Ghassan Al Katheri, 35, runs a family tourism business, works as a presenter and producer at a television channel, and takes time off to do quite a bit of acting.
You have a doctorate in microbiology and a master's degree in marketing and media, and worked as a radio presenter and producer with Noor Dubai Radio. What have you done since leaving the radio station?
I left it in 2008. For the last two years I have been working at Orbit Showtime as a presenter and a producer. But if they need me to work on a TV series or ad I can do that, too. [A few days ago] I was working on an acting project for the government of Abu Dhabi.
What business do you run?
I work as the chief executive at our family business in travel and tourism. It is called Net Tours, and the company has completed 25 years. We have five branches - Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Fujairah and Oman. We will reopen our office in Qatar next year. I joined the company three years ago. Our uncle started the business, and now five of the family members are working in it.
How much time does that leave you to work on your acting skills?
My business manager, Mohammad Ali Golroo, arranges and updates me on projects. He has been working with me for two months now. And I cannot do without a manager. At Net Tours, my managing director comes to me only for final approval and important matters.
How did acting come along?
More than 12 years ago, a casting director saw me in a mall and asked me to smile. That started it. In 2004, I started full-time acting.
In 2005 you acted opposite George Clooney in the film Syriana. In 2010, you acted in Malal, an Arab-Hindi movie by the Emirati director Nayla Al Khaja. Any other projects since then?
I had a small role in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol in 2011. After Tom Cruise climbs down Burj Khalifa and comes inside [the tower] looking for the spy, I am the guy pointing towards the exit. My main target is now to start working outside the UAE, in Bollywood and Hollywood.
Do you attend acting workshops to hone your skills?
I did an acting course at New York Film Academy two years ago. It was quite good, and good for networking, too. Around 18 months ago, I did a course with Viva Dubai after I came back from Bollywood. I will take intensive acting courses at Bareface Academy as well as Mirinda Studio in Dubai to improve my talent and especially after my experience. Learning never stops.
Few actors use LinkedIn but you do. How did that help?
There are not many actors and casting directors on LinkedIn. Two or three people have found me through the website. But I am the guy who believes in social marketing. My website is www.ghassanalkatheri.com. I use LinkedIn because it is professional, no wasting time and no fake accounts. I have more than 5,000 people as connections.