We had the good fortune of connecting with Dom Cutrupi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dom, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
Don’t waste time with the safety of what Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way calls “shadow careers” – careers related to what you really want to do, but are still not quite what you want to do. Jump head-first into what’s burning inside you. I spent 15 years working as video editor and I wrote 8 novels – 4 in Italian and 4 in English – only to discover at the end of that process that film directing and screenwriting were my real calling, and has always been.
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.
My career did not take a straight path, but instead, did a full circle. It took me many years of working in different roles such as a TV stage manager at the Vatican City Tv Channel, adventure novel author, documentarian, and running my own freelance video editing company before I finally realized that they were all “shadow” careers. It finally dawned on me that filmmaking and screenwriting – my childhood dream careers – was still my true passion in adulthood. Following this realization, I decided to minimize the time I spent on other paths to prioritize pursuing a career in film. I had plenty of scripts I wanted to turn into films, but I started working with simpler ideas to build momentum and hone my skills as a director.
The more I practiced my craft, the more excited, confident, and energized I felt. The minute details of pre-production, the rigorous shooting schedules, endless rehearsals, and long hours on set may be drawbacks for many, but for me, they were and they still are thrilling. Seeing my vision come to life as a story is the ultimate fulfillment for me. The themes that are at the core of my scripts are drawn from my lived experience: immigration and the cultural challenges that come with it, the pursuit of a sense of belonging, and the path to realizing your ideal self.
My first feature film, Residents of Arcadia, is a sci-fi metaverse story about immigration based on my experience moving to North America. Making this movie was an emotional experience as it touched on themes that were important to many of my cast and crew members. Our shared efforts brought the story to life in a new and surprising way, even to me.
And yes, there are days where the weather doesn’t cooperate, a scene doesn’t work during rehearsal, an actor gets sick at the last moment, or the paperwork seems endless, but I would trade any of the headaches of being a writer and director with countless successes in any other field. The lesson I learned is that passion is the driving force behind any worthwhile conquest. After five years of filmmaking, my passion for film is still at its peak, and I believe will only grow brighter with time.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love long walks. During my first time in Los Angeles, I felt inspired and I walked from Santa Monica to Redondo Beach. I would never push my best friend to do such a thing but I’d definitely bring him to Manhattan Beach. Still to this day, I love that area, the houses, the beach.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Two people deserve recognition: my wife Sarah Fernando and my business partner Olivier Leroux