Welcome to 'In the Spotlight' by Heart Of Hollywood Magazine. Join us on this exciting adventure as we delve into the lives of remarkable individuals who have made a positive impact on the world around them. From everyday heroes to extraordinary achievers, 'In the Spotlight' promises to inspire, enlighten, and motivate you with their incredible stories.
Beyond the realms of film and television, Dempsey's pen is equally adept at crafting engaging political and entertainment columns. His insightful commentary has found its way into prestigious publications, including "The LA Times," where his unique perspective and astute observations have resonated with readers.
His contributions extend to various other platforms, including "The Behave Agency Newsletter," "The LA Journal," "Our Weekly LA," "RadioFacts.com," "The Leader Newspaper," "SOTAC Magazine," "Amps 11," and "Heart of Hollywood Magazine." Dempsey's ability to delve into diverse subjects showcases his versatility as a wordsmith.
Photo Courtesy: Dempsey Gibson
Can you tell us about your journey to success and the key moments or decisions that shaped your career?
The Monkees, Batman, and comic books! I recently found an old baby book my Mother started writing for me when I was a child. In it, she said at the age of 1 year old, I loved watching 'Batman.' Not happy just watching it, mind you; I had to have my Batman costume on to be truly happy in front of that screen, watching my dude get the call, come up with a plan, and save Gotham City in the network-allowed 28 minutes of prime time! That hero worship led me to comic books that served to deepen my sense of fantasy and creativity when it came to storytelling. Then I discovered 'The Monkees.' That show introduced me to music and comedy, both of which the group themselves were never given their proper due as to the genius they were. Micky Dolenz is the reason I started playing drums and singing as a child, which led to a very successful ten-year run as a working musician as an adult. Batman and comic books gave me a passion for storytelling, which got me to LA!
What motivates and inspires you to continue pushing boundaries and achieving new heights in your field?
Legacy. Most people have children to carry on their name, to ensure they are remembered. I don't have that, so my legacy will be my work. I want my name tied to quality, to making people laugh, cry, get angry, and love. For however long one of my television shows or films runs, for that many minutes, I want my audience to forget about everything else going on in their lives. That's how much I want to touch them. That's how much I want my name and my work to matter.
As an influential figure, what values or principles do you strive to embody and promote in your work and personal life?
If I can influence in any way it would be to have compassion for others first not judgment.
How do you handle challenges and setbacks, and what advice do you have for others facing similar obstacles?
I used to view the term "setback" as a negative. I no longer see it that way. A setback can be a good thing because it means you're in the game! Allow me to provide an example. You receive a call from an agent who says you're not right for the part, and they passed on you. The first thing you might feel is disappointment, right? But why? Just because one person said no? Remember how many parts are out there! Think about how many agents there are! Being turned down by one means you auditioned for the role, which means you're in the game, and that's a reason to celebrate!
When you think of it like that, it puts you in a positive mindset to go on another audition and another until you get that "yes." My advice would be to celebrate the "setback" as a victory because that's exactly what it is, as long as it picks you up and doesn't keep you from taking the next swing.
All of these tools have been helpful to me and could make sense for the many others struggling with similar challenges in business.
In your opinion, what are the most important qualities or skills that aspiring individuals should cultivate to make a lasting impact in their industry?
"To thine own self be true." (Act 1, Scene 3, Hamlet). Shakespeare's words ring true to this day for everyone, but especially for artists. One cannot create something that touches another's heart unless it is from the heart, and no contract due date should ever interfere with that process.
Can you share any memorable experiences or encounters that have profoundly influenced your perspective on life and work?
My mother, Hazel B. Johnson, was, like most mothers are to their sons, my everything. She was a teacher and a single parent from the time I was 10 until I turned 18 when she married my stepfather, Reverend Timothy Johnson. During the 8-year period, I never went to bed hungry, I never went to school without clean clothes and supplies, and I never worried about not having a home to come home to.
When Mom passed in 2018, I found out from my Aunt Adelaide that after high school, my mother worked as domestic help for three years before deciding to go to college and earning a degree in education. She worked to improve her situation and, over the course of 30 years as an educator, touched thousands of lives. She taught 1st Grade. One of her students' older sisters died in an accident. Mom took special care of the little boy, who was crestfallen over his sibling, for no other reason than she felt it was the right thing to do. At the end of the year, that child's parents wrote a letter to the Principal and the Superintendent extolling the compassion, kindness, and care my mother showed their child. That's who my mother was, and that's why she will always be my most profound influence.
How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance, and what practices or rituals help you stay grounded amidst your demanding schedule?
I practice meditation, work out, and go for walks. I love to read, and during fall or winter, I particularly enjoy going to movies alone. I prefer going during the day when it's less crowded and often sneak in burgers and fries from Burger King!
Many people look up to you as a role model or source of inspiration. How do you embrace this responsibility, and what message would you like to share with those who admire your work?
I appreciate any admiration shown to me, but don't put me above the work. I'm just a vessel; the work is the payoff. To do otherwise would be feeding the ego while starving the soul.
Collaboration and networking are crucial in the entertainment industry. Can you talk about any significant collaborations that have shaped your career, and how you approach building relationships with fellow professionals?
In 2019, while still in Kannapolis, NC, I met actor Markice Moore through my then-manager, Kandis Henderson. Markice and I co-wrote a number of things together, including the horror film 'Spaghetti.' That script was purchased in 2021 by Skinfly Entertainment in Hollywood. In 2022, 'Spaghetti,' produced by Lyle Howry, began filming, and it was released to the public via Amazon Prime in September 2023. Also, in September, 'Spaghetti' was accepted into The Cannes Film Festival!
What legacy do you hope to leave behind, and what impact do you aspire to make in your industry and beyond?
I want my name to be synonymous with quality. In terms of the industry, I would say, let's not forget how privileged we are to be in the business of making people feel. It shouldn't all be about the money; it should be about the passion.
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As someone who has achieved notable success, what advice would you give to individuals who are seeking to discover and pursue their passion?
Don't listen to anyone who doesn't offer constructive criticism. Don't think you've failed just because one person told you 'no.' When you read, listen to, or watch it, and you get 'goosebumps,' it's ready!
In an ever-evolving world, how do you stay innovative and adaptable in your field, and what strategies do you employ to stay ahead of the curve?
The main thing for me is never trying to follow a trend. If "what's hot" is counter to what I'm writing then I know I've got gold!
Can you share any upcoming projects or initiatives that you are excited about and would like to highlight?
Spaghetti' is now available on Amazon Prime, so please check it out! I'm working with actress/producer Sam Doumit on my film 'Polyester Paradise,' with actress/producer Kat Green on two projects, and actress/author Carrie Keegan has signed a letter of intent to host my four-part docu-series 'Love in Black and White'!
How do you give back to the community or support causes that are close to your heart? Can you talk about any philanthropic endeavors or initiatives that you are involved in?
I donate to St. Jude's and The Alzheimer's Association. My mother suffered from Alzheimer’s. I also have plans to start an endowment fund in my mom's name to assist single parents/school teachers and another to help eradicate hunger and homelessness in this country.
Lastly, what message would you like to convey to our readers and fans who aspire to make a difference in their own lives and in the world around them?
The Beatles said it best... "All you need is love".
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