Claudia: Well, I’m Claudia, I’m with CineVino here in Austin, Texas for the SXSW Festival, and I’m with John Rosario, who was the cinematographer for A lot of Nothing. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself? Why you’re here?
John: Yeah. So it’s actually it’s my first time in South by Southwest. First time in Austin. And, really excited to be here. Really excited to see A lot of Nothing on the big screen with the with my peers and and just people that haven’t seen the film. And, I’m, I’m just thrilled to, yeah, to see it on the big screen and to meet everyone. I was the cinematographer on that film, and yeah. (laughs)
Claudia: How did you get involved in cinematography?
John: Well, it was actually by chance, really. So I grew up in New York. My folks immigrated from the Dominican Republic over to New York so I’m a first generation American. And with that, they brought a set of values with them that was very like, intertwined with, with, you know, very blue collar mentality, working hard and not really involved in the arts. And so their whole philosophy on career and work was always, you know, find a job that pays well, you know, and that’s that’s it. And so I carried that with me. And after high school, I looked at a list of things, and I picked out civil engineering and I was like, okay, going to school for civil engineering. And here I am one year in, civil engineering course. And, I have a conversation with a friend of mine who’s a musician, and he asks a very simple question. He goes, you know, “hey, so do you see yourself being happy with the choice that you’ve made with being a civil engineer? Do you see a future of happiness with that? And my world just crumbled and everything just my foundation was everything just, like, crumbled. Because I never I never thought about happiness and work and career. Like, I wasn’t raised that way. It was always, a career job is something that pays well. So to be happy with what you do, that just didn’t equate to me.
John: And I really reflected on that question, and I said, no, I honestly, I won’t be happy being a civil engineer. And he goes, well, what makes you happy? And I said, you know, well, I like watching movies, you know, it’s something that I really enjoy doing. And I never really thought about a career in cinema. I didn’t even, I didn’t have access to even thinking that that was possible. And I said, yeah so I like watching movies. And he goes, well, why don’t you go to film school? And I did. I went to film school. I dropped out of civil engineering, and attended, a school in Long Island, New York. And, like most people you know that don’t really know exactly what they want to do in film. I went in thinking I wanted to be a director. You know, I would write things and just, like, focus on that aspect of it. But then I realized through doing little projects in school and through mentors that I had in school that I realized that I had an affinity for the camera and cinematography. And so I learned early on that this is what I love. You know, I love the idea of like, just creating images and crafting images and lighting and, composition. And I was really thrilled by that. And, so I was lucky that I found that thing, in film school that I, that I gravitated towards.