiropractic work, no question,” enthuses McDaniel. “When a patient comes in here hurting and leaves feeling better, that’s one of the most rewarding things on earth.”
Although a chiropractor by trade, McDaniel was bitten by the creative bug at an early age, and has always harbored a passion for the arts, especially film. He recalls one defining moment in particular:
“One of my favorite movie memories is going to see Annie with my family when I was in the second grade. It was the first time I remember seeing my dad cry in a movie. It was also the first time I realized a movie can touch you, so from then on, I’ve always loved the idea of filmmaking.”
Finally, McDaniel decided to take the plunge and went into filmmaking professionally with his own locally-based production company, Semi-Rebellious Films.
The first film he helped produce, a music documentary titled The Heart is a Drum Machine, spoke to the importance of music as a soundtrack for people’s lives by showcasing interviews with international and local artists. It was while interviewing one of these artists, Maynard James Keenan of TOOL, that inspiration struck the filmmakers for their next documentary.
“We interviewed Maynard at his vineyard in Jerome and were sitting there thinking, ‘Here is this Grammy Award-winning multi-platinum rock star and he’s now a successful farmer in Arizona; there’s a story here.’”
So, after the directors finally convinced Maynard to participate, they assembled a Phoenix-based crew, headed to Maynard’s vineyard and followed him around for over a year during what they called “the life of a grape”—watching and recording its journey from planting to bottling, while also giving insight into Maynard’s work. Thus, Blood Into Wine was born.
With the success of Blood Into Wine, McDaniel and his team decided to make a full-length comedy, Queens of Country, featuring a star-studded cast comprised of Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex), Ron Livingston (Office Space), Joe Lo Truglio (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Matt Walsh from HBO’s VEEP. The charming story follows a young woman named Jolene (Caplan) who finds an iPod in the men’s restroom and realizes it has all her favorite songs on it. Thus, starts her journey to finding the owner of the iPod, a man she believes could possibly be her soul mate.
An added bonus, Queens of Country was shot locally in Cave Creek, with the producers changing the name of the fictional town to Dry Creek, Arizona.
While at the Grand Ole Opry house in Nashville with his family, Chris was moved by the story of how both famous country artists and locals alike came together to rebuild the historic building after a flood nearly destroyed it in 2010.
“I nudged my dad and told him that there was a Drum Machine type movie in this town,” McDaniel recalls. “The people in this town were so into the music that they jumped right in to rebuild it the second that they could.”
Four years, 80 interviews and 36 round-trip flights to Nashville later, Music City USA was born, starring some of the biggest names in the industry.
Last October, McDaniel took a month off from his practice to work on a film in Canton, Mississippi, called Battlecreek.
What’s up next for the talented filmmaker? Another music documentary called Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, which traces the stories behind some of the most iconic movie soundtracks—think Kenny Loggins and Kevin Bacon, both already in the film, recalling the making of Footloose—combining film and music in perfect harmony.
If making films wasn’t enough, McDaniel also effortlessly puts pen to paper as an author. His first book of poetry, Loss of Voice, published in 2006, is a collection of all his poems, most of them rhyming, from the time he was a child up until the present.
“Poetry has always been my number one outlet for things. I wanted to put everything together and put it out there—that’s where Loss of Voice Came from.”
He has also published an illustrated children’s book, The Adventures of Dusty Popsallot, and is in the process of publishing a second, as gifts for his niece and nephew—earning him clout as a children’s book author and the bona fide title of “Best Uncle in the World.”
Above all, McDaniel is a firm believer in the beauty of the creative process and the relentless drive to always follow your dreams.
“My number one piece of advice to anyone is to never let the obstacles slow you down. If it’s something you want to do and it’s something your heart tells you that you need to do, follow it, and don’t ever let anybody tell you that you can’t.”
Connect with Chris McDaniel via McSpine.com