My name is Deborah Louise Ortiz. I started my creative career as an actress and found my passion in writing, producing and directing. I am one of the producers at Dangerous Curves Productions and I am the director to the award winning documentary film Code 9 Officer Needs Assistance. My work on the documentary has led me to becoming one of the co-founders for the not for profit organization Code 9 Project.
What inspired you to become a film director?
I was tired of working on roles that had no real substance for women. I knew that writing was my passion so I started by writing theatrical pieces that we produced in the black box theaters in New York. Writing these stories was not enough because I knew in order to convey the stories the way I meant them to be I knew I would have to not only write it, I would also have to produce and direct as well. In an attempt to make my passion become a reality and working with a limited budget I had to learn quickly and give it my all and found that the importance of all the roles are essential to making successful projects happen. Success is not always about making money in the beginning, its about putting up the best production that you can and to reach the audience.
How did you learn the craft of directing? What skills are needed to be a great director (in your opinion)?
Through all my years as an actress, I had the opportunity to work with some very talented directors and I was always listening and watching and became fascinated with the work that they did. I find that in order to be a good director you must be willing to take chances and don’t be afraid to ask questions and continue to learn.
Do you think it’s necessary that a director know the basics of the camera in order to be a successful/well rounded director?
This is a great question. I know that from my own experience a director needs to be educated on every level of the process. I have learned things the hard way which became very valuable lessons. There is no such thing as failing. We must find the lessons in all we do. Learn as much as you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
It has been a long road. I have always had to work hard to earn a living while working hard on my creative endeavors. Giving up was not an option. I have spent many nights on very little sleep. I have always had a sense for business and I have had the opportunity to own several businesses over the years. So dedication and hard work was no stranger to me. I feel that being a business owner has prepped me for where I am today because the reality is that this is a business and in order to be successful you should take all of your life’s experiences and incorporate them into your creative work.
What do you look for when looking for a project?
I am drawn to material that shows the struggles of being human and inspire hope. I am especially interested in stories about women who rise above the odds. It is our mission statement for our production company helping women achieve their creative goals. We are built on the principle that through hard work, dedication and belief in one’s self, dreams do come true.
How would you describe your process working with the actors?
I love actors. I understand them because I love to act and it helps me to relate with them. I am able to listen to whatever they may be struggling with in a scene and help them arrive to the place I need them to get to.
My style has evolved through my passion. I believe that when you follow your heart and never second guess yourself is crucial to growing. Taking chances and learning to listen and collaborate with everyone you work with will help you become better with every project. I trust the process, which has taken time to understand, and I have learned that if things don’t go as planned you must find out what the new plan that is evolving consists of and embrace it. Most importantly, never give up.
What’s next for you?
Our Production company currently has an award winning documentary called Alfie Boe: On the Wheels of a Dream going to the Manchester film festival. Both Code 9 Officer Needs Assistance and Alfie Boe: On the Wheels of a dream are in distribution with the Global Genesis Group.
I have a screenplay called the Greater Good that is based on real events that I am actively working on getting produced.
I have directed a short film called Silver Alert written by Frank Besser and produced by Nebula Productions which has been submitted to the film festival circuit.
I am committed to our continued work with First Responders and their families through our Not for Profit Code 9 Project.