Dugan O'Neal: A Few Of My Favourite Things
The Epoch director (and soon-to-be Vanilla Ice biographer) talks us through the eclectic mix of rock 'n roll memorabilia and whimsical guides that fuel his distinctive directing flair.
California-born, Keanu Reeves-voiced Dugan Gundelfinger O'Neal is a director with a flair for the quirky.
From a vintage Pentax camera, a nod to his dad's rock 'n roll photography days, to a cheeky guidebook on microdosing he whipped up with mates, O'Neal's inspirations are as eclectic as his work.
A staff writer on the cult Adult Swim show Dream Corp LLC and soon-to-be director of the official Vanilla Ice biopic, O'Neal's approach is anything but conventional. Whether it's directing music videos for Duck Sauce or HAIM, or crafting ad campaigns for Coors Light, Planters, and more, the Epoch director's approach is all about mixing fun with a hint of the unexpected, proving that life in Ojai Valley is anything but dull.
A reminder of my roots and how I got started as a director.
My dad was a rock ‘n roll photographer in the 60s and 70s.
Later, he and my mom started a photography business in Carmel Valley.
I grew up assisting my dad on photo shoots, loading film, and eventually helping him shoot.
My dad introduced me to films like, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, Taxi Driver, The Godfather, and more.
We would watch films together, then go to breakfast and talk about them.
My parents were always very encouraging and supportive of my interest in filmmaking.
Here is a recent candid conversation with my dad to give you an idea of his level of encouragement.
The Microdose Guidebook
I created this guidebook with some dear friends.
One of my besties, Leighton Kelly, illustrated.
He’s one of my favourite artists and always inspires me.
The book is entertaining, funny, and insightful: how to know if your microdose is indeed NOT a microdose - something we all (or some of us) can relate to and learn from.
Basically, it is an informational yet humorous psychedelic zine.
I’m not promoting this at all, but you can get your own at thatwasntamicrodose.com.
Again, this is not a promotion. #ad
The Daddy Drawing
This is a drawing from my eldest daughter Opal, who’s nine years old.
I love the creativity and imagination of my kids - making art because it’s fun, nothing more.
Not caring if it’s perfect.
It is a good reminder to make things from that childlike, joyful place.
Also, so much of what I do is to create a beautiful life for my wife and kids.
Having their art on my desk inspires me to work harder and answer emails at least three times faster.
The Father's Day Clipboard
This was custom-made by my youngest daughter Ivy Kat (5 years old).
I love her imagination.
I love her drawing of us.
Also, it turns out a clipboard is super useful.
Playing guitar keeps the creative juices flowing and gets me off the computer.
I love to play.
One might even say shred.
The Human Design Books
Everyone is created uniquely with a specific set of gifts.
Human design is a system that helps us make decisions to create the least resistance in everyday life.
It gives you a pragmatic set of tools that takes the decision-making out of the mind and into the innate authentic self.
HD has added a lot to my life, not just with my work but in my everyday existence.
The Huichol Jaguar
For as long as I can remember, I have been really inspired by the art and beadwork of the Huichol people in Mexico.
So cosmic, joyful, and psychedelic.
My dad gave me this jaguar head when I was in my early twenties and starting down my own path of learning and experiencing indigenous traditional ways and ceremonies.
When I’m not working or travelling for a job, I’m in my garden.
Working with plants and the land and being outside in the sun is my favourite place to be.
The hardest part about being a director is when you’re not working.
Even if you’ve been busy and it gets slow, it feels like you’ll never work again (but maybe that’s just me).
My garden brings me back to the moment.
This year, I have been focusing not just on my directing career but also on adding care and creativity to my daily life.
Cooking, gardening, parenting, celebrity impersonations, health… everything you do can become your art.