An interview with 'Night of the Hipsters' director Mauro Flores Jr
Was there a specific moment in your life that made you want to enter the industry?
It was 1992, and I was living in an area of South Texas called the Rio Grande Valley. I was cast as the lead in a short NYU film that was being filmed in the RGV and this is when I met my first professional New York actor, Adrian Martinez, who you might recognize as Will Ferrel’s sidekick in Casa de mi Padre. During the course of filming I engaged with the crew and soaked up as much as my 16-year-old brain could handle but I was particularly excited to meet the gaffer from RoboCop 2. Meeting this man was a big deal for me at the time because a.) I’m a big fan of the original RoboCop, b.) Frank Miller co-wrote part 2, and being a comic book geek I was vicariously in awe, and c.) I learned what a gaffer does for the first time.
After that experience I took any opportunity to film projects, especially for class assignments. My best friend at the time had a camcorder and some expensive editing equipment, so we went to town with different techniques and effects. My absolute favorite class project was our Kung-Fu epic, Shakespeare’s Othello: Warrior of the East. Our English teacher loved the short but gave us a “B” for not “completing” the actual assignment.
You have a large amount of theatre experience. Do theatre and film have any similarities?
At the end of the day the goal is the same for theatre and film, entertainment. Whether you’re trying to make the audience laugh, think, or cry you have to keep them entertained. It’s amazing how often creators forget that.
A favorite film of yours among our staff is "Night of the Hipsters." Can you tell us a little about the project.
Everywhere I’ve lived the hipsters inevitably invade and infect. Don’t get me wrong, my brother’s a hipster but it’s crazy how quickly they spread. And as soon as I had the idea of a hipster infestation, I watched the original trailer for Night of the Living Dead (1968) and used it as a template for the script. I wrote the first draft over the course of weekend, sent it to my crew, and then cranked out a storyboard. I then met up with David Barrera (Dick), a good friend of mine, and his wife Maria Canals-Barrera (Barbara, and star of Wizards of Waverly Place), who had been interested in doing something with me because of David’s involvement in a previous project of mine (www.thetrainee-webseries.com). The Barreras were totally down to play. We even included their daughters, Bridget and Madeleine (the Nom-Nom Girls), who were thrilled to be part of the production.
After careful planning, we shot the film over the course of a weekend in Los Angeles for only $300 and used a cast and crew of mostly South Texas transplants. Everybody involved worked for free and my wife and I (Letty Valladares, Bike Hipster #1 and a co-producer) made sure everybody was well fed and happy. Besides dealing with a freshly broken wrist, it was an awesome experience with a great group of people. It was truly a family affair.
Do you have a go-to camera you prefer to shoot with?
That’s more of a question for my Paul Davila the DP, but he used a Canon 5D mkii for Night of the Hipsters.
Which role are you most comfortable with on set?
Directing, for sure. I directed a lot of theatre during college, post-college, and as a high school theatre teacher before I moved to New York for grad school. With that said, I love writing, producing and drawing, but I enjoy the creative and active rush that comes from working with actors, interpreting a script, and facilitating a crew.
Do you have a favorite film genre?
Is John Carpenter considered a film genre? I pretty much have a John Carpenter music score running through my head with most of the stuff I write. In particular the sound track to Assault on Precinct 13 which I asked my brother John (Kale Chip Guy) to mimic for Night of the Hipsters. But if we want to get specific then I would have to say… Fantasy-Action-Thriller-Comedy?
What piece of advice would you give to filmmakers making their first film?
Make sure the script is good and tight and recognize that rewrites are not a sign of weakness. Set realistic expectations for your first film but be aware of the fact that it’s probably going to suck, so treat it as a learning experience for your next project.
Can you tell us what to expect from you in the near future?
Besides my usual gig at The Amazing Race and the occasional illustration job, I will be participating in a few theatre projects at Skylight Theatre Company and at Company of Angels here in Los Angeles. I’ve also begun the pre-production process on some web shorts for a series tentatively titled The Digital Wasteland, so keep an eye out! And check out my website which has all my upcoming projects and art galleries: www.maurofloresjr.com