As the world’s second fastest over the 400m hurdles this year, the USA’s Johnny Dutch can expect plenty of camera time when he rocks up at the world champs next month. But as SPIKES finds out, he’d rather be on the other side of the lens.

Dutch is the Director

“I’m a filmmaker. I have a few short films on YouTube.

“Usually in the off season, I look at all my script writing from the season, I pick one out and I do a production and I hire actors. Then we film it, I edit.”

Teenage flics

“I’ve been making films since I was 16. I’ve been into film for a long time. I used to do news journalism in high school, so I was on the news every morning. It is really cool. I was actually voted most likely to be on TV one day.

“And right! I am on the TV! I like that type of stuff: correspondent type stuff. That’s my thing.”

Johnny Dutch 2014 US Champs ()

Dutch wins the 2014 US Outdoor Championships. All 📹 on him, obviously.

The big stage

“A guy who writes the articles in Riley, North Carolina, he always writes about me and Batman [fellow American 400m hurdler Bershawn Jackson], but he writes plays, too. He was like ‘Hey, I see that you act, you want to be the main lead?’ I was like ‘sure!’.

“It was a small part but it was centered around my character. I played a slave, back from my area. It was a true story from the civil war. I played the slave and they loved it. The play was called War At Your Door.

“It was a fun experience, to be able to work with a journalist I’ve known for so many years on stage.

“Is acting something I want to do more of in the future? I’m better behind the camera. But it is a possibility. I don’t want to limit myself; if the opportunity presents itself, I’d do it.

“I’m not afraid of the camera, that’s the biggest thing.”

Not afraid of the camera – Watch part I of Dutch's 'Dead Day'


“The first film I remember seeing is Jurassic Park. That’s my favourite film of all time, and they just came out with a fourth. I was so ecstatic! When the trailer came out I cried.

“I’m kind of a film nerd. I was like ‘I’ve been waiting 15 years for the sequel!’. So I went to iMax to go see it. Of course it’s not better than the first one, but it was good for what it was. For the 15 year wait, it was worth it.”

Inglorious cuckoo

“I love Steven Spielberg, his work is just genius. I like Quentin Tarantino. He’s kind of cuckoo, but in a good way. It kind of translates to his writing and I really like that.

“I would love to work with Quentin Tarantino one day; because he always has a diverse cast, and I love that he uses all different types of people. I love that. So he’s a director I really love, too.”

We know you were wondering how 'Dead Day' continues...

Fave thesp

“My favourite actors? That’s a tough one. Kerry Washington from Scandal. She’s very good looking.

“She’s just natural, and believable. That’s hard nowadays to find actresses and actors that are just really genuinely good at what they do. And you can tell that she loves it; you can tell that she has chemistry with all her co-actors.”

Sliding doors

“I would say the biggest thing for both [athletics and filmmaking] is failure. You do something and then it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted to. In track you train so hard and not make a team, or lose a race. In film you can make what you think is the most genius thing, and then nobody likes it, or you get zero views on YouTube. 

“I look at it from that standpoint: If anything, when you deal with those moments, you have learned how to persevere through those moments. Of course, as you know, I’ve missed a lot of teams. I’ve had to keep going.

“I’ve made films that nobody has watched and I get zero to ten views. But I just have to keep writing and making films, and hopefully one day someone catches on.”