Ballina man swaps Steven Spielberg for North Coast
By Bree Price
The first time Dan Roman met Steven Spielberg, he couldn't hide his nerves as he shook hands with the man who signed his pay cheque.
It was 1998 and Mr Roman, who now calls East Ballina home, was working as the translation co-ordinator for Spielberg's Dreamworks Studios, overseeing the translation of his films into up to 26 languages.
"I was nervous because I was his employee. But he's a cruisy guy who wears jeans and a baseball cap and is very non-threatening," Mr Roman, 37, said.
"He's really a nice man and he respected my opinion."
Mr Roman, who speaks fluent Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and French, worked on films that included American Beauty and Saving Private Ryan.
But in 2001, Mr Roman and his wife Kaia, a public relations representative, left their Californian home and travelled the world for two years, looking for the 'best place to live on the planet'.
Their choice ? the Northern Rivers.
The Romans settled in Angels Beach in April this year and Mr Roman now works as the sales and marketing co-ordinator for Elders Lennox Head, looking after the agency's community support programs.
"Michael King, Elders Lennox Head principal, is a very unique individual when it comes to real estate, he's really interested in making Lennox Head the best place to live," he said.
"Together, we're really interested in having involvement in the community, through the environment, youth groups and groups supporting the ocean environment.
"We're supporting the people and organisations that make Lennox Head a better place to live."
It's a vastly different life from star-studded Cali- fornia, where he rubbed shoulders with other big names such as Daryl Hannah, Cher, Carlos Santana, Jack Johnson and Michael Franti.
But he has absolutely no second thoughts.
"I feel humbled and honoured to be in a community like this," he said.
"We see a long future for ourselves here."