We had the good fortune of connecting with Franklin Fuentes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Franklin, the decisions we make often shape our story in profound ways. What was one of the most difficult decisions you’ve had to make?
Being an artist, in any form of the creative industry, you are constantly having to make difficult decisions all throughout your career. Literally, from the very first time you decide to make the sacrifice to pursue what makes your heart full. Knowing that you may never see the outcome you dream of. You constantly keep seeing your friends grow, travel and start their families while you’re still stuck in this dream. However, one of the most difficult decisions I had to make recently was with an L.A. based management company I was introduced to last year. They were very interested in my work. A few weeks after starting with them, they wanted me to scrap my entire cast, who had already been attached to my project for months, and hire from a pool of social media influencers they were managing to fill in the slots. I refused to. No matter how much they tried to sell me on the idea, I remained honest to my project. Since I firmly stuck with my decision, they never contacted me again and I walked away. This is something I may regret later, but I am still glad to this day to have chosen integrity and loyalty over followers and views. I would not change my decision even now. The industry is already changing in many ways, but art still has to remain honest and pure. Are you doing it for the love or are you doing it for popularity?
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I enjoy dramatic story telling. Guiding audiences through the characters growth and arcs. Telling relatable stories for audiences. However, one of the biggest things I try and do with every story is to add a horror, fantasy or sci-fi element to it. I find this to make the stories more interesting and unique. How can you appreciate the light without the darkness? Or the simple without the fantasy? After I have a story in mind, the part that excites me the most is the layer of oddness that I will add to it. Getting to the where I write and direct my own films hasn’t been easy. Being independent also means being financially responsible for your own projects. I’ve had to postpone much of life in order to continue doing what I love. However, staying on my own path has also allowed me to meet so many people who now back me up when I need help. My determination inspires them. You just have to stay determined and full of grit. The rest will follow. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that you never stop learning. Growth is never ending and life hits you when you least expect it. Another vital lesson I’ve learned is that you should never compare yourself to others. Everyone has their time. We only see the success of our idols, but not the struggles that got them to where they are now. Your time will come too.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
One of the top places I always advise my friends to visit when in town is the Griffith Park Observatory. This place is a staple to Los Angeles. It can also be very therapeutic. You can hike, view the stars, enjoy a meal overlooking the city or simply meditate in one of the surrounding parks. When it comes to a night out in town, I enjoy a night in Downtown Los Angeles. There are many local bars to visit. A favorite of mine is El Dorado. You never encounter long lines. The music is always fun and the architecture is very Art Deco. I always have fun here. After a night out, I always end up in Little Tokyo for food. A favorite place of mine is, Suehiro Cafe on 1st Street. Not only does their food always hit the spot, but they are also open late! Then I top it off with a weekend classic movie at the Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo. This theater was build in 1921 and they kept the original design. Before every show, they start off by performing on the Mighty Wurlitzer. You then watch a classic short film before your feature. Sometimes it’s a Betty Boop short, a Mickey Mouse classic or a Charlie Chaplin film. Not very many places in LA still honor that era and experience. Definitely a must!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people I would love to personally thank, who have come to my aid and pushed me through the finish line. So many people that keep reminding me to stay focused and light my torch when the flame gives out. I’m grateful for my loyal circle of family, friends and partner who encourages me behind every decision. One of those people is Sherman Baylin. I still remember working as a bank teller in Malibu when she walked in and after a lengthy conversation about film, she wanted me to meet her eighty five year old mother who was still teaching acting. That is how I met the late, Teddi Sherman. A staple to the golden age of Hollywood. They were truly a remarkable duo. Sherman is one of those individuals who appreciates the industry and reminds me to stay honest with my story telling. A book I highly recommend for anyone wanting to learn about screenplay’s is “Screenplay” by Syd Field.
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