We had the good fortune of connecting with Karla Espino and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Karla, how do you think about risk?
Risk-taking is absolutely necessary for growth, no matter how big or small. It’s played a huge role in my life, especially at 18 when I decided to move 500 miles away from everything and everyone I knew. What’s interesting is that at the time I didn’t really understand what I was risking, I just knew in my gut it had to be done. And that is the same feeling I look for today when deciding which risks are worth taking. Sometimes it can be disabling to take the leap but intuition is everything and what it comes down to is that the biggest risk of all is not listening to the ideas that visit me everyday. Of course it’s easier said than done and I cried for weeks after I moved from home, but after all the shitty feelings it became the best decision of my life. I try to remember there is always a chance of failure, but every moment is a learning experience. I know it’s cheesy, but it’s true! As a photographer and video producer, risk-taking led me to countries all around the world and then to LA where filmmaking became my passion and I’ve come to know and befriend some of the most inspiring creators.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I like to think my life is a vacation and sometimes I work, because I love what I do…and I’m always working. My current source of income is working as the account manager for Latin American Netflix photography. It’s been really cool to see the marketing and publicity side of production and get to work with talented photographers and their images from unreleased titles. Outside of those hours I pretty much fill my time having fun with friends on short film projects and further developing my own passion projects. This past couple of years I’ve been transitioning from marketing to filmmaking and have loved every stressful minute (sometimes in hindsight lol)! I’ve always been interested in learning about different human experiences, sharing other’s stories, and making people feel connected so for the most part I focus on writing scripts entered around difficult decision making, chance meetings, and the synchronicities of life. Writing is still new to me but comes naturally, probably because my mind is a constant whirlwind of ideas. Fostering them into doable concepts at this stage of my experience is probably my biggest and most overwhelming challenge. At times I doubt myself because I am not seeing immediate results but learned that staying focused and moving one foot in front of the other is the most important thing. I’m proud to have been awarded Woman Filmmaker of the Year at this year’s LA 48HR Film Project and hope to use this recognition to gain traction for my indie feature, Keeping it Together, which will go into production in 2021, as well as a few other pilots, podcasts, and art projects.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My Google Maps looks somewhat like a murder board with pins, photos, and notes all over the place. It would definitely depend on who came to visit but usually I take the “day in the life approach” when showing the city – so bringing them to my regular spots and then exploring new areas together. I have found some of my favorite places by just following my curiosity. When the world was open some of my favorite spots to go to included Barnsdall Art Park, Short Stop, Yuca’s, and The Virgil’s “Picture This” comedy show. When I first moved here some friends introduced me to The Study’s open mic on Monday nights – so fun! I remember one night this girl unexpectedly pulled a kazoo out of her back pocket and just started jamming, it was awesome. So I would definitely have to pass on that experience. A perfect day would be hiking Saddle Peak in Malibu, going to La Piedra beach to relax by the cliffs, and then hitting up the Ceviche guy on Kanan Rd on the way home. There are SO many places, events, and businesses that I would love to show my best friend but really the best nights in LA are the unplanned, unexpected adventures where you end up at some weird person’s house with projections of pigeons everywhere and you meet like-minded people and have unforgettable conversations. That’s my vibe!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shout out to my family and friends! Specifically my parents who are there for me no matter what – even when I call them crying because I’m not sure what the hell I’m doing sometimes. I also have to give recognition to my best friends who have kept me true to my weird nature and to Jpixx who gave me my first chance at learning the ins and outs of production and introduced me to some of my favorite people to work with, like Chandler Perry! Last but not least, no one has pushed me quite as much as my niece Celina. Because of her I moved to LA knowing I couldn’t rightfully tell her to follow her dreams if I wasn’t following mine. She is also just so genuinely inquisitive and creative, it really sparks that curious imagination that lives within me. There are so many people who have been there for me in different ways and I hope that I give them the recognition they deserve often enough to know who they are. Thanks, everyone!
Chandler Perry, Jpixx, Zach Harrison, Karla Espino