Since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to work in video production. I remember going to the drive-in theater for the first time with my family and we watched E.T. It was my first time seeing a movie (at least that I remember) and I was absolutely mesmerized by the experience. I fell in love with the idea that for a little bit of time, something could transport us away to a different place and throw us into the lives of someone (or something) else.
And once I found out that you could have a JOB working in video production and play a role in creating that experience, I was sold. I knew this is what I wanted to do for a living. Whether it was making movies or commercials, I knew I wanted in on this.
There was one small problem: I was a Hispanic kid growing up in a suburban town that was around two hours away from a big city without any big ties to the world of film.
I quickly realized how tough the world of video production was to break into. I remember first telling my dad I wanted to go into film and he said it would "make a great hobby." At first, I was pretty disillusioned with his reaction but I had to remember that the reality he lived was SIGNIFICANTLY different than the reality he was able to give us. He grew up in a one bedroom apartment that he had to share with his nine brothers and sisters right after coming to the United States from Mexico, so he had his fair share of cold slaps of reality.
That being said, I remember being inspired by his professional story. Even though he had only a two-year degree from a technical school, he was able to work at great companies like Phillips, Motorola, Verizon, and Abbott simply because of his work ethic. He didn't have super big connections at the beginning. All he had was his limited English and his ability to work hard.
So, I followed suit in that.
Every year since I was 13, my twin brother and I decided we were going to make a film of some sort. We knew that our first few films would be pretty rough but we also knew that if we kept at it, we could make better and better films and forge our own path into the video world.
Our first few films were indeed terrible. And we keep them locked away for our eyes only, hoping the world never ever sees them.
But as time went on and we kept learning by doing, bit by bit, we were learning lessons about how to create the kind of content we wanted.
12 years later, we've made nine short films and are in the middle of getting ready to premiere the first full season of our first web series in November. We have had our work shown in three different countries and, most importantly, we have the fortune to be able to tell the stories we want to tell. I also have the good fortune of working professionally in video production with the most talented and kind collaborators there are.
In 2019, we attended a filmmaking conference for Hispanic filmmakers in Los Angeles and it shocked me how many of these filmmakers had the same story as me. None of us had big ties to the industry or rich parents when starting out. All we had was our work ethic to help us build the careers we wanted.
Reflecting on the fact that it's Hispanic Heritage Month, I keep thinking of how much our work ethic truly defines our culture.
No matter where we started in life, no matter what advantages or disadvantages we were given, we recognize that hard work gives us the strongest chance there is to forge the path we want and to chase our own version of "the American Dream."