Please tell us about yourself and what you do?
I’m just an enthusiastic artist coming from a modest background. I’ve been presented with wonderful opportunities as a screenwriter, director, and producer for several independent and mainstream motion pictures.
Can you tell us a bit about any upcoming projects that you are working on?
As of right now, I’m doing an animated project about the injustices of America’s prison-industrial complex in collaboration with the ACLU and the musical group, The Roots. I’m also working on a new animated short about Lapu-Lapu, the Filipino folk hero who killed Ferdinand Magellan during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines.
Do you find the pressures of being an artist significant with regard to feeling the need to have a “perfect” body? If so, how do you navigate through that terrain? How do you “not” judge yourself when others (critics, audience members, producers, etc.) “judge” you based on outward measures? (you can also answer this as regards to a producer)
The media has this uncanny ability to control how people view “perfect,” and as a result, young men and women that have aspirations in fashion and entertainment will compare themselves to the skewed standards that exist out there. The worst-case scenario would be that they deem themselves inadequate and try to change something they shouldn’t have to.
Artists in the entertainment or fashion industry will find themselves instantly placed in the judgment of those who have no idea who they are. If you’re not ready for that type of feedback and criticism, reconsider why you want to put yourself in that position in the first place.
The important thing is to not allow public perception define your view of perfection. If you are proud of who you are, try to live a better life, not a perfect life. Find confidence in yourself rather than allowing the public to define you who are.
Who were the role models in your life?
Visionaries that have been able to protect their own creativity within their respective businesses and take it to another level have motivated me tremendously. Elon Musk fits that mold. Rei Kawakubo is an inspiration. Takashi Murakami is a creative genius. Hayao Miyazaki has been a remarkable influence to me.
What do you define as beautiful?
It’s a shared dynamic connection between you and something else. The connection is constantly evolving and can be only be interpreted through your heart and mind.
How do you define inner beauty?
I associate inner beauty with the spiritual quality surrounding someone. It is the vibrancy that you don’t see in front of you, but feel around you. It is what captivates you, not just what attracts you.
What is happiness?
It’s the value of our time on this planet and the awareness that we were fortunate enough to experience all of this in our lifetime. You know those experiences that we live through and reminisce about in a joyful manner? That’s happiness.
Would you be willing to take the Real Deal pledge? Thoughts about that? (http://wearetherealdeal.com/about/the-real-deal-pledge/)
Absolutely. I’m 100% in!
How do you manage your stress levels in daily life? Do you use music / art / dance, etc. as a coping tool? Are there other things that you do to live mindfully?
I usually set aside time during the week for activities like yoga, biking, running, and swimming. I’ve recently discovered an incredible stress reliever that involves floating in a sensory deprivation tank. I would recommend it to anyone willing to give it a try.
How do you find a work-life balance — as a man, relationships, a professional — what are keys to balance?
Fortunately, I’m not in a position to sacrifice my time with family or work in order to make room for a social life. I think the key is all about understanding who you are and who you’re surrounded by. My inner circle has been overwhelmingly supportive of who I am, and that’s all I could ever ask for. As for my working relationships, I’m a student to ingenuity. My work revolves around learning from those that I’m able to collaborate with, and I get an incredible sense of fulfillment from that.
Other thoughts / reflections?
As always, I’m truly thankful for the opportunity to do this interview with the fine people from We Are The Real Deal. If you love what you do and are happy with life, you should never be in a position to compromise anything about yourself.