Ashley: Welcome to episode #153 of the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I’m Ashley Scott Meyers Screenwriter and blogger over at – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today, I’m interviewing, Writer/Director, Dito Montiel. He just did a film called, “Man Down” starring Shia LaBeouf, and Gary Oldman. But he’s done a bunch of really interesting films over the last 10 years. He’s a real artist, and he’s very forthcoming about how his career came together. So, stay tuned for that.
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A quick few words about what I am working this week? Once again, the main thing I’m working on is, post-production on my crime, action, thriller film, “The Pinch.” The second rough cut is in. So, now I’ve got to go through that and do another round of notes. We’ve really spent a lot of time on this latest version and it’s definitely starting to feel more like a movie. My goal now, is to try and have a locked-picture, in early January. These things always take a lot longer than expected. But hopefully it won’t go much past that. And then I can kinda get the other people; the composer, the special effects, all of those other lists, dialog, sound editor, all of those other types of people to start working on their end. Probably early to mid-January, once we have locked-picture. Anyway, that’s what I’m working on.
Now let’s get into the main segment. Today I’m interviewing Writer/Director Dito Montiel, here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome Dito, to the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I really appreciate you coming on the show with me today.
Dito: Yeah, happy to be here, man.
Ashley: So, maybe to start out you can tell us a little bit about your background? You know, where did you grow-up? And how did you get interested in the entertainment business?
Dito: Well, I’m from the story of Queens. The entertainment business was, I don’t know, not really on my mind. You know, I just grew-up, you know, in the hard core theme, in New York, punk-rock, hard core world. Which was a complete do it yourself world, you know. So, none of us were particularly good enough to play other people’s music. So, we wrote our own. You know, that got me the bug to write, you know. So, I started with a bunch of dumb lyrics. Complaining about, you know, people on your block with or something? And then, you know, writing, is writing. So, how it turns into a you know, do it yourself attitude. You know, that kind of always stuck with me, you know.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So then, take us through, so you’re in this music scene. How did you actually take those first steps to making films? Did you play, like, experimental shorts? What were those first steps into the film business?
Dito: You know well, like I said, you know coming from, I never went to school, or any of that, for any of this. And, you know, I was just a fan of TV. I was a TV kid, ya know, mainly. I got a job my friend, who a, he had a music studio, and I kinda had no where to go, and no job or nothing. Mark, he opened up a studio out in Los Angeles California. He said, I could work there. And I could live there. And I kinda needed both of those deals. And so, I said, I don’t know, if I can live in California. So, I just a, I went there, and started working in a place. They would work on commercials, and records and all sorts of fun stuff like that. Like I said, I grew-up writing, like anybody else, napkins I would writing and put it in my pocket. You know, you thought you had a genius idea. And instead all you have is a bunch of dirty napkins.
Ashley: (Chuckling) Yep.
Dito: And one day I had this idea, to pick-up this, you know, typical notebook that you write in. You know, and in pen, you know, like you had in grade school. You know, one of those black and whites. And I just started writing, you know, a story. You know, just as well actually. Something that my brain to him, the truth, a very o a story. You know, page by page, okay, this is going to be a story about this guy. And it’s a page long of people I had grown-up with, you know, that had moved me in my life. And I got to about 20 pages, and I remembered thinking, how long a book? You know, and I saw, a book is like 200 pages. So, if I’m a tenth of the way there, let me see if I can keep going here, ya know. And that sounds like a strange thought? But, for a movie, it was the same sort of thing when I was working at my friend’s place in California. Me and the guy, we were working in a dubbing room. And the guy who lives and edits all my films now. How we work together making dubs of anything that would come in. And we started messing with my movie. Which was, “The Free Program.” Which we did for fun, I mean neither one of us had dreams or anything of bring in the movie business. That wasn’t even on the radar, we were just having fun. We started making weird little camera there. And it was just film stuff and then we inter-cut it with sound. My friends would call-up collect from my job in prison. Maybe the receptionist would let them get through and we would start recording it. Which would probably be not the most ethical thing to do. And he would tell me what it was like in prison. He had been there for a long time.
We started putting that into IMovies, with visuals, and we put music on it. And we started to thing, gee this is kinda fun. We got it to about 3 minutes, and then 5 minutes, and then a 7-minute thing. Similar, to the book I did. I was like, how long a movie is like? Okay, I’ve got 100 minutes in this. So okay work up 2 minutes, a part of the way there. So, it’s always been a very gradual process for me, just starting, like I said coming back from hard core roots I grew-up with a do it yourself attitude. Well, I’d rather play our own songs even if they’re not as good as some of the big bands. But we still did ours. And that was the evolution of what got me to this weird business ya know.
Ashley: So, let’s talk about that, did you eventually take that 7 minutes and turn it into a feature film? You did finally hit the 100-minute mark?
Dito: Well, you know, in a way yes, I mean, like well, the pages became a book. And a guy I used to work with at Tower Records in New York, David Weemae got a job at a publishing company. And then was talking to him once. And I thought, hey, you know what? I got about 200-pages. So I sent him literally 200-pages, handwritten. I copied it from a copy machine. And insane enough, they published it. And I think we sold about I don’t know, 15 copies, you know, just but it was real, ya know? And it was, I had an ISBN # to a real book, you know. And it just seemed actually and I couldn’t believe it. And it felt so, satisfying in a way, ya know. And then, like I said, we started. Jake, my friend we started messing with the things. Like I said, there was 7 like minutes long. And we started thinking, gosh maybe this could be a movie. And then we had this idea. As strange as it is, the guy I had worked with, John Fore I had worked with before, from Alliance. He was good friends with Robert Downey, the actor. And I had known Robert as well over the years. Just because we were always playing and bouncing around New York. And similar circles we would run into each other, and in different places. He came in one day and, I mean, this is much more complicated than this. But, a I was like, hey man, come check this idea out, ya know. And he looked at it, and he went, “Wow, that’s cool we should do a movie, or something?” Yeah, I was thinking, ya know? And then, I gave him my book. Which he is probably the 16th person that had it. And luckily he enjoyed it, ya know? And then we started talking, he brought in. It’s such a crazy avalanche of things, that I never could have expected. A few weeks later, Trudy Styler, who’s a producer, Mary Kasing was looking to do a new movie with Robert. And we all got together, and it was insane. I’m trying to just live here, and now I’m with these people. And they were talking about the movie. And so, I just got really, nervous, and wanted to write a script. Because I, oh my gosh, okay, I’m actually going to do the real thing. Watch, it’s going to be a group of my friends. And doing whatever the heck, you know. I got to do a script. Which I had absolutely no idea what to do. And this script is so corny, and nuts, and it almost doesn’t good when I say it. But, I had just been in Los Angeles California, not very long, ya know. I had no idea about how anything works. And so, what I did was, I knew that they liked the script, I heard them talking. I was decoding how this works? And they liked the script called, “United States of Realism.” Which, It was a movie that actually, Brain Gosslin was in, and I went to a place on Hollywood Blvd. And this sounds like Abbot and Costello, but it’s real. And I went to a store that sold screenplays. And this is, you know, very early internet days. So, it wasn’t like you would find your script online. So, I didn’t know how to, so, went to this store, and a I bought “The United States of Realism” So I could see what it looked like, ya know.
David: And so I went on Microsoft Word, and I copied it exactly how it looked. And I started writing my story. Because I knew it had to look professional, because these were legitimate people, Robert and studio, clean things up. So, I would copy INT, and I actually-thought it meant introducing, and interior. And EXT I thought it meant exit, ya know. And I go, okay introducing the street, okay, I get it. And so, I would introduce my street. So, where it said, “Introducing” whatever it said in the United States of America, Leland, introducing whatever street they were on? I would say, okay, introducing 31st Street, ya know. Because that’s where my story took place. And then I turn around and I copied it, literally scene for scene okay. If their scene ended there, then my scene ended there, ya know. Which is nuts, but, at one point I’m, I remember I’m, I had no idea, it was just nuts, and Robert came in, and I said, “You know Robert, I gotta ask you a question? I’ve been looking at this script, and I keep re-introducing these streets.” And he’s like, that’s interior. And I was like, “WHAT?” And then I said, “They exit street.” And he’s like, “That’s exterior.” And I’m like, “WOW! That’s.” And that’s my introduction to film and script writing. And so, anybody out there that wants to write “INT – Interior” it’s inside. You want to go outside, Exterior.
Ashley: That’s awesome, that’s the greatest story.
Dito: It is ridiculous, unless you know. But, you know, at the end of the day, writing is writing. And sure, there’s a format and everything. But, luckily for me, I got people like Robert, who are kinda out there, and truly that they sort of saw something to it, and gave me an impossible chance, I don’t even know what kind of, I don’t know if there are odds for something like this coming together. It’s just all a trip, ya know.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, and so, how did you get yourself, so clearly at this point. He realizes that you’re a novice. How did you approach him and say, “I want to direct it too?” How was there any push back?
Dito: Yeah, it was utterly ridiculous, it was like I was like, “An old Jedi mind trick.” Of humanly available, ya know. I would sit there, ya know, it started, ya know, to back-up a second. They, Robert gave Trudy my book. And because it was an ISBN # I think everyone took it seriously. Even though I think, like I said, if you people bought it, I’m shocked, ya know. But it was real, and it had, it looked like it had a cover, ya know. And luckily she read it and said, “Wow, I think this could be a great film.” And then, at the time, there was a movie out, that I’m trying to remember the name of it? But Ben Kingsly was in it. But, he was, he yells, “NO, NO, NO!! in it a bunch of times in it. Oh, gosh I can’t remember the name of it? Oh, “Sexy Beast.”
Ashley: Yeah, okay.
Dito: And Trudy said, “Oh, I contacted the writers of “Sexy Beast.” And they’re willing to do this on spec. which means, for free. I was learning about that as I’m going, you know. But they’re not available to us for four months. And so, that’s when I thought, oh my God, I have a couple of months here, give it a shot myself. So, that’s when I went through this whole binding and thing. And I got it to a point where it probably made no sense to the normal person.
But, it was like 160 pages you know. I literally wrote it in two weeks in total insanity. And sent it over to Trudy, and I pretended that a writer in Hollywood under an anonymous name wrote it. Because I said, you know, if they think it’s me? They’ll think I’m a idiot, and that I’m trying to like infiltrate this world. So, I put this other guy’s name on it. And I said, hey Trudy, this guy, he’s a real writer. He wrote it, and take a look at it. And she read it on an airplane. And when she landed in New York, she called me, and says, “It’s pretty out there, but I think this guy’s got the heart of a story.” And I said, “I wrote it.” And she says, “WHAT?!” And then it became a process of working with Rick, in pretty hands on, and Trudy. And they had a script doctor guy. I mean, Art Francis who worked at her company. Who was a god send to me. Because he just was just a really smart guy who was willing to go on the weird trip that you have to go on with me. And that, and you know, there became a lot of discussions that about script. And why you have this theme. I was this learning as I was going. And you know, it was a, so yeah. It was, so then we had a script that was I felt pretty good about. And then I started thinking, okay I really would love to direct this thing. How the hell am I going to get anyone to think that I could do that? I didn’t even know what “Interior” meant, two weeks ago, ya know? And so, then me and the editor, who that I had worked with. We were still working in the government at the time. We really went crazy. And I started cutting weird, little shorts. You call my movie, zero budget. When I sit here, like complete zero, you know, no, nothing. As anyone can do these, you know. And showed it to Robert. Just sort of hoping he might get this hint that I was a director? And he said, “Yeah, why don’t you direct this?” And this guy, he’s a good friend, and a great artist, you know. And I said, “Whoa, if you could ever talk to Trudy? I’d be impressed, boy, that would be incredible.” Well, he said, “Let me give her a call.” So, I get a call from Trudy, this is so bizarre. Going back into this crazy six months. Trudy calls me up at and says, “Now, that this is happening. And I think Robert Downie can direct. I think maybe we looking to crushed, the next in line here.” She said, he said, either this weird little short, I’d like you to look at it. So, I showed it to her, and she says, “It’s okay, it’s interesting, you’ve never made a movie before. Here’s the deal I’ll make with you. If you can make a short film? Ten minutes long, with Robert in it. He said, that he would come for a day with you. I’m not going to give you a budget for it. Just go do it, with your little camera and find a way to record. And we had an eight-track player up for sound. And if you make something that is of the flavor of something I would make and I like it? I’ll let you direct it. I couldn’t have imagined it better opportunity or deal on the table for me that’s for sure.
Dito: So Robert and I went down to my friend’s music rehearsal studio, in Hollywood. The guy had a music rehearsal studio, called, “Swing House.” It’s still around. And went to the room for a $50.00 an hour, for two hours. And Robert sat in there and read this thing and he’s Robert Downy so, I’m gonna try and look good no matter what I’m doing, ya know. And then I just paid to go to New York, I got a plane ticket, ya know, “Tower Air” was really cheap at the time $200.00 roundtrip. And went to my friend’s house/apartment. And I found his little brother and said, “Find the craziest little kid you got here, and we filmed him for an entire afternoon. And then went and cut the thing together. And Robert and Trudy said, “Okay” he can direct it. And it’s a bigger process than that. But, that was how that madness worked. But, the crazy thing is, along the way, someone submitted that 160 page script that had somehow been floating around Hollywood, you know.
Dito: By to Sundance Labs, that I had never heard of. And I got a call at that job one day from the labs. Michelle Fabric, who runs them. Hey, we really like your script. We’d like you to be in the submits labs. I don’t know if you know about the labs? Yeah, so they take about 12 people a year or something like that? And brings you in for free, and you couldn’t ask for a better school. So, I didn’t know what it was? Actually thought it was like a “Learning Annex” thing, you know. So, when they called me up, I was like, well, how much is this? It’s like, it’s free, and I’m like, what do you mean it’s free? And they’re like, yeah. And I was like, yeah, how do I get to Utah? And they were like, oh, no, we’ll pay for you to get to Utah. And I’m like, ah, it sounds like a scam. I was like, okay, give me number and I’ll like call ya back, ya know. I really thought it was a scam, come-on what is this? I had heard of the Sundance Film Festival, but not the lab. And so then I called them, they are truly up. I said, “I got this weird call from Sundance Labs.” And then she goes, I told him, she says, you’ve got to call them back right now!” That’s a really good thing, ya know?! And so, I called, and then I got to go through the lab. Which was incredible, ya know. The way it works there, at least for me, you know. You spend two weeks there, it’s a whirl-wind of madness, you know. But, and they assign these incredible writers to you. Frank Pierce, who wrote, “Dog Day Afternoon” “Cool Hand Luke” One day, you sit with Frank, and the next day you sit with Walt Mosley, the next day you sit with Alfonso, I mean, like these remarkable writers. And I mean, and they’re telling you what they think of you, and your script. It’s Wonkaville for writers, you know. It was just nuts, you know, and it’s like Wow! I don’t know how the planet aligns for me so perfectly? In those few months. But, so then having gone through the labs. It gives you a sort of like a human ISBN#. You know, like, now you can actually do this, you know. And then we went and made the movie. My first movie, got a choice in the saints, ya know, it’s bizarre at least, ya know.
Ashley: Yeah, that’s just a fantastic story, as I said, it’s very inspirational. It all started with you though, writing that book and just putting stuff out into the world. And that’s one of the big things I preach on this Podcast. Is just no matter what it is, just put stuff out there. Because good things can happen when stuff is out in the world. If you don’t put anything out in the world, really nothing can happen. So, that’s the truth, very inspirational story.
Dito: I’m glad.
Ashley: Now, let’s dig into, “Man Down” Maybe to start out you can just give us a quick pitch or a log-line for the film.
Dito: Well, it’s such a fun film of fun and odd, and you know, it’s hard keeping, and getting my head around it, ya know. Which I had a really, great screening last night. Ya know, I’ll tell you what interested me, you know. It was written, it was originally written by a guy named
Adam Simon. And he was almost at the time, wrote the script. Dealing with his homeless situation, they had a little kid and sneaking into 24 hour gyms to a shower and things like that. And it was very scattered, and kinda crazy. And he was messing with time, which was, always interested me, ya know, friendship and the passage of time is always a profession of mine. Once upon a time, like a Chirese, and play with that. And it went into a post-apocalyptic world.
Which growing-up, “Planet of the Apes.” You know, was like the greatest thing that ever happened to me. And anytime the world ends in a movie, I’m in, ya know. But there was this very strange spine to it. And I thought, man, this is nuts. I don’t know exactly what I just read? Because of which, it was literally written by the guy, who’s in the film. Which to in a way it was, you know. But, it has such intricacies. Interesting to me, so many interesting elements, I said, “You know what? I met with the producers who had it. And I said, “You know, I don’t really know, if I want to do this? Or what the heck I just read. Because it’s crazy, pretty-out there. But I’d like to take a shot to decode it in my head. I think there’s something really-special on there, ya know. So, then I started messing with it, writing. I had this memory of my father going, growing-up, he had Epilepsy. He had grand-maul seizures. Which is pretty traumatic, ya know, and pretty intense. And back then, you were told to make a knuckle with your fist and put it in his mouth when he has them. So, that he doesn’t bite his tongue off. Which is really, bad advice! No one should take that advice. Because he could bite your fingers off, right? So, at one point when I was a kid. I remember, I put my fingers in his mouth, and he was biting so hard. And I used to call, mom, watch him, it’s really hurting, it’s really hurting. And when they’re in a state of a grand maul seizure, which is they’re unconscious, right. Of course you wouldn’t want to hurt you. But, he’s not conscious of it. But, somehow it broke through, that me telling him that it hurt. And he stopped for a moment, which is really, odd. You know, and strange vision carried into this writing my portion of the writing of the script. Because like I kept thinking, why can’t the father fallen through the world ending and everything. He still suffers from, It’s a strange way, you know, for me I have to find a way that I can get into a story in a selfish way, ya know, or else it’s no fun. You know, like so, while I didn’t go to war like the character in the film goes through. I was trying to find my version of it, you know. So, I could relate to it and hope we bring something personal, you know. For me writing is always very personal, you know. I imagine whoever wrote “King Kong.” Had an attachment to “King Kong.” You know, so, it doesn’t have to be a, your personal life calling, or your biography. So, some of my progress is to find my own way in and demand that conclusions. It was that story about my father, you know, our connection to all the, where it was possible to see me. So, that was the, so when the script got to a point where, hey okay, this is starting to make sense. You know, Shia LeBeouf was in my first film that “Razor’s Edge” movie. That I just talked about it with Robert Downy. We always kept in contact over the years. And I had been wanting to work with him. And I was thinking, this is the movie for him! You know, he’d be great. Because boy, this guy is, he’s pretty fractured, ya know, this character, and Shia would just crush it. For a couple of reasons; one, he a really good actor, the other is, he really is fractured, you know. And so, I called him up and I said, “Hey man, I think there’s something cool here. Take a read, and if you don’t like it? No problem, if you do give me a call back.” Two hours later he called me and he said, “Let’s do this.” And then, you know, the process of some making the film. I was learning as I’m going, still it’s nuts. And a lot of times you have a, you know, there’s all this financing and things, that can be tough. And sometimes I’m hinging but, when you go to make the film. You normally have your dream with you, like anyone does. And it doesn’t always happen, a huge actress. Sometimes it’s just a great actress, you know. Or someone that you, oh wow, I know this guy from this weird movie from the 70’s. How cool would it be to see him do this, you know? For me, “Man Down” was literally, the dream of every actress you could dream of. Perfect for the role I thought of oh God, Kate Marrow would be just great for this. And so, we contacted Kate and she said, “Yes.”
And then it’s like, okay, god imagine if we could take or get Gary Oldman for this? A call, and Gary says, “Yes.” It’s one of those things that, you know, that’s usually what you start with. And you just work your way up somewhere else, you know.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah.
Dito: So, we got this incredible cast. And then the, and we got to make the film with Jai Courtney, Clifton Collins Jr., Tory Kittles, a lot of great actors that I had seen over the years. You know, kind of a, that could be real.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. That’s a great story too. I just want to touch on some, and you kinda said, I don’t want to give people, and you can and will probably cut me off here. But, I don’t want to give people the impression that, because these two stories, you just told. If, it’s like the planets aligned and everything went good. But you also just each.
Ashley: You just kind of eluded to the fact that sometimes these things can really get un-hinged. And maybe you can talk about that for a minute. I mean, at this point in your career, there must have been some projects that you were really passionate about. That you thought would be really great. But, for whatever reason, they didn’t quite navigate through this sometimes very mysterious world of film finance. And maybe you could just talk about that for just a minute. Just so people aren’t left with things are always rosy with you and your projects.
Dito: Oh yeah. Oh everything is far from rosy, you know. I think it’s just expectations is a big part of it. And I get lost in it too, you know, I mean, You know, it’s a, look, it’s, nothing is easy, right? Hey, that’s life. And you know, it’s d you know. When the first book that I wrote, and the movie that I made, the first week. There’s a thing that you know, I’ll go to an easier lesson that I learned and this is a 20 even trend. Giving a lesson but, when I was a kid. I met Allen Gindsburg, one of the greatest writers ever. He took pictures of me. He was just a weird old man, to me. I had no idea who he was. We hung out, but, he was a teenager. And this guy would come around and ask to take pictures, ya know. And as it turns out, he was one of the greatest playwrights. And he had this crappy-little apartments on 13th Street. And I went up there, and had a band, and took a bunch of pictures of us, and we were all high, nuts. And he’s said, and it went way over my head back then. But he said, “You know, what’s so great about this apartment? It’s rent control.” And I was like, yeah. And he was back, and how could it be lighter? You know, and it feels like a small thing. But I think of it now, and I think, great, that’s respect of course. If he lived in a cheap little place. He can do what he loves, you know. As close to the dream of I could make a million dollars in this business, ya know. So, I think that was so valuable to keep in the back of my mind, you know. That there’s lots, if not, film financing is at, it’s an animal that’s growing. And it’s presence in a lot of ways, you know, you can write a, you know, you can be surprised, you know, who has worth? You know, if that’s the right word. The presence now in the foreign finance world, you’ll be shocked. While this guy has never heard of this guy? But, somehow he can catch a bunch of money in Germany you can catch finance towards your movie, ya know. Look what I made towards, as you think. Robert Downy was worth $0.00, right. He wasn’t Iron Man ya know.
Now you could probably film him standing on his head for an hour and take some financing. So, the laws of film financing don’t always pertain to the best movie you can make. It just pertains to reality. And part of filming is weird, you know. What’s weird about movies? Is, for the business, is a million dollars to a bunch of broke people. Does that sound like a lot. We’re all, everyone is broke and we’re all dreaming, and suddenly, some of them, have you been there? It’s enough to make you move in, like. You had a million to make this? Like if you were dreaming about bringing up a pizza place, go to a bank and ask for money. Now, see how that works out. Now so, there’s a reality to how much money you’re after. And I have to do it for someone to possess the new. You know, so, you can’t overlook that. It’s easy to overlook that, you’re supposed to be modest, you know. You know, you’re supposed to be the director. If I have seen the most bratty spoiled men in your life, you know. You know, they scream, “I want Elton John” to play at my birthday party. You know, they’re fighting for
King Kong’s that are going to cost like an extra $100,000.00. Because you think it makes those 2 minutes better. But you’re supposed to do that now. So, it doesn’t come naturally for me. My father was a hyper-condriac and we had nothing for him enough, you know. So, I see both sides of it. So, instead of firing it, instead that’s very easy to do, you know, as a dentist, you know. I also understand to some degree that, they at 2:00a.m. in the morning, up and wrote it and with somebody who worked really hard, to put a million dollars into it. That’s pretty much, ya know. But the reality of the film, let’s keep the perspective. What is great about the world. They got this ever changing, you can’t cut your movie, really cheap now. Keep thinking, kinda like music in the ‘90’s. There were, a still a few big old bands holding onto these remarkable recording budget. While a bunch of bored with their computers, you know. Movies, like you said earlier. You just click stuff out there. I don’t know where it’s going to go? I bet I nailed it today, I certainly hit a lot of people with it. They can achieve the talent, or lack of talent. Or your cool little ideas, and that’s all it should be. Like I said, there’s cool art. We didn’t dream of being
rock stars or not playing anywhere bigger than the A17 Clubs, or CB Gee-bees, yet. They look like their, so, in a way that’s the way I see it. So, try to hold on to that it’s more correct as you go, you know. But, you know, enjoy in the process is a big part of it, realistic. You’re asking for a lot. And making a movie is not always a such an effect. If you want to do it, this solo project, cut it, whatever the new IMovie is, you know. Final Draft is not that expensive, you know, Final Cut, but whatever. And then you can post it in YouTube, or stuff like that. But, if you’re going to start asking for money? You got ot understand there is a link to it, to the world then. Making a movie, is a, is going to be a guy plugged in, you know. The lights some additional nutrition there, ya know, going to bring food. Beat the reality series. So, I’m not trying to be like a kiss to the establishment. But it’s also deep felt blessed. People felt you know, it’s here you go around from time to time. They hear strange things like, how do I make it, fake it until you make it. Well, it’s a blue collar town. Don’t be fooled by the greys, ya know.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, I know, excellent advice. So, one last question? I get a lot of people coming to me as screenwriters asking? Hey, how can I get such and such director attached to me and my project. And I would be curious as a director, to kind of get your opinion. How does scripts normally come to you? I mean, it sound like to me “Man Down” was a script already written. Just maybe just talk about loosely. What is sort of the protocol for scripts get to you? Do they get to your agent, and your agent says. Or do you get them from friends? Do you get them from actors? How do you typically get scripts that you may want to work on?
Dito: It can arrive a bunch of ways. It can come from a friend, you know. Or just passed onto me. I mean, Hollywood Blvd. With Mark Williams are say guys who are writing about their life. You know, coming out later in life, and it really sort of touched me. And handed back to me. And I don’t know how it works, ya know? I mean, I love it when, for me, when you never know what’s going to appear, or have a whole script, or sparks, like you know, scripts that don’t follow my path finishing. But, you know, there’s no, there’s absolutely no blue print for how that goes? You know, the only thing I got, I believe is not, I could be wrong, there’s no proper advice. We’ll just say my version of life will be. Once in a while I’ll get an Email. Now from someone saying, “I’ve a good two scripts.” I think, scripts, I don’t even know what that means? You know, you kinda want to get one. Like, I’ve got to make this one. To me, it’s like burning in you, ya know. And then my turn to ask for it, ya know. Because you got one, I think if you really feel it, it’s like I had to do that. Like that book that I wrote, personally, I had to do it. It edged me, it really didn’t matter. You know, Robert Downy really was the blessing in that I wasn’t expecting, you know. I, was that’s okay, I wasn’t expecting it, now that I’m here. I didn’t care that 15 other people had it. That movie was going to exist 17 minutes at a time, whether 10’s or 15’s, it was still 100 because I knew that was the magic number. They’re probably going to be sticking with my friends. And we didn’t have YouTube at the time. And about ten years ago, it wasn’t as active as it was now. So, I was, I don’t know who would have ever seen it. You know, so, I feel like that’s the road, ya know. If you got something. As far as attaching a director and all that. Hey, you know, when I’ve been down. When you sell it, we’ll save it for whom ever. I didn’t know how to get to Clinton? Now because we didn’t have the money, you know. And I literally want to say, stuff. And I looked up Dito Montiel and there was probably 20 of them? You know, but one of them had friends that looked like. Wow, if he’s with these guys, then he must be Montiel? I wrote him and it said, “Hey man, I know this is a weird way to go but, you better come up here and squash it. So, I don’t know the route? I still take whatever. I’ll still take 20 routes to every destination, you know. The fun is getting there ya know. I get people writing me all the time on Facebook. You know, it’s not, I don’t like to read so much. It’s not like I don’t want to read everyone’s thing. But, hey, I don’t know, I give everything a shot. You know, look up, because I, probably not going to happen. But, you’re going to call up and see either AA or WMEA, and say, hey our, I’ve got a perfect script for. Say, he’s in all of this. My name is not going to get ya, you know. Try other routes. And you know, maybe a director who isn’t so be. Or look up Facebook, maybe it’s him? Try and find the real Leonardo DeCaprio? Then headed in the right direction.
Ashley: That’s great advice. So, how can people see “Man Down?” You know what the release schedule is going to be like?
Dito: Yeah, it comes out December 2nd, you know, nation-wide. I love the movie, I think it’s something pretty special. And I think you can check it out yourself. December 2nd, it’ll be out everywhere.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect. And then the final question? I just like to wrap things up by asking the guest, how people can kind of follow along with what you’re doing? If you’re on Twitter, Facebook, you can mention those handles. And friends like you.
Dito: Sure. I’m on Twitter and Facebook, with just my name, I’m the only guy out there, okay. Just me, ya know. Say “Hello.”
Ashley: Sounds good, I’ll wrap that stuff up, and I’ll get the hot links and put them in the show notes. So people can click over to those. Dito, this was a great interview. You’re a real artist and it was just great hearing from your perspective. I really appreciate you coming on and talking with me.
Dito: Thanks, thanks man. Just have fun with it. That’s the deal.
Ashley: Thanks, thanks, so good luck with this film.
Dito: Thanks man, take care.
Ashley: Talk to ya later.
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To wrap things up, I just want to touch on a few things on today’s interview with Dito. I really hope people are getting as much out of these interviews as I am. I found talking to Dito both informative and inspirational I think there’s some great tactical tips in this interview. I mentioned in the interview creating stuff and putting it out there. That really was the key to Dito’s career taking off. He wrote a book, and he was working on a short-videos. And then when opportunity presented itself, he was ready. Now, if you live in Nebraska? You might be saying to yourself? What are the odds that someone like Robert Downy is just going to come walking in my store. And that’s a fair point. But, if you take a step back, and ask yourself. Why aren’t you living in Los Angeles California? These sorts of connections can be made if you put yourself in the right position. And part of that is simply packing up your stuff and moving to Los Angeles California. I’ve talked about this before, so, I won’t spend a lot of time on it here now. But, if you’re serious about being a screenwriter, why don’t you live in Los Angeles California? I hope the story he told about Allen Ginsburg didn’t go over anybody’s heads? It’s inspiring to hear about artists who are really very committed to their craft. I mean, as Dito said, he was one of America’s greatest writers. And late in life he’s still needed to make sacrifices so he could work on his art. I mean, that’s very, very, inspirational, and just fascinating to see. I did this interview a couple of weeks ago. And I just keep coming back to that story. So, it mulling it over, thinking about it, how I can apply it to my own career? And I hope other people really think about that story as well.
Anyway, that’s the show, thank you for listening.