A life spent in front of and behind the camera, Angelo Lobo’s story is one of passion and the pursuit of dreams. An aspiring actor since he was very young, Angelo was also lucky enough to be part of the industry – so much so that he gained a ground-level understanding of how a film is made. From background actor to director, Angelo Lobo’s layered career illustrates the grit and determination needed to succeed in an aspirational but highly competitive field.
Tackling the challenges of film production while also balancing the needs of the art, Lobo describes a situation that requires energy and perseverance as well as an eye for talent and a knack for telling a good story. Turning his eyes towards the future, the director explores some new projects he would like to undertake and how they differentiate themselves from some of his previous work.
Focusing on his film Blue Running, the interview explores the narrative landscape the main character navigates, what forces propelled the action, and what messages there might be interlaced in between scenes of cinematographic mastery and poignant storytelling. In this regard, Angelo shares some of the inspirations he has had and tells us about the people he has worked with who have shaped his career and inspired his directorial trajectory. Of course, it’s not all film and art for this man of business.
We discuss his upcoming clothing line and briefly outline the future projects he has on his plate. To better understand the man behind the camera, we ask Angelo Lobo to tell us about his typical day from start to finish as well as some of the best practices he has developed over time to help him maintain peak productivity. Concluding with quoted wisdom and what he would change about the world, the interview sheds some light on the philosophical underpinnings of the artist as well as his current concerns.
Angelo, your passion has always been entertainment. What led you into the industry?
I really appreciate the questions and the opportunity to speak with you. The questions are drawing out some real history of my past that is fun to bring up. I remember when I was 10 years old, my dad bought a new VHS camera, the kind you place on your shoulder and man I played with that thing for weeks. Recording over and over on it. One time took me and my sisters to Disneyland for the first time. I remember begging to be cameraman because there was so much action to capture. From then on, I had a sense of what I wanted to do which was anything that involved movies. It wasn’t until later on in my life when I moved to San Diego that I became more involved starting with background work at Stu Segal Productions and in student films.
You worked as a background actor before moving into other areas of entertainment. How did working in front of the camera help you succeed behind it?
Working in front of the camera really gave me an opening to start learning all I could about the different areas of a production. Especially since I never went to film school, mainly because I couldn’t afford it. The background work became my “class work” as an actor. I would show up early on set for the scenes. I would quietly sneak on set to listen, observe, take notes, and even grab left over scripts from previous sets to just learn how the shots were set up. When a new scene started, the director would yell action, I already had an idea of where that camera and what the actor was going to do. It was my own way of learning about how to make a movie.
What were some of the highlights of your background acting career?
There have been a few good highlights. Believe it or not a couple of them were on the CBS lot where they film the Bold and The Beautiful. The cast and crew broke for lunch. The set is right next door to where the show the Price is Right was being filmed. As I am going to lunch, I see Bob Barker who was the original host, coming right towards me. All I can remember was being a kid sitting around watching the Price is Right with my grandmother and how much my grandmother loved that man. Mr. Barker was kind enough to stop and say hello, we chatted a bit and it just made my day.
The other huge highlight was meeting another great actor on the B&B set by the name of Joe Mascolo who played in many movies and even Young & the Restless.
Around the time I met him we had just completed a rough draft of BLUE RUNNING. Back then it was just a concept with about 60 pages, I bumped into him in the hall between shoots, and asked: ”Mr. Mascolo would do me a favor?’ Joe had this fantastic charismatic voice, and responded “What’s that?”
I told him about the script, that it was being polished and that I had a great role for him: Manny the mafia mob boss in this film. He said where is the script? I ran up to the waiting room, grabbed the script ran back and gave it him. I don’t recall if he called me, or I called him but about 3 or more weeks went by he invited me to a small Italian restaurant for dinner to talk about the project. That was a huge highlight for me. We talked about the script, and he said “You have a germ here and it can grow.” I never forgot that day because he gave me his time, he liked the work, and the idea. After that the script sat for a while because life happened, I got married had children and didn’t focus on the films as much. When Covid Hit I took Blue Running off the shelf again. The first thing I researched was Mr. Mascolo and learned he passed away in 2016. What I took away from his passing is that now I have to keep going until this film is made. It has evolved even more after meeting Mr. Mascolo. I actually feel he BLESSED it in a way.
You made your directorial debut with “Romeo Misses a Payment”. What were the challenges of directing your first film?
Yes, there were many challenges at first. The original title was Support? System Down we connected with many people and we broke ground with that film because not many people were covering or making films on divorce and custody in America. For one thing we were always short of cash and no distributors wanted to buy it, so we shifted gears and self-distributed. We did get a lot of support from parental organizations that helped the film come to life. One major challenge was that we had over 220 hours of footage with interviews and had to get that down to 90 minutes. Thankfully we had Mathew Jones as an editor. Mathew really saw my vision for the film. The other challenge was that there were no mainstream actors that were going through divorces who wanted to tell their stories to help bring awareness to the film and its content.
At that time Alec Baldwin’s divorce case with Kim Basinger happened. I was able to be at the court house for that footage and soon after that met him, and heard a speech he gave on the pains he went through as a noncustodial parent. Somehow, we really got traction after that. The film is on iTunes now. Recently, I uploaded the film on YouTube where “Romeo Misses a Payment” is more of a PSA, so that others can learn from it. My hope is that the film moves people going through divorce that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that their kids are most important.
What are your plans for directing films in the future?
It’s a great question, one I keep asking myself. My inner voice telling me to direct. This film being Blue Running. Now I have not directed anything of this magnitude yet. The more time I have with the script these past few months, and with the new characters I just added, the more I realize the story is such a good one that I am the one to tell it. After that there are a few concepts and treatments that I wrote many years ago that got the attention of Stan Lee and Gower studios a while back one of them called The E-Force, about a group of environmental hero’s. Plus, the introduction of a character I wrote for the pilot show, “Who Wants to Be a Superhero” The character is called PETRO, a man made of liquid oil. It was a hit at an audition one day a Gower studios Stan Lee had. That taught me a lot. The Legend, may he rest in peace. They even had a potential comic named EL LOBO soon after and I took that as a great sign as one of the highlights on my journey behind the scenes. I actually see myself bringing PETRO to life in film one day.
Your latest script is called, “Blue Running”. Can you please tell us about the film, your inspiration for it, and when you will begin shooting it?
Blue Running actually started from a dream one night. I couldn’t sleep and found myself waking up at 2am, I always keep a note pad on my night stand, so I wrote down my dream. I remember a man in a blue shirt being chased, I started writing, then the next I knew it was 30 pages later. One day I was with a good friend, Anthony Barrymore of the Barrymore dynasty. His late Uncle, was John Drew Barrymore (Drew Barrymore’s dad). We were having lunch and we always talk about movies. He knows all the oldies and every time I saw one I thought he would like I would tell him to watch it and he would do the same. During lunch one day, I asked Anthony to help me finish the script. At the time it was called MAN IN BLUE because Sonny, the lead character always wears blue. After Tony wrote out the first draft it dawned on me that the title would be BLUE RUNNING. It’s about an honest guy who has a bad day when the mafia wants him dead and the FBI wants him arrested. All Sonny wants to do is bid on his dad’s sailboat, yet the mafia has other plans with his money. We kept writing, adding great characters like Uncle Manny the mafia boss who is more powerful that any don we have seen on the big screen. Uncle Manny is based on my real Uncle Manny Desousas. Though not a part of the mafia he taught me so much about the business and to always having a positive attitude. The script was shelved again, then COVID hit. One day I looked at it and told myself that I had to get the film produced. Reading the original script I decided it was missing so much more. I went back to the drawing board and started rewriting the story line. I remembered as kid loving Bruce Lee and his movies. So I added a kick-ass FBI agent by the name of Julia Cardone. I also added a killer type that would do the dirty work for Uncle Manny named COSMOS. Now Blue Running is a full feature block buster.
The universe has a strange way of working with you once you make a decision to do something. One day I was thinking of who could be our choreographer for the new Kung Fu scenes, and like a thunder bolt somehow I stumbled on to an interview with Robert Downey Jr. speaking about his passion for martial arts. I looked up who his trainer was and found Sifu Eric Oram who is one of the best in Wing Chung Kung Fu; he made the scenes in Sherlock Holmes epic. After some digging, I was honored and able to meet with Sifu Eric who likes the script and has some great ideas to help us move forward as an advisor once we are ready.
Then came the sailing scenes. Another friend, Mr. Richard Taubman, introduced me to Peter Isler who a 2 time America Cup Sailing champion and is now our technical advisor for the epic racing the film will have. I also had the opportunity to meet with Carlos Azucena, who has an extensive film background, including work with Quentin Tarantino. Carlos is now the Director of Photography for Blue Running. We are currently in development and capital raising phase. Being that it will be a SAG project, there are a few A LIST actors we have in mind to get interest to start filming mid or last quarter this year. The goal is to have the film ready to participate in major film festivals and theaters around the globe. To also offer jobs for people that have been out of work during the Pandemic.
You attended the UK Film Finance Forum 2022. Please tell us about your experience.
The Forum actually was pushed until July 2022 because of COVID so I took advantage of the time by taking a trip to Italy to study the culture, see the ruins and to write more. The script took on more meaning while in Italy; where Sonny and Julia find a connection to each other that no one sees coming in the movie.
Angelo, you benefitted from working with the likes of Nanci Washburn, Sam Warren, and William Cowart during your career. How did these individuals help you craft your career?
I can remember while being on set at Stu Segal Productions; I asked one of the gals that worked there “Hey, when do I get a speaking part” she laughed and said “You will never get a speaking part” so I began my resolve to get a speaking part. Nanci Washburn was my first agent, I remember meeting her in her office and she was straight to the point, she knew I didn’t have any experience, yet she started guiding me and even took my first voice-over classes because of her. My first work shop was with William Cowart. I learned everything from him from how to submit for roles, how to show up for roles, how the scripts worked, what to expect, plus the dos and don’ts behind the scenes. It was a great learning experience. Sam Warren really taught me how to “stand up straight” bring the energy to the camera and on the mark. All of these were very valuable to me as a newbie in acting.
According to the Aginelo website, you are working on a men’s clothing line. Can you tell us about this new venture and others?
Yes, my goal is to have AGINELO become a world-wide brand in film and in men’s clothing. I hope and pray that someone or a company already in the clothing market sees the potential in working with us by licensing the AGINELO brand and working closely with us we can make a private label on a variety of clothing options and accessories. I have always enjoyed finding different clothing that could somehow bring the energy inwards. What I mean by that just bring that attention to the person wearing it. We all like compliments and to me that just feels great to know I chose something that is appreciated. I remember being in Vegas one weekend putting on a red velvet shirt with huge collars, under a jet black suit and when I stepped off the elevator the compliments kept coming. One time it was black and White Zoot suit throw back and another time it was jean jackets with painted sleeves. At the moment we have a new logo and sporting brand called ALPHA LOBO which is getting good feedback and positive responses. Hopefully in our film we can do product placement as well.
What do you have on tap for the future in terms of scripts, films, and productions?
We have a few projects to work on, besides the clothing – PETRO the liquid oil super hero and The E- Force.
Angelo, how is a day in your life?
Usually, my day starts as early as 4.30am or 5am with mediation, some reading, a prayer (usually the serenity prayer being a sober man 18+ years), writing at least 3 pages, drawing out some ideas for the movie scenes, I usually have double or at times a quad shot of espresso coffee, from there it depends. If I am with my sons, I always do my best to be present with them getting them off to school or even reach out to my older kids and grandkids first. I check emails and respond to emails, then attend to my other business. I also operate and manage a janitorial business that keeps the lights on for us. Normally I will meet with my Associate Producer/Executive Assistant, Savannah Daugherty, or a handful of local vendors that we are blessed to work with here in California.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
Well I guess it would have to be the low points in life, even though they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. There was a time after my divorce that things felt like it would never get better. While making the film Romeo Misses a Payment, it never dawned on me that depression was something that I could be going through, especially growing up in Brockton, MA, home of the great Rocky Marciano and Marvelous Marvin Hagler. I was always a fighter. Yet today one of the most important things to me is my mental health along with serenity and to have that awareness now is huge. I do my best to be of service to others on a daily basis too, as a reminder that we are indeed here to do just that.
Choose two of your favorite quotes and write them here:
One of my favs is a meme I saw once by Jack Canfield that he always believed in GOD: A guy asked him what it was like to be self-employed. Jack replied “I’m not self-employed. I work for GOD- The pay is good; he works me hard.” A favorite quote is “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” That’s from Ralph Waldo Emerson.
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world, what would it be?
That’s a hard question to answer- yet the only 1 thing that has always been on my mind is to change homelessness in America as a whole. I mean I travel best I can and I am in shock as to how many other countries have some form to help their homeless. Here we just have tents on every corner. It is hard to fathom how we can spend billions on a new Boeing airplane, yet fail to build a shelter or mental health facility for those that suffer on our streets.
To know more about Angelo Lobo, please visit https://aginelo.com
Photography by Sergio Garcia