Entrepreneurship is being celebrated all across the country the next several weeks. In honor of that, LCCC spotlights one of our own risk takers.
J. Carlos Gonzalez was 12-years-old when he knew. “Star Wars was playing at my church,” remembers Gonzalez. “When I saw the opening shot with the Star Destroyer and it kept coming at you, well I knew at that moment that I wanted to make movies.”
Fast forward nearly 30-years, Gonzalez is now 39 and he is making movies.
“Not in Ohio” is scheduled to be in theatres by the late fall of 2009. It will mark Gonzalez second feature film. His first full length film was “That Day.” It was released in 2006.
Gonzalez is an entrepreneur in every sense of the word. He graduated from Southview High School in Lorain in 1987. He took classes at LCCC from 1989 through 1994. “I took one class a year,” Gonzalez said with a laugh. He moved to New York City to chase the dream and worked in professional theatre. “I worked off Broadway as a stagehand. I rigged lights. I was the resident carpenter,” he said. “I even worked the Big Apple Circus. My job was to clean-up the elephant droppings,” he said with another laugh. “It paid well though.”
When Gonzalez wasn’t doing theatre in New York, he was doing freelance graphic work for Mars M & M. “There was an ad for Skittles in 1996,” said Gonzalez, “where the Skittles NASCAR is on a bank and the track is breaking and cracking and Skittles are flying out all over the place. I did that.”
Gonzalez was finding it hard to make ends meet in New York City though. As a freelancer, he was always the last guy to get paid. He was newly married and the cost of living in the city was pretty high. “Plus,” he remembers, “when I was in New York I felt like I actually lost my focus. I thought, if I’m going to do this I’m going to go back home.” It was a pivotal moment for Gonzalez. “If I wouldn’t have decided to move back, I never would’ve come back to LCCC and I wouldn’t have continued my pursuit to make movies.”
Gonzalez re-enrolled in LCCC in the fall of 2000. “The small format editing classes and the television workshops really helped me,” he said. “Plus, having access to all of the production equipment was key.”
In 2005, Gonzalez tested for Hollywood’s Directors Guild Assistant Trainee Program. Thousands of people across the country take the test. The Directors Guild select the Top 100 and then invite only 50 of that 100 to Hollywood to go through the trainee program. Gonzalez was one of the 50 selected – almost. “The day I was leaving for Los Angeles,” he said, “I got a letter in the mail saying there had been a mistake and I had missed the Top 50 by 1.7 points.” Gonzalez was mad. He vowed to just make movies himself. Within an hour, he had already purchased a camera. In 10 days, he wrote the script for “That Day.” “Anger,” he said, “is a great motivator.
Gonzalez has bounced around a little bit but that is the mark of an entrepreneur. He has sacrificed. He has taken risks. He has trouble with motion sickness, yet spent four hours riding a rollercoaster backwards in his role as a camera operator for a Six Flags commercial. “That was rough, but I stuck it out.” He has worked at the Palace Theatre in Lorain as a projectionist/maintenance guy. “I did everything there,” he said fondly. He has even worked for free before and loved it.
You will find passion in J. Carlos Gonzalez and these words of advice to any entrepreneurs in the making – “Never compromise the vision or the dream and you will be successful.” They are words Gonzalez lives by.
To find out more about Gonzalez film “Not in Ohio” go to http://www.line10entertainment.com/ If you are interested in classes in small format editing and video production, view our Arts and Humanities offerings at LCCC.