We had the good fortune of connecting with Casey McDougal and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Casey, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
“No pain, No gain.” I think the most valuable thing a person can do for themselves is to take stock of what truly makes them happy, and build a successful business / vocation / life from there. We all experience pain and suffering in some measure in our lives, but thinking the ONLY way to move forward is through struggle is completely backwards to me. What has worked best for me is recognizing the value of putting my well-being first, being prepared and aware of situations that will move my projects forward, and then taking the plunge when the opportunity presents itself. Forcing things often can be a waste of energy, whereas training for the right moment can be a beautiful use of laser-focused energy.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am most excited this year to birth a new company, WoAccelerator with my friend and business partner, Jeremy Andrews. We are committed to helping screenwriters become business savvy in Hollywood, by helping them polish production-ready scripts and getting them in the hands of producers who can make their visions come to life. There’s a real shakeup in Hollywood right now in many ways, and the way that’s most exciting to me is the way that people can create their own work, make their own deals, and get their projects not only on film and tv, but on countless streamers. There’s a lot of potential out there, but cultivating high quality content is something we truly believe in. I have always been someone who just goes for it, and learns along the way, gathering people and resources I truly believe in. This means I write, produce, direct, stream, and collaborate on a few different projects at a time. I don’t like to wait for the phone to ring, as the saying goes. My parents always taught me that I could do anything I wanted, so I’ve always had a job, always taken risks to make my dreams come true, and listened to advice of older generations in the entertainment industry as I’ve gone along. I know I have a lot more I want to accomplish, but I also make sure to sit back and be grateful for everything I’ve worked on up until this point. I’ve definitely been sidetracked along the way, but the key really is to keep getting back up. Whether physically or emotionally, I always tell myself and my friends that as long as we keep showing up, good things will come our way. The main thing I’ve learned is you don’t have to justify your craft / profession / life to anyone. You are the only one who is going to live your life, so you might as well be happy doing it! And let go of the phrase “starving artist.” It implies that artists cannot be abundant and healthy and happy. Each one of us deserves to do whatever we want! I want the world to know that I come from a place of striving to always be inspired and to inspire others. Whether it’s a beautiful day, a wonderful passage in a book, an amazing acting performance, I think treasuring each moment reminds us of why we are putting in the work to be actors, directors, writers, producers: whatever! It’s so important to live each moment in gratitude (or at least strive to haha) and I hope my work reflects that.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them to all my favorite vegan restaurants! Gotta make a stop at Donut Friend, head to a park, go hiking. Margaritas at Gracias Madre for sure! I would also head to some places outside of the city because I have been really wanting to drive out to San Diego or Santa Barbara and I love driving for long periods of time. I’d have to show them The Last Bookstore, the Biltmore for the cool 1920s decor and design. I’d be down to do the touristy things too, but if I’m gonna be a tourist in Hollywood, I better be able to take them to Doomie’s for the best vegan fast food around! We would also go do a day trip to the Getty and definitely head to zuma beach and enjoy the water.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This past year, my business partner and co-founder of WoAccelerator, Jeremy Andrews, really inspired me to really use my experience and instinct. Working with him has really shown me how important it is to “trim the fat,” know when to say YES or NO, and really to trust that really good idea will guide the process. In general, it’s been a rough year, but my family and friends have really got me through the bumps by being supportive of my creative projects and ideas.
1. Tribeca Film Festival 2. Abe & Phil’s Last Poker Game, 3. Veep (HBO)