Tell us about yourself and what you do:
My name is Ed Vela and I am a National Award Winning Playwright, and an International Award Winning Screenwriter and Filmmaker. I began writing plays in the late 90’s. My plays have been published by 3 different publishers in both the U.S. and Canada, and have been performed in Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, Arizona, and California (to mention a few) and even as far away as Debrecen, Hungary. I have won the L.W. Thomas Award for Best Short Play from Theatre Oxford, and won the Jewel Box Theatre Award for Best Comedy Play. I moved to Los Angeles for several years to try to bridge into screenwriting with mixed results. Two of my screenplays won International Contests and Awards, but I never optioned (sold) anything in the very competitive industry out there. I have also won awards for my short films at different contests and film festivals. I have won both a Gold (for my short film: STEP!) and a Platinum (for my screenplay: The Mortality Game) Remi Award from WorldFest Houston, and most recently Best International Comedy Short (for my short film: Pubic Enemy/Number Two) from Texas Ultimate Shorts. It was while I was in L.A. that I first started doing my on-going labor of love, my You Tube web series: Dad vs. Lad, in which I write, produce, direct and perform. I currently have 34, 5-8 minute webisodes posted over 6 seasons, averaging about 4000 views each.
Who has inspired you in your life and why?
I credit my inspiration and desire to write and tell intriguing stories to Stan Lee and the folks at Marvel Comics, way back in the Silver Age at Marvel. The first comic I ever read was Iron Man #46, and I was hooked. I expanded my reading to include The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, The X-Men, and of course Spider-Man, among others. I fulfilled a live long dream recently, when I got to meet and briefly converse with Stan Lee at a comic convention in Houston, Texas. He was the most gracious of icons as I thanked him profusely for inspiring me to be a writer, to which he simply smiled and said: “You’re welcome.” I got the feeling he had heard this particular thank you before.
How early did you start doing you're Art/Craft?
I started out as a stage actor, at the tender age of 18, playing supporting roles, and men much older than I was at the time. I loved the live stage experience, no back up, no second chances, and the immediate and amazing audience response. It stimulated the hambone in me to its very marrow. That spark of love for performing has never really left me as I tend to act out everything I write as I develop it.
What is your latest project you're promoting now?
I am trying to promote more viewership for my Dad vs. Lad web series as I believe that on an absolute shoestring budget that we have for the production of the show that we do a good job of telling a story, developing characters, and keeping the audience entertained. The premise of the show started out being semi-autobiographical as my character: Herb, was in a constant struggle with his newly acquired step-son Weston, inspired by my 7 year marriage. At the end of Season 2 my teen actor on the show decided he wanted to quit acting, but I was just having too much fun writing and shooting the show. I re-tooled the show to be about Herb’s strained relationship with his biological sons that we never even knew he had. In Season 4, yet another son popped up, the result of tryst Herb had years before. By Season 5 I was back in Houston, and decided to re-cast the characters of Herb’s sons with local Houston actors. I was very lucky and managed to cast some excellent young actors, and I’m happy to say with Season 6 all three of Herb’s biological sons are wreaking havoc together. We are currently shooting Season 7, introducing new characters and revisiting old ones. It’s on You Tube Channel: IncredibleEdibleED.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Since I didn’t make it in L.A., my 5 year plan is, if I couldn’t break into the industry out there, to get more industry happening in Houston. Right now Austin, Dallas, even San Antonio are all thought of for film and web series more than Houston. I plan to change that. I’ve got a semi-popular web series that I am already shooting in the Bayou City, and I have already shot one short film here and plan to shoot a lot more. This is not as farfetched as it sounds. Before Breaking Bad, Albuquerque was not thought of as a Mecca for the film industry. Before Walking Dead, Atlanta was not doing that many productions. I truly believe with lower price of equipment, and the great need for product on the internet and cable and satellite networks, eventually it will be: industry everywhere!
Do you have any tips for our readers that are trying to break in the industry?
My advice to people who have the desire to do a short film or a web series is NOT to go to L.A., because there are more than enough folks swimming up a waterfall out there, but rather to get together with likeminded artists and try to set up some kind of media/film/web series infrastructure right where you are, in your own city, state, part of the country. You can always find writers who want to write, actors who want to act, camera operators that want to set up that great shot, and editors that want to piece together a film or other project for you. You just have to look. It’s okay to end up being a big fish in a small pond, because eventually a big fish gets noticed, and sometimes the size of the pond only makes it look bigger.