What Are My Goals…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on my blog . I apologize for that but my life has been busy the last month or so with starting back at DePaul, working on my film and assembling my film team. So far I got a couple of people on board with my documentary and I’m so glad to have them on my team.

Yesterday in my Senior Capstone class we did an in class activity and the activity was What are your goals…and basically it what were are goals for the next year, and what were are goals in five years and ten years. It was an interesting activity for me because I really haven’t thought about what my goals were for the future and it took me some time to figure out where I see myself not just in one year but down the line. I want to share with you all what I wrote.

For the next year, my goal is to have my film finished, distributed and shown across the country at different film festivals. It’s a goal that I feel will set me up for my goals in five and ten years. In five years, my goal is to be directing more films or producing a television series. In ten years, I plan to be married (hopefully) and I continue to make a name for myself in the film and television industry.

I feel like these goals are attainable and I understand that if I want to make it in these industries I have to work hard and network to make it. This film is the stepping stone to my success and I hope that I know that I will be a success because I’m a strong person and I have persevered through a lot of tough times in my life and nothing is gonna stop me for completing my goals.


P.S. A couple of weeks ago I posted a couple of clips from my film and if you haven’t had a chance to check them out here’s your chance. Let me know what you think of it

The Reason

Relationships With Women


Being In Front of The Camera

Last Friday I had my interview session for my film and it was a great experience. Normally I’m the one holding the camera and capturing some great footage, but this time I was in front of the camera and let me say that it was a nerve-racking experience for me. Now it was nerve-racking for me before shooting my session because I had never done this before and I knew that this was going to be an important part of my film so I was nervous (wouldn’t you be knowing that you were gonna be in front of a camera?).

So on that day I met with my special adviser Camille (who has been an important part of my film) and I was scared to death but I didn’t want to show that to her so I was cool and calm but inside, I was freaking out. After a little hiccup (camera issues) we got started and Camille started asking me questions that I had put together and a couple of her own and as I started talking, I started to relax and all the nervousness I had was gone.

I was really comfortable talking about my life and answering tough questions. There were some times when I didn’t realize when the camera was on and that was a great thing for me because I got a chance to talk and express how I felt about my life in a wheelchair. This was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life and in all honesty I don’t know what I was worried or nervous about. This was a great experience and I plan to do a second interview session in the future. Hell, you might see in front of the camera more often


New wheelchair brings new film challenges

The many new gadgets and buttons on my wheelchair

So it’s been over a week since I got my new wheelchair and I absolutely love my wheelchair. So far I’ve had a few kinks like the fact that my new chair is a speed demon and I have to really be careful driving it because I’ve crashed into a lot of things around Chicago during my first week. I’ve to get more adapted to way this wheelchair drives compared to my old wheelchair. I’m a good driver but I just have to get use to my new wheelchair.

While I’m dealing with those kinks there’s one challenge that I completely forgot that I was going to deal with and that’s how my new chair was gonna affect how I shoot my film. The reason this is a challenge because my new chair and my old one are completely different. For example, in my old chair when I would film the camera would be in my lap and that’s how I was able to film while I was riding in my wheelchair. In my new one I don’t have the same luxury of putting the camera in my lap because of size of my new chair which is smaller than my old one.

This is a huge challenge for me especially since I’m getting to close to end of the shooting part of my film. I will stop shooting my film in November and with that deadline I set, I have to figure out between now and November how I’m gonna handle this. The next few months are gonna be tough for me now that I have my new wheelchair but if anyone can take on this new challenge its Justin Cooper

Now I have to go and see if I can tame this speed demon that I call a wheelchair. Wish me luck!


My Experience Working On Deadly Embrace

Well after a week of shooting Deadly Embrace, I’m back on my blog and ready to continue working on my film. For the next two weeks I’m preparing for my interview session that I have planned for The Wheelchair Chronicles. I’m so nervous about this because it just me talking about my life, but I’ll talk about that as I get closer to my session date.

Today I wanted to talk about my week-long experience working on the film Deadly Embrace. We started shooting last Sunday (August 5th) and I was nervous as hell when I first arrived on set because I didn’t know what to expect or how everything was going to work out. Now we two production meetings before we started with the director of the film Alaric Rocha and he explained about what was gonna take place but I was still nervous about the first day.

My nervousness disappeared quickly as we were working on the set and I got a chance to get to know the cast and crew. The people who I met the first day were great and we worked very well together because we were working on one common goal and that was to make this film really great. I

was also nervous because I was 2nd Assistant director and my responsibilities were to create the call sheets for the cast and crew, to call the actors, making sure people were on set, etc. but as the week went along I got comfortable with my responsibilities and now I know what goes into being an assistant director

The cast that assembled for this film were just amazing, real people. I gotta give a shout to Don Markus, Elisa Dei, Madrid St. Angelo, Dagoberto Soto, Jay Disney, Katie Lanigan, Grace McPhillips, my dude Johnny Colon and the rest of the cast. It was a pleasure working with you all.

I gotta thank Director Alaric and 1st Assistant Director Priya Yavagal for giving the responsibilities of 2nd Assistant Director. Thank you for entrusting me with that responsibility and giving help when I needed it. Alaric, I hope you film is big successful because I saw first hand the work it takes to make a film and the work that you put into it and Deadly Embrace deserves the success it gets.

Also I gotta give a big shout out to the crew. The camera crew, the grips & electric crew , hair/makeup, wardrobe, D.I.T., sound, art, the production assistants, producer, and everyone else I forgot to mention you guys put serious work and it was an honor to work and be apart of this crew.

Finally, I want to thank my new friends. I gotta say this, all my friends on the set you all are awesome. You treated me like a real person and I thank you for that. I had an amazing time with you all and I will never forget you. Thank you for making this a wonderful experience for me.



Blog Update

Today I’m making a change to my blog. Normally today I would be talking about a documentary that I like and how it relates to my film but that’s gonna change. Starting Sunday August 5th through August 13 I start working on another film that I’ve talked about called “Deadly Embrace” as 2nd assistant director. I will continue to post on Friday’s but I’m gonna be posting everyday starting next Monday while working on Deadly Embrace just to give you all updates on what’s going on with the film and my role on the set. I’m also thinking about posting photos and maybe videos on my experience but I haven’t decided yet. Thank you all for your continued support of my blog and my documentary.


Thoughts On Turning 30

This past Tuesday was a special occasion for me. Not only was it my birthday but I turned 30, an accomplishment that I never thought I would reach. I mean I’ve envisioned reaching this milestone in my life but when you actually reach that age it’s still surprising. I doing things in my life now that five or ten years ago I would’ve never imagined. I’m directing a documentary about my life, I’m about to take part in an actual film, and I’m preparing my life after college. There’s also certain things in my life that I now want that I didn’t want five or ten years ago.

I’m at a point in my life now where I want a relationship. I want someone who I love, who understands who I am as a person, and supports me and my goals in life. I’m also at a point where I want to be a success at everything that I do and I truly believe that with my talents I can do that.  I’m absolutely happy that I’m 30, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my life thus far and I’m looking forward to the next 30 years of my life.

Before I go, I just want to say thank you to everyone who has had a great influence on my life so far. I’ve met so many awesome people who have helped me in my life, who have given me great advice, and who have accepted me as their friend. I have support system from my friends, my family, friends from DePaul

The Hardest Part of My Film

I been working on these questions for this interview session that I plan to do for my film. This to me is the hardest part of my film because it puts me in front of the camera instead of behind the camera and in all honesty I’m scared because I’m putting myself out there for people to get to know the real me. Now, I can’t be scared because this what I wanted to do, this is the point of the film, to show people who I am but in writing these questions I feel that I’m exposing myself way too much. I feel that when I do this session and I start talking to the camera, I might expose my real feelings for people who I really care about and are important to me in my life.

Let me tell you all something a friend of mine once said to me that “you always wanted to say something but you keep it all inside” and that’s true. When it comes to telling people how I feel about them I have a hard time expressing my feelings to others because I fear that it could ruin long-lasting friendships that I’ve made in my life so I keep those feelings to myself. It protects me and the people who I care about from finding out the truth but it’s really not fair to the people I care about and to me because it makes it seem like I’m hiding something and that’s not the case.

I truly love these people who are in my life but it’s just hard for me to not only express my feelings to them but to tell these people who I love them. I don’t know what to expect when I do this interview session but the good thing is that I got good people who are gonna help me through this process because if I didn’t have them, this interview session would be an emotional disaster.



Documentary: Dreams On Spec

Today has been a real busy day but I quickly wanted you all to check out this excellent documentary called Dreams On Spec (2007). This dcoumentary features screenwriters such as Nora Ephron (who recently passed away), James L. Brooks, Carrie Fisher and many other screenwriters who share their stories on the struggles of turning their scripts into movies.

Though I’m not a screenwriter (yet) I can relate to their struggles especially now that I’m stepping into the film industry myself. I realize that if I want to be a success in the industry I have to work hard. be patient, and don’t take rejection too seriously because you’re gonna be rejected a lot. That’s what I took out of this documentary and I want you all to check it out

Dreams On Spec


Filming Plans

For the last few weeks I’ve been shooting some new footage for my film and I’m just having a great time riding around the city and shooting new footage. Everytime I shoot in a different location, it’s a completely different experience from the previous location and I’m loving that aspect of shooting right now.

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to my special advisor for the film, Camille DeBose and we decided that by Thanksgiving I’ll be done shooting my film. By that time I’ll have plenty of footage that I can edit and use for the film. We also talked about setting up a day where I would do an interview session, where I would answer questions that she and I came up with. I plan to that next month after I’m done working on Deadly Embrace.

After I’m done shooting, I’ll focus more on editing, fundraising, finding music, and finding festivals where I can screen. I don’t have a a particular date where everything will be finished and the film will be completed but whenever that date is I will let you all know.

Thank you all for your continuous support of my blog and my film.


Documentary: FOCUS

Today I’m focusing on the world of video games, more importantly competitive gaming. Recently gamers from around the world came to Las Vegas to compete in EVO 2012, the primer fighting game tournament in the world and every year it just gets bigger and bigger. One person that competed in this year’s tournament is Mike Ross, one of the top street fighter players in the world and he was the focus of a documentary in 2010 called FOCUS (directed by Steve Hwang).

This documentary looks at Ross’ journey through the fighting game scene, with him competing in various tournaments and his goals for the future. While Ross is very passionate about what he does he realizes that he might not be competing in these tournaments much long due to the fact that in some tournaments for all the practice and time you put into a particular fighting game, you don’t really get a return in the time that you actually invested in.

For example, in one tournament that he won, his prize total was only $73. The only way that you can make real money is competing in much bigger tournaments where the prize money range from $,1000 to $20,000 (Top prize in EVO). I like this documentary because it speaks to me as a gamer and the fact of the matter is that while I still play video games, my real life priorities (working on my film) have gotten in the way me playing video games on a daily basis and in all honesty that’s not a bad thing.

At first, I didn’t know how this documentary correlated with my film but it does. I have really grown up as a person and has a reached a point in my life that maybe 10 years ago I didn’t expect to reach when I was an everyday gamer, but I’m trying to find a balance where I’m still a gamer and have real world priorities. I feel that Mike Ross was dealing with that as well and maybe he has or is still trying to figure out to this day. Please check it out, it’s really awesome.


FOCUS: An Original Movie About Street Fighter Champion, Mike Ross – G4 Films