Junior philosophy and anthropology major Daniel Stearman was two weeks into his Latin 101 course when he googled his professor to look him up on the website Rate My Professor. To his surprise, he found a Wikipedia page detailing the professor’s acting, directing and musical pursuits as well as a link to his IMDB page.
Stearman said when he confronted the teacher about it, his professor said, “Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Now take your quiz.”
Department of Foreign Language and Literatures professor Miles Doleac, Ph.D., is considered a modern-day renaissance man by peers and students alike. Not only does Doleac teach history, foreign language and film, but he has also made a name for himself as an actor, a director and a musician.
History professor Andrew Wiest, Ph.D., knows Doleac on all levels of teaching and performance. When Doleac’s first feature film was released, Wiest said, a lot of the faculty were anxious to see what Doleac produced.
“It was a real damn movie,” Wiest said. “I saw it on the big screen, had popcorn and the whole bit. You don’t expect one of your friends to turn out a real movie.”
Doleac often works with colleagues from Southern Miss in his other ventures. Among the lucky professors is Wiest, who is in the unique position of colleague and bandmate to Doleac. Wiest said that being in a band with Doleac has made them very close.
Wiest and Doleac are a part of the cover band The Mississippi Tornados. Wiest said Doleac is very unique in that most people can do three things at once, but Doleac does all three things well.
“The university is all about interdisciplinary right now,” Wiest said, “[Doleac] is mister interdisciplinary. Heck, he is four different things if you include the music.”
Although many would think a film career and an academic career are worlds apart, Doleac said he believes that the two careers interconnect through the aspect of performance.
“Acting, teaching and creativity are not even strange bedfellows,” Doleac said. “There is this sort of kismet thing. This symbiotic relationship between the two and one feeds into the other.”
Doleac said he does not live a double life as many would expect. He said he uses his experiences in both acting and directing extensively in his film courses because they carry invaluable knowledge to the students within.
On the other hand, he said he is not expressively vocal about his career paths in his history or Latin classes. He said his students, as is the case with Stearman, eventually discover his second career on their own and ask about it.
Doleac said he always wanted to be an actor, but he was lucky to find a passion for academia as well. When he started writing his first feature film, “Historian,” he wanted to tell a story within the world he knew. At the time, he was a visiting professor at Southern Miss.
What originally struck Wiest about Doleac was his charisma and openness to speak his mind as a young faculty member.
“Young faculty members are quite often the quietest because it is all new to them, but [Doleac] was not as quiet as most,” Wiest said. “If he had an opinion, he would state it unafraid if it ruffled a few feathers.”
Wiest said that Doleac was sometimes part of the history faculty and sometimes part of the language faculty before the reorganization. “When you play for three teams, you can’t be at all three at the same time,” Wiest said.
Wiest said that he is extremely impressed with Doleac’s level of commitment to all three of his courses and that he enjoys watching his friend and colleague Doleac perform in not only live theatre but also on the big screen.
“It is cool to see [Doleac] in his element—when he is doing film stuff,” Wiest said. “Everything from camera set up to the sound checks is mystifying to somebody who is not very technologically adept like me.”
Doleac said talent is not the most important aspect to success, but the idea of being reliable and diligent. He said his tip to students looking to work in the film is to understand their passions.
“I would say to these students who are looking to break into the industry, first figure out what you love. What filmmaker and movies you love and why you love them,” Doleac said. “What are [these movies and filmmakers] doing that resonates with you in some way and once you are able to pin that down, develop your own voice and make your way onto a set.”
Doleac said his next film “Hallowed Ground” will be released May 2019 on most streaming platforms as well as in multiple theaters in the area, such as the Grand Theatre, where he always premieres his movies.
Doleac’s earlier films can be found on most if not all streaming platforms, and they are free on Amazon Video for Prime members.
“[Doleac] always struck me as a guy that has a lot of experiences under his belt,” Stearman said.