Today's interview is with David S. Hogan, an actor, producer, teacher, coach, director, and photographer. David discusses his most recent project, The Parish, and his habits and mindset, which allow him to wear so many hats while still achieving great success.
David S. Hogan: Discusses Success
My questions and comments are in bold; David's responses are in plain text.
About David S. Hogan
David was raised in Seattle, WA. He is an actor, filmmaker, and educator. He studied acting at Seattle University (where he graduated with a Criminal Justice BA degree) and regularly worked in the Seattle theatre market between 2000-2013. He is passionate about classical texts, and his resume’ boasts many colossal roles from Shakespeare’s canon (Caliban, Leontes, Mark Antony, Cassius, King Henry). In 2011, he began earnestly pursuing work in front of the camera. He had since booked numerous film roles (Narco Hitman, Bad Samaritan, The Device, Shadowed), television (Z Nation, Grimm, and Thunderballs), commercials, and corporate videos.
In 2013, with their company, Mighty Tripod Productions, David and his and wife, Angela DiMarco, produced Trauma, an award winner at the 2013 Seattle 48 Hour Horror Film Project. The film was screened at Hollywood Horror Fest, STIFF, Columbia Gorge International Film Festival, and Hollyshorts Film Festival. In 2015, they produced The Cost of Things, which garnered David a Best Actor award. In 2016, their film One Step Too Far won Best of the Fest at the Seattle 48 Hour Film Project. Their first feature-length film as producers, Narco Hitman, premiered at the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival, then garnered a distribution deal. Their second feature film, The Parish, with David directing and starring Angela DiMarco and Bill Oberst, Jr., will release in 2019.
David teaches acting for the camera and is an acting coach with Mighty Tripod Acting Studio. His clients have booked roles in critically acclaimed independent films (Captain Fantastic), on TV (Grimm, The Librarians, Z Nation, Everything Sucks!), and in local episodic content (Automata). He lives in Port Orchard, WA, with his wife and best friend, Angela DiMarco, and their four-legged canine companion, Bruno.
How did you get started in your career?
As a performer, I began as a singer with the Seattle University (SU) choir under Dr. Joy Sherman's direction. My first time on stage in a legitimate show was at SU in The Threepenny opera production, playing the Street Singer and singing Mack the Knife under Ki Gottberg. When I graduated in 2000, I began auditioning as much as possible for local Seattle stage shows, doing my best work for the Seattle Shakespeare Company and Book-It Repertory Theatre.
What does a typical day look like?
It depends. Typically, I am up and checking social media and email… Probably while listening to my local public radio station or ESPN Radio (Go Hawks!). Then, I am exercising our dog, Bruno, in the neighborhood or at our local park. If I am lucky, I am prepping an audition or asking Angela (my wife) for some help with a self-tape.
A lot of my time has recently been dedicated to ushering our feature film, The Parish, through post-production, which has been an incredible learning experience as a first-time feature director. Usually, there will also be something to accomplish for our school, Mighty Tripod Acting Studio, to prepping for a coaching session or getting things for the classroom. And exercise.
What is one thing you have learned from being successful?
The hustle never quits. And, while I have big dreams and ambitions, I need to celebrate the “small” wins along the path. I am also a multi-hyphenate: I act, produce, teach, coach, direct, and shoot headshots.
Is there a mistake you have made starting that you wish you could change?
I do my best to welcome mistakes and failures. They are inevitable, part of the journey, and are great teachers.
What advice would you give someone starting?
Find a mentor. Study up. Get in a class. Surround yourself with positive people. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy yourself.
Professionally, what are you most proud of?
Our studio. I love having the opportunity to help actors along their path. I believe that actor training can make people better humans and better performers.
Looking back on your career, is there something you learned from the industry that you found surprising?
As brutal as the industry can be, it’s also loaded with generous, kind, passionate, and inspirational people. As creatives, it’s important to seek those people out.
What advice would you have for people that are having difficulty making it in the industry?
As an actor, you have to be in it because you love it. The old aphorism is, “Don’t do it unless you have to.” This basically means “making it” as an actor is very difficult, and if there is something else you can do to earn a living, for goodness sake, do that! An actor is constantly rejected, and unless you can embrace the journey, finding fulfillment and joy in the pursuit of the work as well as the work itself, then it’s going to be a long and hard road.
If you could recommend one book to help people to be more successful, what would it be, and why?
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. The book has valuable teachings for the soul and the spirit. Career and financial accomplishments are nothing compared to the success of having a generous spirit and a peaceful mind.
Any upcoming projects you are working on?
The Parish – My first project as a feature film director. We have a Facebook page and a trailer. Those links are below. I will probably produce a short film or two in 2019 with my favorite collaborators, Angela DiMarco and Tony Tibbetts.
Can you give us a sneak peek at The Parish?
I think that with Todd Downing's script, we have told a great ghost story with a ton of heart. The characters are rich, the acting is great, we have some scares, a fantastic good vs. evil climax, and even some humor. The Parish will be a great choice for horror movie buffs and for those who enjoy character dramas.
What was it like working on a movie with your wife?
Well, this certainly wasn't our first rodeo. We have acted together on stage and have been in plenty of movies together, too (here is a link to some of our short films). Directing her was great, and I think she would admit the same. I love her performance in The Parish and can only take a bit of credit to fulfill the character. We had a few creative differences during post-production (we are both producers) but were able to work them out. I think we make a great team, and I look forward to our next project together.
Another highlight of directing The Parish was working with Bill Oberst, Jr. Bill is a horror movie icon, and I have followed his career via social media for quite a few years. We connected on Facebook and Twitter after I saw some of his interviews on the Film Courage YouTube Channel. When we decided to produce The Parish, I immediately thought of Bill for the Father Felix role. Thankfully, he connected with the character, enjoyed the script, and agreed to come to Seattle to work with us. With Bill, you don't have to do a whole heck of a lot of directing because he comes to set so preparedly. I loved his performance, and I think his fans will, too.
What does your social media strategy look like? Any tips?
Nothing too specific. I use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, often. When people want to connect, I typically will add a connection/friend.
Any mistakes you see people routinely make with social media?
Spell checking goes a long way. Before you hit “post,” it’s a good idea to review what you’ve written.
Where can people connect with you online?
Do you have any apps that you use to be more productive?
I use a looping voice recorder to help me learn lines. I occasionally use Hootsuite to schedule my Twitter posts.
How do you manage time?
Poorly! I work a lot and spin a ton of plates. I use a Calendar app and Notes to keep things organized.
What is the best advice you have received?
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Surround yourself with people who are better at it than you are.
Do you have any advice for people who may feel discouraged about reaching their goals?
Keep your chin up. Review your goals. Mix it up. Make a change. Depending on where you live, you should have local resources to assist you. If you are in a rural area or can’t find local resources, use the Internet, but be savvy – there are as many charlatans as saints out there, especially online.
How important is fitness to success?
Crucial. Physical, Spiritual, and Mental fitness are all essential ingredients for success.
Do you enjoy working out? If not, how do you get motivated?
I do enjoy working out, but I get distracted by work. I get motivated when I notice that my clothes start to feel snug, and I start looking like shit. 😉
Do you have anything you would like to promote or tell us about?
I will give you some links!
What is the one thing you wish everyone knew?
We are all the same, and love is a choice. Choose love.
What was it like playing two different characters on Z Nation?
The first time on Z Nation in 2014 was my first time on a network TV show in more than a day-player role. So, I do remember being a little stressed. It was their first season and the only show filming in our state (WA), which meant a little added pressure on the locals to bring their A-Game. Fortunately, I had worked with some of the crew. My friend Russell Hodgkinson is a Series Regular (Doc), and I was also friends with some of the actors who were hired as Co-Stars and Guest-Stars for the episode. After settling in on that first day, I did my job, had a great time, and got to go out with a bang (my character dies by a sniper-shot wound to the head).
When I was invited back to the show during Season 4, I was thrilled and a bit surprised. I had a few more years of acting under my belt, as well as a much more thorough understanding of my job as an on-camera actor, so prepping for my work and the work itself was an absolute blast. It was great to be back with the Series Regulars – Obviously, I have a lot of love for Russell, but Kellita Smith (who plays Warren) is also great to be on set with. Again, I died on the job (the character, duh), but the death was epic (you can see my “machine gun boogie” here).
Thank you so much, David, for taking part in this interview! Please check out David's newest project – The Parish and David's social media, in addition to their company (Mighty Tripod Productions), to stay up to date with all of his current work!