Graduate heads to big screen

Dave Patten, performer.  | Courtesy Dave Patten
Dave Patten, performer. | Courtesy Dave Patten

Dave Patten started shooting music videos for rapper Meek Mill in his senior year at Temple. This fall, he will appear on the big screen in a movie starring Vince Vaughn.

Patten, who graduated in 2010 with a major in film, has found success in multiple avenues.

After the popularity of his award-winning music video for his own song “Miserable,” Patten proved that his talents are not limited to one jurisdiction.

“With music and film, I’ve always been like, ‘I’m going to direct and act, and I’m going to do music and I don’t care. I’m not going to choose,’” Patten said. “I get real sick and tired of stuff real quick. I have a short attention span.”

It’s paid off – Patten has produced five of his own albums, as well as award-winning music videos, which have collectively garnered more than 60 million hits on YouTube.  His recent move to Los Angeles has also assisted him in landing a role in the upcoming movie ‘Delivery Man,’ starring Vince Vaughn. However, it hasn’t all been glitz and glamor for the Philadelphia native, who said he’s fought for every inch of his success.

“The only reason I am where I’m at now is me figuring out how to do it,” Patten said. “I didn’t have any connections. My dad isn’t Phil Collins.”

After a brief stint with an electrical engineering major at Penn State, which “wasn’t quite [his] cup of tea,” Patten joined Temple’s film program.  He formed a friendship with classmate David Ricks during his time at Temple, which blossomed into a full-fledged production company called South9 Entertainment by their senior year.  They set up shop at a warehouse on Fifth Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue and began shooting music videos around the city.

Having taught himself piano, guitar, bass, cello, trombone and trumpet while growing up, Patten was able to use South9 to shoot music videos of his own work as he produced albums. Along the way, he met Meek Mill, a fellow rapper and Philadelphia native.

“I basically saw [Meek Mill’s] rise to fame and where he’s at [because] we’ve been through the thick and the thin together,” Patten said. “Like crashing in a hotel room for four nights like rock bands do – we’ve done that.”

Patten said that although the low points in his blossoming career were difficult, they have taught him perseverance.

“You just got to power through them,” Patten said. “There’s a Mark Twain quote that says, ‘All you need is confidence and ignorance, and your success is sure.’ I wish I had more of [that].”

After shooting multiple videos for Meek Mill, South9 Entertainment was hired for jobs with Warner Bros. and Interscope Records, and Patten got picked up by Creative Artists Agency, a Hollywood talent agency, which brought him his upcoming acting role.

“That big break moment is coming now,” Patten said of his upcoming movie role. “[But] I don’t spend much time looking back, because I’m always looking ahead at what it takes to get to the next level.”

In his role in “Delivery Man,” Patten plays a street musician who confronts Vaughn in court about hiding his identity from the 533 kids he became the father of as a result of an extraordinarily generous sperm donation.  Patten can be seen strumming his own songs throughout the trailer.

Patten said he wasn’t intimidated by working with big-name Hollywood actors, granted he had already worked closely with popular musicians.

“He’s a great dude, it was so much fun,” Patten said of working with Vaughn. “He’s one of those lucky guys who never has to act. He’s the same on-screen as off.”

Patten doesn’t restrict his artistic efforts to acting. He will soon release a novel called “Run of the Mill” about a playboy millionaire with a dark past, along with his new album, “On This Ledge,” with three new music videos in October.

Patten will kick off promotions of his work with a tour and book signing in Philadelphia beginning on Oct. 10 at Talk Philly and Barnes & Noble. The tour will end with a live DVD taping at the World Café Live on Nov. 24. Though Patten now lives in Los Angeles, he said he hasn’t forgotten his East Coast roots.

Patten said he believes anyone with a passion will always be able to find success.

“Don’t sacrifice your integrity,” Patten said. “People gravitate towards people truly being themselves. That’s what being a true artist is. The other thing is persistence and hard work. It’s the hard work you do after you’re tired, [to keep] going when you’re ready to die. There’s a reason there’s so few celebrities out there.”

Nathan Landis Funk can be reached at nathan.david.landis.funk@temple.edu.

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