He heaps credit for his development to his director of photography, Kitao Sakurai, and assistant director and grip Matthew Turner. Both were involved in the filming for "Mirrorage" and many of Perez's recent projects before that. During the Glasser shoot, the guys barely speak beyond the most technical terms regarding light levels or when to roll camera, mostly relying on one another to do what they do. (That's the finished product in the clip below.)

Carlos and crew.
Carlos and crew.

When Buddy Holly sings "Everyday, it's a gettin' closer, goin' faster than a roller coaster," it's hard not to apply the lyrics to Perez's career gaining speed. Although he loves the cultural aspects of New York, he sees himself eventually moving to Los Angeles to take advantage of the light, locations, and connections. He hopes the move will legitimize his production company as a real day-to-day entity.

For now, he's well-equipped at the studio on 29th Street, and the Ace Hotel's tastefully decorated bar is only steps away. As Perez sips a Maker's Mark on the rocks, the discussion meanders to the first date with his girlfriend (they both wore sweaters, his featuring Mickey Mouse and hers the Eiffel Tower), the mysteries of Belle Glade, and the challenges of writing. As the strains of "Harmonix" by Surfer Blood come on, he recalls seeing the West Palm Beach act perform last year at the CMJ Music Marathon and ultimately getting introduced to the world outside of the Sunshine State.

"You know you have to get out of Florida," he says, referring to the band's path to success. "You have to get out of Florida to become that. You can always come back. Surfer Blood came up to the Northeast, played some shows, got signed. Boom, done."

Since leaving Florida, Perez has finished a screenplay and wants to start raising funds for a film that takes place in his home state. "A love story that's semireferential to Bonnie and Clyde, but a musical." As far as a directorial style he'd like to employ, he says: "The ideal realm would be somewhere between Kubrick and Jacques Tati, mashed together. Tati offers this humor sensibility, lightheartedness, whereas Kubrick offers monolithic, epic ideas that he's talking about."

It's no shock that a music video director wants to break into film. It requires working every day, even in off hours, on constantly overlapping projects. Getting to this point didn't come without a certain level of disappointment that aspirations to become a painter, sculptor, or even a fine art photographer featured in a gallery were put on hold for something else.

"2007 rolls around and not selling a ton," he recalls. "You make a music video and you get four calls overnight to make more videos. Two years later, I'm making money off this... I thought, this could be bad — or it could be amazing. That's when you're at your best as an artist, when you're not 100 percent sure."

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