Latino Studio Head Gino Cabanas
By Al Carlos Hernandez
CEO of The Vine Entertainment, Gino Cabanas is a film, television, and music producer who broke into the multi media business in Hollywood a few years ago by signing a 60 million dollar development deal.
Flying slightly under the radar, Cabanas has been able to write, direct and produce six feature films as well as several other multi-platform theatrical projects.
Gino started his career twenty-five years ago as an actor on the TV series Miami Vice. He often played a thug. This type of ethnic typecasting caused him to turn his back on the TV industry; he was dismayed by didactic and pejorative racial profiling. However, because of the opportunity afforded by new media, he has once again turned his sights towards the small screen.
A second generation Cuban/ Italian American, he grew up in a multi-ethnic environment in South Florida. He played little league amidst the homemade sounds of Santana and was supported by an eclectic group of loving family and friends.
He, like many of us second generation Latinos, is first and foremost American. He says, “We should be treated as such without bias or stigma. Sadly, TV is often times in the business of labeling people. This can impede their progress.”
Cabanas says the trick to making it in Hollywood is to work hard, be honest, and learn everyone’s job. When he started out as an actor he realized that you had to cut your own path and that there are no short cuts.
He learned writing, directing, producing, investing, finance and now controls his own destiny by producing media. “Focusing on good stories that illuminate the human condition. Ideally, stories that educate, entertain and enlighten.”
The Vine is a multi faceted studio that holds workshops, hosts short film competitions, stages theatrical plays, and sometimes dabbles in music production.
Cabanas and his Vine Entertainment has planned an ambitious 2009.
He said, “I am working mostly in television and creating a web portal that will provide content with Ed Weinberger.” (Weinberger is a fourteen time Emmy nominee. He has won nine Emmys as a writer/producer. He created THE COSBY SHOW with Bill Cosby and was co-creator of TAXI with the legendary James L. Brooks.)
Gino is excited about expanding his business internationally by going to Paris, France to shoot a new series called “Stroke of Genius.” Genius is a competition reality series challenging the best undiscovered painters in the world with hopes of determining who is a “genius.”
“We are also doing a reality show with Jose Canseco called “Who’s Got Game.” The series takes five former world class athletes having them compete in each others sport. Baseball, basketball, track and field, football and hockey. . . we are in talks with Dennis Rodman and Jerry Rice.”
Gino believes that his acting background does help him in his role as a hands-on CEO. He is fluid in changing hats, multi-tasking and assuming various responsibilities.
A key to his success is his on going study of the giants in the business. His role models are Desi Arnaz, who virtually invented the TV sitcom as we know it, and Walt Disney. Both of these men broke the mold in charting a new path to attain their visions.
Growing up in a multi-racial world gives Gino a particular insight into this post-ethnic, hip hop colored society. He said, “I can relate to people who have struggled to find their place in Hollywood. I believe that Brown is indeed the new Green. Brown/Latino/Hispanic people like to be entertained and prefer to see real stories told. I have positioned my company The Vine to bridge that gap.”
There is no question that, after twenty-five years of paying dues and learning the game, Gino Cabanas and his company The Vine is in the midst of doing big things.
Gino Cabanas has some advice for those starting out and pursuing a dream. “Do not follow the tried and true path. Blaze a new trail and let others follow you!!!”
Check him out on: http://thevineent.com/team.html
Al Carlos Hernandez writes from Hollywood.