We had the good fortune of connecting with DL Guerra and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi DL, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
As a teenager I got really into playing Texas Hold ‘em, a game that I still enjoy today. There’s a saying in poker that ‘scared money doesn’t make money’. It’s certainly true at the poker table, but was something I learned also translated into my career as an entrepreneur and as a filmmaker.
The risk to no limit Texas Hold ‘em is that any player can go all in at any point. That’s also the key to the game. Looking for the right opportunity to flex your own leverage and invest in yourself. Big risk, big reward… at least, that’s what they say. What I’ve learned to be true is that if I hone my instincts so that I can learn to make more calculated risks, sifting through the sand and looking for the diamond in the rough, I can in effect increase my own odds to win.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve always been a huge fan of pop-culture, and of art in general, and I think that the value that I bring as a filmmaker comes from my ability to have my finger on the pulse of what is cool, interesting, and ultimately relatable. That mixed with a maniacal tenacity and sense of urgency that I bring into every project, into every moment, is probably what distinguishes me the most from others. Call it a good work ethic, or an unhealthy obsession, but I never stop creating.
At the moment I’m ramping up to produce a hybrid (stop-motion animation/live-action) music video in the coming weeks for a super talented rock band out of Los Angeles called Liily. I’m also preparing to direct a pilot over the summer that I created and co-wrote with a writing partner during quarantine. It’s a dark comedy that centers around six social media influencers and the dichotomy that exists between the lives they portray online and the sad realities when nobody’s watching. In midst of this, I’m continuing to take client and branded work, as well as grow my podcast, The Art of the Grind, which I started with a good friend and collaborator last spring as a way to give back to other artists, freelancers and entrepreneurs.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is a tough question to answer in 2021, especially with the strict stay at home orders in Los Angeles at this time, but I’ll do my best. If the last twelve months have taught me anything, it’s to seize the opportunities to escape and recharge when you have them. One of the best parts of living in Los Angeles, is having the ability to see so many beautiful places within a few hours drive. Sound bathes in Joshua Tree, picnics on the beach in Malibu, cozy weekends in Big Bear, these have been some of my favorite getaways. With restaurants, theaters and bars starting to open back up in LA, I’m hopeful that my favorite spots will still be around. I’m looking forward to having the ability to get back into what really fuels this industry and this city, which is building and nurturing relationships. Also, go check out The New Deal in Burbank– they have the best burgers in town! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
“A leader is powerful to the degree he empowers others” (A fortune cookie that’s been taped to my computer monitor for years). It’s true that every mentor in my life has embodied this mentality to some degree with their generosity and with their time. I wake up every morning feeling infinitely grateful to be surrounded by such a strong support system in my friends, my own spirituality and my amazing family. A strong support system is pivotal, especially when chasing your dreams in a city like Los Angeles.
My mom was actually the one that first suggested I go to film school, and my dad made a sizable investment to start my production company, Black Canvas, back in 2010. He and I are still business partners today, so to say that I come from a family that supports my endeavors, is a gross understatement. Along with many other characteristics he imparted onto me, my dad taught me what it meant to be a servant leader. As a child that term was something that I heard over and over again, but never fully understood until I got older. Once I started leading people and creative teams towards accomplishing goals despite every possible obstacle in the universe being thrown in our way, I realized just how powerful it was to lead from a place of servanthood. I learned that I had to lead from the trenches, with my hands dirty in the front lines, and with my ego nowhere in sight. When I did this, I found that not only was I able to accomplish my own goals, but I was able to empower the talented people around me to create their best work as well.