About You and Your background ?
I was born and raised in Bronx, New York. In the 80’s and early 90’s my dad worked for a big modeling agency called Wilhelmina Models. He would bring me to work alot, so I got to meet alot of famous people at the time, like Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, Sylvester Stallone, Cindy Crawford, Ronald Reagan, just to name a few. To this day I still have a photo of my Dad play choking Robin Williams (LOL).
Anyway, being around all these celebrities at such a young age got me dreaming about being an actor. It just seem so cool. I would get paid to be a different person all the time. To me, it was awesome. So I began acting in my early 20’s, around 1997. I eventually landed a big role in the film BORICUA’S BOND (2000), co-starring with legendary rapper Big Pun. I then got cast in MANITO (2002), a film that went on to win best film at the Tribeca Film Festival and Special Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. The following year I snagged a role in the critically acclaimed film RAISING VICTOR VARGAS (2003), which was shown at Sundance, Cannes and the Toronto International Film Festival. I stop auditioning for film projects because I got married and had two kids, which made my available time now very limited. So I decided to become a filmmaker. I figured if I started out making short films. It would allow me to work at my own pace while learning the craft, and I was right for the most part.
You see, being an independent filmmaker is very hard work. Because you’re trying to do something to get noticed in Hollywood, without a Hollywood budget or crew. When you look at the credits on a hollywood production, it’s like 10 minutes long. Hundreds of people are helping in making that film a success. When you look at a low to no budget film, the credits are like 2 minutes long, with 10 people listed, all having multiple credits. That’s why you see most independent film’s opening credits are.. Directed by John Doe , Written by John Doe, Produced by John Doe, Casting by John Doe, Catering by John Doe etc. etc. The point I’m trying to make is that it’s tough, and it can put a strain on your relationships in life with loved ones and friends. That’s why I have been engaged three times and married twice. Not everyone thinks you’re going to become a Hollywood Star. They just think you’re an a–hole that is using up all their time and money.
The good thing is I did have some success over the years. My first short film SOME WOUNDS (2004), premiered at Urbanworld Film Festival, in front of the Tom Cruise/Jamie Foxx film Collateral (2004). It also appeared at the New York International Latino Film Festival that same year, sponsored by HBO.
I then made 9 more short films that were shown in various film festivals. From 2010 to 2011 I produced and directed 6 Doritos Commercials. I also produced a feature film entitled THE BUSINESSMAN (2014). AMERICAN PIRATES (2017) was the first feature film I directed, WAITING FOR HOWARD STERN (2018) was my second. Last year Gravitas Ventures released my film The Covid Killer, a Horror Crime Thriller. The film became an instant cult classic amongst Horror fans and currently holds an 87% Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score and spawned the sequel I am currently working on called The Omicron Killer.
How do you convince yourself with things that you have to shoot for a film but you actually don’t otherwise believe ?
I no longer shoot anything that I don’t believe in. The first feature I shot was written by a very close friend of mine, who is like a brother to me.
I read his script and did not understand it. It seemed to be all over the place. But we were close and he assured me that once the film was done it would all make sense. Well guess what? Once the film was done and edited, it made even less sense. The film was terrible. The day after I watched that film that we spent years working on, I vowed to never commit to doing something that I did not 100% believe in. Of course sometimes you get suckered into doing things you don’t want, like what happened to me when I started shooting The Covid Killer. But that is a story for another day.
Your Scripting Process ? Your approach to casting ?
I don’t start out writing a script. I come up with an idea and start putting notes into a folder and every now and then I would brainstorm these ideas with writer friends of mine and kind of form the story. Then, may be months or even years later I return to the story and start to flesh it out and see what ideas work and where would they go in the timeline of the film. The ideas that don’t work are placed in the sequel folder or in a folder called future projects.
As for casting. I usually first give offers to the actors that I usually work with that are good and reliable. The left over roles are usually given to someone well known that someone involved in the project knows, like a celebrity or thespian, and then we usually put an Ad in backstage or Craigslist and hold auditions, but if they have a really good reel, I’ll just hire them over the phone.
How much does your life influences your story telling and the characters that you bring to life ?
In the beginning, a lot. Most of the stories I told when I was younger were very personal.Now, not so much. I’m building a fictional universe now with my new film THE OMICRON KILLER, So nothing in these films will be about my life.
But I am writing a film about the relationship I have with my wife, who I am now separated from. But that story is very dear to my heart and I probably will not film that for years to come, if ever.
How do you work on yourself to become better in your field learning , observing , reading ? Type of things you keep yourself involved with
I do what you just said. I’m constantly learning, observing and reading. Either from friends, youtube, documentaries or just going on line and googling how to do things. Knowledge is power. Once you learn something, you can’t unlearn it. You give a man a fish, he eats for a day. You teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.
Filmmaking is team work. Tell us about your team and what sort of pre planning gets done before you decide to make a film. Tough things about making films and what keeps you going despite those tough things ?
My team consist of Paugh Shadow, Johnny Careccia, Chris Guttadaro, Kianna Skye, Aaron Hilton, Roz Clancy, Evilise QuiJano, Dexter Fenner, Chris Lazzaro, Josh Trovato and Tasos Eliopoulos. Everything is pre-planned. There is so much that goes into it, but that would take up too much time so I am just going to gloss over the esentials: Idea – Treatment – Screenplay – Copyright – Shooting Schedule – Script Breakdown – Crew – Cast – Concept Art – Storyboard – Money – Weather – Contracts – Props – Shooting The Film – Organizing & Labeling Video And Audio FIles – Editing – SFX – Sound Design – Music – Score – Promotional Material (Posters, Banners, Trailers, etc.) – Sales Agent – Deliverables – Distribuition – Publicist – FIlm Festivals – Marketing Campaigns – Release Date – Interviews – Press Releases….
It’s mind boggling and extremely overwhelming just thinking about what you know you need to do to get a film project off the ground.
Title Of Your New Release
THE OMICRON KILLER
What is the central theme of film ?
Well we all know that serial killers want to become famous. They want attention.Well what happens when you are a copycat of a famous serial killer who dies and is still stealing the spotlight from you.
This film is about that guy.
The Copycat Covid Killer is so jealous of The Covid Killer who died 2 years earlier, because even in death he gets more exposure and notoriety than him. So he goes on a murdering rampage to prove he’s numero uno.
how many days it took you to shoot ? What locations it has been shot at ?
We have not shot the film yet, but it will take 27 days to shoot.
Here is our kickstarter campaign link
Share your thoughts about production process. Any interesting trivia about its making ?
It’s grueling as I mentioned above. A lot of work and you are not getting paid.
What platforms will the film be released? Date of release?
Theatrical and we are aiming for HBO Max.Halloween 2023
Any other project you are working on ? Some details about the film ?
I’m also working on a film called KRAZY KLOWNY. I don’t want to give any details on that project at this time.
You will get to see him for a little bit in THE OMICRON KILLER though.
How do you deal with Negative Feedbacks? How do you stay balanced with Positive Feedback?
Trolls.. I recognize them and then ignore them. You build on the positive and deflect the negative.
How did you hear about CarryOnHarry ? Any message for Studio ? Josh Mitchell PUB.LIE.SIZE
Jason Blum, give me a call. I’m ready for you. Hollywood might not be ready for me, but I’m coming anyway.
Your Official Website