Gabby Egito talks about her journey to become a filmmaker (Aired on Dec. 17, 2011) Planeta Brasil is a half-hour news magazine produced by F.J. Productions and airs weekly on TV Globo International, a satellite channel that reaches over 1.2 million viewers across the world and is present in 42 countries. In the United States, it is distributed by Dish Network, Comcast and Time Warner.

I arrived in Los Angeles in 2010 with two suitcases and plans to spend my life savings studying for two months at New York Film Academy at Universal Studios. Then, I would go back to my country (Brazil). That was the schedule. And here I am, almost three years later, alive and kicking in this city that welcomed me so well.

I came here believing that just my two Bachelor’s degrees (Psychology and Journalism) plus my Master’s in Film Theory would easily make me a successful visual storyteller. “Some hands-on experience should be fun to make it happen”, I thought at that time. When I finished the short term workshop, I had never learned so much in such a short time. But I realized only an intensive training would lead me to my goal. At the same time, my bank account was getting more and more skinny. It looked like a dead end to my aspirations.

On top of that, when I showed my final project to the faculty they asked me if it was really me that had written and directed the short film. That couldn’t upset me more until a friend pointed out that it could actually be a great sign. So I decided to show my film to the direction of the school and they granted me a merit-based scholarship to pursue my hands-on learning for another year.

Exactly 12 months after my arrival in the U.S., I got my first award with that directorial debut short “Synergy”, which was screened in film festivals worldwide. Since then, I’m having the time of my life. I worked in more than 50 short films, in various positions, such as editor, script supervisor, director of photography, gaffer, grip, and production assistant. I also wrote, produced, directed and edited 14 shorts.

My thesis film from the one year course, "Stuffed" won the Best Short Award and was nominated for Best Actor Short by the Atlantic City Cinefest in past October. I’m specially proud of this achievement, since my film was competing with works of seasoned industry professionals, such as the producer of the movie “Home Alone”, Scott Rosenfelt. After that, two other awards came along: Best Foreign Short at the Las Vegas Film Festival and Best LA Short at the Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival.

This exciting journey has strengthen my desire to become a full-time director. It made me appreciate the role of each position on a crew, and an accurate pre-production. Actors call me an "actor's director", since I can speak their language and provide all there is needed for a memorable performance. My knowledge of editing allows me to plan a full coverage without wasting time and money. Despite knowing precisely what I want in my projects, I do listen to my cast and crew and I implement the excellent suggestions they give me. Filmmaking is a collaborative work. Those are the experiences I gladly share here at my bilingual blog, monthly followed by more than 2,000 cinephiles around the world.

Directing for me is a vital function as breathing. It makes me feel alive. When I’m working on a story or on set, I feel I’m exactly where I belong to. When people laugh or cry seeing my movies, feels like I’m fulfilling my life purpose. And I’m always looking forward to learn more and improve my skills. Being in LA is really a life opportunity and I'm embracing it with all my capacities to make it happen. Thank you.