I’m writing this blog post at 4:45am. I have never woken up at this time voluntarily. I’ve also never raised 50K.- Julia Grob
I’m dying to share with you my recent experiences at the 2012 National Association of Latino Independent Producer’s (NALIP) Conference in LA, where I was invited to speak on a panel entitled “How to Create, Produce, and Star in your own Webisodes” as part of NALIP’s Actor’s Summit. First of all, I love speaking to actors about the journey of creating “East WillyB” because it’s so empowering. It shows actors that, despite the odds against your success, you can take matters into your own hands a create an incredibly empowering career for yourself.
I shared the stage with two of my favorite colleagues Mark Gantt (“The Bannen Way” on Sony Crackle), who frequently references being told “You’re not George Clooney,” and Ruth Livier (“Ylse”), who created an awesome series featuring herself as a Latina “Bridget Jones.” We’re all kind of obsessed with each other and are secretly working on a series (think “Big Love” meets “Rob!” HA!). What I love about speaking with these two fabulous actors is, while our experiences creating our shows have all been different, we each share a passion for taking the reins of our careers and molding them to fit our visions. We have created our own entry into an industry that constantly forces actors to be responsive, not proactive. We’ve changed the conversation and entered the room as creators, executives, producers, writers, AND actors, and our careers are stronger for it.
Needless to say, the panel was a huge success! (Read about it in more detail here) Actors came up to me all weekend telling me how inspiring and empowering it was to hear us speak. With the panel complete, I was most excited to hear one of my heroes and thought leaders, Robert Rodriguez, speak the following day at lunch. Here is a man who defied the rules of the entertainment industry, took matters into his own hands, and flipped the script. I was determined to meet him.
“I hope you all fail,” were the opening words Robert spoke, “because from the ashes of your failure, come your success.” (Did I mention this dude shot his first feature for $7000 he made selling his body for medical trials? Yes, he’s that badass.) These words could not have come at a better time.
While “East WillyB” can hardly be viewed as a failure, I’ve sat through meetings upon meetings with industry execs telling me “East WillyB” is not enough. “You need more views, more Mexicans, more friendly White people, more stars!” Robert Rodriguez’s success tells an opposite story. Just do it, keep doing it, and the industry will follow.
I did not get to meet Robert. I met his sweet assistant, who conveniently forgot her cards. But, with the recent major announcement that he is launching his own Comcast channel “El Rey,” and “East WillyB” going into production this summer on a bigger & better season, it’s only a matter of time before “East WillyB’s” failure turns into a smashing success. Robert: our line is open.