Latinos In The Industry

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS: The End is the Beginning

This is part of a series of informative articles that we are offering our readers. Click on Talk Back to discuss with other NALIPsters!

Article by Martha Alderson, M.A.

An agent flings a promising work against the wall. When asked why, she rages about all the times she has read entire manuscripts only to be disappointed in the end. She softens as she explains how, by the time she reaches the final quarter of the story, she longs for the work to succeed. If it fails, disappointment stings all the more.

Agents, editors, directors, audiences, and readers alike expect the scenes of a story to add up to something meaningful in the end.

The End is the Beginning

T.S. Eliot said, "The end is in the beginning."

The beginning of any entertaining and well-crafted story tells as much about where we are headed as to where we will be at the end. This means that until you write the end you will not truly know the beginning.

Which comes first? Does a writer labor over the first three quarters of a project where the groundwork is laid for the end? Or, does one write the climax itself first?

Before a writer can lay the groundwork about the character and the situation to build to a climax in a way that makes the highest point of the story seem both inevitable and surprising, doesn't the writer first need to know the climax? At what point do we surrender our idea of the story and our will, and let the story have its head?

Whichever which way you get there, the choices you make for the end of your story deserve attention.

Deadline Approaching: NATPE Diversity Fellowship Program

Through NALIP's partnership with NATPE, we are offering you a great opportunity to become a Diversity Fellow this summer. Now in its fourth year, the NATPE Diversity Fellowship Program, presented in collaboration with the Walter Kaitz Foundation, provides a small group of emerging television and video content creators of color with the next step in their career development. The Fellowship offers a series of mentoring meetings, workshops, networking and educational opportunities and kicks off during the week of NATPE's LATV Fest, July 8-9, 2009.

The application deadline is April 28, 2009.

Watch an informative video, read more on the Program and download an application on the NATPE Diversity Fellowship information page for NALIP members.

The Fellows are afforded a unique opportunity to make valuable contacts in and gain real insight into the television industry, prepare and polish their pitches and get access to sponsors and executives. This Program is a unique experience that gives creators of content and those interested in executive level positions a clear snapshot of the television business and how to navigate through it. It is an invaluable tool that helps producers sharpen their skills and get on the inside track of one of the world's most competitive industries.

Experience MovieMaker's Dollar Days With NALIP Discount

It's not too late to take advantage of MovieMaker Magazine's "Dollar Days."

You are a person who knows what you like, and MovieMaker respects that. You've got your favorite flicks, choice directors and preferred actors, and we'd like to suggest adding another "favorite" to your list by making MovieMaker your favorite source for exclusive interviews, advice and tips on breaking into the biz, festival information and much more!

For a limited time, you're invited to take advantage of a very special offer: One year of MovieMaker at the unheard of price of just $6.00* (that's just $1 per issue--more than 85% off the newsstand rate) - just for being a friend of NALIP! Sign up today at
There's never been a better time - or price - to subscribe!

*additional shipping rates apply to all Canadian and international orders.

Cannes Unveils Lineup
(Variety) - It's official: Quentin Tarantino, Ang Lee and Pedro Almodovar will face off with Jane Campion, Ken Loach, Michael Haneke and Park Chan-wook in Cannes' biggest heavyweight auteur smackdown in recent years. FULL STORY

Texas Gov. Signs Film Incentive Bill
(KVUE) - Governor Rick Perry signed House Bill 873 into law Thursday, providing $60 million in funding over the next two years for the Texas Film Incentive Program. The governor signed the bill at filmmaker Robert Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios. FULL STORY

Liz Garcia On Board to Pen The Au Pairs
(Latin Heat Online) - Liz Garcia has been brought on board as the scribe for Warner Bros. The Au Pairs, the first in the book series The Au Pairs written by Melissa de la Cruz. FULL STORY

In Sleep Dealer the Future, Creepily, is Now
(Los Angeles Times) - When writer-director Alex Rivera first conceived his dark sci-fi immigrant drama "Sleep Dealer," Americans were still in the heady throes of the late '90s, naive to the war, the jingoism and the paranoia that awaited them. FULL STORY

Jobs & Opportunities

Visit the NALIP Job Opportunities page for all the latest listings.

Original Fight Scripts
Truthspiritfilms is looking for an action packed, original fight (boxing, street fighting, MMA etc.) movie. FULL JOB DESCRIPTION

Volunteers for Reel Rasquache Film Festival
Seeking volunteers for Reel Rasquache, which will be screening full program of films that tell the U.S. Latino Experience, along with displaying Art from local artist from May 15th-17th on the campus of Cal State Univ, Los Angeles. FULL JOB DESCRIPTION

From the Editor
Alex Mendoza
Alex Mendoza & Associates
AMARTE Design & Digital Printing
9513 Longden Avenue
Temple City, CA 91780

1323 Lincoln Blvd., #220
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Los Angeles Times Runs Major Story on NALIP 10

The Los Angeles Times has run a major story on the NALIP 10 conference and the state of Latinos in the industry, reprinted here:

By Alicia Lozano, Los Angeles Times

On a breezy afternoon in Newport Beach, hundreds of Latino filmmakers descended upon the swanky Island Hotel to celebrate "A Decade of Influence" at the National Assn. of Latino Independent Producers' 10th annual conference.

For three days last weekend, the screenwriters, producers and directors attended panel discussions, pitched projects and mingled with like-minded professionals. Conversations varied, but participants agreed on one thing: Despite a noticeable improvement in Latino films and roles, there is much work left to do.

"There are a lot of victories, a lot of solid successes," said Kathryn Galan, executive director of the association. She pointed to television shows such as "Ugly Betty," "The George Lopez Show" and "Resurrection Blvd." as triumphs in the industry but lamented that many other segments of the film and television industry don't represent the 15% of the population that calls itself Latino.

"The inside thinks 'Three Amigos' is a diversity effort," Galan said. "Nothing reflects the voice of U.S.-born, English-speaking American Latinos."

Munching on sliced prosciutto and pieces of cheese at the opening reception, screenwriter Anita Palacios Collins expressed frustration at the attitudes of some non-Latino members of the industry.

"They don't understand our work a lot of the times," Collins said.

Collins trekked from Calabasas to participate in a writing lab. As a writer, Collins is especially frustrated that her actress daughter has been turned down in auditions because "she doesn't look the part."

"If you go in looking like a Latina, you don't fill that stereotypical girl-next-door role," she explained. "With the growing population in the United States, eventually the girl next door is going to be Latina."

Television, theater and film should reflect that shift, according to playwright Luis Valdez, a keynote speaker at the conference and founder of Teatro Campesino, a Mexican heritage theater in San Juan Bautista. [Click here to listen to Luis Valdez's keynote address at NALIP 10]

"It seems to me that the characterization of Latinos is not only very sparse, it's also very limited," he said in an interview. "In order to appreciate the demographic, you have to deal with people on a broader level. The stories that are being told are very cliche."

Valdez considers himself one of the lucky few who have struck gold with both mainstream and niche audiences -- he wrote and directed 1987's "La Bamba" and took his 1981 musical "Zoot Suit" all the way to Broadway.

Known as the godfather of Chicano theater, Valdez urged the new generation of Latino filmmakers to go beyond what's expected and chart new territory.

"We're still operating under very limited perceptions of history and people," he said. "We need comedy. We need to deal with the daily life of Latinos.

"There's business to be done, profits to be made."

Producer and conference co-Chairman David Ortiz seems to have mastered this concept.

The 32-year-old New York native has worked as a development executive for Universal Pictures, overseeing big-budget hits such as "Fast & Furious," "Wanted," "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" and "Role Models."

The key to breaking into the mainstream, he said in an interview, is not pandering to a demographic but, rather, learning to accept it as a small part of a greater whole. He cited the new "Fast & Furious" as an example.

"You might not see Vin Diesel as Latino, but the young kids can relate to him," he said.

"Fast & Furious" did particularly well among Latinos, according to Universal.

Spanish-language accents and dialogue and south-of-the-border locales helped attract the large audience, but Ortiz suspects that Diesel's character, hero Dominic Toretto, was largely responsible for the pull.

"The whole vibe made it feel authentic and relevant," he said, referring to the music and car culture that drive the movie. "He's a rebel, a family man, outside the law."

Although the hot-rod franchise found success in Hollywood, some of those at the conference complained that opportunities remain limited for Latino actors and filmmakers -- a point borne out by membership figures in the major guilds as evidence.

Only 2% of the Writers Guild of America is Latino, according to diversity director Kim Myers. The Screen Actors Guild declined to provide an exact figure, but Rebecca Yee, the union's national director of affirmative action and diversity, says it has a similar problem.

"There aren't a lot of roles that are specifically written for Latino actors, and if there are, they tend to be stereotypical," she said. "And for nondescript roles, a lot of directors default to white actors. More diverse writers and producers are needed -- hiring executives also."

Waiting for this trickle-down effect might not be the only recourse, however.

Actor Hector Herrera specializes in Spanish-language voice-overs for big names such as Honda and NASCAR. A native of Mexico City who lives in L.A., Herrera studied theater on both sides of the border but had difficulties landing English-language roles because of his accent. That didn't deter him. Instead, Herrera played to his strengths and performs only in his native tongue.

"There's this perception that there are less opportunities because we're Hispanic or because we're Latino," he said. "I don't want to say or fall into this negativity that it's because we're a minority. We're not a minority anymore."

Francisco Ordonez & Franc. Reyes
Ordonez to direct film for Reyes' production company

Alumbra Films, a production company formed by NALIP member and writer, director, producer and songwriter Franc. Reyes (Empire, Illegal Tender, The Ministers) has joined forces with an independent investment group to produce American Latino English language theatrical motion pictures. The first three films to be developed by this new alliance are Blood Of The Martyr, Tenement, and Brutality.

Blood Of The Martyr, written by Franc. Reyes, will be directed by NALIP member Francisco Ordonez, writer/director of many short films including the critically acclaimed short St.Paul.

"After reading a few of Franc's screenplays, Blood Of The Martyr was the one that peeked my curiosity. It's a complex yet very commercial music driven story. Perfect for my sensibilities and tailor made for the way I like to tell stories," says Ordonez.

Tenement - a supernatural horror written and to be directed by Franc. Reyes. "If I had to point to one film that had the full impact of story, writing and genius directing, on me it has to be The Exorcist. Telling the story of Tenement fuses The Exorcist, Amityville Horror and Rosemary's baby", says Reyes.

Brutality - written by Franc. Reyes and to be directed by Carlos Berrios. It will be Mr. Berrios' first feature film. A long time friend and collaborator of Franc.'s , and writer/director of many short films and music videos.

"Brutality is an important story Franc. and I have spoken about making for years. The psychological brutality that happens to people who live in neighborhoods like the ones we grew up in when police brutality occurs has never been put in quite this way", says Berrios.

"The American Latino culture is a vast ocean of ideas and experiences that hasn't been touched upon in any real sense by the Hollywood community" says Franc. Reyes. He continues, "Like the African American explosion in independent feature films in the 80's and 90's which spawned filmmakers like Spike Lee, John Singleton, Robert Townsend and cleared the way for filmmakers like Tyler Perry, I believe now is the time of the American Latino filmmaker."

One of many goals for Alumbra Films is to help American Latino filmmakers create the Latino Hollywood stars of the future.


Contact us at to post news, announcements, business data or job postings.

To SUBSCRIBE send an email to

to UNSUBSCRIBE send an email to

The Latinos in the Industry e-Newsletter is a free service provided by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) with the generous assistance of Alex Mendoza & Associates (AMA) in an "as-is" basis for the education and information of users only. NALIP and/or AMA, their principal(s), employees, agents or representatives shall under no circumstances be liable for any loss or damage, including, but not limited to, loss of profits, goodwill or indirect or consequential loss arising out of any use of or inaccuracies in the information. All warranties expressed or implied are excluded to the fullest extent permissible by law. All comments and postings, including those by the Editor, are the responsibility of those individuals posting and no endorsement by NALIP and/or AMA should be inferred. Referral links and individual e-mail forwarding are permitted. NALIP reserves the right to withdraw or delete information or to discontinue this service at any time. All quoted, linked and/or referred information, as well as all copyrights and trademarks, are the property of their respective holders, used here under license and/or "fair-use" rules. © NALIP.