When I think of why I decided to call my production company GhettoRig Productions, I honestly just thought it sounded cool. And the fact that David Ramsey (John Diggle in Arrow) told me that my DSLR-Zoom H4n Recorder rig that I was using to interview actors at the Arrow PaleyFest panel was a "fly ghettorig"might have helped validate my choice.
I jokingly went around with my newfound company moniker, thinking that this wasn't going to be what I actually called my company, but then it just kind of stuck. I had friends tell me that the name might give a preconception that the work I created lacked quality or professionalism. This taxed on me. I started thinking about Arthur Miller's famous line from The Crucible:
Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!
Sure, my situation was not as damning as Proctor's but I was still worried that maybe my friends were right. The last thing I wanted to do was to convey the wrong message. So, I started playing around with alternatives. I came up with Poo-Tee-Weet Productions, EloMarco Films, This Is Where You Say Polo Pictures, but nothing felt quite right. I realized the reason none of those names fit was that none of them had stories behind them.
I'm not saying that the aforementioned David Ramsey story is the reason the GhettoRig Productions name exists, but he called out something that I wasn't really aware of at the time, something that I didn't really catch on until later: I wasn't like the rest of these other people. I didn't have fancy equipment. I didn't have someone helping me do the audio or film. I was an all-in-one interview crew doing what I needed to do to get the job done. And this notion was already pretty prevalent in my life.
I went to Los Angeles Valley College and transferred to California State University of Northridge, majoring and graduating with a BA in English Literature. I worked in health insurance (still do!). I considered myself a writer first and foremost, but hardly wrote. What business did I have getting into the film business?
Don't get me wrong, I always wanted to work as a screenwriter in Hollywood but that dream was dashed to bits when I skipped out on going to NYU's Tisch School of Arts for dramatic writing. I gave it up. I considered screenwriting a fading hobby and the idea of going back to school to pursue screenwriting and film was laughable. Yet, something felt amiss.
I was two years out of college and decided to go back to school to pursue film, except I didn't want to go into more debt by going to a traditional film school. I wasn't even sure I was going to stick with it. So, I decided to return back to Valley College. I started taking every film course they offered. The professors were great. I learned a lot. I bought my first DSLR (a Canon 7D). I filmed my first short film. I met great people with similar interests.
The picture was coming into focus now.
I continued working on projects, strengthening my skills as a director, producer, editor, sound designer, and most importantly, as a writer. I wanted to create my own films. To turn my words into moving images that moved people. Then, it struck me. I ghettorigged myself into a bonafide filmmaker.
I created something out of nothing. I created GhettoRig Productions.
Who know what I will create next. All I know is this just the beginning of my story.