To sum up the life of an individual, particularly one that is still living and will most likely have changed even in the slightest by the time you read this, is probably one of the biggest creative challenges of any writer. Especially when they must write about themselves. So lets start in the beginning where things can’t be changed.
I was born in New York City at Colombia Presbyterian on 168th street in Manhattan in 1980. Raised by my mother Gladys, we lived mostly in Washington Heights with a brief stay in Astoria for a few years.
I went to Catholic school in a predominantly Dominican neighborhood until I was 13 years old. I was the white looking kid who spoke spanish and confused all my friends parents with respect to my heritage. With a thick cuban background, my roots fit in with the kids at school despite my complexion.
My mother remarried when I was 13 which prompted a move to Tenafly New Jersey. We traded the concrete and elevators to the 6th floor, for a lawn and trees which couldn’t have come at a better time. The change of life and atmosphere caused my attitude and grades to suffer but eventually I recovered and by the time my rebellious years were over I discovered how much I enjoyed films and media in general.
With pressure as the first person in my family to potentially attend and Graduate from college, I blindly applied and was accepted to Rider University with no real plan in mind. I had no real sense of what I wanted. My youth was filled with writing, drawing and lots of daydreaming. Enough daydreaming that got me in trouble pretty often and it wasn’t until my second year of college that I realized what I needed was a career doing something creative.
After some heated discussions at home about where my life was headed, I decided to buy some time and attended Bergen Community College. I filled the year with various public speaking and literature courses and finally a television production class. The first short film I wrote and directed for class was so terrible, but so much fun to make, I was instantly hooked. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. And so I applied to the School Of Visual Arts and the following year I began my journey to becoming a filmmaker.
My days at SVA were filled with film study and visual experimentation and a bit of just pure fun. I finally had a grasp of what I wanted to do with my life and 4 years later I graduated with a BFA. I couldn’t have done it without the full support of my family.
2004 became the start of several years working no to low budget films and music videos. I succeeded and failed time and again, working mostly in the electric and camera department. I finally settled on camera with the notion that with the goal of directing films, camera would place me at the forefront of the action. I could watch every take, every performance. Study techniques that worked and didn’t work both technically and creatively. For better or worse, I spent the better part of 10 years doing exactly that.
In 2007 I took my second short film since film school titled, One Day In January to the Cannes Short Film Corner. Having worked a few years in indie film, then taking my tiny short film to the biggest film festival in the world, was a truly humbling experience. I experienced fear, insecurity, which eventually turned over into motivation and excitement realizing the possibilities in the industry. I saw the pure business side to filmmaking and realized I still had so much to learn.
By 2010 I decided it was time to make a financial choice and joined IATSE Local 600. This allowed me access to higher end work where the process was very different. I was working with bigger talent, higher end tools and seeing the industry at a higher level. A student the entire time I had plans for the next short film which I began in 2012 titled And Then I Woke Up
Between the completion of And Then I Woke Up and the present day, I decided that I would take many of the ideas I’d never done anything with and turn them into a collection of short stories. As personally financing passion projects can be expensive, most of my ideas would never see the screen but I still wanted to share them. And so my first self published shorts collection Awake While Dreaming was born.
Which brings us to the present. After several years of working as a cameraman with the goal of writing and directing my own projects, the shift has begun. My ideas have flowed onto pages once more and with the completion of several music videos and additional short stories as of late, the next goals are a comedic web series, the next short film, and my first feature.
Although I’ve spent 10 years as a working professional in entertainment, I will forever remain a humble student with respect to the art of filmmaking. And I look forward to every lesson and opportunity to show off the new things I’ve discovered.