We had the good fortune of connecting with Mack Ogden and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mack, how do you think about risk?
I used to think the biggest risk I had taken in life was talking to a boy in middle school, then it was raising my hand in math class in high school, then it was signing up for some challenging workshop in college, and then it was moving across the country to “make it” in Hollywood. But every time I was taking a “risk”, I would act the way I thought they wanted me to be. I was a chameleon. A people pleaser. And it wasn’t getting me anywhere. Sure, I moved across the county to LA, but I was still just another people pleaser in LA, blending in. So, what role has taking risks played in my career? Well as of late, my biggest and most effective risk is being myself. When this world is just a society of carbon copies and wear this/buy this/say this/post this to fit in…the biggest risk you can make is to be you to stand out. Once I started doing that, things started happening for me. In my career. In my personal life. In my happiness. Life is more simple when you are yourself. It’s not as confusing for you or the people around you. There’s more room for happiness and success. So I’m going to keep being me and I hope everyone does the same. Great things happen when you’re true to yourself. Oh, and kind.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I love to create. I love to perform. And as I’m sure we all know, this is a really tough business. About five years ago, I booked and filmed a pilot and I remember thinking, “Oh my gosh, this is it, it’s happening, I’ve made it!” I had the best time ever. I was flown elsewhere, met some really great people…I was on cloud 9. Well…the pilot was never picked up. After that, I had a long stretch of nothings. Dropped my agent, no more auditions, no more meetings, no more bookings. No more anything. The best I was getting was performing for 20 minutes in my acting class once a week. That wasn’t enough for me. This is when I started really focusing more on my writing. Even when I was getting auditions, the roles weren’t exciting. Those roles were going to people who had already made a name for themselves. But I wanted to play those fun roles. So I wrote those roles for me. The first thing I wrote was a sketch that made it in a showcase and then onto FunnyorDie. Then another one that made it on Elizabeth Banks’ WhoHaha. And then another one that also made it on WhoHaha and was featured for Valentine’s Day. Then I wrote two pilots and finished three screenplays and one is in the works to become a feature film. The biggest lesson I learned is that not everyone wants to help you…even if they say they do. The amount of backstabs and letdowns I’ve experienced is baffling. But thankfully, I have found my tribe. I write with my best friend, Richard Ellis. I put on shows with my incredible friend Zoë Papia. I strategize and talk business with my beautiful friend Michael Orlandi. There are incredible people that want to help you and that you’ll want to help too, you just have to be smart. I’m always eager to create and collaborate. So if you’re out there looking for someone, I could be your gal! Let’s get to work.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
No question about it, we’re starting with an early morning full-day on the Bridge to Nowhere hike in Sheep’s Valley. We’d hike down to the river, float around, bask in the sun, make camp, have our lunch, talk about everything and anything. Now that we’re back home and have exhausted ourselves, it’s time for a well deserved pasta night. We’re heading to Miceli’s on Cahuenga for some pasta, drinks, live music and singing waiters. But seriously, the vibe there is phenomenal. Obviously the next morning we must get some great coffee and incredible breakfast…we’re heading to Sweetsalt in Toluca Lake for a quaint dining experience (and oh my god their ciabatta breakfast sandwich will change you for the good). And then to get back into nature, we’re doing the Wisdom Tree hike and if we’re feeling crazy, we go from the top of that over to the Hollywood sign because I’ve never run into another person there…and that’s tough to do in LA. Lastly, we’re going back to my apartment complex to sit in the courtyard and hang out and barbecue with my neighbors. My apartment complex is filled with my creative friends…it’s basically an adult camp or maybe a dorm. Those are my top places and activities. I learned about all of these places my first year of moving here and 6 years later, I’m still frequenting them all!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I love books. I’ve read a lot of them in my time. But the most impactful was my final book of 2020…Hilarie Burton Morgan’s “The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock, and Big Life Lessons Down on Mischief Farm”. She had built an outwardly successful career for herself early on. She was on a hit television show, had the hectic exciting actor schedule, got to work in all the hot spots, but something felt seriously off. She wasn’t fulfilled emotionally or spiritually, as she says. This book had a huge impact on me, reminding me what it is to truly redefine success, to take risks…personal risks, and to fully show up for yourself. I owe my redefining of success, risks, and happiness to her. Thank you Hilarie for your candor.
Riker Brothers Photography