From Director's Chair to BAFTA & RTS Winning Drama Director, the journey of Jordan Hogg

April 08, 2024 01:03:49
From Director's Chair to BAFTA & RTS Winning Drama Director, the journey of Jordan Hogg
Disability Empowerment Now
From Director's Chair to BAFTA & RTS Winning Drama Director, the journey of Jordan Hogg

Apr 08 2024 | 01:03:49

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Show Notes

Jordan is a BAFTA & RTS winning drama director from Yorkshire with a disability (cerebral palsy); he has over 70 hours of broadcast TV credits and first trained through the Channel 4’s 4Talent scheme & won BAFTA Breakthrough 2020. Jordan directed BBC1’s groundbreaking drama, multi RTS winning, Ralph & Katie – the first drama to feature 2 learning disabled lead actors, a project seen as pioneering for inclusive TV. He previously directed Channel 4 prison-drama series Screw & both the third and fourth seasons of Ackley Bridge for The Forge Entertainment, as well as episodes for BBC1 prime-time drama Death […]
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Episode Transcript

Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Welcome to Disability Empowerment Now, Season 3. I'm your host, Keith Murfee-DeConcini. Today, I'm talking to Jordan Hogg, a BAFTA and RT ads award winning director from the United Kingdom with Cerebral Palsy. Jordan, welcome to the show. Jordan Hogg: How are you doing, pal? It's lovely to meet you here. I've listened to quite a few episodes of your show and I'm a fan. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Thank you very much. You are officially the first international interview we've had. We're doing a lot more in the coming seasons, but thank you for being the first, thank you for listening, and thank you for reaching out. Jordan Hogg: Sorry, but it's an absolute pleasure. Thank you for asking me. I'm honored to be here, and I'm pleased to see your shows expanding internationally. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Thank you. That was always the plan. I had actually had the not so smart idea to wait till season five to do that as if people from the international world would wait to be on a podcast or videocast of any type. We know a very close mutual friend. of both of us by the name of Kurt Yager. He found me on LinkedIn and I interviewed him earlier on in this season. Tell me, how did you meet Kurt? Jordan Hogg: Um, goodness, Mr. Yager. I went out to L. A. last year, I was doing a doc, a radio documentary, funnily enough and interviewed Kurt. Funny enough, he texted me today, actually. We'd initially reached out to each other over Instagram. He saw what I was doing and he mentioned he was an actor, and we had a few Zooms and chats and things, and we kind of drummed up a friendship, and we're trying to get more people with disabilities involved in our industry. behind the camera as well as in front of it and get our voices heard and get disabled people to carry the power within the industry and let it trickle down. That's kind of our plan and what we're trying to achieve and we speak regularly and he's such a cool guy and every time I speak to him I live in North Yorkshire in the north of England and it's always, it's always grey and raining and I always ask him what the weather's like and it always brings me some joy when he says it's raining in Los Angeles. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Yeah, he's a wonderful actor and delightful interviewee, as I'm sure we both well know. But tell me more about how you started as a director and really exploring the art form of film. Jordan Hogg: Absolutely. Well, when I was a kid, I obviously couldn't get about a lot. I used to watch a lot of TV and it was quite hard at times growing up in my house because there was a messy situation was going on with my mum and dad and there's lots of shouting and arguing and fighting and things and I remember there was this big, for want of a better word, big battle going off in the kitchen and I was about 12 and I can remember watching Lawrence of Arabia was on Channel 4 and I can't remember if I understood it or what it was about But David Lean, sportly, took me to the desert for like three hours. I totally forgot everything that was going on around me. And I was like, this is proper magic. This is real. If I can take one person out of, out of reality and put them somewhere else, that would be amazing. But I'm a disabled kid from a Victorian seaside town in the middle of nowhere. And this was like before the internet and things. So like, well, how am I going to do it? So I got through school and I did what any other disabled kid does when they leave school and I became a fitness instructor because it's a big part of me when somebody says I can't do anything. It's like, well, you, you sit your ass down and you watch what I can't do. So I did that and I got, I did quite well at it. But I got to about 21 and I thought, why don't I do what I've always wanted to do? So I looked at it, I went back to college, I did my A Levels, then I decided to go to uni and do film studies. But I couldn't afford to go to uni. So I had to drive 40 miles to university, do my lectures, then drive 40 miles home, and then go to work for 10 hours. And I used to have to do my university work in the gym race to work. And they used to have people shutting my laptop and things, telling me I'll never make it, why am I bothering, I'll still be here in 20 years. And I was like, come on, come on, you're just giving me fuel here, keep giving me, this is good, all you're doing is fueling me. And in my last year at uni, I did, um, I got an email from Channel 4, and I still to this day don't know how they got my email address, because I literally set it up the day before, it was weird. But I got an email saying there were 12 disabled filmmakers to make short films in a competition who's a bit like The Apprentice. And I didn't win, but I got to the finals. And then I went back to uni and finished my dissertation, which I thought I'd do something easy. It'll be loads of work on it. So I did a dissertation on the representation of disability in cinema, and this was in 2008. Nobody had written a single word anywhere on the subject. There was literally nothing. I had to come up with my own thesis and everything. So I did that and I came up with the whole theory that every Bond villain has a disability and their disability somehow makes them stronger or, appear more frightening, because they're disabled. So, people are afraid of what's different, apparently. So I did that, then I got another, I got a call from Channel 4 saying we really liked your ambition and your heart and desire that you had on the shoot about it. We'd like to offer you a position as an apprentice director on the TV show called Shameless. I think you guys have it over there. We had a version just before, I think, who did it, was it CBS? CBS did it with William H. Macy. We did a version here as well. So I did that in season seven. And I wanted to become a fully fledged director after that. So I managed to, I spent a year there. They sent me to the National Film School for a year and they looked after me. But then I went freelance. I wanted to be a director in my own right, not an apprentice. So I kind of worked my way up the ranks, really. I did all the sorts. I did Coronation Street and Hollyoaks and Doctors and Emmerdale, and was a jobbing director, really. And then I got a chance on a show called Casualty, which is probably like our version of Grey's Anatomy, essentially. And I got this script. It wasn't anything special, but I've got, I've still got, I've got this little disabled kid from a Victorian seaside town inside of me who doesn't, still doesn't believe I should be in this. glamorous world of TV and film. So I try to push every project I can do beyond what's on the page. So anyway, I got this script and I had a really good character called Jar Jar. It's an American neurosurgeon, and I knew who I wanted for the part. I wanted Sharon Gless from Cagney and Lacey, the big 80s icon. And I knew she wouldn't come and do this with the continuing drama on BBC One. So I, the casting director, laughed at me. So I said, right, give me her number, then I'll give her a bell to see what she thinks. So I phoned her agent, I said, look, this is absolutely crazy what I'm suggesting here, but would Sharon at least read this and let me know what she thinks? Anyway, she loved it. She read it and loved it and said, yeah, I'll come and do it. Basically that episode, uh, won a BAFTA for casualty in a category it probably shouldn't have won in. It's just because we were so ambitious and did something that was so out there. So I was really proud to achieve that. Then I kind of kept the ball rolling and I did, I led a series called Ackley Bridge, which was about an all white school integrated with a Muslim school in Yorkshire, where I live. It did really well, and from there I won BAFTA Breakthrough Brit 2020, which is kind of one of my proudest achievements because it's an award you can get. You can only get it at a certain point in your career. You can only get it when you first lead something. So it's quite niche and I was very proud of that and I've kind of kept the ball rolling with the drama. I did a show called Screw, which was really a bit of a big number because the lead director on it was a guy called Tom Vaughn and he directed Cameron Diaz movies, Ashton Kutcher movies, Harrison Ford movies and there's me come limping in the studio. Which was huge, it was a hundred times bigger than any other studio I've ever worked on. I managed to block two of them and that did really well. But then I went for a job called The A Word. I think, I don't know, I don't think you guys had The A Word over there. I've tried to get an adaptation of it going. But it starts Christopher Eccleston. And it's about a family who have an artistic boy that moved to the district. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: I'm sorry, did you say could survive Aon, who was the ninth doctor who? Jordan Hogg: Yeah, that's the one. He is really good, really good, yeah. Yeah, he is really cool. Yeah, it was with him and I had a meeting for season three and I didn't get it, but when I went to the meeting, I met the writer. Anyway, well, I carried on doing my directing stuff and I saw this thing on Twitter that a new series had been greenlit called Ralph and Katie, and there was a couple who had Down syndrome in the A word who had just got married in the last season. And I texted my agent, and I thought this would be amazing. So I emailed my agent and said, can you get me anywhere near Ralph and Katie? I think this was on a Friday. And on a Monday morning, my agent phoned me, nine o'clock, first thing, and said, BBC had been on the phone. They want to know if you want to direct a show called Ralph and Katie. The writer has written it for you to direct. I was like, I emailed you that on Friday. And he's like, did you? I haven't looked at my email yet. So basically I went to the show called Ralph and Katie, which is the first show in the world to have two learning disabled lead actors. Nobody had ever attempted that before, both Sarah and Leon had Down Syndrome. And as well as that, we wanted to make it the most inclusive crew that had ever been assembled as well. We had many, many disabled people on the crew. We had people of color, we had trans people. It was the most inclusive crew. a show that's ever been made, and because a show like this had never been done before, we had to create new ways of doing things. We didn't want too many voices on the floor, we didn't want to muddle the communications lines and make it confusing for people. We created a position called the access coordinator, who makes sure sets are accessible for everybody, and we had like a creative thought to make it more explainable, was basically an interpreter, if you like, for Leon and Sarah, so I gave directions to her and she conveyed it to the actors for me, in a way they could better, more clearly understand it. Now, when the show got commissioned, they gave us a slot that went out at 11pm on a Sunday night. Nobody watches TV at 11 p. m. on a Sunday. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Nobody. No, they don't. Jordan Hogg: No. So it felt like they were doing it for, just for, for a ticket box to say, look, we've done this. When they saw what we'd achieved and what we'd done, they gave it a primetime slot at 9 o'clock on a Monday night, Wednesday night, Monday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night, consecutive evenings. And, yeah, that's probably my biggest achievement I've ever done. And since then, everything we've implemented on that show, all the access requirements, have kind of been rolled out all across the industry. Over here, the access coordinator, we were the first show to have an access coordinator on board. And I feel that we did something really groundbreaking. Obviously I've got someone I've directed. We had five disabled writers as well on the show, and since then, me and Jules, who was the producer, we came over to the States in the summer to do a radio documentary. We did a documentary for BBC Sounds called Directing Disability, and we spoke to a lot of people over there. We spoke to a guy called Ken Orlin, who's the lead director and producer of This Is Us. He used to be in 30 something. He's a really good friend of mine. Nice guy. And obviously we spoke about earlier, I spoke with my boy Kurt, and we spoke to the Inevitable Foundation. I don't know if it had anything to do with them guys but we spoke to them and we discovered that in the US, there's only one high end professional disabled director and five high end disabled writers in the whole of the United States. And we did that on one show here with Ralph and Katie. So we were trying to discover why that was the case. And we really couldn't have a finger on why there aren't any more disabled people in our industry. Because of Ralph and Katie, we wanted all our heads of departments to be disabled people. But the people just weren't there. People hadn't, I mean, I only know one other disabled director in the UK. I get all the disabled projects that are about disability, they all come to me in the UK, and I'm like, I want other people to be able to do this as well. And I said that if Ralph and Katie went for a season two, I wouldn't direct it, because other people have to learn to do this. And after we did the Directing Disabilities documentary, I went to do a show over here called, All Creatures Great and Small. I think you have it over there, I think it's on PBS. So I did a recent series of that, then we found out that we'd won two massive awards for Ralph and Katie. We won one, which is a brand new award for best inclusive practice for everything we put in place. But then we won a huge award after that, which has only gone to legends of TV before, like Sir David Attenborough and Sir Alan Titchmarsh had won it for the last couple of years. And we won Outstanding Contribution, Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Television for what we've done with Ralph and Katie and tried to improve the industry. So, but what I said is that when we collected these awards, I said it's wonderful to get this recognition, but what we've achieved, the biggest achievement that we have done, is the improvements we've made to people's lives and the industry going forward, and showing what can be possible and what disabled people can achieve. And what anybody is able to achieve, if we just put the mind to it and a little bit of thought. Because people assume that when we brought in a disabled cast and crew on Ralph and Katie cost a fortune. It really didn't, it didn't cost anything. The only thing it cost was us putting a little bit of thought into one or two little things to make it easier for everybody, not just the disabled cast and crew, but everybody benefited from the changes we put in. So it's, it's like we were saying that, you know, Production companies seem to think it's kind of acceptable to fly and act as family first class around the world, but it's too difficult to put in a ramp in for a wheelchair user. Where's, where's the kind of logic in that? Keith Murfee-DeConcini: I don't know. There is no logic at all. Jordan Hogg: No, it's kind of, kind of strange, but, that's kind of my journey and that's kind of where I've got to, to this stage where I'm at now and I'm trying to keep the inclusive train going, if you like, and trying to bring what I've learned onto future projects and try and inspire other people, other disabled people to try and do what I've done. I left, I had a bit of a tough upbringing and I left school with no qualifications at all and literally if I can get to where I've got to, literally anybody can. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: So what did BAFTA and RT ads stand for? Jordan Hogg: BAFTA is a British Academy of Film and Television Awards, which is like, it's basically our equivalent of the Oscars. We tend to have the BAFTAs before you guys have the Oscars, so you can normally tell who's going to win an Oscar for who's won a BAFTA. Then the RTS award is kind of on a similar standing, but that's the Royal Television Society. Which seems to be, they seem to be more open to inclusivity, between me and you, I think BAFTA is slightly, a little bit snobby at times, where RTS seem to be more open. Like we got loads of RTS awards, we didn't get any from BAFTA. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: So what did you like? Being a director with a disability. Jordan Hogg: Well, I always say that people should hire more disabled people because we find easier ways to do things. We always think differently to everybody else. And I think that we see the world in a lot of different, in a very different perspective than what everyone else sees it. And I've always kind of had the kind of Stone Cold Steve, Stone Cold Steve Austin attitude, if you like, that I don't really care what anybody else thinks of me, or what. Think of me, but I believe in my ability to do my job and see things from my perspective. And I can still run a crew and manage a crew better than anybody else. From my point of view, I'm very confident in what I'm able to do and I think 90% of my job is management and people. When people see what I can do with a disability, I think that maybe it, not inspires them, but maybe pushes them onto. So, well, if he can do it, I can do it as well, kind of thing amongst my crew, and it's that kind of can do attitude that we have to, excuse me, we all have to get across, and I think that helps as well with the crew, but as well as As well as that, my kind of perspective and outlook on life and the way we view things differently in disabled people kind of helps actors as well. That extra knowledge and understanding of how we work as people kind of helps us too, helps me to be able to tell the story. If that makes any sense whatsoever. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Yes, yes, it does. What's your favourite thing about having cerebral palsy? I have it. Jordan Hogg: Uh, well, I think it. Favourite things? Well, it's good when you go to Disney World, because. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Yes, it certainly is. Jordan Hogg: Yeah, it's true, if you're a disabled kid at Disney World, it's the greatest place on earth. Everyone fusses over you and things. I think that, there's a few things. I think having a disability makes you tougher than people realize. And it makes us natural fighters. And nobody, I don't think many people get that. I think it gives us an edge where people underestimate us. And I think that gives an advantage. And I, when, I've got a couple of things to say to kids when they ask me why I'm walking funny. I've got, I've got one said, I've died once and come back from the dead and no mortal man can kill me. Which is what I quite like. The second one I use, I just look at them and say, you've seen Pet Sematary, haven't you? Which tends to terrify children. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: but I think that the things Jordan Hogg: that, I think the things that disability gave us is, is a general toughness and a can do and get on with it attitude. And kind of you sit there and watch what I can't do kind of thing. And as you know, we don't, I think people who don't have a disability kind of feel that. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: It's all we think about. Jordan Hogg: Yeah. I mean, as you know, I don't even realize I'm disabled until I'm in certain situations when I realize. Shit, I bet we can't do that. But it's the last thing on my mind. I don't even see myself as having a disability most of the time. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Yeah, no. If I didn't have the irresistible accent that I do have you would have to be a doctor. PT to spot my ga Yeah. Tube. It's the speech that gives it away. It doesn't help that I'm Irish and so people always think I'm pitch drunk, witch. It's ironic because if I do drink. It smooths out the tension over my body. Yeah. And I'm not advocating that, but I would actually drive better when I am inebriated. Again, I'm not advocating for that at all. It's no, just what I've known. Alcohol, it's a very double edged sword when it comes to a neurological motor disability because it negates the tension and makes us more normal and free. More socially acceptable and therefore more easy to tolerate. Yeah. Note the bunch of quotes I used, to out stigma. But, yeah, it's, it's really ironic that people either think, um, Pissed, drunk, on drugs, or have an intellectual disability. Again, not to mention that at all, but it's just ironic that a speech impediment can cause those mania reactions again. Maniacs, not the right word to use, but in terms of what people feel. Yeah, it's been incredible just to observe how much people freak out. That I talk and my voice, I don't know about you, but my voice didn't come in till I turned seven. So for six, seven years. I was basically non verbal and learned how to communicate through American Sign Language. So, and then I started talking and after countless years of speech therapy, I decided I'll never shut up. And here we are. Opa! But, yeah, it's just ironic, because it's just the accent. It's no different than yours, and no different than the neighbors down the street. People don't freak out about their voice, but for some reason. Mine sends alarm bells off in people's heads. Sorry for the long tangent, it just really boggles my mind. Jordan Hogg: You're totally right, because what I, what you've seen there I was talking about my dissertation earlier on. I did a couple of paragraphs on Sylvester Stallone's speech impediment. And he, in his early days, was cast as Rocky, who was seen as punchy, and not very well mentally developed, and same with Rambo as well. He had a mental disability. Because, they cast him because he had a speech impediment. It's crazy. And what we raised in, uh, what we've said in Ralph and Katie when we first started to everybody, just ask. If you've got a query about our disability, it's not a taboo to ask us what it is or what's wrong. Just ask, Keith Murfee-DeConcini: don't assume. Yeah, no, I would help my job and I'm sure you would, babe. We were tight lipped and snobby about how dare you ask me about my disability or my personal life, et cetera, et cetera. No, I would want you to ask me, like I go to the campus church and this young couple, their two year old daughter has asked me twice, why do I talk differently? Now, there is no way that I can explain the ins and outs of a speech impediment of premature birth. Not a two year old, a four year old. But same, different. There's no way they're going to understand it. That doesn't change the fact. That they'd still want to know because they're still curious about what they don't know. And this young couple at church knew me well enough to not inhibit their young daughter from asking me what was a very personal question I've preached on the subject and now she gives me a hug every time she sees me all because she asked me a question and I was unafraid to answer. And then on its way. It didn't matter that she still has no idea why I talk the way I do. The fact that I was unafraid and authentic about it. Maybe someday in like 10 years she'll understand it. Maybe not. Yeah. It's like we have to stop inhibiting our children from asking questions and we have to stop inhibiting their curiosity because if we kill curiosity or try to put it in a box it can cause a lot more problems down the road. I need to get off my own soapbox and ask you questions. Jordan Hogg: Oh, well, I think it's quite interesting as well, isn't it? Information about cerebral palsy and what causes it is quite interesting as well, because it was only recently that I found out what my actual problem is. I knew I had cerebral palsy, but I didn't know the kind of nuts and bolts and what caused it and what not. And it was only because I was directed in something and there was a storyline with a brain surgeon and I just said to him, what is the physical cause of my disability? And that was the first time anybody had ever explained to me what the actual, what is physically going wrong in my brain, which I thought was really odd. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Wait, when? How long ago? Jordan Hogg: About five years ago. It wasn't that long at all. Obviously I knew I had cerebral palsy, but I didn't know what caused it or what the actual problem was in the brain. I knew there was a neurological problem, but I didn't know. Apparently, I was starved of oxygen at birth and my basal cortex It's damaged. And part of the bit in the cortex is like the filter of information that comes from the brain to everything else. And that's partly what's damaged. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Yeah. You either get cerebral palsy at birth or by age three. Or you don't have it, and nudes, flags, it can be patched down to your offspring. So there's no, no, there should be no reason to be scared of dating someone with a disability. So we will bogey, uh, another disability, disabilities, all. Wholly, on the whole, relates, I'd speak, but cerebral palsy, not contagious. It's not the common [cold. It's not anything to be afraid of. So, yeah, I do think a lot about my disability, but I do think More about how people interact, respond, misinterpreted, mid calculated, mid under standard, uh, underestimated. But like, you know, we. We'll never know a life without a disability. So, like you said at the beginning, it's in the, of our heads. We don't go on and on about it, except now when we're talking about how others You, Ed, and you are. How is it like socially over there in the UK for someone with a disability? Specifically you. Jordan Hogg: It's kind of getting better, I think, as generations go on, I think, that they're starting to get more, We're starting to get a bit more of a voice, if that makes sense. And from a professional point of view, my industry in particular is starting to get more of a voice. And I think there's this thing starting to spring up here that places are starting to get a lot more accessible. Town Centres, shopping Centres are becoming better, cinemas. So it's easy to be able to do things now and obviously with the advent of iPhones and things they have loads of beneficial things that we can use. I was talking recently about a campaign that Apple has recently done about all the accessible apps and things, and what they do for blind people and deaf people and all kinds of things. It's remarkable what they've done. where things are going forward. There's definitely a change over here that I say that it's getting more accessible but things have been cut back on a lot of the time now with budgets and things. I think it came to a point where things were starting to go in the right direction but now it feels like it's probably regressing a little bit. I think it's kind of where the problem is with like, I'm getting a bit politically icky. So, with politics and society and things, I think they get a bit nervous with the disabled community and things. And we kind of, we kind of get forgotten about. And, try and sweep us under a carpet I think, and I think it's important that we, like people like me, you and Kurt, we try and get our, get our heads, we're here, we're still here, we're not going anywhere, we can help you just as much as you think we need your help. You need our help more than we need your help. This is what, this is what councils and people need to understand. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: So what’s schooling for you? How did people your age or even older or younger people when you were in school and uni, university, react and treat you because of your disability? Jordan Hogg: I was really fortunate, I think. I never got bullied. I never got the mick taken out of me. Or if somebody did say something, I always, I always fought back. I always give them, give them shit back. I, I, I never backed down from anybody. I think there's, I always say there's a flight or fight response being disabled, I think I can't run away from it, so I have to face it. So I think, I gave as much shit as I got and I think that I must be too nice! Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Ha ha ha ha! Jordan Hogg: I think that gave, how can I put it? Obviously I understood I had a disability, which made me uncomfortable. A lot of people were around me, very supportive and understood that. But I still want to, my mom wanted me to go to a special school. They called it a special school. I didn't want to, I wanted to go to the same school as all my going to, so I made it work for me. And the people at the school were great. They put in any adaptations I needed and I had a personal, non-teaching assistant who kind of went round with me and looked after me and carried my stuff and what not. But, I got through school alright I think, but I was like any other kid. I wasn't really interested in school. I just wanted to be with my mates and things, and I'd say I left school without any qualifications. I had to go back and do them again when I left, when I was interested and thought I needed to do something. But I didn't really get any grief or stick. I just wanted to be like everyone else. I wanted to take part in sports and things the best I could, and I tried the best I could. I just wanted to be with everybody else really and that's what I was saying before about. I think that's the thing with disability, it makes us tougher than people realize. So yeah, I quite enjoyed school actually, if I'm honest. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: How many films have you worked on in your career? Jordan Hogg: Whoa, big question that Keith. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: I'll wait for you to calculate. Jordan Hogg: I think, well done, I'd probably have to look at my IMDb. I've worked on about, off the top of my head, 16 different shows and things. Yeah, I've led, directed three, four, no, three shows. I've done one show for Disney, it's my dream to work for Disney. I've done one show for Disney and I don't, if anyone from Disney is listening, I would love to come and work for you again, you're the greatest company in the world. Yeah, I've led three things, which means you're the first director on the show, so you design the look of it, you do the whole casting and everything, and obviously I did that for Ralph and Katie, I did a show called Blindspot. Which we filmed with the whole story about a wheelchair user who was a CCTV operator. Who witnessed a murderer on CCTV and tried to investigate it himself. It was supposed to be in Britain, but we had to film it in Budapest, because it was cheaper in Budapest. I'll just say this to you now, Keith, if you've never been to Budapest. it's the most inhospitable, inaccessible place for a disabled person on Earth. The girl we cast, Beth, is a wonderful, wonderful actor. She was fresh out of RADA, which is the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in the UK, which is up there with all the best stage schools. There's not even any drop curbs in Budapest. It's crazy. It's proper like, it's like going back to the fifties. But we shot that out there, which was really, really, but that was, that was a real challenge. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: So tell me what is being done, you spoke about it earlier, about what you wrote your dissertation on, disability representation, and you and Kurt Yeager are doing, which is trying to inspire, trying to empower people with disabilities, not only in front of the camera, but behind the camera. How is that effort going, and what still needs to be done to obtain it? Jordan Hogg: Oh there's a lot, a lot, a lot that needs to be done. I think me and, I think there's, in front of the camera, I think things are starting to change. We're seeing more disabled actors, um, on our screens, more disabled characters, but I think the thing is we need to start casting, um, disabled actors in non disabled roles. A disability is not a character trait, I think, I think, yeah, I think production, [00:44:00] productions need to understand this, and I think the big problem for me is, even though Roth and K2 is the most inclusive productions ever been made, ever, I was the highest disabled person on the totem pole as director, and those levels above me, producers, executive producers, commission editors, that were non disabled, I was the highest. And I genuinely, in the whole industry, in the whole world, I don't know a disabled producer or a disabled agency producer or a disabled commissioner. Yeah, we need these people to authentically tell stories. And at the moment they're not there. And I think that what me and Kurt are trying to do is we're trying to put disabled people on that higher platform. position in film and TV, to be able to accurately convey and tell these stories. It's alright, because I think many production companies have on their slate a story about a disabled character, almost like a token disabled project that's maybe written by a disabled person, but has no disabled people on the production or high enough. To be able to convey it accurately and tell the story well enough. And I think that's what my industry's lacking in. We need disabled people to hire up the totem pole, as well as disabled people as part of the crew. Because as I was saying earlier with Ralph and Katie, we wanted HODs but they were just not there. So we had to kind of kickstart people from the grassroots. Like we had to have costume trainees, and then makeup trainees, and camera trainees, and runners. Disabilities, because there weren't enough people higher up the tree. So hopefully, I know, I know for a fact all the people who started on Ralph and Katie, excuse me, they've gone on to be quite busy and build nice careers for themselves because we've done that. But there's still not enough productions doing that and bringing that forward and, and hiring disabled people because we don't know why there's not enough disabled people there. We don't know if it's production companies thinking it's too expensive to hire disabled people, which is utter, utter bullshit. Or, if disabled people don't believe they can do the job, or believe the industry is accessible to them. We're not really sure what it is, but the industry is accessible to everybody. It's what we do. We're in the business of creating magic and dreams. We should be doing everything we can to make everyone's dreams come true. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Yes, that's very true. Jordan Hogg: Did I answer your question though, or did I just waffle? Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Yes, yes you did. I'm trying to generate the next question. A bit selfishly because I totally want to meet you and talk and take a photo together. Do come true. Hopefully. How often do you make it to the States, or do you, are you primarily based in the UK, or do you go across the pond a lot? Jordan Hogg: It's my dream. It's my dream to be there, Keith. I think the United States, as an Englishman, I think the United States is the greatest country on earth. For me, it really is, it really is the place where dreams are made, I think, I've always wanted to live and work in the U. S. And I've got a U. S. manager, and I've got a U.S agent, and the last time I came over was last summer. I was there for two weeks, three weeks doing, working on the documentary I did with Jules. The summer before that, I was there for about five or six weeks with my wife and son. We moved over there for a bit. I was meeting people in the industry, trying to get things going. I got really, really, really close to doing Young Rock season three, which would have been a dream. I have a visa. I'm very keen to get more work over there and be more busy over there. As I say, I want to, I think within the UK, what we're doing with inclusivity and accessibility in my industry, I think America needs a bit of that. I think they're quite far behind, the American TV and film industry is quite far behind what we're doing here. No argument there. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Jordan Hogg: Yeah, cheers man. So we're trying, we're trying to get, uh, I'd love to be able to. To at least be a disabled director there and try and get this message across there as well and encourage other people to do it as well It's always my ambition to be there and I would come to the US every opportunity I can So, Keith Murfee-DeConcini: there are any inspiring advocates, actors? Directors with disabilities listening to this, and they're just starting out in their industries because you crossed all those boxes. What would be [00:50:00] some advice you would give them in their start of their careers? Jordan Hogg: Nothing, nothing can get in your way for achieving what you want to do. The only obstacle you have in life is yourself and what you believe you can't do. I think, was it, was it Arnold Schwarzenegger who said he who says he can't? Oh no, it was Will Smith. He who says he can and he who says he can't are both right. So, you've got to believe. what you can do. Ask questions, pester people, email people. I mean, my motto is the worst you can say to me is no, go away. But I will still ask the questions. I, I pester my agent all the time. Still, every other day, I'm emailing me saying what we're doing, what we're working on, what's next. [00:51:00] Um, ask questions, Be curious, follow your dreams, the only person who knows about your dream is you, and you have to protect it and you have to do everything you can to get it. Nobody can help you, you've got to do it yourself, and you, if you have a disability, Use it to your advantage where you can. My industry in particular needs more disabled people right now. It's our time now. So, go for it. Try, just push yourself. Go for it. Open those doors. Because they will open for you. Just believe in yourself. If I can achieve what I've achieved, I'm not quite where I want to be yet. But, I like to feel I'm headed in the right direction. And I don't feel proud of what I've achieved yet, but I'm getting there. [00:52:00] Um, and I speak to local, I go around, when I'm not filming, I go around to local schools. And I talk to the, to the kids there and try and somehow inspire them, um, to be all they can be. And I don't think people realise, Young people realize how much opportunity there is out there for everybody. If you want something enough, ask questions. Pursue it, go for it. There's nothing stopping you asking questions, asking for advice, asking for help. People will always give you advice. They might not always give you a job, but they'll give you advice. And if they give you advice, you've got your foot in the door. So that's what I'd say. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Thank you for the [00:53:00] advice. I'd like to thank that both people with disabilities and those who have to discover or embrace their own disabilities. Listen and watch this program, and, uh, season four will I'm officially becoming a videocast, I'm going to have a co host, and I'm pretty sure Kurt Yeager is going to convince me to do a group, uh, video interview with you and some other people. Won't be hard to do at all. So, back to the question. I hope that both listeners and [00:54:00] viewers with people with disabilities and those who have yet to discover and embrace their own disabilities listen and view this program. I would be naive to think that both groups take away the same things from each episode. And so as my guess, What do you hope that people with disabilities take away from this episode? And what do you hope that those who have yet to discover or embrace their own disabilities take away from this episode? Jordan Hogg: I think just building on the last point you said there, I think [00:55:00] that there's a, I didn't mention earlier, but I think there's something that people don't realize. That, at some point in their life, every single person on the planet will become disabled. At some point. Disability affects everyone, it's part of us. But I think, what I should take away from this episode is, I had a dream that I was so far displaced from, it couldn't have really been much further. I'm from, if you've ever seen American Wealth in London, the pub they go in at the beginning, it's like that where I'm from. Um, and having a disability on top of that as well. And I had this dream that I pursued relentlessly when I didn't think that it was really an option to me. I pursued it relentlessly. [00:56:00] So I'd like other people to think, whatever their dream is or their ambition is, I'd like other people to think, whatever their dream is. Whatever their disability is, whatever they want to do, they should believe they can pursue it relentlessly and get what they want out of life. Regardless of what their disability is, you can achieve However great or small the dream is, you should be able to achieve it if you want it enough, and there's enough resources, like I said, there's enough resources for you to kind of do that, but you've got to find the resources first, and get the people to, it's not, it's not at your fingertips necessarily, or on your doorstep, but if you want something, I hope you take away from this episode that you can, If you, whatever you want, if you pursue it relentlessly, you can get it. Is, would be kind [00:57:00] of my message. I never ever dreamed that I'd be talking to you today. I never dreamed that I'd meet the people I did. Or have kind of the career I've had to this point, or the life I've had to this point. I've got a wonderful wife and son that I never probably thought I'd have. And I support them. My wife supports me with things I need, and I support them in other ways, so, um, Yeah, so I'd like people to take away from this a kind of positivity that it's there for you to take, and you can do it, even if you think your disability is an obstacle. There's always ways round obstacles. If that's answered your question. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Yeah, the first part, and what do you hope people who have yet to embrace [00:58:00] their own disabilities take away from everything talked about in this episode? Jordan Hogg: Yeah, I think that, for me, disability, as I've said before, If you've got or acquired a disability, it somehow changes you, it makes you stronger in a way, and I think that Gov speaks to Kurt about this. And he was saying when he lost his leg, he's learnt more and developed as a person, and feels like he's become a better, better person, knew more, and more of a rounded person, I think. And he's always said that if he could have his life experience since losing his leg. or have his leg back. It chews the life experience. Our disabilities craft us as [00:59:00] people. It makes us think in different ways, do things in different ways, learn in different ways, communicate in different ways. And I think that we have to embrace what we have and make it work for us. It doesn't matter if it works for other people, as long as it works for you as a person. It doesn't, I couldn't give a shit what anybody else thinks about me or. Laughs at me or whatever. I don't care. It doesn't affect me whatsoever. And I think if you embrace what you have in life and use the positives from it to make you stronger in here, I think disability does that for a lot of people. It makes us stronger in here as stronger people. And I think When you understand, when you get to grips with that and come to terms [01:00:00] with it, it took me a while to come to terms with it, but when you do it makes you a stronger, more understanding person, really, and I think it's that that makes you want to prove a point. that you can do things better than anybody else, better than a non disabled person, just to prove a point that we can. Does that make sense? Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Yes, absolutely. If anyone has any questions about the film industry, or if anyone at Disney is listening or watching, how can they get in contact with you? Jordan Hogg: I'm always open on X or Instagram. People can contact me on that if it's kind work related. I have a website, JordanHog.com. There you can contact me through there or contact my agent through Joe. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Jordan. I want to thank you for coming on for being the first of a long list of international guests. We are almost at the end of our season, but season four starts in September. I will be joined by female co-hosts. We will eventually be a videocast as well as a podcast. Returning favorites like Kurt Yeager and Jordan Hogg will be back. Jordan, I cannot express myself. What a joy it has been to talk to you, to get to know your story, to know that this is only the first of many interviews we will do together. And I wish you nothing but the best, and thank you once again for staying up late and doing this interview, my friend. Jordan Hogg: Not at all. The place is all mine, Keith. I think the work you're doing is great and fantastic and I'm honored that you've invited me on. I'll come and chat to you any time. And I'll come and visit you at some point, I want to come to Arizona. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: Yes, please do. I also live in New York and I hear that's way more fun. Jordan Hogg: Absolutely. I've got relatives in New York, so I'll definitely, definitely come and visit. Right. Right. Keith Murfee-DeConcini: I'll talk to you soon, my friend. Jordan Hogg: Absolutely. Keith: You have been listening to Disability Empowerment Now. I would like to thank my guest, You, our listener and the Disability Empowerment Team that made this episode possible. More information about the podcast can be found at DisabilityEmpowermentNow.com or on social media @disabilityempowermentnow. The podcast is available wherever you listen to podcasts or on the official website. Don’t forget to rate, comment, and share the podcast! This episode of Disability Empowerment Now is copyrighted 2024.

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