MEET: Blaine Hogan

I’m excited to be bringing back the MEET series! I have a wonderful list of amazing individuals that I’ll be introducing you to within the next few months. Today I’d like you to meet Blaine Hogan. Blaine is an artist, actor, writer, producer, and  Creative Director at Willow Creek Community Church. His blog has been one of my staple reads for the past year and he recently released his book, UNTITLED. Enjoy the interview below:

1. While you were writing UNTITLED, what did you find most challenging about the creative process? The entirety of the book is about the hard work of making things and so as I wrote, I kept realizing how much of my own advice I was needing to take. The very fact that the book exists means that I had to try and apply all the principles I was talking about. It was humbling to say the least.

2. What art/artists (outside of writing) inspire you? I’m extremely moved by film and love Danny Boyle. Music is also a huge inspiration and lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Barcelona, Future of Forestry, Lia Ices, and Jon Hopkins.

3. What typically overlooked or mundane things/places inspire you? Cleaning my workspace I’ve found is a great centering technique. Now you can get carried away and use it to procrastinate (which I sometimes do), but when done well, cleaning my workspace simultaneously cleans my mind along with the area I’m about to do my work. Brewing coffee is another thing that inspires me. There is a richness and romanticism to knowing how long and how many steps there were to making this hot, steaming drink that somehow makes me have better ideas.

4. How long did the process of writing this book take? I’d been working on the content for the last 12 years as actor and artist through journals and notebooks. The writing of the actual book took about 6 months.

5. What kind of tools and software did you use? I used a few different tools. I started analog with all journals and notebooks. After wading through those mining for the best material and ideas I moved to Evernote. This is where I kept a running log of chapters and new ideas as they came to me. When I needed to free-write in a clean and clear space I’d open up Ommwriter. I then did the final layouts in Pages.

6. How has the self-promotional aspect been? Not bad, other than the stark realization that no one is going to promote your stuff for you. As an actor I learned pretty early on that if I didn’t look at promoting myself as a business I would never work. I think most artists struggle with this aspect of the work, but I know very few artists who make a living at being an artist without doing some form of self-promotion.

7. You’ve accomplished a lot (creatively). You’ve been an actor, auditioned for theater, you write, you’ve produced. How has this influenced your book and what’s inside? Thank you, Allie. Such a kind thing to say! Because I’ve been so fortunate to work in so many different mediums, I’m able to apply to principles from so many different aspects. My hope is that because of those many facets, anyone who makes anything can find UNTITLED meaningful.

8. How has your identity and core affected your process? I’m so glad you asked this! In fact, in all my interviews, no one has asked it. And in fact, I believe it’s the most important thing. Far too often we focus only on the product – the thing we make – without really taking much time to work on the producer. I’m of the opinion that our insides directly affect what we produce and that the best art comes from the inside, out. Knowing thyself is the THE KEY to making good art.

 I encourage you to purchase UNTITLED for $4.99 on Amazon and follow Blaine on Twitter. Then watch his dance videos. They will not disappoint!

November 18, 2011