At the age of eight, Bug Hall went from living in a one room duplex with his mother, step-father, and three siblings to starring as Alfalfa in Steven Spielberg's THE LITTLE RASCALS. From a rundown Fort Worth suburb to the neon lights of Hollywood. From a school playground to A-list parties and fame, where who you are is what you are, truth is relative, and the only rule is "don't let the paparazzi find out". A chance meeting with an exorcist would begin Bug's long road to the Truth... Incarnate.
Bug spent his childhood making movies and T.V. shows for every major studio and network. During that time, he experienced continued abuse by various predators in Hollywood. In his pre-teens he fell into the use of alcohol and drugs as a means of escape, but after the death of a close friend in his early twenties, Bug decided to get sober. After his sobriety he continued to work as an actor, while also focusing on writing. His scripts were picked up for development by major studios, but the development process on one particular project led to a chance encounter with a Catholic priest… who also happened to be an exorcist. A contentious conversation about human nature, objective truth, and the existence of God quickly became a moment of extraordinary grace. Bug converted to Catholicism that very night.
Immediately after his baptism Bug found his work and lifestyle at odds with his new faith. He went to live in the Mojave Desert as an extreme attempt to avoid his habits of sin. He continued to study the faith there while also coming into town for mass and for selective auditions. After a few months he realized he needed to go a little further. Bug returned home to Texas to work on a ranch with his brother (a Baptist youth minister). There he worked hard and lived simply, arguing the faith by day and veraciously studying apologetics by night. After ten months of that trial by fire Bug received a call from some Catholics in Hollywood asking if he’d come back and help them form a development company.
The plan was simple; Create secular projects with Catholic values, a clandestine approach to filmmaking back in the belly of the beast. Bug hit the ground running, helping to raise a multi-million-dollar development fund. At this time, Bug met his wife Jill and began courting her. They were married shortly after, and their first daughter came nine months later. Bug quickly developed multiple projects and built a large slate for sale, but he began struggling internally as moral compromises were continually committed to get those projects made. He excused them as being outside of his direct control, and he stayed quiet. Silence became his prison, but his conscience never ceased to whisper. After seven years of sobriety, Bug relapsed. He got up the next day shocked and confused, and got to confession.
Bug continued his work in development, as well as giving story engineering and development seminars to various film commissions. After writing, producing, and starring in a film with Selena Gomez, Bug fell into another relapse, then another a year later after creating and selling a show to Netflix. Bug never stopped going to daily mass, but something wasn’t right. Halfway through production on his Netflix show, Bug asked for some time off. During that time, he begged God to reveal what was happening, and God answered. Bug was invited by his priest friend to assist in an exorcism. It was in that exorcism that Bug realized his conscience couldn’t be ignored. He saw clearly the events of his life as a preparation for another more radical path. Silence was no longer an option.
After nearly 30 years in the entertainment industry starring in more than 50 T.V. shows and films, Bug quit his company and asked to be recused from his Netflix show. He saw clearly that running the Hollywood rat race was just another wide gate and crooked path. He left Hollywood to follow Christ's example of simplicity and live an authentically Catholic life, so as to run the only race that matters… and enter the narrow gate of salvation. Bug is the co-founder alongside Jim Maughan, founder of the Lepanto Institute, of "The 12th Station" video podcast, which is named for the 12th Station of the cross, the Crucifixion. Bug and Jim discuss the need for the warrior spirit, masculinity and virtue in the service of Jesus Christ in the modern world.
-CONVERSION TALK - Beginning with the idea that hitting his mark was Bug’s main job for nearly 30 years and how that relates to the classical definition of sin as “missing the mark”, Bug makes the point that God uses the events of our lives to prepare our hearts for Himself. He then touches briefly on his experience growing up in Hollywood. He eventually gets to his initial conversion to the Catholic faith and how he spent the following years trying to reconcile his new faith with his job. Unable to do that in the current climate within the entertainment industry, Bug finally decided to give up his success and leave Hollywood to pursue a life of simplicity, because the only real success in this life is a life well lived with Christ at its absolute center.
-THE FOOT OF THE CROSS: A Talk On Contending With Sorrow - This talk is still being prepared.
-BEHOLD THE MAN: A Talk On Masculinity - This talk is still being prepared.
-BRUTAL HEARTS: A Talk On Creative Writing And Beauty - This talk is still being prepared.
-MASCULINITY and the call to adventure: Whether it be the old mythologies of the pagans or the new mythologies of Marvel, boys want one thing; adventure. Trading real meekness in for its worldly counterpart has sent the boys to seek adventure elsewhere. What do I mean? I mean that meek people are not weak. In fact, meekness presupposes great strength and competence. The true definition is more along the lines of "Those who have and know how to use the weapons of war, but prefer to keep them sheathed". And the greatest adventure is mastering our own souls in union with our crucified Lord. To fight the principalities of evil in defense of the mystical Bride of Christ. And to win the only race that will ever matter.
-BROTHERHOOD and the warriors' code: Here we are again with a need for better definitions. Vulnerability is truly at the heart of the bond between warriors, but it doesn't mean softness of disposition or emotional incontinence. Real vulnerability is rooted in recognizing that every man is reliant. Reliant on God. Reliant on thousands of years of tradition. And reliant on the other people in our lives. That's exactly why men are rough with each other and razz the new guys. We want to know who we can count on in a real crisis. Rugged individualism is the destruction of authentic brotherhood, but so is the feminization of healthy male interactions commonly defined as "toxic masculinity". We need to need each other, and so we also have to be reliable so others can need us.
-LEADERSHIP, service, and subsidiarity: The idea of leadership as service is contained in the principle of subsidiarity. To lead is to first observe. Wisdom is a knowledge of the natures of things. Allowing that which is under our leadership to function as it needs to without tyrannical interference, makes us a servant of the true good, not just our own ideas of the good. We learn as we lead, we adapt, we grow. And that humble diligence is a model for those under your charge, while also standing as a symbol to them of their relationship to God. Just as God gave us free will, and allows us to use it, so too the great leader encourages, informs, and supports the free will of his subjects.
-FATHERHOOD and holy examples: The nature of fatherhood is both in its authority and its example. On authority, there isn't much to be said which isn't already said on leadership in general, as leadership is a kind of fatherhood, but on example there is more. The example we present to our children is the same example that the saints provide for us, predominantly that God is at the center of our wills with a wide berth. Never tire of living the example of radical holiness, but also never tire of explaining what you are doing and why. The sacrifice in fatherhood is one of tireless diligence of example. And then, of course, merit merit merit. Your family desperately needs the graces that only you can merit for them, so they can have the courage to follow your example.