We had the good fortune of connecting with Ruben Contreras and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ruben, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I remember when I had my first and only job as a young adolescent. I would sit at my desk and think to myself, this is not for me. I don’t belong behind a desk taking orders from everyone in the office. I also couldn’t be false, talking to everyone pretending to like what I was doing. I realized the pay was great but I didn’t enjoy my lifestyle. This lasted about a month, and finally I got called in by a supervisor. He mentioned that it was obvious I wasn’t happy working there and that the job wasn’t for me. We also had one of the most life changing conversations I could remember. He said I should go home and think about what I enjoy and then pursue it… I was 22 then.. I took his advice and quit my job.. I already knew I had a passion for anything visual art and was proficient with computers. I mixed the two together and since then it has been somewhat of a therapy. It was only later I realized that my therapy could convert into a business. Funny I never saw it as that. I always thought of it as an escape or recently a way to express myself. I refuse to call it a business even today as what we do is far from what many other business models are like. We take one day at a time and each and everyone of those days brings a surprise along with it. That’s what keeps us going. Pair that with love for the craft and you have the perfect way to make a living. There’s just no other way for me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
There are tons of artist out there who are much more capable then I am. I see them everyday and I learn from them. As you grow older, you realize that everyone has unique capabilities that sets us all apart. There is no other profession that teaches you it is impossible to do everything yourself as production. I don’t care how good you are at one thing, you will never be as good at them all no matter how hard you try. When you realize that, you’ll start to trust others and learn from them. Once I adopted this concept everything came together. Of course it took some time, countless hours in practice, lots of failures and some successes along the way. It was really challenging but we never gave up… What I learned from all of this is, you’ll end up making many mistakes, but if you keep trying and don’t give in, you’ll eventually come up on top.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When it comes to leisure, I am probably not the best guy in that department. I am old fashioned and narrow minded. Some tunnel vision maybe.. No, It would have to be somewhere like Cataract Falls or a trip to the movie theatres, completely opposite I know. I am easily amused by anything as I spend most of my days behind a camera or computer these days. Another recent option would be chilling at our new studio in our loft space watching a projected movie or something. I have to catch up on what’s fun these days other than our usual go to. 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?
This article is dedicated to the people I have met along the way that have been instrumental to helping and supporting me along the way. My parents have been a vital part of my growth and inspiration. Especially my father. He was always the positive role model I could never escalate to be. I would always tell him I’d someday be ready to do what he was doing and maybe even better. He has been the one to set the bar for my accomplishments and perhaps that’s why I am never happy with my results. Opening my own studio / warehouse has been my way of showing that I have been paying attention to everything he has taught me and I hope that I can someday be as inspiring to my following as he is to me. It goes without saying that there has been people who have influenced my career over the years. Including Alex Alvarez from Gnomon School of Visual Effects in North Hollywood where I graduated. Along with all the teachers at Gnomon who have worked on major feature films and taught me the ropes. The Crew! The real ones that have stuck it out and I can count on to go to war with me on any production. The day ones, my friends. Without them, I am just a one man band.
Instagram: @sybex_studio @Firehouse_Studio