Grab a camera and just film something. It’s going to teach you how to overcome curveballs that weren’t in any books or classrooms.
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 Tazito Garcia.
Taz “Tazito” Garcia is a young director in Hollywood who has already won numerous awards in cities like Los Angeles, Toronto, and Jakarta, to name a few. Garcia ventured into the filmmaking world at a very young age when he would gather friends and direct them from behind the camera as they recreated cartoon sequences or imaginative concepts. Since then, Garcia has taken on the nickname “Maverick” in the world of indie filmmaking. He recently shared his knowledge in two best-selling books for aspiring writers, producers and filmmakers.
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?
A citizen of the world! Long story short, due to my parents’ travels and the pro sports career I pursued as a young pro athlete, I grew up all over the world. In those early years, I had already seen a lot, including the Gulf War which taught me the value of being present in the moment, holding onto hope, and how entertainment offered a wonderful diversion from the harsh realities of life. That’s when I knew I wanted to entertain; whether behind or in front of the camera.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was an incredibly creative child with a knack for entertaining others. So I enjoyed creative writing and made home videos with my camcorder. Then when times got slow as a performer in my earlier days I hopped behind the camera and learned to properly use one, starting with friends and family and working my way up to big budget features, documentaries and music videos.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your filmmaking career?
Oh!!! Where do I begin? Here’s one — We were on a film set that we found out later was a real (POW) prisoner of war camp that had a reputation of being haunted. It was all fun and games until we re-watched a scene with no one else in the room and only two female characters on screen at he time of filming, yet the microphone had picked up a clear unknown male voice during saying “They deserved it”.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
Throughout my filmmaking journey I’ve had a chance to work with some amazing cast & crew and some incredibly talented students.
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?
Absolutely, I’ve been blessed to have friends that took chances and believed in my visions and skills since day one. I also have to give it up for two of my personal heroes, my mom and grandma.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
The word “yet” has been a game changer! If you just tell yourself “I can’t do 10 pushups,” for instance. Your body will always struggle because you have labeled it as “impossible.” But if you tell me “I can’t do ten pushups, yet!” the body and mind are aware that progressing to ten is definitely possible with the correct preparation and effort. The word “yet” has worked wonders for me and many other people I’ve told about this. When we use the word “yet,” it signals to our mind — which is in charge of all things physical — that once you learn the procedures, put in the time, or develop the necessary abilities, you can accomplish anything you previously believed was impossible.
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?
The current wave of diversity and inclusivity is essential for all productions and it’s building phases, because it can definitely influence how we see others, and ourselves. Representation helps break down barriers, introduces us to new ideas and powerful role models and can definitely be a source of inspiration or entertainment.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Currently I’ve got 4 films in pre-production, all I can share for now is two are action films, the others two are a romantic comedy and a dramatic thriller.
Which aspect of your work makes you most proud? Can you explain or give a story?
I think my initial string of no-to-low budget films would be among the top things that makes me extremely proud. Really it was showing people in general that if there was a will there’s a way, and ultimately those films were able to inspire the younger filmmakers that anything can be done as long as you take action. On a side note, those films also ended up raising funds for charities worldwide. So it’s a win-win.
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.
- It’s a marathon not a sprint.
- Everyone will have an opinion — so make something that you’re truly passionate about and know why you’re telling that story.
- As a filmmaker you’re a problem solver because odds are you’re going to need a plan B, C and D
- Grab a camera and just film something. It’s going to teach you how to overcome curveballs that weren’t in any books or classrooms.
- Listen to feedback. Take what improves you and your work and leave what doesn’t.
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?
In 2014, I wrote and directed a short film with female leads. Not a single banker would support it. There was not a single grant to back up the vision that women weren’t playing “damsels in distress.” Because I personally had two female role models when I was growing up, I said, “Watch me,” and I still went ahead and shot it. After the film’s enormous popularity, I had offers for a spin-off of the exact proposal that had been rejected before I began filming from TV networks, a few producers I had initially spoken to, and Scarlett Johansson considered a lead role in the feature.
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. 🙂
Create a “Got Talent” show version for filmmakers from all around the world to get a chance to be seen in front of a wider audience on a recognized platform that would inspire a new generation of creators.
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. 🙂
Dwayne Johnson. His story from pro sports to top actor along with his charisma and hustle is extremely inspiring. It’s also something I would love to discuss to make a spinoff together like a Double Impact type of project.
How can our readers further follow you online?
I’m very active on my Instagram and love connecting with new and old friends.
Instagram and Facebook @tazgarciaofficial
I’m also working on becoming more active on my twitter @tazito_garcia and tiktok @tazgarciaofficial
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Thanks for having me guys! Keep on shinin’
Tazito Garcia: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Filmmaker was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.