We had the good fortune of connecting with Matt Alvarado and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matt, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I’ve been pursuing an artistic, creative career because it feels like a calling. It feels like something I was born to do, something I have to do. I pursue it because I need to create and I don’t want to do anything else with my life. Since I was a little boy, all I’ve ever wanted to do was make movies. Growing up, my family didn’t have much money, so we couldn’t afford to do a lot of things, but one of the things we could do was watch movies. Watching movies at home was an event. My dad would come home from work and he’d bring with him a couple of VHS tapes from a video rental store. And he’d hide them, so my sister and I would have to find them, like a game, and the VHS tape was like the discovery after a treasure hunt. We’d eat dinner together and then watch films, all kinds of films, as a family. So it’s as though films and filmmaking are in my very DNA and I can’t get away from it. The films I watched as a kid (and have seen since then) left such a deep impression on me: I wanted to be like the people onscreen, living those stories. But more so than that, I discovered that I wanted to make people FEEL the kinds of things those other films made me feel.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Filmmaking is very different from all other forms of art. It takes from all of them: writing and story-craft, music (both actual music in the film and the pacing in music can be found in editing), theatre and acting, the painterly aspects of creating a beautiful frame, etc, it’s all there. So it takes a lot of time to master. It’s also very different in that EVERY project generally requires a significant financial commitment in order to make it happen. So it can be an expensive form to master. Needless to say, filmmaking is a craft that demands a lot of sacrifice up front in your life in order to get good at it. But that time and money and effort spent is an investment, if the filmmaker uses each project to improve and grow in their craft. So it’s very much about playing the long-game, staying dedicated to what you love so you can one day earn a living doing it. It’s by no means an easy road to take, and I can’t pretend to have “made it.” But I find that the journey is most fulfilling when I’m creating, whether it’s writing a script, or filming on set, or editing the piece, or finally presenting it to an audience. One of my bigger projects, an action-adventure, fantasy series called NIGHTMARE NARA, took several years to complete. For that film, I really wanted to focus on creating a fun dynamic between characters in a long-form story. And while I’m still working on getting it seen by a wider audience, my growth as a filmmaker on that film was exponential. I didn’t think I could produce something of that size myself. But I learned that I can. And the next time I want to make something even bigger, I have something to look back on and say “Well, I didn’t think I could do THAT, but I did.” There’s only so much that can be learned in theory. Eventually, you must learn by doing. Moving forward from that project, my next few smaller projects after that were focused on creating more compelling action sequences. I wanted to learn from the successes and shortcomings of NIGHTMARE NARA. So I made two small action shorts, where the focus was on the dance between the actors and the camera, on the movement of both the performers and the camera operator. And after that, my subsequent projects (a music video and now a perfume commercial), have been focused primarily on imagery: creating the most beautiful, compelling images I can. I’ve also taken a hand in producing other people’s projects, people I believe in who just need a little push, a lot of guidance, and someone else who believes in them. And so for me, looking back, I was pursuing my different interests at different times, but all of it has been building my craft and my confidence as a filmmaker. And while none of those individual things have gotten me to where I want to go, collectively they’ve built ME up as an artist. I’ve learned that developing a strong body of work is the only way to move forward as an artist, not waiting or expecting one project to get you “there.” In that sense, the “long game” becomes more bearable. Because the long game is hard. There’s a lot you have to sacrifice, and at times it seems you’re missing out on things you dearly want in life. But when you keep your nose down, keep working, and actually deeply enjoy the process of creating, the long game can actually be a really beautiful gift.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I had a friend visiting the area, I would probably take them to the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs at some point. We could walk around and enjoy the views, then have drinks, maybe even smoke a stogie at the bar there or have drinks at the Golden Bee. If they’ve got time, I’d probably invite them to visit Aspen, where we could hike, Kayak, or just enjoy some awesome crepes!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to give a shoutout to my parents, who have supported me and my sometimes very intense film projects with their love and emotional support, with their house as a location for MULTIPLE films, and with the many, many meals they’ve fed my collaborators and I. I also want to give a shoutout to my mentors, particularly David Nelson and Marcus Costantino, who’ve believed in me even when I didn’t. And I’d like to give a shoutout to all my wonderful collaborators who’ve worked countless hours with me simply because they love the craft as much as I do, without whom NONE of my projects could exist. Y’all know who you are. 😉
Website: https://www.nightmarenaramovie.com/ https://www.pureimaginationltd.com/
Facebook: @matalv90 @NightmareNara
Other: Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/user59115887