We had the good fortune of connecting with Phil Donlon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Phil, what role has risk played in your life or career?
My whole career has been a risk. I had to put my life on hold, so to speak, to pursue my career. It meant putting a 401k on hold, a savings account, marriage, children, buying a house, having a brand new expensive car, having health insurance, all to pursue this idea I had in my head: being and Actor/Writer/Director and getting paid for it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It took me many years to figure out the “label” Actor/writer/director. And the main reason was reps didn’t quite understand what to do with me. When I’d begin to talk about a recent acting role, then a script I was writing, and a film I just directed, I’d notice everyone’s eyes glaze over and they’d just nod and say “oh interesting”. It took me a while to become comfortable in my own skin, that doing more then one thing was a great asset. It took me a while to see it that way. I’ve been paid professionally to do all three, and I know how to do them all very well. I had to be ok with missing certain opportunities because I was pursuing others. Example, I might miss out on an acting role while writing a script. As I gained confidence in wearing all three hats, I also realized how to position myself within the industry. This has also led me to having great mentors in all three areas and a better understanding of the business as a whole.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I always start with taking someone who doesn’t know LA very well to the Griffith Park Observatory. And hopefully it’s a very clear day. I like my guest to have a lay of the land, know where they are. LA’s geography is very very unique. After that, I’m sticking mainly all East Side. I’m not a fan of going west of Western. For some fantastic Italian I’m taking them to RossoBlu, happy hour. Then keep it going and head over to Salazar in Frog Town. One of the days we’d hit Descanso Gardens. Great place to walk around and get in a great convo. Prior to the pandemic I always loved the bar at BarBrix. Probably the coolest and friendliest bar near me. Killer wine list. Great place to meet the locals. Other joints: Night + Market. The little par 3 golf course off Los Feliz. Bigfoot Lodge.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Craig Gore. Matt Ochacher. Joe Sikora. Evald Johnson. Gabe Mann.
Nick Holmes. David Zaugh.