I spent 20yrs working as a London bouncer, now I’m an Actor, Globally published photographer and published Author. Ask me anything!

Omar Shaker
Sep 15, 2018

I started working the club doors aged just 16. Working some of the toughest SoHo doors. Now, 20 years later, I’ve packed in the club life to become an actor and have already starred in two major feature films and a major TV commercial. I’ve been a photographer for 15 years being published in 12 countries in mags like MAXIM, Loaded, ZOO and FHM. And I’ve just published my first novel, The Dealer Diaries.

Ask me anything!

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What is “The Dealer Diaries” about? What is the genre’?
Sep 16, 5:24AM EDT0
Who do you believe will enjoy the story in this book?
Sep 15, 11:43PM EDT0
What films and commercials were you in?
Sep 15, 9:21PM EDT0

Ok so the films you need to watch out for that are gonna be BIG are ‘Red Devil’ and ‘The Strangers’. Red Devil is set to release in January and has an A-List cast in it with people like Steven Berkoff, Vas Blackwood, Adam Deacon and Ian Reddington. Then ‘The Strangers’ has Ashley Walters in it as a lead character. I have speaking parts in both. The commercial I done was for Paddy Power for the World Cup 2018

Sep 16, 5:59AM EDT0
What have you been doing to market your book?
Sep 15, 11:21AM EDT0

As the book has only just been released, I’ve recently started doing a PR push through a company that specialise in PR for books. The first steps they are doing is sending out a press release to their world wide database of reviewers, bloggers and journalists. The next step will be to secure interviews about it, so hopefully things can progress

Sep 15, 12:09PM EDT0
What issues of the magazines can your work be found in?
Sep 15, 9:30AM EDT0

Unfortunately the magazine shut down around the same time ZOO magazine closed. The only place to see the shots now are on my website www.omarshaker.co.uk

Sep 15, 9:49AM EDT0
What kind of work or project would you like to tackle next? Why?
Sep 15, 4:45AM EDT0

Ooh good question! My next major project is to continue (and hopefully finish) writing my second script; Born and Bred. Which is about an extreme Neo-Nazi and his time in prison. The hope is then to film a trailer of it to try and crowd fund enough money to make the feature film version. My hope is to begin filming by the start of 2020

Sep 15, 9:53AM EDT0
How long have you been a writer? When did you start writing your book?
Sep 14, 7:09PM EDT0

I definitely wouldn’t call myself a writer. My novel is the first thing I’ve ever written, and the current script I’m working on is just my second, so I don’t think I’ve written enough to call myself a writer! 

I started writing the book about 4-5 years ago. Amy Winehouse was a very dear friend of mine, when she passed away I went to Spain for a month to get away from all the press phoning my house at silly hours, I took my laptop and just started writing on the beach. It took me almost 3 years to write as sometimes I would go months with total writers block. I found it an incredibly hard task at times, then other times I’d be fast asleep and something would come to me in a dream, I’d jump out of bed and spend the next few days writing for hours on end. I’m fortunate enough to have had really amazing feedback online from the book and so far it’s doing extremely well, so I feel very blessed indeed

Sep 15, 10:00AM EDT0
What is your favorite book that you have read? Why?
Sep 14, 10:21AM EDT0

You’re gonna think this is nuts coming from an author, but I don’t read books! I hate reading as my mind wanders too much and I don’t pay attention to the words I’m reading. Everything goes in one ear and cones out the other.  So my only answer to you can be; my book! (The Dealer Diaries)  My novel is pretty much the only novel I’ve read from frontcto back, so it’s my favourite!

Sep 15, 10:03AM EDT0
What would you like readers to get from this book?
Sep 14, 9:27AM EDT0

Really good question!  I think the main thing I want is for people to realise they shouldn’t judge someone too quickly. The lead character is very rough around the edges but soon shows that deep down he holds high values. Although at the start of the book he seems to be a real misogynistic asshole, towards the middle of the book you start to really understand him and why he behaves like he does. By the end of the book you’ll love him and be fighting his corner. It’s all about realising that people have many layers and realising who you can trust in life is massively important.

i want readers to be taken on an emotional journey, fighting for someone they’d probably not dream of fighting for in real life

Sep 15, 10:10AM EDT0
Was it your plan to become an actor? How has acting changed your life?
Sep 14, 7:04AM EDT0

It wasn’t actually my plan to become an actor, no. I was happily running a club in Soho and then my circumstances changed over night forcing me to quit after 20 years. 

I’d done a tiny bit of acting many years ago so I decided to give it a proper shot as it would give me a lot of free time to be at home. I’ve been so incredibly lucky as my career took off straight away. Within a few months i’d had speaking roles in two major feature films which are both set to release soon; Red Devil, which has an A-list cast, and The Strangers which also has a few known faces in. I’d done a major TV commercial for Paddy Power which was broadcast before, during and after every football game through the World Cup, as well as doing numerous other bits and bobs on TV. So yeah, I d say it’s massively changed my life for the better as I’m away from that toxic Soho life of drugs and alcohol and I’m perusing a whole new dream

Sep 15, 10:17AM EDT0
What has been your favorite photography shoot you’ve done? Why?
Sep 13, 9:46PM EDT0

Ooooh good question! My favourite shoot would have to be a shoot I done for the cover of VDLM magazine. We hired out a health farm and spent the entire day shooting in and around this beautiful heated swimming pool.  The place was gorgeous and the shots came out really nice!

You can see more shots from the shoot at my website www.omarshaker.co.uk

Sep 14, 4:37AM EDT0
What was your inspiration behind this book?
Sep 13, 8:52PM EDT0

Well a lot of what happens in the book are things that have actually happened to me or to other people I know. So there’s a lot of real experiences in there, I’ve just changed the names of people and places to protect the not so innocent!😂. The storyline is pure fiction but I was inspired a lot by all the things I heard people talk about while I was on the door. When the smoking ban happened, people started spending more time talking to bouncers outside the clubs while smoking, than inside with their non-smoking friends, so I just felt like all the things I was hearing should be written down! The book is definitely worth a read and has incredible feedback so far, so I’ve been very thankful for that time I spend of my life on the doors

Sep 14, 4:44AM EDT0
Did you self-publish your novel or go through a publisher?
Sep 13, 6:28PM EDT0

I’m a first time Author so I self published. To go through a publisher you need a literary agent and to get one of those you need to have a few published books under your belt, so it’s really hard starting off!

Sep 14, 4:46AM EDT0
What was your experience working in the nightlife scene? What kind of people did you meet?
Sep 13, 6:27PM EDT0

Wow, ok, big question!

So I’d say there’s two sides to working as a doorman; the social side and the violence side.  Meeting new people every night is great, you really have a laugh and sometimes your night is so much fun that you can’t believe you’re actually getting paid to do it. Then you have the nights when something kicks off. You wear a stab vest to work which you hope every night you’ll not need, but sometimes it saves your ass. 

A lot of bouncers are on a power trip and don’t understand how to diffuse a situation, they can make every situation worse so I never worked with those types. I was always really nice on the door so didn’t really have much violence directed at me. The main thing would be when groups of people would kick off with each other, I’d have to step in and out my life on the line to stop someone else getting killed. Jumping into a fight where people are glassing and bottling each other is a scary thing, especially in a small team of two which I was in. You put your life in your colleagues hands and you hope that if a fight breaks out and you jump in, that they are right behind you. Coming home with blood all over your shirt where someone’s been stabbed with a broken bottle and you’ve had to do emergency first aid until paramedics turn up, really plays on your sanity. But you have to just wash yourself off and get back to work. I think what bothered me the most was that people don’t see that side of bouncers. They don’t see the bouncer that gives you directions, gives you a light, helps you get into a cab when you’re too drunk, saves you from getting jumped. They just see a brainless lump that they can attack. 

To second part of your question, I met the most incredibly inspiring and humbling people, as well as the biggest c***s on the planet. I met people that would make me laugh all night long, and I met that guy who would get drunk and beat up his girlfriend. I really miss the good times, but the bad times just started to out weigh them far too often.

Sep 15, 10:36AM EDT0
What feedback have you gotten so far about this book?
Sep 13, 11:33AM EDT0

Hey! So far it’s been 5* reviews! The novel has been described as thrilling, enthralling, and truly gripping, which is incredible for me as it’s my first novel, and actually my first attempt at writing anything significant. You can read a few preview pages or download a copy at www.books2read.com/TheDealerDiaries or just search it on Amazon

Sep 13, 12:36PM EDT0
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