Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Where were you born and raised?
I am Armand Alexander Gutierrez and I am a 27 year old Mexican-Indian-Japanese-Russian American. I am a producer for a brand new startup called Paper Kingdom. To be honest I don’t know where I was born because I was raised in Encinitas (CA) starting at the age of four.
What did you want to become when you were a child?
As a kid I really wanted to become a Psychologist. I wanted to be one for 13 years. Everyone knew me as the kid who wanted to be one. The reason why is kinda funny. I have a mental disability that made it hard for me to talk to others or understand people and so my mom had a friend who was a psychologist and when I met her she was so good at listening to me and working with me that I wanted to be like her and be able to talk to anyone like her. Down the road though I realized that a psychologist doesn’t mean you’re good at communicating, being a good person is what it takes and that you can have any job while being a good person.
How did your interest in video games begin?
My interest started when I was born. My Dad is a fan of video games so I started out on the Atari with some classic games. Also at the time my parents liked getting me games from Tiger Electronics with themes like Aladdin and some of my favorite TV shows. My Dad worked in his own business of buying and fixing up homes then re-selling them. I would spend a whole day or multiple days at those houses so we would rent a Super Nintendo from Blockbuster (R.I.P) and he would take breaks and play Donkey Kong with me. Since the house was being remodeled I would sit on the concrete floor or a bucket. My mom and dad also took me to the arcade, Yellow Brick Road every time we went to the UTC Mall. I also had my Uncle Ernie supporting the video game cause with Mortal Kombat and Sonic on Sega.
Could you explain EVO for people who may not understand what it is?
Alright so you are familiar with what a tournament is in martial arts and Dragon Ball Z. You also know what a convention is from San Diego Comic Con, Stan Lee’s Comikaze, and that conference that you got sent to for business. EVO is the world’s largest fighting video game tournament that houses not only world’s best players, but people like you. So what does that mean for you? You get to prove yourself as a player and fight alongside and against those who make a living out of playing video game competitions. And the best part, you can win. It takes a lot of training, but you have all year to train. Want to not compete and just enjoy the show? This is the place for you. It’s a video game sports event unlike any other. You should go.
You mentioned that you’re currently working on a documentary. Could tell us a bit about it?
This is Paper Kingdoms’ film festival circuit premier. (PaperKindgom.co) It is a short documentary called The Road to Evolution (name still pending) and it is about three different types of semi-pro fighting games players. The three encompass what it takes to get to EVO. There are many paths to EVO and those paths show what we mean by Esports. It’s not just electronic games, it’s a community with strong passion, skill, and knowledge. That is what makes it a sport. Oh and the training. Loads of training.
How did you get involved with this project? What is your primary role?
I am the producer of this fine feature and that means I have the responsibility to get us to locations, permission to shoot, planning the next shoot, getting my crew everything they need, and talking to everyone that is going to be in the ‘film’.
What has the process been like? Where have you gone? Who have you talked to?
The process has been great! Well as great as it is going to be. I am very proud to say we are still under budget and we have half of the filming done. To really get the different walks of life of the community we are covering four different places. We have been to Tank Top Fridays which is a long standing underground training and tournament house that hosts many players in Southern California and Mexico. Our next stop was LanDiego which is a more mainstream office building that not only hosts very large events like Nerdy New year and LanDiego State, but also does weekly tournaments. Then we got the Esports Arena in Anaheim which hosts weekly tournaments called Wednesday Night Fights that has thousands of people all over the world watching their twitch stream. And finally we are filming at EVO which you should know about by now. If not did you skip around the article?
When will the documentary be released? Where will people be able to view it?
The documentary is scheduled to be released late August/early September and will be featured on the YouTube page NerdCulture. It will also be going around in film festivals so if you’re into that then check us out on the big screen!
What made you decide to create this documentary? Is this something people have been asking for?
For a lot of things I work on I ask people, “What do you know about this?” and “What don’t you get?” This is a big topic for people that can’t see what is an Esport and what is EVO. A lot of people like to watch video games, but a lot more people want to know why. And out of all of them fighting games is the easiest to watch while knowing nothing about the game. So I we are here to push the fighting game community up a bit. Also while being in the fighting game community I have met so many people with great stories that I couldn’t pass this up.
What challenges have you encountered in finishing this project? What advice do you have for others who may want to create something similar?
A big challenge has been communication. Sometimes I would plan and talk with someone then things would go wildly off base. Or I would send out something and get no response. The no response situations I can handle because you either ask again or walk away. If someone doesn’t want to or have the will to talk with ya then don’t work with them. (And remember that never means if they are rude or not, people gots millions of reasons why they don’t respond, it’s always okay if they don’t) But for the situations where things go wildly off base you can only say ‘hey this is what I thought, do you want to change it?’ and you will get your answer and start moving ahead again. As for advice I suggest always be open to chaos. The world, work, and people aren’t formulaic like video games or The Big Bang Theory. (SICK BURN!) Life is about problem solving and critical thinking so you can live with the chaos.
You also have a YouTube Channel? Could you tell us a bit about that?
Yeah! The youtube channel is called NerdCulture and I have had youtube videos (on other channels) for eight years. NerdCulture is a event vlog where if I got somewhere cool or have an idea about our nerd collective I make a video about it. Easily the best video is What is the Difference between Nerd, Geek, or Dork? (view here) Check it out and have some fun.
Why did you create the channel? How often do you update it?
I made it because I had some theories about how nerds communicate. We tend to communicate a little differently in our norms because are so obsessed about so many different things at different levels that you can walk into a convention or event and go ‘oh I met someone who talks like that.’ We all got something special about us so why not talk about it? As for updates it’s when I can (Monthly). The documentary is going to premier on this very channel!
What has been your biggest challenge in generating new content?
The biggest challenge is creating quantity of quality. I can do a let’s play or live stream and be good on the channel in terms of quantity, but I would feel like the quality isn’t good enough. (even though it would be, it’s YouTube) But I really like to challenge myself to make something better every time and since i’m currently unemployed while working on this channel and documentary I got enough time to push further and further.
Why do you think it’s important for people to follow their dreams?
I think it’s important to follow your changing dreams. What I mean by that is don’t follow your dreams that you have had since you were a child unless that dream has been growing. So if you wanted to be a psychologist like I did because you wanted to learn to communicate better then follow the dream of communication, not the psychologist stuff because I learned more about my dream as I grew. As people we love our dreams and I agree that they are extremely important, but I don’t see enough of peoples dreams changing, evolving, or coming true. When your dream starts off as an idea as specific as “I want to be ____ “I think it should naturally evolve into “I want to be able to ____ every day.” If your dream is to be paid to smile you don’t have to be a supermodel, just a teeth model. If your dream is to have a partner that will love you unconditionally then start with a dog, meet millions of people, and find that person. Maybe you will find out that your dream is something a little more tangible or better in reality. I think it’s important for people to follow their dreams because it is a process to grow, get your heart broken, or to make them come true. All of which are fine ways to live.