Aaron M Abelto of Able 2Film Entertainment: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A…

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Aaron M Abelto of Able 2Film Entertainment: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Filmmaker

Never give up on your dreams. Your dreams do not have a start or expiration date. This means that just starting is half the battle. For me this is my mantra. Ever since I started in this industry, I have always had a chip on shoulder. But that will not stop me from achieving my goal.

As a part of our series called “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Filmmaker”, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Aaron M. Abelto.

Aaron M. Abelto is an Caribbean American film director, actor, and writer best known for writing and directing documentary Oscar contenders The Power of Movement (2020) and Iron Temple (2021). The warm reception to his first drama, I Before Thee (2018), opened the door to more creative original storytelling. Aaron continues to produce a variety of film and television projects through his motion picture studio, Able 2 Film Entertainment.

Aaron holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business from Florida International University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Nova Southeastern University.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?

I was born in Brooklyn to Caribbean parents. As a young child I spent most of my time putting on plays for my family and friends and my interest in entertaining only grew as I got older. During college, I decided to pursue acting and worked as an actor as I earned my bachelors and MBA degrees in South Florida. Unfortunately, I found that there weren’t many interesting roles available to me, so I decided to start to create my own content which gave me the chance to tell stories I wanted to share and learn more about the other roles in the filmmaking process.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

In my early days, I was lucky enough to work as an extra on movies and television shows like “Step Up Revolution,” The Glades,” and “Burn Notice.” It was an invaluable experience to work as an extra and learn by being able to observe and participate in the process. I continued to work as an extra but wanted a larger role in creating stories, so I started writing my first film, “I Before Thee” in which I took a leading role (currently streaming on Amazon Prime). Every project continues to teach me lessons that I can take on to the next and expands my appreciation for the process.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your filmmaking career?

There are so many interesting things that you get to experience in filmmaking and one of the most interesting processes is the path to an Academy Award. Each step involves so much work and perseverance. When I started my first campaign, it was a steep learning curve and it’s hard to face the disappointment when a project you are so passionate about is not recognized. This is my third time submitting for an Oscar nomination and I learn so much more about the process each time. Despite all the obstacles, I will keep working to share my stories.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

One of the most influential people that I have interacted with was the individual that I did my second Oscar contending film about Tony Torres. When I first met Tony, he had told me about his life story which was an interesting one and I knew that a film about his life would be a great idea. Tony helped me get through one of the toughest times in my life. When my father passed away, Tony took me under his wing and became like a father figure that would uplift me and give me back the confidence that I needed at the time. I am thankful that he was there to pick me up when I could have fallen off.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

The individual that has helped me get to where I am is my business partner and friend Rajesh D. Felix. Some years ago while the both of us were in college, I called Mr. Felix and suggested to him for us to start out own entertainment company. We then began crafting Able 2 Film Entertainment to what it is today. He has always been the person that has always believed in me since day one and continues to do so presently. The fact that I get to share in this experience with him is second to none.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite life lesson quote would have to be “Never give up on your dreams.” This phrase has impacted me because since I was an adolescent, I have always had big dreams. Even as a youngster and an adult today, many individuals would tell you negative things to make you not achieve success or try to tell you what they think you should do. I can’t even count the number of times individuals told me that I should be doing something other than what I am currently gaining success in. So, I use that as my fuel and never give up. I feel that giving up is just an excuse.

I am very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Diversity is a very important topic because it can bring us together. Another fact is that we can learn from one another through experiences that we have never been a part of. Lastly, I like the fact that I can teach others about different cultures and societal differences to help bridge the gap between us all.

This can affect our culture in a positive context because we can grow to accept one another and bring about peace.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

One of my newest projects that is currently in production is my first TV series called “Hypersonic”. We have just wrapped up the pilot episode and it’s being shopped to the networks for distribution.

Which aspect of your work makes you most proud? Can you explain or give a story?

The part that I am most proud of is getting the job done. When you come up with an idea and can see it through, that is a feeling that words can’t describe. Some years ago when I was working on my first film “I Before Thee”, I came upon some hardships. During filming we had a difficult time securing specific locations such as a working hospital. Once I was able to secure the location, we were able to finish the film. Sometimes those difficulties that occur can get the best of you, but it is your persistence that will get you through it.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

The first would be that it is not as easy as it is advertised. The entertainment industry can be a very harsh place. As stated earlier, when I first started I wasn’t given many opportunities. That is a lesson you are not taught and that is what pushed me to take it upon myself to create my own.

The second would be to keep building your craft. Don’t think for a second that you can just take a substantial break from this industry. There is always someone trying to catch up to where you are currently. One instance for myself was early on in my career, I learned that staying relevant is the key to succeeding in this industry. When I was negotiating my second distribution deal, the distributor asked me what I have coming next? And that’s when I realized that I had to keep putting out projects.

The third would be that health is wealth. Your physical and mental health is very important as a part of your lifestyle these days. In order to advance in life, you must keep your physical and mental health at a good level in order to succeed in any aspect of life. In college I suffered a torn ACL from playing sports and during rehab I gained a substantial amount of weight. At that point in my life I felt it was necessary to get my life back in order. From then on I changed my eating habits and started working out to build a better lifestyle.

The fourth would be you have two ears to listen and one mouth to speak. For me this is important, because to better formulate responses to questions you should first listen, then make an assessment, and finally respond intelligently with factual data. One such instance for me was when I first started working with my business partner Rajesh. Rajesh being a scholar at anything business wise, taught me the importance of listening and doing research before presenting my findings.

The fifth and easiest of all is to never give up on your dreams. Your dreams do not have a start or expiration date. This means that just starting is half the battle. For me this is my mantra. Ever since I started in this industry, I have always had a chip on shoulder. But that will not stop me from achieving my goal.

When you create a film, which stakeholders have the greatest impact on the artistic and cinematic choices you make? Is it the viewers, the critics, the financiers, or your own personal artistic vision? Can you share a story with us or give an example about what you mean?

When you first get the idea to do a film, there are many aspects you must consider before you get started. For me I like to take the collaborative approach. I start off by reading the room and gathering research to better assist with the choices. An interesting story comes with my recent film “Evoke”. When I wrote the film, I had my producer and director of photography read the script and give me feedback. While on the film set I will give individuals opportunities to share in the creative process. I like the team mentality. We all work as a team to get the job done.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The movement I would start would be: to encourage everyone that I can possibly reach. I feel that the world needs healing and the best way to start healing is to encourage everyone to be their very best self while moving forward. By helping each other, we can all thrive. There is space for everyone.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

It would be a dream come true to sit down with Steven Spielberg at a private breakfast. When I first started to become a director, he was always the individual I wanted to emulate. I studied his films like a bible of filmmaking. The fact that he does the films he wants to do inspires me to do my own and his journey inspires me to continue my work despite the obstacles. The knowledge gained from him would be priceless and help me further my career.

How can our readers further follow you online?

Readers can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter as @aaronabelto. And on the websites www.able2film.com and www.aaronabelto.com

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

Aaron M Abelto of Able 2Film Entertainment: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.