Daena Smoller’s professional career began in N.E. Ohio in the early 1980s as a commercial copywriter, continuity director, cm producer and then full-time radio personality. Quickly, she moved into advertising agency work as a sales-assist copywriter and producer, primarily for electronic advertising (radio and TV) and business to consumer collateral. Simultaneously, she maintained regularly scheduled weekend air shifts as a radio ‘disc jockey’ in a mid-sized Ohio ADI. And by the mid 1980s, Daena accepted the position of Jr. A.E. with one of the most prolific, decades-long TOP TEN, international advertising agencies - Wells, Rich, Greene (1966 – 1998). For her supervising A.E. and the national auto-aftermarket client, Daena was responsible for in-depth market research, per-ADI promotions, per-market advertising and was the liaison for franchisee / ad agency communications. This portion of the account billed annually at $20M and encompassed over 80 markets throughout the eastern third of the U.S.
Just ahead of the 1980s segueing into the 1990s, Daena returned fulltime to medium market radio as an Account Executive, responsible for cultivating two virgin markets (Canton and Akron) for a grandfathered 100,000 watt powerhouse country station. She was quickly recognized as a top producing marketing specialist and A.E. based on her billing performance of all station sales offices located in 3 Ohio and Pennsylvania cities.
In 1995, Daena accepted an exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as the professional publicist and new-business consultant for a most unorthodox field Parapsychologist. Together, they brought field parapsychology out of its closet and to the general public; creating pop culture history. Daena blended first-of-a-kind and out-of-the-box innovative endeavors in new-business structuring within the field of tourism in conjunction with her creative media marketing and promotions. These events and accomplishments created and established worldwide, the now-standard framework of two, multi-billion dollar industries: parapsychological genre tourism known originally worldwide as Ghost Expeditions and like-genre reality television (Most Haunted, Ghost Hunters and the multitude of similar programming that followed). Both industries, born and developed from a parapsychologist’s and publicist’s vision and hands-on work, continue to flourish today around the globe.
In 1997, Daena embraced documentary and television producing as well as publishing (newsletters, journals and books). The 1999 England-filmed documentaries, ISPR INVESTIGATES Series, for which she was above the line as co-creator, co-executive producer and featured on-screen, were award-winning. The first doc achieved a 1999 bronze TELLY and the second scored the ScreamFest International Film Festival & Screenplay Competition's inaugural BEST DOCUMENTARY Award in 2002. It was an exceptional honor as the ScreamFest Advisory Board included luminaries in Hollywood horror such as directors Wes Craven, Stan Winston, Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter, John Landis, and Roy Lee.
Daena has numerous TV appearances to her credit and fulfilled even more turns in a producing capacity with the majority of shows airing between 1995 and 2004. She also created & implemented large-scale national promotions and global sweepstakes with movie studios and business entities like SONY, MGM, RYSHER Entertainment, DREAMWORKS, COLUMBIA TRISTAR and FYE. For years and by request, she created and produced the very first-of-their-kind genre specific, large-scale Prizes for network TV game shows including Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Hollywood Squares and one-off, large-scale prizes by request for other TV properties like LIVE With Regis & Kathie Lee.
Parallel to mass media entertainment, Daena also excelled in developing and implementing original ventures in high-profile tourism destinations since 1995; New Orleans and Hollywood. Her exposure-expanding media plans developed at the request of major hotel properties, exceeded client expectations. Her unique promotional hotel packages created for upscale hospitality entities were hugely successful in both per capita and chartered group arenas while also garnering expanded media attention. In many cases, she achieved permanent placement for many clients in countless books and filmed entertainment.
Daena created a line-up of recurring and daily one-of-a-kind tours and hands-on experiential events including levels 2 – 4 of Ghost Expeditions and modified GEs for partnership with business entities such as Gray Line Tours / New Orleans and Starline Tours / Hollywood. She also created unique, themed tours for swamp tourism in Louisiana and novel walking tours for ARVLFC, based on best-selling author and New Orleans celebrity, Anne Rice.
In 1997, Daena and her parapsychologist partner Larry Montz took control of a former 800-seat silver screen theater on Hollywood Boulevard during the Hollywood Revitalization Project’s multi-block push. After restoring the (circa 1936) shuttered single-screen theater which hosted historic premieres such as FIDDLER ON THE ROOF and WHAT’S UP PUSSYCAT, Daena worked for four years in the roles of Vogue Theater General Manager, Special Event Director and Theater Programmer. She successfully facilitated all aspects of special event management from contract negotiations, city permits, renovations, and staffing for events ranging from black tie concerts and other live productions to facilitating unique requests such as holding 100, OCEAN’S 11 film extras for 24 hours. She worked in sync with all outside personnel from DMC’s and event planners to media, directors and filmmakers. Under Daena’s management, the Hollywood property was four-walled for a plethora of film & TV productions, private party and industry events and, became a recurring location for major film festivals including AFI Fest by the American Film Institute, the International Latino Film Festival, the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival and the Los Angeles Italian Film Awards.
Around the turn of the century, Larry Montz and Daena Smoller introduced digital projection to skeptical annual film festivals whose competing filmmakers quickly embraced the innovation for its cost-efficiency and technological ease. In turn, digital projection spread like wildfire throughout theaters across the county.
Daena’s publicity of Hollywood Boulevard’s Vogue Theater as actively haunted and as the main L.A. site for all levels of Ghost Expeditions, brought international fame to the Charles Lee-designed property through magazines, radio, and television programming in English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese. It spurred a stampede trend of movie theaters and live playhouses across the U.S. and around the world, vying for ‘me, too’ status.
Daena’s next ideation for a unique documentary took her back to the Big Easy to shoot NEW ORLEANS RICH & HAUNTED. It was filmed in nine upscale Big Easy properties in a record 5 days with nearly $60,000 in line item savings due to her on-point producing and negotiating skills. Daena was the featured filmmaker of the Los Angeles Q & A session about the documentary when it screened at the 2004 Screamfest Film Festival following its premiere exhibition at the Salento Film Festival in Italy. On the tourism side soon after, Ghost Expeditions was resurrected in Little Tokyo and in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina swept Ghost Expeditions away at the end of August 2005.
In 2006, after her partner participated in the original Hollywood South development meetings by invitation of New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, the Mayor made the request for Larry Montz and Daena Smoller to return to the disaster-struck city to assist in economic recovery and revitalization through new tourism ventures. Daena was the 2+ year lead project developer of Montz' decades-long vision of the PARAPLEX - 24/7 Interactive Observatory, Lab and Museum. She was the museum curator and exhibit creator for 15,000 square feet spanning 3 stories in addition to her responsibilities as special event programmer, concierge and industry liaison and project publicist. Today, haunted / paranormal-themed museums are plentiful as a result.
In 2014 through 2017, Daena returned to Southern California’s HealthyLife.net as executive producer and co-host of a second talk show & podcast, LARRY & DAENA DO VEGAS! She also created and maintained the associated website, blogs, guest graphics and advertising in addition to all PR and marketing. DO VEGAS! , which was syndicated on more than 60 distribution platforms, soon and consistently ranked in the Top Three network shows for its amount of weekly first-run listeners and downloaded podcasts on the web’s original all-positive talk network featuring 45+ programs hosted by media-savvy Experts in a variety of original self-care, society and lifestyle, spirituality and arts & entertainment programming. Daena has freelanced in PR and marketing, commercial copywriting and production, and in-house branding content for HealthyLife.net since 2002, through 2021. She also produced several signature Podcasts - including booking high-profile national and international guests for TRUTH ON WELLNESS With Dr. Roberto Tostado, HOW TO LOVE With Dr. Michael McGee and DOCTOR ON CALL With Dr. Jane Greer.
Today, Daena is back in front of live audiences with entertaining and informative paranormal-themed presentations. Also focused on writing, she is authoring her third book showcasing her sweeping natural and supernatural adventures throughout Hollywood and elsewhere with the world’s most pioneering field parapsychologist, Larry Montz ( 1995 - 2019 ). Daena's fourth book on tap will focus on her husband's larger-than-life experiences - from the nation's largest stages as a stand-up comedian to hostage negotiator to working for the man, saving lives.
In between, she freelances for some favorite clients with branding strategies, copywriting, and audio & graphics production.
Merriam-Webster definition of DAENA:
WikiVividly: DAENA is a Zoroastrian concept representing insight and revelation, hence "conscience" or "religion." Alternately, Daena is considered to be a divinity, counted among the yazatas.
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