It only took Joshua Ortiz a box of pizza and some Kool-Aid (roughly worth US$30) to finish a 3-minute short film that will teach you a lesson about not giving up.
The 25-year-old student from the University of Phoenix in Florida recently submitted the video to “Project Greenlight,” a contest organized by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon to find the best first-time director in America whose next task is to work on a full-length film in Hollywood.
The blockbuster stars have yet to announce who won out of thousands of entries, but Joshua had something else in mind when he did the shorts.
The film titled “Listen” has this important message: “As long as you love what you do and you never give up, you’ll realize that failure doesn’t mean you lost. It’s just a reminder to get back up.”
Joshua was more than satisfied when the video gathered a couple of hundred views after less than a week on YouTube and Vimeo. But the “biggest shock” he said was waking up to 3,000 views the next day. Turns out the video caught the attention of local celebrities Kathryn Bernardo and Vhong Navarro, who shared them on their verified Facebook pages. It was then viewed 15,000 times and shared over 4,000 times on Facebook.
"It was the best feeling in the world to see people quoting words from the film and talking about how it inspired them or helped them get through a bad day,” Joshua, who was born and raised in the U.S. to Filipino parents, told Yahoo Philippine via email.
He said, “[The message of the video is] what our parents have taught us since we were young. This film is a way for me to share the philosophy that my parents instilled in me and hopefully someone out there will have the courage to also go for their dream.”
The film, made on a shoestring budget, also starred Joshua’s siblings—Joel, 19, and Monica, 17—who were the reason why he made it to begin with.
"I initially just wrote this for myself and my two siblings. I’m a filmmaker, my sister plays golf, and my brother is a figure skater and so none of us are taking the traditional route most Filipino (Asian) families are accustomed to."
Walking his talk
Joshua fully knows why one should think twice before giving up and learned that while finishing his project.
"It took me 2 weeks to write, shoot, and edit the short film. The biggest problem happened on the last day before the deadline. My external hard drive and my laptop crashed and I was devastated. I lost 60% of the footage and I felt like giving up on the film.”
But hearing the powerful voice-over in the short film struck him hard: "I couldn’t give up after hearing that inspiring voice and message!”
Joshua then saved what’s left and shot the missing parts that same day. He spent the next 16 hours rushing to edit the film.
On his free time, the aspiring filmmaker documents the lives of homeless families and shares them online to show that a simple act of kindness can change someone's life.