At one point during our Zoom conversation about film, family, and the Ben Affleck– starring HypnoticDIRECTORS robert rodriguez and I debated for a while the meaning of “boot-strapping.”
Robert broke out as an indie film director in the early 1990s, when his debut feature film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival among other awards; Mariachi was famously made for just $7,225 — a budget that Rodriguez was able to cash in on by participating in a drug-testing study.
Now, Robert has built his own studio in Austin, Texas, where he can make the movies he wants on his terms. And working there with him were many of his children, including co-writer and producer Racer Max Rodriguez and composer Rebel Rodriguez, who began working on Robert’s films at a very early age, and joined with their father to discuss life as a member of Rodriguez. family business: making movies.
Racer and Rebel don’t hesitate to say how much they enjoy it. “We realized we didn’t want to do it on our own or without a family,” Racer said. “Because for us there was the pressure of, ‘Oh, well, you’re going to do this because this is your dad, and he’s a filmmaker, and he let you in so you’re afraid to come out of it.’ And it’s like, ‘No, we’re not.’ He would be the first to kick us out the door if we wanted to do it. But, for us, it’s just family time, and there’s nothing else I want to do except family.
For others, working on their father’s films can be an invisible bootstrap – certainly, Racer or Rebel do not need to sign up for medical experiments to make their first feature film. But Robert says that for one thing, the drug test was “my own choice. I could have just borrowed from my grandparents like most people do. But I want it at my own risk. “
And for another, being part of Rodriguez’s filmmaking machine is an exciting part of his sons’ lives, but not always easy – like shooting in 2005. The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-Dbased on a story by Racer (who was eight years old at the time of the film’s release), and also featured Racer and Rebel as younger versions of the film’s titular Sharkboy.