Pat Dortch: Actor, Writer, and Teacher - GigSpotting.Net

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Pat Dortch: Actor, Writer, and Teacher

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Photo Credit: Magen Marie Photography
Pat Dortch recently starred in Michael Sharpe's film Out Of One's Misery as the protaganist, David. He did a great job in this film so when I checked his IMDb credits I was very surprised that I found only one entry. So I had to find out why.

Pat jumped into acting head first a couple of years ago after the recession took a toll on his business. He has made rapid progress. After a year of acting classes at The Actors Lab in Charlotte, North Carolina he was asked to teach a couple of classes there. One for beginners and another for teens.

So it seems Mr. Dortch has been on a crash course in the acting business and wanted to lay a good foundation before he starts to build. 

The building process continues with meeting the right people. Studying under acting coach J.D. Lewis of The Actors Lab was a good choice. Meeting folks there like Joe Chiazza of 5Ahead Films was also a good start.  Joe is a wonderful cinematographer and co-director of the Door to Door Web series written by Rachel Woodhouse and Justin Xavier who he also met at the acting classes. The Door to Door series is a comedy in which Pat plays the overly exuberant manager of a sales company.  A quirky look at a day in the life of a salesman and his sales team. 

For his role in Out Of One's Misery, Pat was prepared.  Writer and producer Michael Sharpe told me that Pat fit the part perfectly and he knew in his mind the part was Pat's before he left the room. 

"I filmed the auditions so I could take them home and view them again. Pat read twice. He nailed it the first time, but I made him do it again to see how well he took direction. I knew I was going to cast him before he left." - Michael Sharpe - Director: Out Of One's Misery


So it was sink or swim and Pat's definitely a swimmer!


Check out the film and interview below to see what you think.

Courtesy - Michael Sharpe - Sharpe Edge Films






You did a great job in Out Of One's Misery.  What's your background in acting?


Actually, I just got into acting less than two years ago.  I had just closed a business during the reception and needed a jolt, so I dove in head first.  I hadn't acted since high school prior to that... Now I am a working actor and teach two classes at The Actors Lab.


You were very believable as David and I don't think that was an easy role to play.


Thank you so much!  I like challenging roles, and that was a tough one- I couldn't be any different from that character.  Having a family helped make it real for me.


I was really surprised when I checked IMDb and only found one credit for you.  Where have you been?  I assume you must have been doing theatre since your skills betray your list of movies.


Ha!  I have been at it less than two years.  I have been training like a mad man.  2014 will be my year!


You mentioned teaching classes at The Actors Lab.  What classes and how did you get started doing that?


Pat Dortch: I teach a teen class on Monday afternoon and a beginner adult class Monday night.

J.D. Lewis is my acting guru there, and after I had been there a year he tapped me to teach.

I asked him why me, and he said it was because of my energy


"Pat Dortch is true artist.  His commitment, emotional depth and charisma is unparalleled.  I am a big fan!" - J.D. Lewis - The Actors Lab


You said you acted in high school and it sounds like you jumped back into it with a passion a couple of years ago.  What triggered that move?


I ran a custom upholstery company.  When the economy went south we lost tons of business.  At the end of 2011, I made the decision to shut it down.  I needed something to recharge my batteries, and in March 2012, I walked into The Actors Lab and signed up for classes.  Never been happier.


I would like to know more about The Actors Lab. Tell me about The Actors Lab and what's available there.  Is it mostly people from Charlotte attending or beyond?


The Actors Lab is run by J.D. Lewis.  He has a Lab in Ll in Portland, one in Austin, and one here.  He lives here with his two sons.  He has been in everything from ER to Friends, and was the spokesperson for Vidal Sassoon for a while.  The Lab in Charlotte has students that drive in from as far as VA and Myrtle Beach for classes.  More info on the Lab can be found at www.theactorslab.com.


There are several classes- beginner, intermediate, master, teen, and he is introducing a directors program this fall.


So Mr. Lewis divides his time between the various locations?


He visits the other Labs occasionally, and does workshops, but he mainly focuses his time here in Charlotte, concentrating on the Lab, his two boys, and a non profit he started called 12 in 12.  He's a busy man! He has teachers at the other Labs that are working actors and former students.


I see.  Does having a teacher who's been there help to cut through the BS and focus on your career?


Absolutely.  We work on acting, obviously, but we also work on the business end as well- goal setting, targeting agents and casting directors, etc.  I had only been at The Lab 3 months when I had the good fortune of signing with Monarch Talent.  One month after that, I booked a speaking role on Army Wives as a doctor.  Unfortunately the episode ran over and they scrapped the first few scenes, one of which was mine.  That's show biz!


Tell me about the importance of having an agent.


I can't state how strongly I feel that a working actor must have an agent.  Agents open doors and get their talent auditions that would never be possible otherwise.  There are many casting directors who simply will not audition actors that do not have agents.  That being said, once an actor lands an agent, that does not mean that they sit back and expect the auditions to roll in.  An actor should constantly be looking for work on their own.  Agents appreciate that, it shows that you are serious and willing to hustle. As a matter of fact, I found the role of David in Michael Sharpe's "Out of One's Misery" on my own, and my agent, Lu Anne Bernier was ecstatic.



"Pat is a director's actor. He is very professional and a team player. He is a great listener and helps get the vision I want to see on the screen by meeting me half way with his impeccable style of acting."  - Michael Sharpe - Director: Out Of One's Misery





Photo Credit: Sharpe Edge Films

How did you get that part as David in Out Of One's Misery?


I saw a post on Facebook actually.  The description simply said, "a man grieving the loss of his wife and child".  I have a wife and three kids, so I figured I could draw from that to make some pretty bold choices.  I thought it was ingenious that Michael gave very little away before the audition.  Anyway, I auditioned, it felt good, got a callback, and booked it.  It turned out to be an amazing project.  I am extremely proud of how it turned out.  It will be making the rounds at festivals this year.



I'm glad you saw that post.  What have you learned about networking?


I feel like I am surrounded by people like me for the first time in years, so networking has been a blast.  And I have to admit, everyone in the industry has been very welcoming and easy to talk to.  Because of my connections at The Lab and my agent, I have been fortunate enough to meet very talented, influential people that I now consider friends.  As far as the Charlotte acting community, the actors and directors are extremely gracious.  There is a lot of talent here, but everyone is very supportive of one another.



 
Photo Credit: Sharpe Edge Films


Are you a member of the Charlotte Film Community?


Yes, I started attending meetings about four or five months ago.  It's a great way to meet people in the industry and keep up with the latest projects.  Besides that, it's a good excuse to grab a beer with friends!


Who needs an excuse?  I'm still curious about what led you to acting.  Usually when someone embarks on a new career it's either something that's been on their mind for a long time or something that happened that moved them in that direction either purposely or accidentally.


I was in bands- lead singer- in college and for a few years after.  I have always loved entertaining, but decided in my 20s that I needed to get a "real job."  Time and experience taught me that you can get rich or lose your ass doing anything, so you might as well do what you love.


So when I was faced with a change I decide to go for a dream in stead of doing the 9 to five thing.


Who are some popular actors or actresses that you admire and the movies you liked them in?


 I loved Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook.  I like seeing actors come across as real, especially in extreme situations.  I love Gary Oldman because he can transform himself so brilliantly, and on the flip side, I love Robert Downey Jr because he seems to always be portraying himself.  That being said, I would watch the following in anything- John Cusack, Hugh Jackman, Samuel L Jackson, Liam Neeson, Judy Dench, Morgan Freeman, Daniel Craig...It's a pretty long list.


What kind of roles do you prefer?


 Paid!  Ha!  I really enjoy roles that make me dig deep for emotions Like out of One's Misery, but comedy comes naturally to me.  I am in a web series called Door to Door where I get to be completely whacked and it's a blast.  Being able to stretch my range has been a real pleasure.  Hopefully that will continue.


Tell me about the web series "Door to Door".


Justin Smith and Rachel Woodhouse have written a series about a door to door sales company.  Justin actually worked as a door to door salesman for a while.  I play the manager- Klaus.  We have filmed several episodes so far.  You can catch it on www.thebestseriesever.com.


Why is there an episode 1.5?


Ha!  Well, they had written all 20 episodes, then decided to squeeze in a Christmas special between 1 and 2.


I'm a fan of Door to Door and 5Ahead Films now.  Funny and quirky.  How did you meet the folks from 5Ahead?


 Joe Chiazza runs 5 Ahead Films.  I met Joe, as well as Rachel and Justin from Door to Door, though the Lab.  


What's the story on Induction?  I would have liked to have seen about an hour and a half more of that story.  I see you wrote the screenplay.


If I had a million bucks and a couple Blackhawk helicopters, we could shoot the rest of the movie.


I write quite a bit, and J.D. is always pushing us to create projects. Nick Madrick, who is in Induction with me, approached me about writing some stuff for us, and I had been kicking around some ideas for a screenplay.  I wrote it out, ran it by him, and we got up with Joe.  A couple of very late nights in a warehouse in NoDa, and we had a scene from Induction shot.  Stuff like that is good for an actor's demo reel.


 It does show that you have the right stuff for making movies and know how to find quality people to work with.  Looking ahead what's on the horizon for you?


Still have quite a bit of filming for the first season of Door to Door.  I have a part in a feature that starts shooting in the next month or so. Planning a trip to LA to check out the west coast.  Training, teaching, writing, auditioning, and booking- and loving every minute if it!




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