We had the good fortune of connecting with Logan Donovan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Logan, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
Collaboration! There is nothing so great as gathering around a creative endeavor with a group of passionate people all set on working together to make something from nothing. There is no situation where a creative endeavor is not better through colloboration.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have always been an artist at heart. Today I view my life and the world through that context. I have been an actor for 24 years and that has been my main drive and chosen art form in my life. I started in theatre as a kid and always dreamed of being an actor. When I made that decistion it was the first time I was in the driver’s seat of my life. I knew that if I wanted to be successful I would have to be prepared in every way possible.
It started me down an amazing road full of mentors, collaborations and learning that lead me to The University of North Carolina School of the arts. I had just started working professionally in the San Francisco Bay area and I was eager to go out and learn a full craft. I wanted to know what I was doing and why. Before drama school, I just knew I needed to be an actor, a storyteller. But I hadn’t yet figured out the “why” of it. In Drama School, the doors were blown off the hinges for me. My whole world expanded and I was up to my eyeballs in passionate people like myself all looking to become some greater form of themselves. We had amazing teachers in an amazing program set up and run by the incomparable Gerald Freedman. It was there that I learned discipline and what hard work really felt like in an amazing group of classmates that I am still very close with today. At UNCSA I started to understand what place storytelling has in culture and history. I learned that there is nothing so powerful as a narrative. I started to connect the dots as to what drew me to the craft and how to articulate that for myself. I came to realize that if everything that is happening around me in this world is rooted in a crafted narrative I could start to work towards narratives that make the world a better place. Not to mention that the skills I had learned in drama school apply to litterally everything else in my life. To be clear in how I communicate and how to find balance in narrative and in any situation is a gift of a lifetime.
After graduation, I moved out to Los Angeles, which was not what I was expecting. I had dreamed of living in NYC for years but when I signed the lease on a place in Brooklyn the next day I had to bail and make the move west. It was a gut instinct that may have been rooted in the fact that I am a California native, or it could be that it’s just what I needed at the time. I can see both being true. I was lucky to have an Agent out of school and I was ready to take on the business and start my career. In my mind, there wasn’t anything I wasn’t ready for. However, it turns out that what I wasn’t ready for was a business that was largely uncaring and seemingly impossible to break into.
I spent my first few years in LA just hustling to get in rooms. I was desperate to get auditions for things I would never choose to be a part of. It really killed my heart a bit, to be honest. It was at this time that I found Betty Jones and Transcendental Meditation and my life changed. The stress melted off and I felt like I got a brain upgrade. My perspective was new and the guidance from Betty put me on a new course where I would find more success through rest and new perspective.
I eventually found myself with new reps time and again and was starting to gain traction and I started working. Since then I will say that I don’t feel I have a career really just yet. More like some foundational experiences. Jobs here and there in TV and some indie films that have shown me more what I want and don’t want moving forward.
Over the years of being dissatisfied with what I was being offered artistically, I began to dream about taking the reins of my fate and started writing and considering producing and directing as a way to bring some artistic soul back into my life. If I wasn’t being asked to join the type of collaborations I was hungry for I would assemble them myself. And that is what I started to do. I wrote directed and acted in my first short film at the end of 2019 as my “film school” experience. I got some collaborators together who I had worked with months before and with their help and guidance I completed my first little film. We played three festivals before COVID lockdowns. But the seeds had been planted and I was ready for more.
The, “more”, I was ready for was the creation of the STORY LAB Collaborative. I invited a group of talented actors, writers, and creatives to come together twice a month with the objective of developing storytelling projects from where ever they were in process to completion. Right away it took off. I realized how hungry everyone I knew was for true collaboration and process. We all had been existing in a business devoid of process, rehearsal, and collaboration on any sort of meaningful scale. So this is what we have found and cultivated together. Since the commencement of the group at the end of 2019 many scripts have been developed for film, tv, stage, and educational programs. As the founder of the group, I was really looking to learn how I could be most effective as a creative producer of tv and film scripts and I must say it has far exceeded my hopes. I am currently in post production for a short documentary I directed called “Century Sisters”, which follows my grandmother and her sister for a week leading up to my great aunts 109th birthday which I hope to be done with by mid-summer, and a fellow STORY LAB member Gregory Bayne and I are shopping our completed narrative podcast “Goodbye, Blue Mondays” to podcast platforms for a hopeful launch in the near future.
The lesson I am learning these days over and over again is that I can’t wait around for artistic satisfaction to be dropped in my lap. It is a process and needs to breath and move and evolve by any and every means possible. And secondly that anything worth doing is worth doing slowly, and that approach seams to be the quickest way to creating meaningful art. The process is the goal now. And that changes everything. I know I can’t do this alone and at this point I wouldn’t want to. I want to live in a world where everything is WIN WIN. And in collaboration that possibility is so fulfilling.
From where I stand now I am hopefull looking around and seeing such brilliant collaborators all coming together in the spirit of creation and expression being driven and set free by assumed permission and support. I know that with this momentum we will be creating storys for the world to see for a long time to come.
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.
There are many faces of Los Angeles to show off for visitors and friends. It’s a unique city in that it is a very every day living sort of place. No equivilents to the statue of Liberty or Time Square or even Broadway. But there are so many great neiborhoods and restaurants, hikes and experiences to have outdoors in California’s natural beauty.
For outdoor adventures I would start with Malibu State park for a hike in the hills up to vistas of the ocean. Stop in at Malibu wine for happy hour and games then hit up Malibu seafood for sunset on the beach. Maybe throw in the Getty Villa if there is time.
Then there is a day in Venice beach. It feels like a completely different country. Populated by all sorts of different characters from burning man to shoeless hippies to street artists to circus acts to skaters to people who have smoked themselves to another planet. There are great spots to grab a bite and plenty of expensive coffee to partake in.
Then there is the downtown experience for something totally different. I actually love taking food tours downtown to hit up some of the best bites and to get some understanding of the history of the old town. Some of my favorite spots are Bar Ama, The Perch for a great rooftop view, 7 Grand for whisky and music, Colmans has a secret speakeasy in the back, and of course, I love the Broad Museum and the MOMA.
If I am hosting outdoors-type friends I’m headed to the Angeles Crest National Forest for some mountain hikes with all the views and none of the crowds. In the winter you can get to the snow for a day of sledding in just over an hour! No one knows that and if you’re reading this it’s a lie. On the way back down the mountain, there is a little restaurant to stop and grab a bite and a beer (please drink responsibly) if it’s open that is.
Other attractions not to miss are The Hunnington Library and gardens, The Getty, Griffith Park Observatory at night, and sunset at Point Dume Beach.
For every neighborhood, there is great food and something to see.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I need to shout out a bunch of people here. My mom for being with me and supporting my education and path as an actor and filmmaker, my dad for teaching me everything I know about photography, Jeffery Bihr and Carla Zilber Smith for pointing me in the direction of The North Carolina School of the Arts and prepping me for it, Gerald Freedman for investing in me as an actor and friend, Robert Beseda and the faculty of UNCSA for all they imparted to me about the craft of acting, Betty Jones for teaching and guiding me in my meditation practice, Ashley Gates Jansen for being a guiding light in the challenging times, my super agent Josiah Akinyele and everyone at Innovative Artists Agency, and the STORY LAB Collaborative for dedicating themselves to the work of story development with me.
Instagram: _logandonovan_. fahey_Foto story_engine_productions_
Ashley Randall Photo