Tell me a little about your background.

I come from a family of filmmakers. I started working in the industry when I was almost eighteen years old. I started directing when I was 21. My father, Victor Bo, was a producer and actor. I was always related to film because of that.

What was your first shoot?

My first shoot was in school in New York, I shot three short films. One was a silent film, one was laced with storytelling, and one was shot with just a three person crew. It was fifteen years ago, it was amazing and it was challenging. My ego was prepared to do something amazing, but that didn’t happen. That was the very first I time touched a camera. I bought a camera and started shooting everything I could. I think that’s the best way to learn.

What was the first shoot where you actually got paid?

It was a documentary about children with health problems who I followed all through Argentina with a camera and a small crew. To us, it was good quality, the storytelling was good, there was emotion. It was fifteen years ago, so I’m not proud of it now, but at the moment it was really amazing to discover that I could do something with those qualities.

Who gave you your first opportunity?

I was working as a second assistant director for a commercial director that liked one of my short films. He let me shoot second unit for a car commercial. I was nineteen years old. They gave me a 35mm camera to shoot with all day. It was a great opportunity. Five or six shots of mine were actually used for the commercial.

Was The Last Elvis your first feature shoot as a director?

The Last Elvis is my first feature film…well I call it my ex-wife. I like it a lot, but I don’t know if I’m ready to do it again so soon. (Laughs) It was before Alejandro González Iñárritu and I wrote Biutiful. I know Alejandro because I worked at his company in Mexico when I was twenty-one, so we stayed in contact. I sent him our script for some feedback, he liked it very much, and wanted to participate in making the film.

Aside from your usual prep, did you have any rituals?

No, not really. I’m not superstitious. I’m like a football player, or team manager. I talk to the crew as if we are about to do something really unique. It’s like, Okay, let’s go!

Do you have any rituals now?

I listen to a lot of music. I use music to help me work, and put my mind in the moment. It helps me pick the tone and helps when I need ideas. So that’s kind of my ritual. Before shooting I listen to music in the car, or while I am shooting.

Is there a lesson that you learned when you started that you still carry with you today?

I learned that film and commercials are very different. They have different characters, different story tones. I still always learn lessons, it’s still important to learn. I never want to stop learning new things.

What do you think is more important when starting out – talent, connections, or luck?

I think you need everything. I had some connections, and when you are connected, you learn from the right people. I think being connected helped me learn to make the right decisions, or what was right in that moment. It’s amazing, and it’s good to be connected. But of course, then you need luck, because in this business, you need a lot of luck, and you need to be brave. There were some bad moments, and I needed to keep moving and keep going.

Do you think it was easy to break in as a director when you first started?

I think now is more difficult, because there is too much competition. Advertising is like football. Everyone is looking for that new director, that new undiscovered talent

What influences your visual style?

The story I am telling is where everything comes from. Each decision is based on the story, and the character. That influences my visual side, and my approach to the camera.

Did your first commercial shoot feel like you were starting over again?

A commercial is just a brief moment, so you need to be fast, and you need to shoot smart. With a feature film the concept can change over time. On features you need to follow a character, and you need to make that character believable. Whatever a character does in a film that is not believable will take you out of the film.

Can you elaborate?

If you have a character, and it’s believable, films have their own life. It’s kind of a mystery. It’s important to listen to the film when you make your decisions. You have to listen to what the film needs.

Do you have any advice for up and coming directors?

Try to follow what you feel is real. Following your instincts is your most important weapon. With commercials you need to be smart and listen to the client, and listen to what the agency needs. You must be totally open to try different things.

What do you think is the most important quality of a director?

I think the most important quality for sure is the ability to visualize. You must also be a very hard worker and always be moving forward.

Can you tell me about your latest project?

I just co-wrote a film called Birdman, with Nicolas Giacobone, Alejandro González Iñárritu, and Alexander Dinelaris. When they were shooting I was there, and it was an amazing experience. I am also working with Alejandro on “1%”, a TV project he’s developing with me, Nicolas and Alexander. I have a personal script that I am trying to make also, and I am talking to some production companies about shooting it. It’s called Skylight. I can’t talk too much about it, but that’s my next project.

Name

Armando Bo

Place of Birth

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Occupation

Writer, Director - Anonymous Content