We had the good fortune of connecting with Marc Antonio Rios and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marc Antonio, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
Growing up wasn’t easy, I was raised by a hard-working single mother who struggled just so we could have a better life, we didn’t have much money most of the time but we made the most of it. I was born in San Antonio, Texas but spent most of my life in the beautiful country of Von Ormy. For me and my mother, movies were an escape from reality, I became interested.
The first time I was exposed to movies was around the age of 3, I was quickly exposed to classic horror movies such as Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Killer Klowns from Outer Space, it was the norm. My mother showed me the making of and behind the scenes of almost every movie we watched to understand the fundamentals and passion that goes into these projects, a reason why I didn’t get scared of fictional movie monsters. As the years went by my “dream job” was pretty much not figured out quite yet. Every other kid wanted to be a firefighter, doctor, or even a cop, even I did at some point but I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a living, who does? I wasn’t very smart or intelligent, I just enjoyed playing Halo and watching movies, until one day those two things collided.
In the late 2000s, right before the release of Halo Reach, I inserted myself into a small community dedicated to making Machinima (video game movies). I didn’t make big scaled projects and just stuck to helping my Xbox live friends produce their machinimas. This is where I learned how to edit, record, and direct at the age of 9, I would consider this virtual production since I haven’t done anything live-action. Over the following years in High school, I began to shoot short films, and soon when I dropped out of high school to attend community college, I began to learn and grow as a filmmaker. What I’ve learned in making machinima, I applied to my work.
All my projects have been self-produced, self-directed and self one man teamed most of the time with extra help from friends and my girlfriend. It’s good to be your team, even today I do my visual effects, music composing, acting, cinematography, editing, foley, etc. The more you know, the more successful you can be as a filmmaker. As of right now, I’m self-directing my feature films without a budget, I couldn’t have gone so far without the help and support of my family, friends, and girlfriend.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What sets me apart from everyone else is the constant storytelling and imagery that just comes from out of nowhere in my head. I could be sitting down eating at a restaurant and suddenly I imagine a character wanting to rob the place and imagine a whole movie about it. I would be thinking about how I would frame the scene, the lighting, the story, and the sound.
I can’t sleep at night because I have stories I need to tell.
It’s not an easy journey. Behind the scenes, sometimes things are ugly. I try to be reasonable and kind with everyone around me. I quickly got judged on my campus due to my skin color and had to deal with harassment and racism but that’s not going to stop me from what I love doing. My message to everyone in the film industry dealing with those types of issues from men, women, and unspecified gender to people of color. Don’t let hate get in the way of success, be yourself, even when you produce a project of the sort, expect the unexpected, everyone only hates what they don’t understand.
You learn from mistakes and mistakes come opportunities to grow and overcome anything.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I think the best place in San Antonio is downtown itself. Many stories are being told in front of you, the tourists, the construction, the scenery, the history, it’s all in front of you. Many restaurants in the city are good but my personal favorite I would recommend to anyone visiting is Tony’s tacos to go, The pig stand, and Casa Rio.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I couldn’t have gone this far without criticism, support, knowledge, and tough love from the Halo Machinima community, those are the guys who taught me and taught each other how to produce your content without expecting a dime from anyone and how to manage roles other than directing.
Inspiration comes from anywhere. Other than the halo machinima community, Sam Gorski, Niko Pueringer, Freddie Wong, Daniel Lotz, Joel Haver, and Robert Rodriguez are what make filmmaking look fun and you can learn a lot by making mistakes and learning from them.