Who am I?
"I'm a man of many trades, hats, bow ties, and shoes."
I was born and raised in Laredo, TX. Much of my upbringing was surrounded by the wildlife and ranching community of Laredo. While I admire and appreciate the uniqueness of that upbringing today as I came from a family of ranchers, when I was a child I wanted something more. I dreamt of the big city and the world of media and entertainment. At six years old I began scribing in notebooks ideas and stories, which would lead to my passion for writing and the hopes of one day authoring my own books. When I became a teenager, my passion for storytelling evolved into filmmaking. I took a trip to Los Angeles to visit my grandfather who had moved out west to care for my great aunt. My first taste of Hollywood showed me that this is where I wanted to end up. I wanted to work in film and bring my dreams into reality. My time in high school was plagued with ups and downs. I always felt different and as if I did not fit in to any particular group. I pushed my creative side as much as possible and kept my grades up because it would lead me to Austin, TX where I attended film school at the University of Texas as a Longhorn. I was anxious to leave Laredo, not because I wanted to abandon my home, but because my dreams were elsewhere and obtainable far, far away.
I became the man I am today in Austin. College life treated me well and I became involved in various organizations and took on some amazing internships with Austin Studios, The CW and MTV. While at UT, I auditioned and was cast to guest VJ on MTV’s morning music video countdown show “The Big Ten.” This lead me to my MTV internship and to networking with producers, which then lead to getting my first job the summer I moved to LA (without a job) at the network. I even landed a part-time internship doing social media for Nestle Butterfinger, which garnered me airtime press on ABC News. MTV was amazing. I worked with the biggest names in the music and film business. I attended the Video Music and Movie Awards. I spent an entire year getting my real-life industry experiences and a few credits on TV shows.
Then after a year I left MTV as such was the climate of the economy. But within the two months of my unemployment I worked freelance for the Wonderful Pistachios campaign and blogger Perez Hilton on their advertisement campaign.
Then came Paramount Pictures. It was my dream studio and job. I went in for various interviews and landed my first job working for an executive in the marketing department. My time spent at Paramount has been fulfilling. I’ve worked on over 40 major films from Transformers, Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Thor, Captain America, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Anchorman 2 to name a few. I’ve interacted with talent such as Michael Bay, Katy Perry, and Tom Cruise. I’ve grown in my position at Paramount and have been an employee for nearly four years. I left Paramount in February 2015 to pursue a creative path in marketing at Universal Pictures. I worked work with the creative operations team at Universal where I've worked on films such as Fifty Shades of Grey, Jurassic World, Minions, Straight Outta Compton, and Furious 7. In March 2017 I joined Lionsgate as a Production Manger in the creative marketing AV team working on films such as La La Land and Power Rangers. During my run in LA, I’ve also maintained a second job as an author and have indie published a sci-fi trilogy book series and crime drama available on eBook, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble both domestic and internationally. The trilogy series has won me the award of “Laredo’s Outstanding Son” from the mayor and city council of my hometown. I’m the 2nd person in the history of Laredo to receive this prestigious award. In November 2016 I published my thriller Final Boarding and did a small book tour with Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble.
Balancing two jobs and maintaining wonderful networks in L.A. has been a challenge, but nothing was handed to me. I had to work for everything and make my way in a city of millions. There’s much more I plan to do with my career and future. For now this is only the beginning. Life has not always been red carpets, movie premieres, and glamorous…it has been hard work and pushing myself while sometimes sacrificing and taking risks.
A.J. is a co-leader in a sub committee of NBCUniversal's Young Professional Network SoCal as well as a board member for the anti-bullying non-profit Boo2Bullying.