My name is dante luna. I'm a filmmaker/photographer from Roslindale, MA and I'm invested in storytelling. I went to school for Philosophy and Global Studies thinking i wanted to go to Business School or Law School but my YouTube account was doing really well so I decided to create visuals full time after my bachelors. I make mostly documentaries. I package ideas, careers, events and art forms into tangible expressions. I didn't know my degree was gearing me for a life in asking questions. I freelance and I also create new things when I'm not working on other people's ideas. I've photographed 30 of 50 states and I'm working on finishing the rest before the end of 2016. When people ask me when did I start making videos, I use to say when i was 19 years old but when i brought it back even further, my first real video was a slide show video of a wrestling match. I had wrestling toys, a ring, a camera, a computer and a software that let me add music to the slide show video. my first video was Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels Wrestlemania 12 iron man rematch, this time Bret Hart wins. I've always loved Professional Wrestling and I still watch it to this day. It makes me fell alive! Working with Joseph Bruen gave me the opportunity to interview some of my favorite personalities that I grew up watching. I can't thank FanFest enough and I'm looking forward to working with them again!
Joseph Bruen: Thanks for joining us Dante. Bring us into the mind of a child with such a bright future. Walk us through your life and what it took to get here.
Dante Luna: My name is dante luna. I'm a 28 year old filmmaker/photographer from Boston, Massachusetts. I'm a full time Creative. I have my freelance life where I get hired to create and then there's my creative life where I create for my own good. I graduated from Hyde Park High School at 17 years old and from St. Thomas University in Miami with a bachelors in Philosophy / Global Studies at 20 years old. I wanted to go to Law School or Business School but I saw steady success online making videos and sharing my photos. My YouTube account became a place I can entertain the world and also teach them the things I was learning. I began studying careers, businesses, issues and started to translate those things into visual products.
Joseph Bruen: When did the passion for photography start?
Dante Luna: I started taking pictures as a kid. I would end up breaking about 5 of my grandmother's cameras trying to film or take pictures. In 8th grade I got into a photography class at my school and that was the first time I was given an assignment with photos. We had to tell a story with 5 photos. I did a photo series of my dog Romeo taking a dump. lol I got in trouble for it but it was the most talked about project. The entire classroom reacted to it and loved it. The teacher, not so much lol. I've never stopped taking photos but I didn't buy my first camera until I was 24 years old.
Joseph Bruen: How did you first get involved with all the comic cons?
Dante Luna: My first experience with comic con's was at Boston Comic Con 2009. My friend was a comic book fanatic and I was working on a television series for Boston Neighborhood Network. He wanted to go to the show, I saw what kinds of people were going to be there so I contacted the promoter of the show to see if I was eligible for Press Passes and I was. The two of us went to the show, interviewed people and we turned it into an episode for a documentary series I was working on. I dedicated that project to my uncle David who passed away. He introduced me to comic books and I knew he would have been pissed if I went to this event without him. When I walked into my first comic con I knew there was something special about all these creative people in the room. Boston Comic Con always reminded me to focus on the art and artist who are at the core of what they stand for. To me these kinds of conventions whether they're comic book conventions or fan expo's, it's a gold mine for creativity. There were fans just as much invested in the stories as the people who created them, if not more. There were so many stories in the room I couldn't ignore. Since my first convention, I've felt an urgency to be one of the people who help preserve this aspect of our culture.
Joseph Bruen: You have mentioned before that you grew up a huge wrestling fan. Tell us about that in detail. Who were your favorites? Any favorite memories?
Dante Luna: I love wrestling. I still watch Monday Nigh Raw and i only remember a few times in my life where I wasn't watching weekly but wrestling has always been there. my first wrestling game was wcw/nwo Revenge. I was introduced to Hulk Hogan as Hollywood Hogan so He'll always be a Super Villain to me lol As a kid, a movie rental store called Videosmith had a promotion that every wednesday you can rent 2 free sports movies and Wrestling was in that category. I rented every single wrestling tape they had in there and I was always asking for more. thats how i introduced myself to all the survivor series, royal rumbles and wrestlemania's i hadn't seen. My first time watching Wrestlemania on tv was WM13, I immediately looked for WM12 and I obsessed over the Ironman match for years. I hated it and i always wanted the ending to change. I was and still am a die hard Bret Hart fan. which means I never had the chance to like HBK or Austin, It was Bret Hart and everyone else that wrestled. After Bret, I hadn't had a favorite wrestler until CM Punk.....the Icon among superstars lol and lastly on my top three is Seth Rollins. I called him the future before everyone else called him the future! lol Bret, Punk and Rollins.
Joseph Bruen: Do you still watch wrestling today and what do you think of the current product?
Dante Luna: absolutely still watch the show. Im still only watching Raw and Smackdown. I rarely watch NXT or anything else but if i have any free time I jump on the WWE network (which i pay $9.99 a month for) and watch old matches or try to rewatch matches I havent seen in a while. yesterday I watched king of the ring 98, mankind vs undertaker because I just needed to watch that match again. I turned the match on as loud as i could and just enjoyed it like it was a movie. Undertaker vs Mankind: Hell in the Cell is a really good story. I love dark plots. I'm real into those but we get sooooo much of the show these days that I think its hard to keep a character toooo mysterious or dark. I love Bray Wyatt, I think he's given birth to evil that WWE COUUUULD be lol as much as he's done, I know he's been sitting on the shelf for a while I just don't want to see that Light go out. I love being entertained. I love the story but i Love combat. Wrestling gives me both. and has never stopped giving me a new story on a weekly basis since I was young.
Joseph Bruen: When did you first get involved with videography?
Dante Luna: I made my first video and uploaded it to Youtube when I was 19 years old. It was a music video I did it because I believed in my friends music and the video introduced me to people who asked me "how much for a video?".....I only had to hear it once and I began offering my services in video making. video making was always an avenue to tell a story. I learned to write, produce, direct and edit my own productions. Editing is what I believed stopped me from getting my ideas complete so I focused and still focus a lot of my time editing. At first I was only making videos when I was paid to make videos but then I learned I couldn't wait for game time to learn things I could learn on my own time. It was irresponsible and it reflected poorly on my business but I always use to put my confidence in my final product. Now I do way more pre-production work so that production and post production aren't a battle. over time I began focusing less on freelance work and doing my own projects, like comic con projects and photographing all 50 states of America and I've done 35 states so far. Doing those creative projects have taught me a lot about my own craft, my life and its given me the space to grow as an artist.
Joseph Bruen: What is the best piece of video you have ever produced in your opinion? Do you have a favorite?
Dante Luna: I don't think I've created my best piece. I guess I'm still working on it. I've completed 500+ projects and they're all apart of my story. I love my comic con documentaries. those mean a lot to me. you can find them on my youtube page youtube.com/eldantico
Joseph Bruen: Who are some of your favorite interviews you have conducted and why?
Dante Luna: My favorite interviews have been with the cast of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I've interviewed Jason David Frank (Green/White Ranger), Austin St John (Red Ranger), Amy Jo Johnson (Pink), David Yost (Blue), Walter E. Jones (Black), Karan Ashley (Yellow), David Fielding (Zordon), Richard Horvitz (Alfa-5), Bulk & Skull, Barbara Goodson (Rita Repulsa), Kerrigan Mahan (Goldar), Steve Cardenas (Red Ranger), Paul Freeman (Ivan Ooze), Pineapple the Clown...these interviews mean the most to me because in first grade on the playground i remember not ever getting picked to be a Power Ranger and i was always forced to be a putty! Lol I got to grow up and work on something with them. these interviews will always be special.
Joseph Bruen: You interviewed Lou Ferrigno "The Incredible Hulk" in 2015. How was that experience and how did that come about? Tell us about that interview and what is was like spending some time with the Icon that day.
Dante Luna: Lou Ferrigno is an awesome person first and foremost. You can tell he really loves his time with the fans. Meeting the Hulk meant all kinds of things for me that day. I have a Hulk tattoo to remember My uncle David that passed away. he was drawing a Hulk for me the week he died and never finished it. I got to interview one of the longest running symbols of the Hulk. thats crazy to me. This happened at Rhode Island Comic Con. I met the promoter Steve Perry the day I interview Jason David Frank in 2013. He asked me to work with him on his convention in November that year. I filmed a documentary and that project lead to me a lot of more doors. Every year I work on something new with Rhode Island Comic Con and last year I was at the top of the list to sit down with Lou Ferrigno and there he was. .. the Hulk. he walked into the room early, greeted every one and then asked me what was the game plan.. i just walked him thru who i was and what we were about to do. Later on that weekend I seen him behind the scenes as one of the first person there to set up and one of the last to leave. My interview with him is featured in a documentary series I'm working on with Galactic Productions. Its a documentary series is about comic con culture. Lou speaks about his journey with the Hulk and having his own struggles as a human being..that conversation is tied into a bunch of other stories that make up the comic con experience.
Joseph Bruen: You certainly have followed your dreams. What would you say to the youngsters out there looking to do the same?
Dante Luna: love yourself, love life. take care of the people that love you because outside of that circle is a world of people who dont know you and might not care. the world is beautiful no matter how much violence, evil and terror there is. the people who dont attempt their dreams will always have their own theory about you but thats just their vision for your future. if you dont listen to the voice in your own head then you will always be the sum of the perceptions of the people you pay attention to. dont look left or right. just focus on your work and it never stops. artwork is spelled with 7 letters, 4 of which say WORK. your art is your work so keep working unless you want a regular life and just want to be a passenger in the ride of life...