We had the good fortune of connecting with Patrick Hilgart and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Patrick, how do you think about risk?
I have a tumultuous relationship with risk. A big part of me longs for simplicity and control, so I often romanticize what life would look like had I chosen a path with less risk. However, I also recognize that nothing I have achieved in my life or career has been by remaining in my comfort zone. I have always had a desire to learn how and why things work, and so much of my process has been trial and error. I try things out, risk failure, learn what fits, and discard what doesn’t.
As an Actor, risk is a job requirement. Getting out of bed and pursuing a dream despite the odds of an entire industry stacked against you is, by nature, a risk. Actors must chose to be optimistic and bet on ourselves that if we show up focussed and prepared, that over time, the probability of these risks paying off gets bigger and bigger.
Am I fearful? Absolutely. Do I thrive on it? Absolutely! I have no idea what tomorrow might bring, and that’s what excites me. There is a huge chance that I won’t book my next audition. But what if I do? I like to live in that space.
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.
There is a passage from a book written by Shauna Niequist called Cold Tangerines, where she paints a beautiful picture of the way life ought to be. She describes it using sweet little moments like “singing out-loud in the car with the windows down,” and “reading books so good they make me jump up and down.” She ends the passage by saying “I want to use it [life] up, wring it out, and drag it around like a favorite sweater.”
It’s little moments like the ones she describes that fuel my process. My intention with my art is to entertain, and to inspire the interpreter to reconnect. I want my work to spark new ideas, and give others the permission to be more themselves. I want to be the mirror that is as conduit for others to experience themselves and their stories. My art is thoughtful, joyful, painful, powerful, and funny. It’s truthful, malleable, and ever evolving.
I’m currently in the process of writing and producing a one man show, developing several film scripts, and a television series that I’m very excited about. I am also writing and producing original songs, which I hope to release in summer 2023.
I used to think my career had to look a certain way before I could truly feel accomplished. So, I would force outcomes, or put immense pressure on myself to get to the ‘next level.’ I created so much stress around getting somewhere in my career, that I stifled my ability to create in the moment. I began to see that the ‘next level’ is just a myth. I wanted an outcome that comes from the process of learning, without risking a learning experience.
Once I was able to let go of some of that pressure, I started to see flow in my career. I began writing again, auditioning and singing more and more. I suddenly landed incredible representation and I was recently up for the lead role in a major film franchise. I’m very proud of that!
I’ve learned to let go of expectations and enjoy my process. When I am seeing things through this lens, there is only forward motion. Instead of trying so hard, I am able to soften my heart, and allow things to flow.
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?
This is fun! I recommend a morning hike in Franklin Canyon. Then go to lunch at Jon & Vinny’s or Mauro’s behind Fred Segal. If you like live music you have to go to a show at The Greek. See a stand up show at The Improv. See improv at The Groundlings. See a play at Geffen or Pasadena Playhouses.
Go for a drink at Ace Hotel rooftop. For dinner, I recommend Bacari in Silverlake, or Hippo in Highland Park. If you want celebrity sightings go to Tower Bar, Nobu Malibu, or be friends with a member of either San Vicente Bungalows, or Little Beach House Malibu.
Go to Silverlake flea market. Head down to Manhattan Beach and make a day of it. If you’re doing Malibu, have lunch at Geoffrey’s or go more casual at Paradise Cove. Broad Beach is my favorite and you can take your dog with you. Malibu Wines is a fun day trip, but definitely have a designated driver.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
So much of my life & career is thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others.
From a young age, my parents were extremely supportive of my creativity and provided me with art supplies and sketch books which I would fill up with elaborate drawings and goofy cartoon strips. My mother signed me up for dance classes, and encouraged me to sing the national anthem at the Minor League Baseball games in my hometown.
In third grade, I had a teacher named Dorothy Lewis who recognized my creativity and imagination. She cast me as the lead in her classroom productions and she was a huge catalyst in empowering me to explore art and performance.
In High School, I had a soccer coach named Michael D who brought our local club team together, and within two years lead us to the National Tournament, where we placed third overall in the United States. Every person on that roster taught me about hard-work, determination, and being an asset to a team. I often compare my Acting training to those years of grueling soccer practices, where, despite how I am feeling that day, I dig deep and get the work done. That way, I go to bed proud of myself, and wake up the next day better than I was before.
I attribute a lot of my success in athletics to my Dad, who mentored me through a successful Soccer career which allowed me to attend College on Athletic Scholarship, where I continued to pursue Art in higher education.
My childhood best friend, Emma Mebane, passed away when I was a freshman in college. She was an artist as well, and we were a huge support system for each other. The years that followed her passing were pivotal in my trajectory. It forced me to confront existential questions about how precious and fleeting life can be. I use her memory as fuel to continue to inspire me to push past my ideas of what is possible. Whenever something good happens in my life, I smile and think about the possibility that she could be pulling the strings.
There are so many people I have been influenced by and who deserve thanks. My siblings, close friends, acting coaches, my producing partner, my artist community, etc. The more time goes on, the more these supportive relationships show up. I feel extremely blessed and grateful about it.
Riker Brothers, Cameron Thrower, Dreamreach Media