13 Questions with Cesar Cruz

This time on 13 Questions, I have a little surprise for all the readers out there. Instead of having an interview with an author; I had the chance to interview Cesar Cruz. Emerian “and I have been in touch for about a year since Julie Johnson from Grave Concerns got us connected. But this is the first time that an actual interview has taken place, and I’m very excited!”

Cesar is a full time director/editor/cinematographer. “I work on many different types of projects on a daily basis, so I am always very busy. Running Outworld Entertainment is my second full time job, and on top of those two things, I am also a part time dog trainer too! So yes, things get very hectic and sometimes cross over into one another. As much as I want to focus 100% of my time on Outworld Entertainment, it doesn’t pay the bills. So when I am working on a project for a client or other studio, Outworld stuff has to be put on hold. As for the dog training is concerned, it relaxes me and lets me do something good for the community. I really like working with shelter dogs and getting them a permanent, loving home. When I see a dog that has gone through some severe trauma come out of it’s shell and overcome the psychological and physical damage it went through, it really lifts my spirit.”

“For Outworld Entertainment [Cesar has] produced and/or directed 15 short films, features and music videos. On top of that [he has] done hundreds of other projects including TV shows, commercials, industrial videos, etc. [Cruz has] never done a wedding video though!”

Wanting a little look into the work that Cesar does, I asked him about several of his projects. You may have heard of the up and coming feature film Dark Passages, the tv series The Rule, and many other Cesar projects.

Dark Passages: “the main project that we are currently working on. Dark Passages is a feature length, anthology, horror film that has been inspired by multiple horror genres. The three connecting stories take the viewer through an uncompromising journey of pain, anger and betrayal. The story will feature many different creatures/demons and characters that will please many types of horror fans.”

The Rule: “an outdoor show for the Sportsman Channel that I directed, shot and edited. Although I only worked on the first season of the show (I left so that I would be able to focus more of my attention on “Dark Passages“), I really enjoyed it. I was able to travel to remote locations where many people don’t ever get to see, and I was also able to get some great camera footage.”

The Frappinos: “a no budget comedy film that I wrote and directed last year that revolves around a New Jersey crime family that is falling apart. The film is very raw and was actually inspired by Family Guy, The Simpsons and South Park, and not by The Sopranos like most people would guess. The film received an award at this year’s Indie Gathering Film Festival in the feature comedy category. The entire 98 page script was shot in less than seven days, and it was made for only $500.00! The entire cast and crew worked for free and half of our equipment was donated to us by supporters, clients and co-workers that I have met over the last 12 years while working in the industry. We really wanted to showcase that money isn’t the only thing needed to make a film; 90% of it is dedication, communication and sacrifice.”

After the Fall: “an award winning thriller short that we shot in two days out in the woods of Sussex, New Jersey. The film was about coming to terms with dying and leaving the living world behind. The main characters Jack and Lacy are a young married couple that seems to have lost the “spark” in their relationship. Lacy comes up with a plan to go camping for the weekend so they can just focus on their relationship. During a hike through the woods, Lacy trips and falls down a cliff and dies. The entire short film takes place after the fall (hence the title) as she discovers that she is dead and never got the chance to fix her relationship. The film was the first indie film project that I directed that wasn’t my own original concept. I enjoyed working on it because the script left it very open for visual style. With a six man crew and a three person cast, we marched into the woods. Two days later, we emerged with an award winning short.”

Cruz also did a music video for the band Leather Strip and their song Love Me or Die. “The video for Love Me or Die was a way for me to say thanks to Claus for his work on the Dark Passages film score. Not to mention, I had always wanted to direct a Leaether Strip video! So I took the song, used it as my script and put together these images that came into my head from listening to it and studying the lyrics. I really wanted to make something that actually fit the song, instead of just some video that makes no sense to the song itself. We shot Love Me or Die in a few hours with no budget. Three weeks later the video was released and we end up winning an award at this year’s Indie Gathering Film Festival in the Alternative Music Video Category. As well as receiving 3 nominations at this years World Music and Independent Film Festival. We made the video for the self titled song for our film Dark Passages as a promotional piece for both the film and the soundtrack. It also gave me the opportunity to create a sort of prequel to the film. The Dark Passages video showcases four main characters that you will see in the film. However, the way you see them in the video is not the way they appear in the film! I did this because I didn’t want to give too much away before the film is released. So I created a “dumbed-down” version of the characters for the video. In the end I am proud of the way the video came out. For something that had absolutely no budget, it has a high end feel to it.”

I have always wondered what it’s like in the film industry. Cesar shared with me what it is like, a day in the life of a director and producer. “Very hectic, stressful and fun. You work six to seven days a week and at least 15 to 18 hours a day. It is definitely something that you have to be extremely passionate about because of how much work and sacrifice you go through. There is still a large number of people out there that don’t understand the hours, man power, and money that goes into this industry. The public only gets to see the final product and judge a cast or crew on only a third of the entire experience of that project. Every day I am writing, editing, in pre-production meetings, post production meetings, updating websites, hiring/firing cast/crew, etc. The days are always extremely busy.”

And according to Cruz the hardest part about being in the business is “funding/selling the project, especially in this current economic climate. There are a thousand projects like yours getting made everyday, but you have to find a way to make yours different and stand out. That way you get a better chance at finding funding and getting some sort of distribution. It’s a very aggravating process that is key to the industry. There is no magical way of getting it done. Especially at an independent level.”

Crazy enough Cesar is “the first “artist” in [his] family. [His] parents, aunts and uncles do not do anything creative in the arts so it was always a bit of a struggle to find [his] place. Especially since [he] saw the world in such a different way then the rest of [the] family.”

“Luckily,” he added, “they all support what I do no matter how many times they tell me I am crazy!”

Be sure to be on the look out for Cruz’s upcoming projects. “We are about to release the “Dark Passages” Leaether Strip video and working on the “Dark Passages” film. I know there has been a great want to see both these projects.”

For more in formation about Cesar Cruz and Outworld Entertainment, be sure to visit these sites:

http://outworldentertainment.com/

http://www.facebook.com/outworldentertainment
http://www.myspace.com/outworldentertainment

http://www.youtube.com/outworldowe

http://twitter.com/outworldent