Filmmaker Greg Carter, like so many artistic people, started out in a whole other direction from where he ended up. He had been working on his degree in Engineering at Texas A&M when he realized that filmmaking was what he wanted to do. And he did.
By 1997 he had written, directed, produced and edited his first film, Fifth Ward, which was the Best Feature Winner at the 1997 New Orleans Black Film Festival and was featured at the 1998 SXSW Film Festival in Austin. Since then he has produced other successful films, A Gang Land Love Story and his latest, Dysfunctional Friends, taught filmmaking classes and continued to maintain his roots in Houston.
What he does: Carter has been an independent filmmaker in Houston for almost 15 years now and he enjoys every minute of it. He thinks filmmaking is like any other addiction -- "When it's good it's so good, you can't imagine doing anything else."
He discovered his passion for film during his third year at Texas A&M when his brother suggested he try his hand at acting. He did. After playing in a musical, he soon realized that acting wasn't for him, but instead that he would be better behind the scenes. From there he went on to earn his master's in Filmmaking Studies at Rice University.
"When I graduated from school with my degree in engineering, there was really only one thing I ever wanted to do and that was to be a filmmaker, and I've been very lucky and blessed that things have worked out okay."
What inspires him: While at Texas A&M, he got the opportunity to take a class taught by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Charles Gordone. Studying with Gordone helped him become a better filmmaker, but he gives even more credit to Brian Huberman, a documentary filmmaker who taught at Rice University.
"Brian is the guy who made me what I am. He's a great guy."
If not this, then what? Oddly enough, he says that having a degree in engineering has helped him in his success as a filmmaker.
"Engineering is all about problem solving, but that's also what independent filmmaking is about. It's about a limited amount of resources and still finding a way to make it work."
So he says that if he weren't a filmmaker, he'd be using that engineering degree. "I would be an engineer and I'd be pretty happy."
If not here, then where? He feels that the community in Houston has always been supportive. He is back and forth between Houston and Los Angeles, but still considers himself a hometown boy -- "I love H-town" -- and rather than leave for good, he'd like to do more filmmaking here.
"I try to bring Hollywood to Houston kicking and dragging and screaming."
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What's next: He says he is the type of guy who doesn't over-think the future. "I kind of ride like a leaf, a leaf on the river, floating along." He is just going with the flow...although he admits that he always ends up taking on several projects at a time.
Carter has been in Los Angeles working on a reality show, Coast to Coast Cheerleader. He also has another project in pre-production there, featuring Lindsay Lohan and scheduled to begin shooting in a few months. In Houston, he says he will be producing an unnamed independent film soon.
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