My transition from Caracas, Venezuela to Austin, Texas by Gonzalo Veloz
Well, I feel very honored and excited to be the author of the first post on this awesome blog, so I'll write about several topics in this and future posts. In this post I'll talk about: Coming to America to pursue a career, my involvement at ASoF, the transition from Caracas, Venezuela to Austin, mine and my family’s background in media and some recommendations of the places that I’ve liked the most since I moved.
(I was asked to talk about a lot of things, I’ll try to make this as short as possible.)
1. Coming to America and my involvement with ASoF
In my teenage years I decided that I wanted to have a career in marketing, so when it was the moment to go to college I decided to study communications with the ambition of becoming a big name in event planning and marketing. A couple of years after that, I moved to another city and started a job at a huge event company. That was one of the biggest life experiences that I’ve ever had. One day they needed to shoot a video for a big event that not many people knew about, so I offered my services without having any idea of video production. Things ended pretty well; the video was used and my passion for filmmaking, video production and story telling started.
And that was it, for the first time I was pretty clear about what I wanted to do with my life.
The year was 2014 and a lot of things were happening in my country: protests, misery, murders (NGO Venezuelan Violence Observatory placed Venezuela’s homicide rate for 2014 at 82 per 100,000, with a total of 24,980 killings recorded for the year), high cost of life and many other economical consequences got me thinking about the possibility of a future in other countries. After a lot of research, I found ASoF and a few months later I moved.
It has been 5 long months filled with learning and a LOT of cultural shock, but ASoF has been a great place to develop my skills as a filmmaker. I have learned a lot, and having the opportunity to be involved in a great community is something that is valuable when you are new in a completely different place. I had the chance to participate as an intern/assistant teacher in a summer camp and it was one of the most awesome experiences ever for me.
2. Life In Caracas
Caracas is an incredible city that is immersed in chaos and disgrace; it's the center of everything in Venezuela. Even though it's a tropical country, their masses are moved by reggaeton and they ignore more complex aspects of culture. I got small glimpses of incredible cultural movements in arts, media and music; amazing filmmakers creating beautiful films without budgets (to get funds in Venezuela for a movie you go through a government organization, so you need to compromise a lot of the ideas of your film), artists and designers creating amazing pieces of art, and underground bands with deep messages.
Living in Caracas is also like being in a toxic relationship; there is a lot of love but there is a lot of pain. It’s a city where you always live in fear of being robbed, kidnapped, murdered. Always hiding, always running. Nevertheless, I miss my city and my country a lot, you can always find beauty in horror.
3. My family and digital media arts
I come from a family that is pretty involved in media. My grandfather on my father’s side, Gonzalo Veloz Mancera, funded the first private TV channel and several radio stations. My grandfather on my mother’s side, Enrique Blanco-Uribe, was a big name in advertising in Latin America. My father, Gonzalo Veloz, is one of the most successful voice over artists and broadcasters of Venezuela and Latin America with more than 5,000 projects (as producer, voice over, director.) It’s a heavy background and a big shadow to live under, but I also think that I inherited something from them.
I want to be as passionate as they are, with my work. It’s beautiful to read their history and it will be a big challenge to live up to their work and their legacy, but I’m not too worried about it.
If you have read to this point it’s time for a reward. I’ll give you some recommendations. These are some of my favorite eats in Austin and some bands from Venezuela that I love and want to share.
Address: 900 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702
This is a pizza place with a very particular twist. It’s pretty gourmet but also really affordable, and they have 100 different small pizzas on the menu! (Awesome, right?) I like it because it's quiet and cozy. They will have a lot of live music during September for their big opening month celebration.
Four Brothers ATX
Address: 2201 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Four Brothers ATX is a Venezuelan food truck owned by Venezuelans, so you can expect a lot of the typical dishes, candies and drinks from my country. It’s cheap and the food is INCREDIBLE.
Dischord is one of my favorite bands ever. They play hardcore punk (their lyrics are in English). This is the kind of music that will get you fully energized for a run or make you want to crowd surf.
Los Amigos Invisibles
I don’t think they need a presentation.. Los Amigos invisibles are the creators of “La Gozadera” and they have been living in USA for the past 20 years. Fun music, perfect to dance or…
Thank you for reading, and see you on my next post!