roberttherrera

Talking Life and Palacios with Film Director Robert T. Herrera

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In NewsWhistle’s weekly question-and-answer series, Clara Morgan speaks with some of her top influencers and finds out more about their lives and careers. This week, Clara speaks with film director Robert T. Herrera.

Robert – or Bobby – has directed, produced, edited, developed, designed, consulted, and written for dozens of clients, Fortune 50 companies, brands, agencies, production companies, and networks. He shot, produced, directed, and edited the feature length documentaries – How’s Your Cart? and The Gray Seasons. You can currently see The Gray Seasons on Amazon Prime, EPIX, and other streaming and cable platforms.

Bobby was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas and attended Baylor University and Washington University in St. Louis where he studied architecture, art, and literature. He develops work for client, brand, entertainment, and fine art use as a freelancer or for Gray Picture LLC. Bobby lives in St. Louis City with his wife, daughter, and Boston terrier. His new indie film, Palacios, will premiere in film festivals this year.

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Palacios (Courtesy - Gray Picture LLC)
Courtesy of Gray Picture, LLC

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When and how did you first realize that you wanted to work in the industry and business you are in?

Like any director — brought up on a hefty diet of TV and going to the movies — I wanted to make films. I had no idea how to do that. I also felt compelled to attend college for things other than film school. By the time I finished college with an Art and Architecture education – it was very apparent to me that I was not going to be able to live with myself if I didn’t try to make a movie of some kind. That’s when I began pulling together my first documentary feature. So in one sense, I always wanted to do this, but it took getting to the point in my life when it was time to make the decision to actually realize I had no choice but to do it.

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2. Any celebrity clients or memorable stories related to your business that you want to share?

I don’t like to talk about celebrity encounters. It gives me anxiety for some reason. But when I was 25 years old and finishing my first doc feature, my Executive Producer connected me with some well-known LA filmmakers to screen my rough edit. I was very excited, but I tend to keep my cool. The filmmaker took me out to a group dinner the first evening and a certain famous actress who was part of many films I grew up watching came along with us. She was a big deal in my young movie watching world. I spent the evening chatting with her. I doubt I kept my cool.

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3. What is a typical day like for you? And what do you like to do on a day off?

I don’t have a typical day. Some jobs and clients are sexier projects than others. But when I’m in my home city, I tend to be in meetings, in the editing suite, in audio sessions, at small shoots, or just sitting somewhere spitting out a bunch of emails or pretending to be a writer. When I’m traveling, it’s anything from small documentary shoots to large commercial shoots — in the biggest cities or the smallest towns. It’s pretty random.

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4. What is the next big thing in your industry? What are people doing differently today, compared to 10-15 years ago?

Obviously camera and production technology continues to advance pretty quickly providing refined technology at lower and lower prices. And distribution models for all this content are also changing pretty rapidly. I don’t pretend to understand all that is happening out there. It’s hard enough to try and keep up with the things that I do on a day to day basis. I just try and focus on my stories and the things I think I’m good at and can try and elevate.

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r herrera 02 (Courtesy - Davey Rocco)
Courtesy of Davey Rocco

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5. What are your three favorite restaurants in New York?

I’ve been coming to NYC for 10 years. I don’t think I’ve actually eaten at the same restaurant more than once except for Antique Garage in SoHo. And I’ve always eaten there alone. So that must be my favorite.

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6. What are your three favorite bars or cafes in New York?

I enjoy rooftop bars. I’ve been to many and I’ve really enjoyed them all. I can’t recall the name of a single one though!

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7. What are your three favorite locations to visit in New York?

I’m a basketball fan. So I try my hardest to attend Nets or Knicks games when I’m in NYC. I also usually find myself at Midtown Comics in Times Square. Other than that – I try spend time in different places.

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8. Which three events on your annual calendar will you will absolutely not miss?

I generally try and hit a few comic conventions throughout the year. I enjoy C2E2 in Chicago, New York Comic-Con, and of course San Diego. But I change it up every year. I always enjoyed collecting comic art and meeting artists and writers. So I always make time to visit some of those conventions. Other than that – I’d like to say something like “I never miss SXSW or the Final Four” but the truth is that large events tend to just be more work than I like to put into traveling and large crowds.

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THE GRAY SEASONS (Courtesy - Rambling Pictures LLC)
Courtesy of Rambling Pictures, LLC

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9. What was your best New York moment? Your worst?

My best New York City visit was when my wife and I ran around an empty New York and Brooklyn in Snowmageddon 2015. The entire city basically shut down. The streets were empty and it was fun outrunning police telling people to go home, trying to find a restaurant serving dinner. It was a bit of a disappointment when my Nets basketball game got cancelled though. But while we were holed up waiting on the storm with food and drink, my 3 month pregnant wife’s doctor called to tell us that tests revealed that we were having a girl – which we both desperately wanted. Ultimately, as far as snow is concerned, Snowmageddon 2015 ended up being a bust. So this would be both my best and worst NYC moment.

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10. Tell us something that people do not know about you. (And you cannot say it is a secret!)

I think most people assume that I know quite a bit about computers. I work with them almost every day and pretty extensively. But if I get an error message while using any software, I pretty much call it a day until someone can come fix it. I get asked for a lot of advice on computer related things – I always have to refer them to all the smart young guys that I work with.

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11. How would you describe your personal style?

I wear glasses, a t-shirt, hoodie, jeans, and converse-esque sneakers or boots basically every single day. I like to think of myself as the buzzed-hair poor man’s Chicano version of David Beckham.

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12. Who is your favorite fashion designer, artist, or architect and why?

Choosing a favorite creative is pretty much impossible. They serve as different influences at different times for different reasons. But the main person whose work I always find myself going to the most is photographer Lee Friedlander. Seeing his work, which is pretty fearless, makes me unafraid to do the things I want to do.

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r herrera 04 (Courtesy - Marvin Jimenez)
Courtesy of Marvin Jimenez

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13. Name your favorite – and tell us why…

a. outfit – t-shirt, hoodie, jeans, sneakers. I worked my entire life toward developing a profession that allows me to dress this comfortably 90% of time. Mission accomplished.

b. perfume/fragrance – I have a very poor sense of smell — insignificantly so that I can’t recall any fragrances beyond food.

c. movie – I don’t know if it is necessarily my favorite, but I would list Magnolia by P.T. Anderson as one of my favorites and the most important — which I saw at the theater when I was 18 years old.

d. tv show – The Knick by Steven Soderbergh. Easily my favorite show. There is nothing I dislike about that show.

e. bookLolita by Vladimir Nabokov is my favorite book. I don’t have a very thoughtful or intellectual reason as to why. I’m a horrible reader and very slow at it and I mostly read comic books or graphic novels because of that. But out of all the books I’ve read in my life — Lolita has stuck with me the most.

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14. What is your favorite restaurant in the world? What is it you love about it and what is your favorite dish?

Westside Corpus Christi, Texas is filled with what people would normally call “hole in the wall Mexican restaurants” — but that’s really the only kind of restaurant that exists on that side of town. When I’m there I eat at Hermanos Solis #3 every single time. It’s delicious and cheap and I always overeat to the point that I cause physical pain to myself – lengua tacos with flour tortillas every time.

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15. Name your favorite vacation spot and hotel? What makes these places so special?

I’m not a beach person. I prefer to poke around cities with a hotel in the middle of everything. But to be honest, I’m not really a vacation person either. If I have time off, I tend to want to spend it on my couch. I always need time to catch up on movies.

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r herrera 05 (Courtesy - Marvin Jimenez)
Courtesy of Marvin Jimenez

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16. Which three items can you not live without?

I cannot live without a motorcycle, a basketball hoop, and cable television — assuming that comes with a TV.

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17. What song, meditation, or mantra can you listen to on repeat? And why?

This is such a movie-nerd answer, but lately I’ve been listening to a lot of film soundtracks by Max Richter — which is really odd because I don’t really ever listen to movie scores, and even stranger because I’m not really a huge fan of any of many of the films he’s scored recently. But I’ve been struggling with many writing projects over the past year ever since my wife and I had our daughter, and Max Richter scores have been hitting the spot as far as meditation and motivation.

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18. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you like to meet? And why?

I want to meet and hangout with Idris Elba. That guy seems so cool. I want to be his friend.

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19. Is there anything else you would like to share, discuss or promote?

My last documentary feature, The Gray Seasons, can be seen on Amazon Prime and Epix – amongst other places. My new small feature, Palacios, begins its festival run this year and you can learn about it at www.palaciosmovie.com.

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r herrera 01 (Courtesy - Davey Rocco)Courtesy of Davey Rocco

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Lead-In Image Courtesy of Davey Rocco