Independent filmmaking is a bizarre beast that many try and few succeed. When it comes to one’s particular job on a set, it is not always specified fully. Every independent set has many of the cast and crew doing multiple jobs; be it do to budget restraints or just lack of network. Sometimes a job arises that was not even accounted for in pre-production. Indie filmmaking is about learning and is where most good producers and directors learn their skill through doing many different jobs on set. It is important to know everything on set as a leader and performing multiple jobs in your early days helps as the crews get larger and the money allows for bigger productions.
The Featured FearMaker of the week is a prime example of how important it is to wear several hats when first starting out in the industry. He has credits as a writer, cinematographer, composer, producer, assistant director, journalist, and a podcaster. Richard Trejo is not afraid to go out on a limb and try something new in the name of his career, and his courage is noteworthy and an inspiration to all.
Born and raised in Pico Rivera, California, Richard has had a vast love affair with horror since the age of 9. It was the classic John Landis film American Werewolf in London. “The whole beginning sequence, at the Slaughtered Lamb, was equal parts creepy and hilarious. What followed, inspired me. Seeing Jack and David wonder the Moors, with only the moonlight as their guide, had me on pins and needles. Then, that blood curdling howl hits – plus the mauling of Jack – and I was sold” says Trejo. That film, along with the cult favorite The Crow solidified something in Richard in which he knew all he wanted to do was make movies.
Richard’s goal is to intrigue and disturb his viewers while leaving them with “good” stress. “Stress is an interesting thing: we need enough of it to continue living, but too much could kill us.” Trejo envisioned his films to give the perfect amount of stress to its viewers the way that Alfred Hitchcock or William Friedkin had done in the past.
Richard began pushing his way into the film industry by way of podcasts. In 2013, he launched two movie themed shows. The Cinephile Network is movie based podcast which discusses all things film with no apologies on their opinions except to the english language that they “slay” during their talks. The second podcast was created in conjunction with the horror news site Truly Disturbing. Disturbing Talks brings in independent horror filmmakers as they discuss the darker elements to cinema. Through his podcasts, Richard made several new acquaintances within the industry and began to build his own reputation, gaining respect from professionals. In recent years, Podcasts have been used as a great tool of allowing audiences to be exposed to a name. The new form of talk radio goes smoothly when the show runners have a vast knowledge on the topics they are discussing while guests can share stories and help promote themselves to a wider audience. Richard is a prime example as to why podcasts can help a filmmakers hone their craft. Podcasts force concise formulated thoughts and smooth conversation flow which helps train the skill of thinking on the fly which in turn reflects in good script writing or confidence on set.
In 2014, Richard was given the opportunity to score a film for the first time. The opportunity came with director Dean Werner‘s psychological thriller The Night. As any independent filmmaker, Richard worked diligently to be a part of as many productions as possible. Earlier this year, fellow WAIH member and friend Jennifer Nangle posted about a filmmakers group she was forming in Los Angeles. As a go-getter and a team player, Richard quickly replied and became a member of the Los Angeles Filmmakers Group. Since the creation of the group, the team has put together and released a few short films proving how important dedication within a team is when creating a film project. Since joining the group, Richard has added two director of photography credits and an assistant director credit.
Ricard Trejo is a prime example of how newcomers to the film industry should behave. Thrifty, advantageous, hard working, and friendly are necessary traits when succeeding within the tough business of movie making. With a vast amount of people who transplant themselves to Los Angeles, all trying to do attempt the same dream, it becomes tremendously important to maintain an open mind when receiving work in tinsel town. Joining groups, like the LA Filmmakers Group, remains a great way to begin and expand the ever growing network. The smaller groups allow creative minds to produce original material while gaining knowledge and experience in other positions on set. Learning to multi-task on set becomes an important trait later in a career. Often times a writer or producer will act as a key grip or best boy or a director could be seen assisting the Director of Photography. There are few names in the big leagues who have not worked as multiple jobs on set. Opening up to the possibility of working different jobs on set equates to a well-rounded resume and a more knowledgeable production team.
Richard is currently in the writing stage for a few projects, but is always working on his podcast Disturbing Talks. This week, Richard will be a guest on the WAIH podcast Tea Time of Terror, and the TTOT hosts Neil and Brian will be guests on Trejo’s podcast.