Alvaro Rodriguez has been writing since childhood and, in fact, did his best work when he was 11. Without a movie camera in sight, Rodriguez relied on the written word and a Polaroid Button to storyboard the films in his head. A crash course in entertainment writing and editing at the University of Texas student newspaper and seminars in creative writing supplied more tools for the toolbox. When he riffed on a Spanish guitar figure as the hero’s musical theme in cousin Robert Rodriguez’s debut film, El Mariachi (1992) (Columbia Pictures, 1993), he began a collaboration that has lasted more than two decades.
Rodriguez sold his first pitch to Dimension Films, a spaghetti-western prequel to the genre-bending vampire flick From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) called From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter (1999) (Miramax/Dimension, 2000), which starred Marco Leonardi, Michael Parks, Sonia Braga, Rebecca Gayheart and Danny Trejo, with Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino producing.
Rodriguez co-wrote the wishing-rock children’s movie Shorts (2009) (Warner Brothers, 2009), starring James Spader, Jon Cryer, Leslie Mann, and William H. Macy, and followed that confection with the bloodier Machete (2010) (Fox, 2010) starring Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan, Jeff Fahey, Don Johnson, and Robert De Niro. Both were directed by Robert Rodriguez.
As of 2014, he is writing on the television series From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series (2014) for the El Rey Network, now in its second season, and is developing feature and television projects in the United States and Italy.
A frequent panelist and presenter at the Austin Film Festival, he has also curated an “Epoca de Oro” Mexican film series at the Museum of South Texas History and has been a speaker at colleges and universities throughout the United States. His border-influenced short fiction has appeared in multiple publications, both physical and digital, including Mulholland Books/Popcorn Fiction, “Along the River” (2011), and the Bram Stoker Award-winning “After Death” (2013).
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Alex Ferrari 0:18
Enjoy today's episode with guest host Dave Bullis.
Dave Bullis 0:56
Joining me tonight is Alvaro Rodriguez. Alvaro is a screenwriter who is currently working on season two of from dusk till dawn the series. His career in film actually began when he began riffing on a Spanish guitar for the heroes musical theme and his cousin Robert Rodriguez debut film airmail Yachi, which began a collaboration that has lasted over two decades. Alvaro, how are you sir?
Alvaro Rodriguez 2:01
I'm doing great. How are you?
Dave Bullis 2:04
Pretty good. So the weather in PA has gotten a lot better over the past few days.
Alvaro Rodriguez 2:08
That's good st here in Austin.
Dave Bullis 2:10
Oh, nice. You know, I actually want to talk to you about Austin, before I get to that. So could you give us a little more detail about your background? You know, and how, you know, every how you got started in the film business?
Alvaro Rodriguez 2:23
Sure. Well, you know, I grew up with a love for movies. And I grew up with a love for reading, writing, and always wanted to be a novelist. And would, you know, say, Well, I know, it's a hard road to try to to do. And, you know, I probably end up being a teacher, which I was for a time. But I want to, you know, keep writing. But I had this cousin Robert, who, you know, when I first remember spending any time with him, we were kids at my grandmother's house and in South Texas sitting in the back of a truck. And he was talking about this new movie that had just come out, which she hadn't seen yet, but seemed to know everything about how the director had done this shot and how this was done, and all that stuff. And my job was just on the floor, but out of the truck, because I realized I finally found someone who loved movies, baby boy. And that movie was called The Escape from New York, John Carpenter's. The early 80s. And, and it was just like, you know, a lighted off in my head, I was probably in the fifth grade or so. And I started to write my first little scripts, and written a parody of the TV show Dallas. And just thought, you know, this is great, I'm gonna write scripts, Robert will direct them and the Sister Angela, his older sister, my older cousin, she'll start and then she wanted to be an actress. And it actually did happen. And she, she became an actor, she was in several movies, and including a movie that really well called shorts. So it was it was amazing. It was amazing to see that all finally kind of come come through. But and then, you know, later on, I didn't use it for his first show or anything, like you mentioned. And but after that, we started collaborating on a script together, which never got made cultural death was part which we wrote for an actress that Robert had met, and thought was going to be the next big thing. And she was Salma Hayek and ever since then, I just, you know, was writing on different projects with him, you know, reading themes or dialogue or, or ideas for the movies, like for rooms and road racers, and then later plants, and then the roof shorts and machete together.
Dave Bullis 4:38
So and, you know, where did it you know, well, actually, you know, I'll get to that later from Gustl. Don, because I don't want to get too far ahead. But I mean, that's absolutely amazing, you know, no, you know that you're able to collaborate with a family member. And it was so amazing. He's able to open all these doors for you. And you know, that that mean, you know, and that's, you know, a couple of things I want to touch on. So there's just Really quickly, are you at the South by Southwest festival right now?
Alvaro Rodriguez 5:03
I am did yeah, we're shooting shooting my episode protested on second season second episode right now. And this happened to coincide with Southwest festival. So then able to go and do some screenings and and, you know, networking and stuff like that it's been fantastic.
Dave Bullis 5:25
So are you filming this series in Austin?
Alvaro Rodriguez 5:28
Yeah, the entire show shoots in and around Austin. Robert has his own studio troublemaking Studios, where he shot many of the films. And here in Austin, which is right next to Austin Studios, where we also have set and we're shooting in and around town and different locations. Machete was shot entirely here in Austin to on those on those stages, and then around town. So it's amazing. It's amazing to be able to have that kind of those kind of facilities and just a great crew, break people that that, you know, Robert uses, again, and again, on all these different projects. So it makes our TV show look like a like a big feature project.
Dave Bullis 6:19
That's amazing. We would work with the same crew and everything over and over. You know, that is a great benefit. And also, it's great that, you know, he has a studio right there in Austin. You know, the reason I asked where you're shooting was because, you know, with all these film tax credits, and that there's, you know, the debate about you know, do they work? Do they not work? You know, I know, sometimes you get thrown through a loop, you know, we know, like Season One of Banshee was filmed in North South or North Carolina. And season two was actually filming here in Pennsylvania.
Alvaro Rodriguez 6:46
Yeah, probably Austin is Austin has really become over the last couple of decades. Quite a film and television production. You know, this new series on ABC American crime takes place in the best of California that was shot entirely in Austin. Hopefully, they'll be back for season two. And, you know, it's it's really amazing that they're in Austin, you know, it just has developed a really strong reputation for film and television. A lot of people want to be here. We have guys in our, in our cast that are, you know, bought license here. And you know, are and I've heard same stories from other other crew members on other projects that they've worked on. And from other people that, you know, awesome is a place where, you know, actors want to come work there. And because they have such a good time in the city and city is very open to, to all those kinds of things to great creative, creative Nexus here in Austin.
Dave Bullis 7:49
Yeah, I've always heard that. And I've always heard that slogan, Keep Austin weird.
Alvaro Rodriguez 7:53
Yeah. So we're doing our part, we're doing our part to keep it weird.
Dave Bullis 8:01
So what's one of the coolest things that you have seen thus far at the South by Southwest festival?
Alvaro Rodriguez 8:07
Well, last night, I went to a screening that was touted as a 30th I think the 31st anniversary screening, the road warrior with George Miller, director in attendance. And we got to see kind of a sneak after the film of the new Fury Road, the new Mad Max film, we got to see about seven or eight minutes of that. And then a special trailer that was just cut for South by Southwest and Warner Brothers spec a brand new prints of the film. So it just looks absolutely amazing. And of course road warriors such a huge influence on both Robert and myself. And Robert actually got to, to do a, an episode of his series on the overlay called the director's chair for his interviews, different directors. He just aired the latest one a week or so ago with Francis Ford Coppola. And he got to film an episode with George Miller. And, you know, it's just it's just amazing to see, to see something like that in 35 millimeter, I think they said is the only film at South by Southwest that was reading the 35 millimeter on the big screen in in a beautiful theater downtown Austin, the Paramount which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. So it's just like, you know, that's, it's a really amazing account of priceless experience to see something like that.
Dave Bullis 9:37
I mean, I know you can't go into detail, but you know, um, you know, what did you think of a couple of minutes of the new, the new Mad Max, you're allowed to say?
Alvaro Rodriguez 9:46
It was amazing. It was really amazing. I mean, it was such a, it was it was such a tease. It was it was like please give us more please give us more.
Alex Ferrari 9:59
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Alvaro Rodriguez 10:09
You know, because it just, it looks beautiful. And I'm Hardy, Tom Hardy, who plays Mad Max with tastic show he's thrown the entire cast. It just has. It looks like a road warrior, you know, turn it up to 11. And you know Thunderdome everything and blast, that's just, I can't wait to see it opens may 15. And it just looks absolutely amazing for fans of that, that kind of film. I can't imagine that anybody's really going to be disappointed. It just didn't look. Looks stellar. I couldn't wait to see it after that case of it last night.
Dave Bullis 10:48
And that's good to hear coming from Nashville fan of the original as well. You know, because, you know, what the, you know, the sort of the trends you see now in film is, you know, there's a lot of remakes. There's a lot of you know, old properties established properties that are getting, you know, made updated, like, you know, a minute where even TV shows, but you know, it's good that there are, you know, personally like 21 Jump Street, I thought that was hilarious. Like, you know what, I mean, I went in there with almost no expectations. And I came out and I said, Wow, that was actually pretty damn good.
Alvaro Rodriguez 11:21
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think that's the thing, you know, the remakes and reboots, and reimagining is often get, you know, short shrift, and people say, you know, there's been more well, you know, just because of con voters may True Grit doesn't erase the first film, you know, doesn't erase the original. And a lot of things, you know, writing and entertainment and stories are, it's such a, it's already inherently a system of recycling, you know, that this system of, of taking something old, and giving it a new spin and sunlight. And obviously, you can fall on that as a crutch, but I think we need to have talent. And, and this will sort of, like, make something better, or make something with your own touch. And you have someone like George Miller, who's, you know, at the helm of, of taking Mad Max and doing the reimagining or reboot, or whatever you want to call it. That, you know, you're in the hands of a master. And, and there are so many, you know, it's a whole new generation who weren't able to experience vote order, the first time it came out, and the context in which it came out, you know, in the context in which it came out, it was like this, you know, this post apocalyptic future that we seem to be so close to now. And that's one of the things that, that makes, I think, the movie resonant, and the original again, and giving, giving new ideas for, for what the reboot is going to be, you know, so I have, you know, I don't have the same sort of negative outlook on those kinds of things, I guess, you know, some, some people call things complete che and I say, No, it's not a cliche, it's a universal truth. Just go with that.
Dave Bullis 13:16
Yeah, you know, and I agree with you, bro. You know, sometimes what I seem to see from even my friends is, there's two kinds of attitudes they have, either they go like, they either say, like, we see something like, you know, like a big budget blockbuster, whether it's a superhero movie, or you know, transformers, what have you. They'll say like, you know, if they didn't like it, they'll say, Oh, well, you know, what, what did you expect? They know that blah, blah, blah, you know, or the other one is, it's overrated, or, you know, it's this or that. I mean, it just seems to be like, if they like when someone does try something new. They're sort of like, you know, you do something new. It's almost like there's a trend, you know, in movie reviewers have been like, Oh, my God, why were they doing this? And then, you know, that's where you can say, like, hey, we tried to do something new, and nobody wants to go see it.
Alvaro Rodriguez 14:02
That's true. And there's this thing, you know, and Dessel Don is reimagining as a television series, the reimagining of the movie, and taking that world further, you know, so, in so many ways, you know, we're guilty of it too, but we're trying to do something else with it, you know, we're trying to take it further and, and develop characters bring in new characters that just utilize that world and we have to get the other thing to remember is exactly what you said, this is a this is in so many ways that business, and sometimes it's easier, it's a different, it's an easier sell to sell someone something that they think they already know. And but it's just the now it's it's the same, but it's different. And it's it's that kind of ability to take take something that some people already are familiar with, and give it back to them in a new way. And I think that when when you do that, well, people respond to it. Well, and that was one of the great things about working on the show is that You know, it was very apparent very early on, that everybody involved in the cast and writers and the directors that were brought on board to direct episode, they were all coming to this as a, as a bit of a passion project. Nobody was really there, in my opinion, just kind of picking up the check and you know, walking away from it. Everybody was really invested in, in, in the project. I think he just you get it, you get a sense of that when you watch the stuff. And so, you know, I think that's, that's the best you can hope for this finance for.
Dave Bullis 15:36
Oh, yeah, absolutely. And you I've watched the whole the whole first season. And I can definitely tell you know, you have both of the main of the gecko brothers. They both were one looks like Clooney, one looks like Tarantino, I thought I mean, that was excellent casting, by the way. I was like, Well, I mean, I could see, you know, the, the, you know, finding someone looks like Tarantino, he has a unique look. So I was like, Man, that was it must have been either the easiest casting session ever, were the hardest casting session ever. Because, you know, I mean, either you have to look through a ton of headshots or like, only to get, you know, to closely resemble, you know, actors who submitted. And you know, and when I watched them, I watched it, you know, especially the first couple episodes, it takes place, you know, that same little convenience store with the sheriff. And, you know, and, you know, it was, you know, very well done. And, and then there's also, you know, for those who haven't seen it, there's also a whole layer that you've added to the TV show as well.
Alvaro Rodriguez 16:33
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, an eye opening in that opening episode, which is very based on the first five or 10 minutes of the film. In the film, a character from Texas Ranger Oh, McGraw's play by Michael Parkes, and he gets killed off in that first 10 minutes of come. And we had, you know, Don Johnson playing the character on our show, you know, he's a tremendous actor in it to begin with, but we were going to extend his role so that even though his character died in the first episode, he was in flashbacks for the next few episodes. And you got to see more of that character. And that's a lot of the fun of the project like this, too, is that it exists in this special, you know, world called the Tarantino universe, you know, they guarantee universe you know, or McGraw shows up and planet chair or McGraw shows up in, in other other Tarantino things. So you've got this kind of continuity of story and things like that these characters just kind of show up in these different Tarantino kind of related things. And so, it's, it's amazing to, to have a small part in that, in that world.
Dave Bullis 17:46
Yeah, and I think you've done a phenomenal job. You know, I, you know, I, when I first heard about, you know, this was on series, I, I was like, it was just gonna be a continuation, you know, this is gonna be a prequel. And then I watched it, I was like, Oh, wow, it's really interesting what they've done here. And they sort of
Alvaro Rodriguez 18:05
I was just gonna say, back in the day, you know, back in the late 90s, I actually had Robert was out out in Japan promoting a film he did call the faculty and we were messaging each other online. And he said, you know, dimension there, Max, we're interested in doing a couple of sequels decimal dot, probably will be straight to video and shot back to back and asked me if I had any ideas. And so I pitched an idea for basically it's sort of spaghetti western prequel to decimal gone, which we ended up making as decimals on three, the hangman's daughter, with Michael parks playing a real real life character named Ambrose Bierce, who disappeared in Mexico around the time of the Mexican Revolution. And so, it was great to have already kind of had the background of doing research the story also sort of the genesis of some tiny Danica pandamonium character played by Salma Hayek and original film, and cat came up with this different backstory for her and researching all the sorts of Mesoamerican mythologies of an aspect in mind things and special ideas about what these these creatures were, that inhabit the bordello south of the border. And so coming to the show, again, it was like taking some of the some of those same ideas going so much further with Herman and creating, you know, more backstory and more more, sort of lines of story and plot and character arcs and all that kind of stuff. That really was respond to work with, and coming up with ideas for for for the season, especially since you know, after the first season, the movie is over. We kind of took that movie and turned it into 10 cups of television. Obviously with a lot of new material. A lot of new characters added the character that will move all around the place
Alex Ferrari 19:59
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Alvaro Rodriguez 20:09
Just one to three characters that Cheech Bernie plays in the film, Carlos, in the movie is new, there's so much of a character in our show cause to become a main, a huge part of the show, a big anchor for the show. And now it's easy to like, you know, the world is open again. And so to be able to create the season March, you know, that takes us completely out of the movie. Now, the following these characters and allowing the stories and storylines and arcs to grow from characters, instead of just following what we had already seen, was a great challenge. And also just a great opportunity to try to do something interesting and
Dave Bullis 20:53
Just allow for a win when you're, you know, working together, imagine, you know, before each season, you know, you and all the other writers are in the room together, you know, how much how much outline do you do before you actually all get started writing your own episodes,
Alvaro Rodriguez 20:53
It was it was really kind of an amazing process, we had had kind of an eight week, stretch last summer, to just talk out where we were going. And one of the one of the I think really invaluable things that we did was, we brought in each of the main therapists, each of the main actors in one at a time to come into the room and talk about their character. Tell me and tell me what you thought about season one? How do you feel your character feels at the end of season one? How does your character feel about other characters on the show? What did you like about season one? What did you not like about season? Two differently? What kinds of things you know, would you like to see your character doing and stuff like that, and that really kind of gave us a lot of ideas. And we started out with with, with some ideas about where we thought we would go in season. But, you know, it was a it was a really evolutionary process and a really collaborative process. I think that was that was amazing. And, and then as far as outlining, now, there's so much of, you know, like, they say, so much of writing is rewriting so much for writing, it's also a prewriting process, before the scripts of, you know, writing outlines, having them, you know, brought to the table having them torn apart and rebuilt, you know, ideas that we had for a big finale that that might get just pushed, you know, further or closer to, you know, before the end of the season. So we can even go further from the big idea that we had, and all those kinds of things, you know, it's a, it really is sort of, you know, nothing is written in stone sort of thing as we're in that process. And things are very fluid and flexible, with the, with the idea of being open to open to trying to collaboratively and individually, Bring, bring your A game and keep constantly trying to challenge ourselves to make things better. One of the things our share winner has kind of instilled in all of us, this idea of, you know, our shareholders, depending FroKnowsPhoto has worked on several shows most of us, you know, great record and television. And one of the things, you know, he would say is if someone brought an idea that everybody thought, hey, that's a really good, that's a really good idea of characters, you know, do that, let's you look and earn it, you know, let's not try to put a pin over here and say, by this time this has to happen. But let's really see if we can get our characters to that point, organically through the characters themselves. Getting to that, to that good idea, you know, so it's a, it's a, it's a, it's a real challenge. And, and but, you know, it feels like, you know, we're all working together to do to try to do that.
Dave Bullis 23:57
And, you know, it's really great to have a showrunner, you know, with a lot of experience, you know, to actually sort of guide it along. I mean, you know, I've actually talked to other writers or other shows, and they've mentioned how important that person can be because, you know, like, you just said, you know, people have to earn it. And you can't sort of force it just because, hey, it's a cool idea.
Alvaro Rodriguez 24:18
Right! Yeah, no, absolutely. And that, and that, I think that spirit really continues on you. And as we're shooting an episode, you know, we come up with an idea, even as we're shooting and say, you know, maybe this needs to happen. Well, it's, you know, that's not trying to force it, let's, let's really try to find a way to make it to make it seem like a natural organic part of the story. And so, you know, there's that and we're just really, really fortunate and, you know, to creative these populations are great, great crew, great actors, great directors, photography and great directors on our episodes, to really kind of I try to, you know, to do the best that we can with, with, with ideas and with the scripts and, and, you know, try to put out something that people will will be intrigued by and want to keep watching.
Dave Bullis 25:14
So, you know, allroad now that you have, you know, you you, have you episode everything from the writers meeting, you know, how do you personally sit down to write? I mean, do you? So, I mean, I know, you've probably have a couple of points, and a couple of things that you have to incorporate in the episode. But do you? Do you sort of break it out into the eight parts, like the age structure theory? Or do you just do the traditional three act, or do you not do any of that and just go go for it in,
Alvaro Rodriguez 25:43
Oh, you know, we definitely stick to a structure, you know, on our show, we kind of go with what we, you know, presented a five act structure. And, and the outline will reflect the ACT breaks, and, you know, sometimes there's a fluid and those change, always try to have a really good strong act out. And then a strong Act in, you know, in between the breaks and stuff like that. So, you know, the outline process is fairly rigorous, and, and it's really as detailed as we can possibly make it. And then other things, there's leftist, you know, with our terminology and the writers opportunity to, you know, kind of, when you're writing the script, to actually find something that, you know, will, will not maybe not have been in the outline, or not as clear in the outline, that suddenly, in the writing of the of the script itself, you know, but, as far as the writing process, you know, it's, it's a lot of crying a lot of procrastination, a lot of, you know, suicidal thoughts, and then somehow putting together something that, that, that, you know, it's going to be challenged again, you know, and I think that's, in a lot of ways, that's a, that's a liberating part of the thing too, you know, realizing that, that, you know, it's our duty to try to give the best that we can, but realize that, you know, it's always going to be improved upon, it's really always going to, it's still a valuable thing, and up to the moment, that's the issue. Because there are things that happen. And new ideas that come in one of the one of the great things about this particular season is that we were able to have, you know, all of our scripts written before we actually started shooting. And so that allowed, you know, for a certain amount of, you know, being able to go over the entirety of the season, and the scripts, and really try to, you know, make sure all the setups were set up, and all the payoffs are paid off, you know, and, and everything got hit. So it, it you know, it sets the bar pretty high. So hopefully, we can, we can, we can make that jump.
Dave Bullis 28:06
So, you know, as your writing style sort of changed over the years, you know, from, you know, obviously was within your IMDB and your your first actual writing credit is, you know, from dusk till dawn three Hangman's daughter. So when you move back to where you are now, has your wedding sort of process changed a lot.
Alvaro Rodriguez 28:28
I think the process has probably changed a bit. And I think that the style has probably changed. And I remember back to that time, you know, one of the executives who was at the mansion at the time, said, you know, your script is great, and it reads almost like a novel. And I realized that I was, you know, I really wasn't trained as a screenwriter, a lot of this was, you know, kind of learning by doing. I didn't, I never had taken any kind of screenwriting classes or anything like that, and didn't go to school. I was an English major. But I had a lot of background and both, I had three semesters of creative writing as an undergraduate in poetry of all things. And then I was also an entertainment journalist for the student newspaper, it was just an entertainment editor. And, you know, and had done some new stuff, too. I was working in newspaper while I was writing vessel, Dawn three. And it felt like, you know, those things, which I thought of this happen, were actually strong primers for screenwriting. Because in screenwriting, it's so much about the essence of things, and such a skeletal structure that the poetry lent lends itself to that because in poetry so many times you're trying to break, you know, sensations and images and emotions in a reader in a few words as possible, creating these images in as few words as possible. And in journalism, you know, it's kind of this this just the facts, ma'am, kind of reporting, you know, which also lends itself to screenwriting. So those were those were, those were actually powerful, you know, sort of setup tools for me
Alex Ferrari 29:59
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Alvaro Rodriguez 30:09
But, you know, even then I feel like, like I learned to kind of find my voice, I think my voice was, was there in that in the first strip in payments, or wasn't the first group that written this first group that got made, and to kind of hone that down and keep trying to, you know, to, to convey as much information as possible in the most economical way possible. And, and try to really find the power of the language, in order to convey in the readers minds, that might be a reader picking up the script, and is the one who's going to pass it on to the next guy are not, or to actually have a shooting script and have, you know, the director read this and say, you know, this is how we're going to do this, or the director, photography resistance, they just have, it's going to be shot without using, you know, without telling them exactly what they're going to do, but just to be able to sort of suss that out for themselves in the script that you've written. So yeah, I think it's definitely evolved to use that word and as part of the process, and, you know, I hope that I can keep, you know, keep evolving, keep getting better at what I'm doing.
Dave Bullis 31:29
And, you know, I mean, it's, it's amazing that, you know, you always, you know, finding new ways to improve. You know, I've noticed that too, you know, you touched on something about, you know, you said the script read read like a novel. You know, as I as I do more screenwriting as well. And even read scripts, I've realized, I've finally realized now that actually reading screenplays that have either been produced or not produced, but have been like, you know, either bought or optioned, really gives you gives you a view into that world that, you know, any screenwriting guru or whatever can't give you if you know what I mean?
Alvaro Rodriguez 32:06
Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think that's the thing too, I spent, I spent a long time once I started really writing and you know, hanging his daughter, and after that, of amassing a library of anything I thought was useful. But among those, you know, practically every book on screenwriting ever written, and I was always trying to find, you know, I was always trying to find shortcuts, maybe not the right word, but but sort of techniques or ideas of things that could help me, you know, in the process, and the problem with that sometimes, and it was for me was that, you know, it can become a crutch, it can actually become kind of a stifling, habit stifling. And when I was writing, and I would be like, you know, I don't know what I'm gonna do next. But I know the answer is probably on the shelf over here somewhere or these shelves, or this whole, you know, this room of books. And, and I think that the more that the more more that you actually do in the process, the more that you're actually involved in the writing process, the less that you feel like you need those kinds of things, because you've already sort of, you've made them a part of yourself, their inherent in your own sensibilities, because you've been a reader your whole life, you've read, you read scripts, or you've read novels, you've seen movies, you understand the language of film, you understand the language of screenwriting. And, and I think you're sort of getting to that point where I was kind of using the example of when I was an undergraduate, when I first got to the University of Texas, I tested out of 16 hours of Spanish, you know, and I never had to take like, I never had to take Spanish at the college level. And I felt like I never really got as intensive training in Spanish as I could have. And it wasn't until years and years later, I was finally like reading books in Spanish and realizing I wasn't translating into English in my head, as I was reading, I was just understanding. And I think it's the same thing with with the writing, it's like I, I already had the language of screenwriting, and the language of cinema in my brain, and I just needed to kind of tap into it and realize that all of these things are many of them. Were already inherently a part of my, my own sensibility.
Dave Bullis 34:24
Yeah, and, you know, I realized it too, is that when you, you know, sort of, when you start doing it, and you know, doing it as the most important part when you start getting in there and actually writing and, you know, being resistance and, and, and, you know, you start to realize you don't need those signposts as much, you know what I mean? So, you know, you I'm sure you've heard of, like, you know, there's certain rules like, Oh, by page 17, this has to happen. And, you know, and you realize that, you know, those guideposts aren't like definitive rules. They're just, you know, either, I guess you could say principles or you know, someone was just like, hey, Look, I noticed that on page 17 of these scripts this happened. So therefore, here's the rule.
Alvaro Rodriguez 35:04
Right! Well, I mean, that's the thing. I mean, I did, I did take workshops later on, especially like, I didn't save the cat workshop here in Austin with Luke Snyder when he was when he was still alive. And, and it was, it was, it was the first screenwriting workshop I'd ever done. And it was so amazing to me, because what Blake had done in his broken in the workshop was to take, you know, the sort of the sort of 15 beach, and how to show you how, you know, if you could look at drawers, and you could look at, you know, a comedy, and you could look at a horror film, you could look at it, whatever genre it was, you could always sort of find these sort of 15 things in it. And the way that he described them, this is, you know, it's like the casual Fridays version of the, you know, story or blue hunter or whatever, that, that it was, it was so accessible, you know, and, but I think, think about those things you choose that you really kind of have to take them as, as a descriptive and not prescriptive, you know, it's describing a thing that already exists. And when you, you can definitely apply them, and they can help you in structure. But, but don't be so confined to, to a page number or anything like that, just like, just know that this is sort of the way stories have been told throughout time. That's why I feel like so much of it is inherent, it's not telling you stuff that you already know, but putting it in the language that makes it sort of accessible and easy to understand, you know, so I think, I think all those things are valuable, I don't discount them in any way, shape, or form. But I think that you realize that, you know, it's kind of telling you things that you sort of already intrinsically know, and maybe have just not thought of in those terms before gives you gives you a terminology, it gives you a way to name the parts of the body of your story. And, and realize, hey, you know, the knee bones connected to the shin bone, and that, that's that that's the way that the body works. That's the way story word. And if you you know, if you put these pieces together, and realize that there's a framework, then you can kind of, you know, mess around with that and switch things around and, and surprise yourself, even with the hopes that that that's going to surprise the reader and surprise your audience. And I think the other thing is to not discount at all the value of actually working with actors, and actually being involved in the process. So that, you know, only for me, I was always kind of describing myself as a guy chained to the laptop in the dungeon. And these are all just the voices in my head I was writing out. But when you actually, you know, onset. We're out actors like Don Johnson, or Robert De Niro and machete, you know, is doing lines to route and bringing in his own sensibilities to them and stuff like that. It's like, it opens up, you know, it's like, we're on the chakra level. He was just like, shut up, your mind explodes, you reached the crown, and you've reached Nirvana when someone like Robert De Niro is doing your dialogue, and bringing this whole other sensibility to it, but you didn't see, even as you were writing it, that can influence the way that you approach writing, in poetry and dollar approach writing scene or whatever it happens to be, you know what I mean?
Dave Bullis 38:22
Oh, yeah, it's a very good point. Um, you know, sometimes, I'll sit in with script readings. So, you know, I, I actually, I co founded a writers group two years ago, and we still meet, you know, we meet twice a month. And, you know, when everyone's done, we actually staged readings, especially with good actors, and have just ever, you know, reading in a conference room altogether. And, you know, and it's, you know, the writers who, actually, who wrote that particular script, you know, they're always frantically taking notes, because you actually hearing now, you know, different voice added to that, you know, because again, like you said, they come to, you know, putting their inflection on on the character,
Alvaro Rodriguez 39:00
Right! Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And just, you know, even things that you thought work on the page that don't work, in the reality of situation, or, or, and that's another thing, too, is like, just an example of last season. Working on an episode that I've written with Robert Patrick, and we were rehearsing the scene sitting around the table without Patrick and NASM, done for Brandon Sue, who would play Kate and Scott for this is children on show. And there was a moment I was just kind of kind of glanced over Robert, and he just had this look on his face. And I just told him, I said, you know, I can't even look at you because you're so you're so intense right now. I mean, you can do more with one look than than if I gave you a page of dialogue and realize that the physicality of the actor is something that never could sort of under underestimate in, in in the writing process.
Alex Ferrari 39:59
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Alvaro Rodriguez 40:08
And realize that you have to, you have to leave something for the actor, be simple for the actor to do. Recently in Los Angeles, I went to some screenings of films that John Borman made strikingly, Marvin, particularly point blank, and a movie called Helen Pacific. And Glenn Epstein, I think his name is had written a biography of Lee Marvin told the story about a senior blank blank in which we Marvins character, Jesus comes back to the his wife, who basically set him up or watched as he was allegedly killed and left for dead. And he comes back just to see her and realizing, or thinking that he's going to kill the guy who tried to kill him that he's been now shacked up with his wife, and had this scene where we had all this dialogue, me Marvin had all this dialogue with his wife, and he just asked if he could not say any of it, and just have the conversation beyond from the wife side. And, you know, it's just his wife kind of talking to him, as if they're having a conversation, but it's only her lines, and he's just giving her the CSIS look at and he's just, he's just acting without dialogue. And you see how much how smart that is, first of all, and how brave it is, for an actor to say, I can do this without words, I can do this with my own physicality with my own presence. Without, you know, without having to just say everything that I feel, I can show you that. And to think about that, as a writer is, you know, it's, it's an amazing sort of lesson and realizing that, that this, this really is a skeleton. And it's the actors, and it's the directors of photography, and directors in the lighting firms, everybody else puts the flesh on those bones. And, and, you know, it's something I think about, you know, in the process of writing fine to kind of leave that leave that space. You know, that's what the whitespace is, I think, you know, on the page, but whitespace is, is the place where the actor shines light spaces where it's not, you know, sort of snapping isn't the dialogue for how well you wrote this action line. The actors themselves, characters that are that are breathing between this in between. And I, I talked about Jonathan Wichman, song about the Velvet Underground, he has a line in there, where he says, they played less notes and less more state. And that sort of thing I tried to do in screenwriting, kind of pointless notes and leave more space, that space there for, for the actors to inhabit. And I think when you really have a strong theme, like that, the theme, I think, it's my favorite scene in that episode, where these characters are sitting together, realizing that they're, they're kind of stuck in this place, and, and stuff, Gecko is kind of forcing them to confront their own demons. And there's only one one thing that that the valley This is good, but it's, it's, it's really what the actors bring to it, it's really so much of what they're what they're showcasing their own panel capabilities. You know, provides a lesson to me as a writer,
Dave Bullis 43:29
It's sort of like adding that layer of subtext, you know, and it's sort of, you know, finding a way to actually say things that actually coming out and saying them and all the things below the surface. And, you know, I've never actually seen that movie, but I will make sure to actually check that out. Because that would, you know, that's a way to, you know, to tell a story.
Alvaro Rodriguez 43:49
Yeah, point let me and I think he also gives another example another movie that we Marvin did with the director Richard Brooks called the professional which is a Western it's also I'm sure it's a big influence on on planning Tarantino and things like that too. But point blank to the professionals and talents Pacific which is basically in a lot of ways a silent film, to actually live in and to share the filming the Japanese actor are stranded on an island in World War Two. And you know, one of the speaking with women speak Japanese for this remade in a way as enter the mind and 80s Bible from theaters. With Denis play the new Boston is a sci fi movie, we're human and alien or crash landed on this planet. And, you know, you just, you're just such strong lessons for a writer, to look at structure to look at how stories are told, and to look at the, you know, to be reminded of, of how much can be done with silence or how much can be done with with work with with with the telling story, or Robert told the story. I'm not yours actually in the director's chair or not, that's something that Francis Coppola had told him and he was doing the interview about, you know, something that he liked to do with the actors is shooting an entire scene without dialogue, just as a, just as a rehearsal as a practice. And laboratory, he never, he never actually done that before. But he was really intrigued to try it. You know. And, and I think that those, you know, there's something, there's something that can be gained by that. There's, there's definitely a lesson to be learned. From the writer standpoint, and from the directing standpoint, to you know, that you're not dependent, what was coming out of the actors. Now, as much as you are, you know, remembering that this is cinema, you know, this is a visual medium. People remember shots, people remember quotes from movies all the time. But, you know, when you have a scene, and you let the actors sort of really inhabit that thing, and you don't not in a hurry, I'll cut. You know, you can find some impressive moments, and hopefully, remember them in a way that will illuminate your own writing. At least I did.
Dave Bullis 46:11
And that is a very interesting technique as well, you know, what I want? And one of these, you know, film books I have? No, you can't see it right now. There's a whole shelf of screaming in books behind me of films and everything else. Once again, I'm sure I'm sure we have probably have almost the entire same library. But but, you know, there was a technique where the guy actually says, watch your favorite film without sound. And, and, you know, and yes, just see how every scene plays out?
Alvaro Rodriguez 46:39
Absolutely, absolutely. You know, one piece of advice that I've often given people, you know, either in a workshop that I've taught or, or LED, or, you know, people have asked me about, you know, writing something, and I said, Well, you know, like, you've seen lots of movies. So what's your, you know, think of a movie that has a great scene and that you really love, and then try to find the screenplay for that movie, and read the scene, read and read. What does that look like on paper? You know, you have this favorite scene from, you know, I don't know, The Exorcist or to live and die in LA or freakin examples. But, you know, what does that look like on paper? Well, it was just an action scene, one of the action laundry lines, and then what how does what does that look like? And just to see the thing that you've always seen, completely visual, visually? And what's that look like? When it's words on paper? You know, and, and to see how that was translated to become the scene that you loved in the movie? I think that's a that's a really strong lesson for kind of just just to experience that in a different way. And that's,
Dave Bullis 47:52
Yeah, and I agree that something I've done too, is actually go out and find the screenplays of things. Like I Speaking of which, you know, you know, the Oscars weren't too long ago. As soon as I watched Birdman and the Grand Budapest Hotel, I was like, I gotta see these screenplays. Right. I think those two and whiplash are definitely the best written movies in the Oscar race. And those are three screenplays. I was like, I just want to see how they did this. And, you know, it's phenomenal. And actually, I had one of the writers of Birdman, Alex and Dan Alerus, on here, about 15 episodes ago, and he was, you know, as awesome be able to pick his brain, but it is yours. Because, you know, you're the guy who actually wrote You know, you know, you know, these films that you know, we're talking about, so you can actually tell us? No, this is what I did, you know, and speaking of which, you know, I want to ask you, you know, about machete, and, you know, I wanted to ask you, you know, did you come up with this, you know the inception of this idea, or was it was it, Robert or was it was it your brainstorming
Alvaro Rodriguez 48:55
It was always Robert, it was always Robert and Danny. I mean, I think you know, when Robert first met Danny pareho when you can so edition for Desperado. And you know, the storytellers with Robert took one look at Danny's you're the guy. Rob. Danny was auditioning for a character called the boss which means knives. And he's a nicer and Desperado. And then talking to Derek. Oh, hi. And, you know, Danny had been packing for many years already. Usually playing you know, bug number three, or you know, the bad guy. It's fall apart. And you know, Robert, just like you said, became fast friends with Danny and said, you know, it'd be great to make a movie in which you're the you're the hero. You're the guy. And I think that was sort of the inception of machete and Robert had written kind of a long treatment script and that kind of thing for for a machete character. And then when it came time to make the Grindhouse Rubbermaid plant chair punter gene and a deaf person is releasing several feature.
Alex Ferrari 49:56
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Alvaro Rodriguez 50:05
Then came up with this idea of really kind of going with the whole double feature drive in concept and doing fake trailers for movies that didn't exist. And so machete became one of those things. And it was like, well, great, we can just make the big trailer, we got to have to make the movie. But then, you know, even though Brian house, you know, sort of underperformed with the box office, the trailer from the shed, he sort of took on a life of its own on YouTube and things like that. And people really responded to it, it became a thing where it's not low, we're actually going to do and I started writing around the time of Grindhouse, I was there and wrote a little bit of dialogue is actually in the trailer with GH as the priest. And then you know, later on, just started working from the trailer, basically, and creating a new story, a fuller story out of it, and having creating more characters, the just all the character, the show boundaries character, that that Don Johnson character, all those kinds of things that just really evolved over time until we actually knew the phone. And, and you see, you know, you see how it turned out.
Dave Bullis 51:24
Yeah, I thought it was phenomenal. And I ain't you know, it, you know, it was the Grindhouse theme, you have the cuts and scratches. And you know, and you know, and it's just you know, Danny is the perfect guy to play a guy. I mean, he looks at a guy named machete.
Alvaro Rodriguez 51:39
Yeah. Oh, absolutely. I just did a panel with him the Comic Con in Fort Lauderdale two weeks ago, you know, and someone from the audience asked, you know, what's your favorite character, and said, you know, machete, and Marcia Brady. asked him how that happened. And he said, Yeah, you know, my manager says, you know, I think we got a Superbowl commercial. And he was like, You're kidding, you know, what, what do I have to do? You have to be Marcia Brady, you're not gonna do it. You know, even that is just like, so amazing. It was so amazing. It's terrific. Glasses, should be a small part of the sort of persona that Danny has been able to inhabit as that character.
Dave Bullis 52:41
So when you know when they were filming with Chet de we you on set every day, or were you orgies a few days, or
Alvaro Rodriguez 52:47
A few days, I was on, off and on? It was you know, it was amazing. It was amazing. I got to be upset when Robert De Niro was there and talked to him a bit. And, you know, you're so you're so generous. And so, so commented. And I think the thing about, you know, the thing about him, too, was that, you know, he was feeling he had expressed interest in becoming involved in the project early on, to play the plays this genogram. And in the original draft of the script, the senator was just the guy to get shot, it was not really a character in the, in the script. So it really started having to try to build a character out of this guy. And so you know, that the thing that, you know, we understood from from Robert Janiero was that he wasn't interested in, you know, doing it unless there was really something there to do. And it didn't want people to fail. He was just, you know, picking up a check. And so, you know, started coming up with ideas and sending in dialogue and concepts and stuff like that. And we get responses, like, that's good, that's good, Keep coming, keep coming. And, you know, finally hit on sort of the finale of his character, and, you know, the speeches that I'd written for his character, you know, when you signed on, and one of the funny things in the, in the finale of the film after he's been shot, he's dying on the floor, on the ground, with Lindsay Lohan dressed as a nun hovering over him with a gun. He's sort of kind of blanking out, you start in my script, at least one draft of it. He starts reciting the act of contrition and the Catholic act of contrition in Latin, like he's reverting back to his actual, you know, he's not really a Texan and all this stuff. And Robert read the thing and he's like, Well, what the hell is this? It's like, you know, he's not really fixing he's he's reverting back to this, you know, New York childhood or whatever. It is all deploying either saying that contrition forgiveness before he dies. And it's like, that doesn't make you never going to do that. And then that one day and I got a call from Elizabeth Ramadan, those spirits are on the phone. But she's like, I want to read the need the Latin correctly talking about, like the Latin thing that the Nero says he's working with a priest, he wants to get it right. But that was the thing he was. So he became just completely prepared into every line of dialogue. And he did, you know, it was never a thing where, you know, I don't know, my line or whatever like that, please, you know, he was she was totally into it. And I think he had a really good time doing it, and certainly had, you know, it was definitely a highlight of my professional career to say, Well, I didn't really Robert De Niro, and Lohan and everybody else, but you know, he was definitely an actor. I grown up, you know, just loving every film that was done. And I was so impressed with with him and his presence. But had backstories I guess for a lot of the actors that I've worked with, have just been really fortunate to have people that just always think to bring their A game
Dave Bullis 54:04
And asked me such a high as a writer to to say, you know, hey, Alfa, who's your movie? Oh, we had, you know, Robert De Niro. And so and you you also you touched on your your Lindsay Lohan. And I'll see you at Steven Seagal movie as well.
Alvaro Rodriguez 56:32
Steven Seagal was great. We had you know, Don Johnson written some things, you know, Robert has spent a lot of time with Don Johnson before and, and so you know, we use some of the like little phrases that Don Johnson says in the sprint. And I was sitting with him one day on set, and he was like, Oh, I love this is great. You know, I say stuff like this, like, how does that blow your spirit up? And I said, I know. That's why we put it in to be very natural. It was, you know, just amazing. Really, I mean, even during the editing process I was sitting with, with my cousin, Rebecca Roberts, younger sister who was working on the film as well. We were watching the dinner scene. And I said, just stop for a minute. And she said, What's matter? That's Robert De Niro. Thing lines I wrote, you know, in my room, and now it's just like, I didn't need a minute.
But you know, it's great. And whenever stuff like that happened, it's important to just say thank you, I'd be amazed by it all.
Dave Bullis 57:44
You know, and that is that is absolutely amazing. And, and, you know, like you said, it's also as I've been finding it to, to have gratitude as well and always miss and live in the moment and not, you know, just sort of when you see Robert De Niro and just want to stop it there. That's, you know, that's amazing. Albro
Alvaro Rodriguez 58:02
I was just Yeah, I still get goosebumps. Thinking about it. You know? And it was, it was a great experience. And, you know, the movie did well. And, you know, I was just really proud of the way it turned out and realized that, you know, the last draft is the final edit of the movie. You know, there's so much of that movie that some so many ways that movie was improved by by the editor, and really making me come together. And, you know, it's far from a perfect movie, but it's definitely something I'm proud of. And, and, you know, it was a great experience.
Dave Bullis 58:44
And, you know, I particularly like the the the final battle between Seagal and Trejo because if you ask me in a million years, I never would have guessed that, you know, those two ever would have crossed paths and you know, in any movie because they sort of do different movies, you know, but they were able to come together for machete machete. And it's just, you know, I thought it was very well done. So and Scott was still doing his Akito and, you know, Trejo still swinging the mushroom in the mid shut days. He's so confused. I thought it was very well choreographed as well, I thought was phenomenal.
Alvaro Rodriguez 59:17
Yeah, well, thanks, Jamie. And, you know, that's again, it's like, you know, part of that part of the whole process of machete to is realizing for fairly early on, this was going to be in so many ways to kind of kitchen sink, rewriting. It's like, nothing is off by and nothing is out of bounds. Everything Is Everything is possible. You know, you could have a scene where a guy would close down a building with someone's intestines. Or, you know, Michelle establish those cops you know, or the fake cop through to the back of the seat and in the backseat of the car and then steers the car by turning is the surely through the guy, you know, and stuff like that. And it's and
Alex Ferrari 59:59
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Alvaro Rodriguez 1:00:08
You know, so it was, it was, it was pretty liberating in that way to them realizing that you're gonna have this, this pretty the final showdown were going on. anything was possible, you could have, you know, sword fight with machete and, you know, and the integral in his story, you know, it was just turning everything up to around him, I hope.
Dave Bullis 1:00:34
So, you know, when you were actually writing it, did you actually know Scott was gonna be cast in that part? Where did you actually, you know, sort of, you know, a follow up that part later on, when Scott was cast
Alvaro Rodriguez 1:00:44
A little bit of both, a little bit of both, I mean, the character was starting to be there before it was the goal. And then knowing it was the goal, things were, you know, were enhanced in attitude, it was, it was really fun that was part of the process with, with the movie itself. And even from Lindsay Lohan's character to I mean, Robert, told me if I can get Lindsay Lohan to play this part, but it's not even a part. You know, we got it, we got to try to, you know, give her some stuff and, and just sort of, you know, hit on these different little ideas that this kind of gave her gave her her own heart. And, and, and told a little story, you know, so it was great. It was, it was it was, it was so much fun to be a part of that, that process.
Dave Bullis 1:01:32
And, you know, that's great that everything was able to come together, you know, very, very, you know, it's something that, you know, you've been involved in moviemaking for, you know, doing with two decades now. And you know, you know, whatever can go wrong will go wrong in a film set. And, you know, or even even beyond that, you know, even when things are in development, it's so good. You were able to put it together. But I mean, again, if you have any listener out there has not seen that yet. I urge you to go out there and check it out. It's phenomenal. You know, we've been talking for about an hour now. Would you mind just taking a few quick questions that got sent in? Sure. I'm sorry. That was an hour flew by? Yeah, it always seems to work out that way. Which I don't know, if I just asked the right question. Or, you know, I just sort of I don't know. So, but you know, I'm glad it flew by? Because I mean, it was one of
Alvaro Rodriguez 1:02:25
The conversation. Yeah, it's the conversation, you know, when you when you talk and you have your conversation, you you're not looking at your watch. So that's what, that's good.
Dave Bullis 1:02:35
So our first question is alvaro, would you ever consider directing your own film?
Alvaro Rodriguez 1:02:41
Absolutely. Absolutely. I definitely am interested in doing that. Years and years and years ago, I had written was actually my first screenplay. And I was hoping to directly it was going to be very low budget, very independent Texas based project, it never really got off the ground, but sort of as, as training for that I went and made a short film on video that no one has ever seen, no one will ever see. But you know, and it happened so quickly. It was not much of a lesson to me, except to realize that I needed a lot more experience. You know, and that for a long time, I just, you know, whenever I was asked that question, I would say, you know, you know, I just right now I'm just really trying to focus on being a better writer, that's still my answer, I'm still trying to focus on being a better writer, but I'm definitely interested in doing that. Down the road behind the camera. And, you know, I think that's part of the new part of the great opportunity of working on decimal, Dawn is that, as a writer of the episode, we're sort of writer producer, you're they're upset, you're, you're working with the actors as much as you want to be. And so I've had very hands on experience in terms of working with the actors, or rehearsing with the actors, you know, even helping block scenes, and things like that, that. That, to me is like, again, sort of more fuel for the fire really wanting to take the opportunity to try to do to derive as well, I mean, I guess it's, it's the thing to have that less than that, I feel like I have learned or am learning about the sort of the sort of things that are sort of that I have the language or cinema in some way already in my brain. And I can, I can approach these things in that way. You know, we're still with a, with a very open, very open heart and mind thing and I'm always going to try to be learning. I'm the director and training or writer and training or whatever, you know, but I'm learning by doing and trying to be as involved in the process as possible.
Dave Bullis 1:05:07
And that's also you going to actually you're actually going by, you know, writing era directing your own film. Yeah. Because honestly, because then you could VOB like, you know, your, your cousin or Tarantino was, you know, write and direct and, you know, really put your stamp on the film, kind of like, you know, the tour theory of filmmaking, but this time, you know, you know, you can say that, because, you know, you have the writer director, you know, and you, you know, you
Alvaro Rodriguez 1:05:31
Yeah, well, you know, the theory is that wonderful, is a wonderful concept. And I certainly think that it holds true, you know, in a lot of ways, directors, especially those directors, you know, they definitely have a stance, but I think that the thing that maybe I realized, coming out of from the, from the perspective of the writer, and just sort of being a fly on the wall, sometimes in an onset, or whatever, in any kind of environment, when you see the process, you know, it's so filmmaking and television is the most collaborative, creative form that there is my mind, it is, through their collaboration, nothing is possible without, you know, everybody input everybody's efforts to make this thing happen. You know, if you really want to be an authority, you know, write poetry, because no one is ever going to say, you know, I'd really love to write a poem with you, you know. And, and I think that's, I mean, to me, that, that's, that's, that's, I think, that's a lot of ways why, you know, Robert, as, as really dependent on and creating relationships with people with whom you can work again, and again, actors and, and people behind camera, because there's a sort of shorthand language that the defense developed. And there's a, there's a sort of unwritten expectations on what people are bringing to the table. And, and doesn't mean that he doesn't direct, the RSC does, but but he is able to, to, to get what he wants, by, by virtue of having a really strong cast and crew. And, and be the first person to acknowledge that it may not have been that way, in the early days, because he was so he was so hands on. And so, you know, with El Mariachi and the short films that he made the for them, it was always a thing of, he was really trying to become a master of all trades, not just a jack of all trades, but a master of all of them, because he never knew what was going to be the thing that was going to get him a job. You know, maybe people will hate my movie, but they'll love the way it was shot. And I'll get a job as a DP. And they knew they'll hate, you know, they'll hate the way it looks, but they love the spirit and the dialogue, and I'll get hired as a writer. So he was always, you know, really trying to find the best in himself, to fill all those roles, to see which one was going to be the one thing that people responded, and they happen to respond to all of it, you know, in so many ways. And, but, you know, now in the, on the big scale, it's really impossible to do that so much anymore. And, you know, I think that, you know, whenever you see these speeches, when people are kept awards, and they, you know, they think, you know, the writers or they think the producers, and they, they thank the people who put this thing together, and it's, there's so much community experience. I think Orson Welles that every movie is a miracle. And the miracle is that you get all these different people who may have all kinds of different opinions to work together out upon. And that's really, I think, what sort of unites them and get everybody working for the good of the, of the project and doing their best.
Dave Bullis 1:09:07
And just add on you said, you know, the director is a guy that sort of leads a team and builds a team. That's so true. And, you know, one thing that I, you know, I've always heard is the idea of genius surround, which means, you know, always hire people that are smarter than you are. And, you know, that and that way, you know, you know, and they said, you know, we part of the director, directors job, it can be taken care of, just by hiring good, you know, having a great script, have a great cinematographer, and then having great actors and then you know, you pretty much you know, it's only yours to mess up from there.
Alvaro Rodriguez 1:09:46
If I were to go direct the film right now, I would have no idea you know, what kind of lighting am I going to use? Or what's the right terminology for this piece of lighting or that piece of lighting or this this lens or that lens? I would have no idea at all.
Alex Ferrari 1:10:00
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Alvaro Rodriguez 1:10:10
You know, I might have, you know, a very, very, very basic idea. But I mean, again, that's the thing I, you know, it would be a matter of really kind of surrounding yourself with people who know what their, what their tasks are, that's great. And they know their strengths. So you're trying to put together a team that not everybody has the same strengths, but because you put together a team, now you're, you're pretty badass. And it's just your job to make sure that, that it all comes together in the way that you want it. And you keep pushing until you get what you want.
Dave Bullis 1:10:48
Yeah, very well said. And, and our next question is, Alberto, what advice could you give for someone trying to break into Hollywood?
Alvaro Rodriguez 1:11:00
You know, I always felt guilty about that question, because, you know, I didn't, you know, in a lot of ways, I'm broken into Hollywood. And what I have done is, you know, been able to do the work with Robert on many, many projects, I'm now working with other with other people on other projects, and doing other things off the ground features and stuff like that. But, you know, obviously, I feel like, I had a, you know, a huge door opened up for me that I scrambled through. But, I, at the same time, you know, you mentioned 20 years of experience, but a lot of those years, I wasn't making fun of those years, I was not, I was not as involved as I as I could have been, I never really kind of took the bull by the horns and said, You know, I'm going to go to LA and I'm going to try to, you know, work my way into the system, and everything has a time in place. But I would say that, you know, to kind of follow up with Virginia surrounds, like is this Detroit, you know, it's there's so much in this, in my experience that, I don't know if I can speak to the business, but I'll definitely say in my experience, that you cannot undervalue the power of relationships. And every, every time that that I have had any kind of success, any kind of forward movement, it's always been built upon relationships and meeting, putting yourself in a space where you can meet people, and, and, and, and find common interests and things that you can do. And then one of the huge things for me was, when machete came out, in 2010, I was invited to be a panelist at the Austin Film Festival. And I really literally was the guy changer, the laptop in the basement for such a long time. Even though I've already done that for about three years earlier. I was suddenly, you know, up on stage, you know, doing panels with real working professional screenwriters that I somehow tricked into thinking I was one of them. And, you know, it really opened a lot of doors for me, because I became instant friends with a lot of people I'm still friends with today that have helped me in so many ways. In the sciences, you know, that I used to go to California, and, you know, and try to set up meetings, you know, from the point the plane landed, so I have coffee with one guy says, Oh, you need to go talk to this guy, that you should meet this person. And then coffee and breakfast and lunch and drinks and dinners and after things and just like really networking, putting your best foot forward, you know, and thing of being a bridge builder, and, and trying to, you know, define those things, you know, find the ways that, that, that that will help you get where you want to be, you know, and I found that, you know, having boots on the ground in California and Los Angeles, especially, there's always has been over the last couple of years, but actually, it's been huge for me. It's almost like uncanny sort of chain of chain with things that someone I didn't know, you know, last week, two weeks later was saying, you know, I'd like to work on a project with you, or would you like to be involved in this? Or would you would you give me some ideas about this, and then something happened. It's just, it's pretty amazing. But I think that's the thing is, you've got to put yourself in a position to create that kind of environment. So, you know, it means starting joining small in the main starting in a local writers group and do that and find it find the people in the writers that you really complement with that. And I know that that are, you know, bring something to the table, you don't maybe even work with them, or maybe even work with you. And, and just start, you know, really start building, building your relationships as you're building their own talent and building your skills. And then just push. And that's I think that's the thing, it's pushed as much as as much as you can. I don't know, I don't know what else to say about it. And for sure, I wish everybody good luck. And we're living in an age right now with the demand for content, I don't think there's ever been as high as that. The opportunities have never been as plentiful as they are, right. I mean, in a lot of ways, and I think that, that just sort of the willingness to, to say, I'm ready, I'm ready for work I'm ready for for, you know, I'm ready to take this to the next step. And join yourself in the next is good advice, as I think I think
Dave Bullis 1:16:10
And, you know, again, you know, Cisco Networking meetings, and you know, just finding out what you can do for people and being a bridge builder. And, you know, again, I think that's key, not sort of so much asking why other people can do for you what you can do for other people. You know, people don't want to, you know, be sold to constantly it's like, you know, like, when I talk to people on social media to Alvarez, a, they I always tell people do don't constantly promote yourself, you know, don't constantly talk about this, you know? Because that's just the turnoff. No, no one's gonna follow you just to hear all about you constantly.
Alvaro Rodriguez 1:16:44
Right! Right. That's true. I mean, I think that's the thing that, you know, social media is still in its infancy in a lot of ways. And, and that's that, that is a lesson that people are learning, I'm learning it through. And I think that there's this thing about social media, if you really kind of, I think, try to use it in your, in your best interest is not always to be self promoting, but to be sharing, you know, to share other people's successes, you know, and promoting other people's other people's projects and stuff like that. So when someone you know, friend of mine post, you know, my friends, were trying to have a Kickstarter, really trying to get this project off the ground, you know, if I have 20 bucks, I'll throw it into the alternative, I've never met these other guys, or friends, or my friends, you know, I'll throw in the money, and I'll promote it on my Facebook page, or whatever. But you know, if I can do that, you know, I just, you know, I want to share, you know, whenever I do social media stuff, whether it's like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever, you know, they're, you know, you could be able days, or you can just be all about me, me, me. And I definitely do some of that and say, Oh, look, you know, here I am in the writing room, and on some semi exotic locations, and Angeles or whatever. And, or I'm saying, you know, you need to be watching this show American crime, it's a British show on television right now, and people are really going to dig it. Because I have friends that are active on the show versus guys made show. And that's just like, you know, that's the kind of thing that I'd like to do, and just try to, you know, try to, you know, kind of spread the goodwill. Yeah. And then, you know, you're just like, there's so many people in so many connections that you can make, I mean, I've never met you in person, I only know you from from Twitter and things like that. And I wouldn't be doing this podcast with you. Otherwise, you know, so on. And it's an amazing tool. And it can it can build relationships, and connect people together in ways that, you know, would have been impossible 10 years ago. So I think it's great.
Dave Bullis 1:19:10
Yeah, and I find a lot of guests through Twitter, too, because that's how I think we initially met. And then And then now, yeah, you're right. It's you know, and using Twitter as a networking tool has been awesome for me. Just meeting people and just seeing what they're working on and stuff like that. I've actually tinkered around about actually writing a book about how, how I use Twitter as a networking tool.
Alvaro Rodriguez 1:19:33
Great. I do. Oh, thanks. Definitely tweet about it.
Dave Bullis 1:19:38
Well, thank you. It's all it's all my pile outro of like, you know, the 8 million. It's like, okay, that's a good idea. Maybe I should do that. It's, it's one of those things, you know, I'm gonna get around to Sunday right now, you know, I'm just focusing on some other actual writing things. But we've been talking for about an hour and 80 minutes or so,
Alex Ferrari 1:20:02
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Dave Bullis 1:20:11
So, you know, and I know, you know, you're busy. And you, you know, I don't want to keep you too much longer. So, you know, in closing, is there anything that we didn't discuss that, you know, you wanted to mention or talk about?
Alvaro Rodriguez 1:20:23
I think we covered it, I just, you know, I would just say that, you know, it's, it's, like I say, I'm, I feel like, I'm not, maybe not, I'm the last person to give advice. But you know, because I still feel like I'm, I'm trying to be learning every day, I'm trying to keep that, that, that perspective on everything. But I know that there's things that I picked up that if I can impart to someone else, and they can get something out of it, you know, I think that's great. I mean, it's like, you're gonna use what you can use and, you know, which get us to throw it away, you know. And I think that's the same thing. There's so many, so many things that are out there for aspiring writers, or writers that are trying to break into the business. You know, but, you know, just because, you know, you've read it in a bookstore, it's, you know, you've got to make the experience will be valuable for yourself. You know, I did teach for a short while I taught a course, at Texas a&m Galveston study, still sports of all things. And I had the students read this book from a Herman Melville novel that nobody reads anymore called Redburn. But a boy's first journey to see. And he's taking his, he's going to Liverpool, and he's taking his father's guidebook to Liverpool. And when he gets to the city, and he opens up the guidebook, he realizes the city has changed. And that, you know, as far as guidebook really wasn't much helpful to him anymore, and he had to find his own way, in the city, there were some things that were some sort of landmark, but the city changed. And I think that, you know, the lesson I was trying to impart that time, it's like, I'm giving you a lot of ideas about how to kind of manage your time how to study how to kind of working through how to do all these things, you know, you might find that some of them are most useful for you, you got to find what works and not be afraid of trying new things, and being open to experiences and, and really trying to build on the one on on your base, and never sit back and say, you know, I know it all. And people would just have to recognize my genius. It's a constant. It's a constant learning process. And I'm still doing it. I wish everybody social media and trying to do those things, the best of the best of luck and doing
Dave Bullis 1:22:59
Very cool. And you know, that's a very, very awesome positive message. Albro very positive. That's good. It's gonna be about the positive. Because, you know, there's far too many negative people in this world. So, you know, I want to say thank you, thank you very much, again, for coming on. Thank you. Appreciate it. Oh, you know, my pleasure is all mine. So, you know, where can people find you out online?
Alvaro Rodriguez 1:23:25
I'm on Twitter and I was busy. I'm on Facebook, I think the same thing, and I was funny around, I don't have a site or anything like that. But, you know, I'm often doing different events and not really doing anything at Southside. But every year I'm pretty active with the Austin Film Festival, doing panels and roundtables and, and you know, every October you can definitely find me around there. But, you know, look, look me up and keep an eye out on the race network for Destiel dog Season Two later this year. Hopefully, we've got some good stuff in store for fans of the show. And you know, the original the first season is already on Netflix in its entirety. Or if you're like, you know, really angelegt you can you can get the blu ray or DVD set with all the extras and commentaries and fun stuff like that.
Dave Bullis 1:24:33
You know, and also I'll make sure to link to everything in the show notes as well so you know, everyone if you you know, if you don't ever have been to El Rey network or you've never actually you know, seen an average Twitter, just look click on the show, just click on the links in the show notes and you'll be taken right there. And also most of the link to desolder on Season One. So again, if you haven't checked that out yet, please do because it's very cool, especially if you have enjoyed the the Each movie it's based off of. And it like everyone I've said it just expands upon that. So, in closing, everyone, thanks again for listening, you can find me at Dave bulls.com and Twitter. It's at Dave Bullis should be at Dave underscore bulls. And you know, there's you know, tons of show note links that if you want to stalk me on any other social media sites, they're there as well. And so cool outro thanks again, buddy. And, you know, I wish you the best of luck with you know, season two of Gustl dawn. And you know, if you ever want to come back, man, please let me know that was always wide open.
Alvaro Rodriguez 1:25:37
Thanks a lot, Dave. I really appreciate it. Talking to you.
Dave Bullis 1:25:39
Yeah. Good talking to bud.
Alvaro Rodriguez 1:25:41
All right. Take care.
Dave Bullis 1:25:42
Have a good night, buddy.
Alvaro Rodriguez 1:25:45
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