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Meet Carlos Hidalgo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carlos Hidalgo.

Carlos, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’ve always loved stories, not just movies, TV shows, books, and anything else I could get my hands on. As a kid, I found myself on many occasions coming up with my own tales. It goes without saying that at that stage, I didn’t have realistic expectations of actually doing anything with those narratives. I just came up with them because it was fun; it was something that came naturally. Among all the mediums where I got stories, film always caught my attention the most. I guess you could say that I’ve always been a cinephile, watching anything that I could.

The thing for me is that when I love something, I feel the need to be part of it. Because of this, I couldn’t see myself becoming anything else, besides a filmmaker. I think it wasn’t until I turned 16 that I start telling people around me how serious I was about it. I’m from Ecuador, where it’s rare that someone can make a living working in the entertainment industry. Luckily for me, I have a family that supports whatever I decide to do with my life. That’s why after I graduated high school, I took a plane to LA and decided to make it happen.

Has it been a smooth road?
Again as I said before, back home the film industry isn’t so well developed. Therefore it’s been a challenge from the very beginning, as there were not many opportunities to pursue a career there. I’ve always wanted to make a movie in my country but decided that I was going to have better chances to start my career abroad and then go back and make a movie in Ecuador. However, once I got to LA, I was quick to realize just how much time and effort that was actually going to take.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, most of them simply due to my overall lack of experience in the field.  For example, I didn’t see the need for rehearsing enough with my actors. I was naive to think that as long as they knew the lines, I’ll only have to say a couple of things on set and that will be sufficient. Thankfully now I’m aware of all the work it takes to get the performances that I want. I’m way more efficient now when it comes to communicating with my cast, and crew for that matter. Another very common mistake that I and most filmmakers make when they first start out, is overestimating just how much you can get done with the little time you have.  Sometimes I tried to do way too many shots or camera setups on the same day.

Add that to the fact that sometimes I only secured maybe five crew members when I really needed a lot more to do what I set out to do. Anyway, I think you get the idea. I remember how in some occasions it could be frustrating to realize that you are not where you would like to be yet.  But that’s just part of the process. In order to grow as a filmmaker, I had to be willing to deal with these kinds of situations and setbacks almost on a daily basis. But all of that was good in the end since it was the only way I got to know myself as director and as a writer too. The best thing I get out of trying until I get it right is that I discover both my strengths and weaknesses. Thanks to making those mistakes, I’m now able to exploit my strengths and work around my weaknesses. Now I learn and get better with every new project I make.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I watch and enjoy any kind of movie, no matter which genre it belongs to. So I’ll love to make all kinds of films myself. But at least for now I want to focus on thrillers and dramas. That’s because those are the genres that I consume the most. Also, the ones that production-wise I can get done on a relatively low budget. Right now, I’m working on the post-production of my most recent short, the pre-production of my next one, and writing the script for my first feature-length film. The same one that I plan to start production by the end of this year.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Definitely, as everyone knows this is the place to be if you want to break into the industry.  Above all, this is the best place to meet people with similar interests that you can possibly collaborate with.  Just know that it takes a lot of time and work in order to stand out here.

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