- By Phillip V. Cruz, Jr.
Patrick Hogan's life as a filmmaker
Guam’s own, Patrick Hogan made his long-awaited homecoming to participate in the Guam International Film Festival (GIFF) to showcase his short film “Virtually,” a sci-fi romantic story.
Hogan got into filming when he was growing up on Guam. He had an acting stint at the University of Guam’s theater. Prior to acting, Hogan enjoyed writing short stories. He joined a short story contest when he was a kid. However, he was disqualified because the judges were not convinced that such a great story was written by a kid.
“My mother was upset,” said Hogan.
The compromise was that he had to write a different story to prove he was able to write. He proved them wrong; hence, he won the contest. This proves his joy of writing and performing, which started his journey into the world of film making.
Hogan soon realized that acting wasn’t going to go as far as just a hobby, so he decided to go into the technical aspect of filmmaking. He made his first film on Guam with friends called “Pen in the Heart” about a serial killer who kills people with a ballpoint pen.
He shot the film with an old camcorder. He edited the film using two VCRs by hitting play on one VCR and pressing record on another. Talk about being resourceful.
After graduating from the Guam Community College Vocational High School in 1988, Hogan received a college scholarship at the Northwestern University in Chicago, where he earned his bachelor’s in TV/Radio/Film.
After college, Hogan returned home to work for TV14. “I was the production manager, so I shot all of the commercials and promos,” Hogan said.
Shooting low-budget commercials was a good prep to learn. It teaches how to use the equipment, to shoot fast, and to use very little money to make the magic work. “Basically, you’re learning to shoot on the technical side,” Hogan added.
What was missing from shooting commercials was the writing aspect. He wanted more than just shooting commercials. So Hogan decided to fly out to Los Angeles to hone his skills as a filmmaker and to move on from shooting commercials and promos. “Two of the best places to move to when learning to be a filmmaker are either L.A. or New York,” Hogan said.
Hogan didn’t have a lot of experience in the short film genre, and it was mostly due to Guam not having the infrastructure as it does now, and the fact that he didn’t know anybody out there. So he decided to apply for grad school. He initially wanted to earn his master’s degree so that he could teach as a backup plan in case he didn’t make it in this field. Grad school also provided an outlet for him to meet people and build a network. Hogan considered himself lucky that he got into USC.
Hogan learned a lot more about film making, and with his experience in TV commercials, it brought him into the next level. He learned a lot more about sound editing and into his final year, he started to receive paid offers to work on other people’s films.
His sound mentor at USC, Roger Pardee, took Hogan under his wing to teach him more about sounds in film making. Hogan was ecstatic. Pardee had done sound checks with films, such as “Waterworld” starring Kevin Costner.
After graduating from USC, Hogan needed a job. Pardee made some calls and landed Hogan his first job with a small sound company that was growing rapidly at the time. The small company had just gotten the deal to do “NYPD Blues,” where he worked as an assistant. He was told that if he decided to cut and do the sounds for any short films and projects, and if he could show them what he could do by the end of the year, they would move him up to sound editor for any future project.
In the meantime, Hogan worked hard on other projects to further hone his skills. When fall rolled around, that small company picked up another show called “Law and Order: SVU,” which marked Hogan’s debut as sound editor.
Since then, he has worked on sound for hundreds TV and films. “Key aspect,” Hogan added, “is that connections work, especially if you’re good at what they are looking for.”
Starting out small is a good idea. Make yourself and your skills known and that you are one of the best. Hollywood likes to move past that application process and hire people upon word of mouth and the skills that they have demonstrated.
Hogan has written and filmed his own short films. His directorial debut “Pope Dreams,” which was screened in over 26 film festivals, won 11 Best Film awards. It was picked up by Porchlight Entertainment and aired on Lifetime Network. It also streamed on Netflix and Amazon.
His latest film, “Virtually,” was featured in this year’s GIFF. It was highly praised.
“I would like to make a sequel to “Virtually,” Hogan said.
He would also like to return to Guam to make a film about World War II from Chamorus’ perspective.
Hogan was a guest speaker for a panel on Oct. 5 that was hosted by the American Association of University Woman where he talked about presenting your ideas through social media.
On Oct. 11, a gathering was thrown at Slippery Fish during happy hour in honor of Hogan to welcome him home and to celebrate his film “Virtually”. While being home, Hogan chuckled, “It’s great to be back home, but I’ve been eating a lot.”
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