At Work With… Jon Garcia, Producer / Writer / Director
The ‘At Work With…’ Interview Series is our way of bringing you behind-the-scenes with the names and businesses included in our Texas Production Directory (TPD). We want to showcase the creatives that cover all levels of production experience, backgrounds, and geographies around the state.
This week’s spotlight is on Jon Garcia, Producer / Writer / Director based in Houston (born in Corpus Christi).
Your claim to fame: What special skill or fun fact differentiates you from others?
I was a professional musician first, and then I became a filmmaker. Music remains an important aspect of my work.
What’s the most memorable experience on a project or production that you’ve had and what made it so special?
Recently I worked with an individual who had never acted before – in fact, they were the principal actor in the feature film I was working on at that time. I remember the single moment that they discovered that they were grasping what acting was and were able to disappear into the role and discover an emotional milestone for that character. The entire crew felt it, and it was beautiful.
What are the skills required to succeed in your specific area of expertise?
The filmmakers I know that stay busy and seem to truly enjoy this work are very driven people obsessed with an idea and the execution of it. Nothing can stop these impassioned artists from seeing their vision through. As with any field however, it's a very difficult. Sometimes there is a disparity between what you see in your head during development and what actually appears on the screen. There are viewers and critics who will not understand your work and they'll tear it apart. I think it's important for creators to keep their head up and stay forever in a state of wonder about filmmaking and stay close to their vision regardless of what other people think. I feel resilience is important in this industry.
Have you had an industry mentor or colleague that has made an impact on you or helped you along your career path? If so who, and how did they impact you?
Yes, I've had many mentors, one in particular who will question me about the social importance of the work I am making before I go into a production that could last a year or longer on a specific story. I'm grateful for this.
What advice have you been given that continues to be helpful in your work?
Self/soul/service. Everyday do something for yourself, for your soul and for other people.
In your industry, collaboration is the key to success. How do you best foster collaboration with your colleagues from project to project?
I like to think I surround myself with good people who work hard and love to make films. I like it when the crew I'm working with has a vested interested in the film we're making and wants to do everything they can to see to it's success. In some situations, personalities just clash and there's nothing you can do about it. A good collaboration is usually one where producers or departments may have conflicting views of what works and what does not. This is good. Discussion about how to make the story clearer and more specific is healthy. We need to be hard on the story to make it work well but not on each other.
How have Covid-19 safety protocols affected the way that you work?
Covid-19 safety protocols have led to smaller crews which have been fine for me so far. I like the intimate filming environment.
What are some of the projects made in Texas that you feel reflect the diverse culture of the state?
My favorite Texas-made film is The Tree of Life. Regarding projects that reflect the diversity of Texas, Friday Night Lights, is some of the best television ever I feel. I wept like baby when the credits rolled on the last episode, I kept searching for an episode I may have missed somewhere.
Interview has been edited for brevity.
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