BTU #62 - Hank Hughes: Army to Academy Award Nominee


“There's a lot of weird stress things that come from all of this attention. But being able to take my wife to the Oscars... and being able to take my interpreter and give her something like that. That's one of the most unadulterated good feelings I've ever had."– Hank Hughes

Henry Hughes is an Oscar nominated writer and director who spent five years as a paratrooper in the 173rd Airborne, conducting two combat tours in Afghanistan. His unit was featured in The Outpost by Jake Tapper. Henry was featured in ABC News’ Standing Up For Heroes with Bob Woodruff where he was paired with George Lucas as a part of American Corporate Partner’s National Mentoring Program. He earned a MFA in Directing at the American Film Institute, where he received the Gary Winick Scholarship. His work has played at Telluride, AFI Fest, Mill Valley, and Cannes among others. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife.

The top reason to listen to today’s episode is:

  1. Oscars - Since Hank was in high school, he dreamed of making movies. He kept this vision alive during his time in the Army and when he got out, he took action. And his hard work paid off. Through the American Corporate Partners (who I mention at the end of each episode) he was paired with legendary director George Lucas as a mentor. And he was nominated for an Academy Award for his short film, Day One. I cannot think of a career that is more different than military service as the film industry, and it’s really incredible to hear Hank’s journey - and success - in this industry.

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Show Notes

  • 1:21 Hank's Background
  • 3:12 - Hank's decision to leave the Army
  • 6:30 - Hanks dream to be a film maker since in high school, and how he kept this alive in High School
  • 8:46 - What it was like applying to the American Film Institute
  • 10:50 - How Hank discovered - and refined and rediscovered - his voice as a film maker
  • 12:00 When Hank left the Army, how he passed time before the American Film Institute and the challenges he faced
  • 13:35 - Hank's advice for veterans about their initial time directly after getting out of the military
  • 15:50 - How Hank was paired with George Lucas for two years as a mentor
  • 21:36 - How Hank decided if he was making movies for an audience rather than other film makers
  • 24:25 - What it's like to be a veteran in the film industry
  • 26:08 - The genesis of Hank's film, Day One
  • 30:50- The process of putting together Hanks' film, Day One
  • 32:28 - The worst moment in the film making process
  • 35:15 - Where Hank was when he found out he had been nominated for an Academy Award
  • 37:07 - What life was like between being nominated for an Academy Award, and the Oscars
  • 39:38 - What it was like to be at the Oscars with his wife and his interpreter
  • 42:23 - What it's like after the Academy Awards
  • 47:00 - Other resources Hank would recommend to veterans interested in the film industry
  • 52:50 - Final Words of Wisdom