FAQ

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
Born in the San Francisco Bay area, dude, but I grew up near the Maryland Bay area, hon.

HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE YOUR LAST NAME?
Pah-GAhn.

TIMELINE?
After college, I moved to NYC to work at Sesame Street and to breakdance.  I know that sounds like a joke, but it’s not. My b-boy name was Ill Dolce, and I danced with Breaking in Style. After bruising my ribcage I spun into comedy, eventually hooking up with Upright Citizen’s Brigade and performing for two years with improv troupe Street Meat - all the while materializing as a filmmaker.

Inexplicably, the creative world wasn’t revolving around me fast enough, so I moved to South America to devote myself to advocacy work for children. For seven years I grew as a teacher, case manager, social worker, educational advocate, and occasional punching bag for over 500 kids and their mothers, building academic programs for low-income students internationally.

Meanwhile, my creative output for filmmaking, comedy and storytelling never waned.  It feels like it's all merging now. How's that for a start? 

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT?
Off the top of my head:

  • Discarded menthol cigarette packs
  • Weird things you do when you get nervous
  • Secret friendships with beauticians
  • Cold fish handshakes & public ringtone sampling
  • Recovered to-do lists
  • Female bonding rituals
  • Whispering ex-girlfriend names in public bathrooms
  • Latino plane crashes
  • Gangsta ass elderly women
  • Pesky old foreign men
  • Office park Subway sandwich lines
  • Kind Pakistani ice cream employees
  • Grocery store muzak hummers
  • Exposed bra straps
  • $58 Reality Bites late fees
  • Sigourney Weaver crushing
  • Mass murderer father figures

At the moment, I'm really engaged by short-form storytelling formats told live or recorded using ephemera (receipts, voicemails, collections & lists), cameras, and audio.

WHO SHOULD I CHECK OUT?
Every month, I send out a list of people and things I'm really hyped about and updates on craft including links I've found via my newsletter.  You can also check out my blog for a curated list.  Currently, I'm super into The Heart & Asif Kapadia's Amy Winehouse Doc.

WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCES?
Some of these picks are a bit snobby, some not, but here are folks I keep coming back to:

Santiago Alvarez | Simon Amstell | Maria Bamford | Mike Birbiglia | Les Blank | Cheech & Chong | Louis CK |  Alan Clarke | Junot Diaz | Julie Doucet | Frost & Pegg | Gervais & Merchant | Daniel Kitson | Monie Love | Marc Maron | Russ Meyer | Robert Popper |  Richard Pryor | Pump it Up | Milton Rogovin | Dan Savage | David Sedaris | Soul Train | Jan Švankmajer | Studs Terkel | Early Travolta | Baratunde Thurston | tUnE-yArDs | Agnes Varda | Lina Wertmüeller | Gene Wilder | Amy Winehouse |  Bill Withers 

WHAT'S YOUR BIGGEST REGRET?
I quit the Cub Scouts in 5th grade. It would've come in handy. My knot tying is shit.  

 
Mark Pagan