1) How did you get into directing?
Being born in Mexico to Italian parents made me instantly different from everyone else that surrounded me. Being bad at soccer and introverted didn’t help me either, especially in the friends department.
However, an assignment to direct a short film based on a classic book for English class allowed me to finally connect with my peers. Through this film, I learned that diversity - the different point of view a director brings to a subject- is actually a way to connect to others. No matter how different we are, we all share the same basic stories, we just tell them in a different way. I had found my way to connect with others, no matter how different they were. I had discovered the art of telling universal stories through film.
2) What is your most recent project?
I just directed a pilot presentation called #Losers by Avalon TV (Workaholics) for Comedy Central. It was my first TV project so it was an exciting challenge. John Roberts (Bob’s Burger) is the lead and I had a blast shooting it. The principal cast (10 in total) were hilarious and I think I ruined one take because I laughed too loud.
3) What is the best part of being a director?
Being able to collaborate with a group of creatives to tell a story in the most interesting way that will entertain the audience and make them forget about their lives.
4) What is the worst part of being a director?
Having to wait for postproduction to get the final product. You plan in pre-production, you execute in production and by the time you get into post, it’s been awhile—so I’m always anxious to share it with the world.
5) What is your current career focus: commercials & branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
My focus is equally divided in all of them. I have a few commercials coming up. I’m pitching a TV show that I created with the writers of “It’s Not Porn” in the next weeks that has gathered some interests from networks and I’m shooting my first indie feature by the end of the year. For me, it’s all about the story and the characters more than the medium so I’m interested in all of them. My favorite genres are comedy and action-adventure.
7) Who is your favorite director and why?
Billy Wilder. He was a great storyteller. It didn’t matter if it was a comedy, a drama or a combination of both, he was always able to make it real and heartfelt. A great example is The Apartment, a story that is very hard to pull off being a comedy with serious topics, yet it’s perfectly balanced. Another of my favorites is Ace in the Hole, which is even more relevant than when he released it.
8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
Jurassic Park! It was one of the first movies I saw on the big screen and I remembered asking my dad how they did it. He couldn’t explain it to me but he did tell me that there were people whose job was to make movies for a living. After that, I knew what I wanted to be a director.
9) Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I was raised in Mexico by Italian parents and studied computer science before moving to Los Angeles to study an MFA in directing at USC. While there, two of my films were recognized by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.