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Robert Jerome Pagan and his inspiring message "Don't be afraid to create what you believe in".

Updated: Apr 6, 2023


Robert Jerome Pagan

Robert Jerome Pagan, is a Puerto Rican and Mexican-American theater and film director who has been making waves in the entertainment industry for over three decades. Born and raised in California, Robert has had an incredible journey, marked by hard work, perseverance, and a deep passion for his craft. Robert's love for directing, writing, and creating began early on in his life, and he pursued his education at several prestigious institutions, including Cal State East Bay, Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts, Ashford University, Las Positas Community College, and Chabot Community College. He honed his skills by directing over 250 community and professional theatrical shows and went on to found several successful theater programs, including the Los Banos Community Theater Program, Fifth Wall Theater Project, Workshop 44, and Los Broadway. One of Robert's most significant achievements is the award-winning series "LAST GASP," which he created and directed. This groundbreaking series has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide and has been hailed as a cultural milestone. Robert is also the director of the critically acclaimed ode to Americana, "An American Posada," and his micro-short film "The Artist" has won numerous awards. Robert's talent and dedication have not gone unnoticed. He has been recognized as Activist of the Year by the Merced LGBTQ Center and served as Theatrical Director for the Northern California Renaissance Faire for six years. He also served as the California State Contact for the American Association of Community Theater for six years. Robert's theatrical plays, including "Scapino’s Revenge," "Wonderland: The Alice Story," and "Romeo and Juliet: Jerome Version," have won multiple awards and accolades. He has also directed and produced several films, including "Last Gasp Season 1" and "An OscarWinning Movie The Movie The Series," both of which have garnered critical acclaim and numerous awards. Robert's incredible journey is a testament to the power of hard work, dedication, and passion. His work has touched the hearts and minds of countless people and has made a significant impact on the entertainment industry. With his talent and drive, there is no doubt that Robert will continue to create groundbreaking works that will inspire and entertain audiences for years to come.


When did you discover this was your career path? R- Ever since I was young, I've always been strongly inclined to create and tell stories. I was captivated by people and their motivations and always wondered about the outcomes if they had taken different actions. I also had a passion for performing, and I still recall putting on "Magic Shows" for my second-grade classmates at Proctor Elementary.

Which filmmakers inspired you?

R- This is a tough question, but I'll start by saying that as a Latino, I've always been fascinated and inspired by the works of Luis Valdez. Given my theatrical background, his impact on me is undeniable, and who doesn't love La Bamba? Similarly, Julie Taymor, Baz Luhrmann, Gus Van Sant, and Larry Clark have also been a significant source of inspiration for me. As you may have noticed, my influences are not the typical Spilbergs or Tarantinos. Instead, I find myself drawn to the likes of Russell Mulcahy, who has directed some incredible TV episodes. For example, the first episode of Queer as Folk changed my life as a young gay man, and Mulcahy is also responsible for some of the best Tales from the Crypt episodes ever made.


Why do they inspire you?

R- What inspires me about all of these directors is that they're not afraid to take risks and get their hands dirty. They've all mastered the art of balance, creating worlds that may seem outlandish or spectacular, but never lose their honesty. They don't allow the actors or crew to diminish the worlds they've created; instead, they guide them to embrace those worlds with true human emotions and conditions. This approach results in films that are not only visually stunning but also emotionally resonant.


An Oscar Winning Movie is coming of age comedy for two generations, What was the biggest challenge for you?

R- Across the board, I think the biggest challenge we faced with this show was finding the right actor to play Cameron. Finding someone who could bring depth and authenticity to the role was crucial, and we searched extensively to find the perfect fit. Additionally, we had to film the entire show in just 15 days, which was a significant time constraint that required careful planning and execution to ensure that we captured everything we needed.


As this is a web series, how many episodes shall we expect and where can we watch them?

R- Season 1 of our show consists of seven episodes, and you can access all of them on our website at www.rjeromep.com. We're thrilled to make the show available to audiences everywhere, and we hope that people enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed creating it.


Robert, you also play a character in the series, was it difficult for you to manage your acting scenes with your directing vision?

R- Having previous experience directing myself in theater and film, directing this show was not extremely out of my comfort zone. However, having great executive producers in Geovani and Dana made the process tremendously easier. In addition, working alongside a wonderful co-cinematographer in Joseph and a great crew throughout the production made the experience a lot smoother.


Was there any scene that was difficult to shoot? And if so, which one and why?

R- The most challenging part of filming was the Tiki Party sequence, which was shot over several days, making continuity a crucial factor.


This web series touches on different topics such as making it in the industry, but also finding your own identity, what was your message behind this work?

R-For me, the biggest message behind this show was a huge middle finger to the notion of the "right way" of doing things. So much of the entertainment industry, from music and theater to film, is stifled by the constraints of "white, cis-gender thought." My message is directed towards the little queer brown kids: don't be afraid to create what you believe in, even if it's not considered the norm. We must break out of the box and create new forms of expression representing diverse perspectives and experiences.

This project is a great representation of the LGBTQ+ community, we also noticed what they call "Bisexual Lighting" in some of the shots and it makes total sense seeing the main character's established sexuality, tell us more about your cinematography process and your message to the queer community.

R- To be honest, lighting was one of the elements that I focused on the most. I wanted the world to have moments of foreshadowing through the use of lighting. We used a lot of lighting scales to hint at these moments. One of the things I specifically wanted to play with was the use of bisexual lighting, as a nod to times when pride wasn't as fully embraced as it is today. I also wanted to explore the ideology of the blatant eroticism of the "blond twink," which has been conditioned to be the epitome of sexiness for gay men of my generation. There are many elements in the cinematography of the show, from the close-ups to the outrageous amount of male feet that we feature. We also pay homage to some of the queer iconic over-the-top moments with extreme angles. Additionally, horror and slasher films have been iconic in our community, so we incorporated some old-school horror cinema references into the show. Overall, the goal was to create a visually striking show that paid tribute to various elements of queer culture.

The cast of An Oscar Winning Movie

I can confirm it came forward! You guys did such a great job!

When it comes to the casting process, what was your aim? How was the experience?

R- For me, the casting process was all about finding actors who were passionate about the project and who truly identified with it. We wanted people who could bring honesty and authenticity to their performances. The hardest part was finding the right actor to play Cameron. It was important to me to find someone who could bring something unique and special to the character. We saw many talented actors, but it wasn't until we found Jake that everything clicked into place. He really embodied the spirit of the character and brought so much depth to the role.


Robert Jerome Pagan and Jake Leahy

He difintely did! A fun fact about An Oscar Winning movie? R- The whole thing was filmmed in 15 days and we didnt get a Cameron Cast till like shoot day 7.


Wow that's a huge fun fact! What's the best part of your job, what's your favorite step in the process?

R- Each step has its own special aspect, but I loved writing it the most.


We loved your web series and you received a few awards. How is it going with festivals so far?

R- We're thrilled with how well the show has been received so far, and we're hoping it will continue to make a splash at more film festivals. We've had a lot of positive feedback, which is always encouraging. Our ultimate goal is to create more seasons of the show, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that the success we've seen so far will open up more opportunities for us.


What would you say to someone that wants to start this path as you did?

R- My advice to anyone considering a career in this industry is to only pursue it if it's your true passion and the one thing that makes you truly happy. This business can be tough and challenging, and it's not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of perseverance, hard work, and dedication to make it in this field. But if you're truly passionate about it and willing to put in the effort, it can be a rewarding and fulfilling career. So, follow your heart and pursue your dreams, but be prepared to work hard and never give up.


What do you regret and what would you have wanted to know earlier?

R- Life is way too short and regrets are better left told on the screen in other projects.


Well said! What's your dream project?

R- I have many ideas for films, but if I were to choose a classic book to adapt into a film, "The Catcher in the Rye" would be my dream project.


Your roots are Puerto Rican and Mexican, how much did your roots shape the artist you are today?

R- My Mexican and Puerto Rican roots have shaped me in ways that I didn't realize until later in life. The truth is that the industry, in many ways, was designed to make me feel ashamed of my roots. The stories that reflect the lives, love, and looks of people like me were never told. This experience hardened me, making me ready for doors to constantly slam in my face. However, it also fueled my desire to create change and tell stories that reflect my community.


The cast of An Oscar Winning Movie at the Merced Queer Film Festival

You were raised in America as most of your cast and crew, how do you see the American Film Industry and what would you change about it?

R- I view the entertainment industry as a vast realm of infinite potential, yet it often seems constrained by predictable patterns. At the same time, it can feel like a circus of favoritism and cronyism.


What do you expect from the future? What do you hope it will bring you on a professional level?

R- I have no expectations, but I am hopeful that I can secure funding or even a studio project.


Who would you suggest this project to, and why? (Who's your target audience? Who do you think would appreciate your work?

R- I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to experience a fun, campy, and queer-filled time. I also think anyone who just loves to have fun will love the show.


Are there any other works in progress?

R- I would love for people to check out LAST GASP my other show which is in post-production of season 2 at the moment.


Thank you for your time, it was such a pleasure having to know you and your works better!

R- Thank you so much!


If you want to contact Robert, please email him to

rjeromep@gmail.com


FOLLOW ROBERT'S JOURNEY HERE:




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