June 2015 Volunteer in the Spotlight: Richard Flores
Occupation: Richard is a Fresno City College student who works as a tutor at the campus Writing and Reading Center, and eventually he hopes to move downstairs in the Tutorial Center to also tutor in math. “It has been my favorite job,” Richard says. “I’ve worked a lot of jobs over the years, and this one may not pay the best, but it’s the most satisfying. I get to help people, really help them, which is what tied me into teaching. Seeing the end of the college road, it makes me want to become a teacher.”
Why teaching? “I got tired of entry-level jobs, so when an opportunity came for me to come back to school, I took it. I had an instructor last year who was really good at math, and apparently there’s going to be a lot of math teachers dropping out of the field pretty soon, so I’m hoping to step in and fill that gap. I wanted to teach math the way that he does, not the high school kind of mentality, kind of the least amount of effort by the teacher. I want to put the effort in and be there with the students the whole way through. The way he did it was right on.”
What are some of your hobbies? “I grew up in Visalia, and I was a professional wrestler. That’s what made me come to Fresno, for the business. For three years, I was wrestling. Before that, I was working as a musician right out of high school, trying to break my way into L.A., but it wasn’t happening. I’ve tried a lot of things, had a lot of experiences, and now I’m settling down. I’m into all things media, all things books, magazines, videogames, the right kinds of TV shows. I’ve read The Lord of the Rings so many times, it’s crazy. And I still get new things from it every time, from start to finish, all three books.”
Why professional wrestling, and how is that connected with wanting to teach? “I have always tried to tell good stories. Wrestling is a stuntman, an actor, and a storyteller all rolled into one, and you have to do those all proficiently or it looks terrible. I love media and stories, especially when it’s done right. I don’t have a lot of patience for people trying to get their feet wet until their craft is honed, until it’s ready to be presented, and I guess that counts for everything. I know I can’t teach yet. I don’t know enough in math to teach it well, so I have no business stepping up to the plate yet. But now that’s what I’m training for.”
What are some of your favorite movies? “‘The Dark Knight” is pretty solid. That whole trilogy is pretty solid. ‘Star Wars’ too. I’m a big fan of what’s coming up soon. I wasn’t so big on the prequel trilogy, but a lot of people weren’t. The bar was set too high already.”
What’s in your Netflix queue right now? “I just finished ‘Star Wars: Clone Wars’ now, season one through season six, and I love that about Netflix. They give you the option to watch from episode one to the finale in one sitting, at your convenience. When they came out a couple years ago, I told my whole family and it spread like wildfire.”
How did you hear about Filmworks? “At City. That’s where I met Jefferson Beavers. Taking an intro to film course, he mentioned Filmworks a lot, so it was through being his student that I started volunteering. I checked out one of the films and fell in love with The Tower Theatre, and Filmworks shows new movies before they hit DVD. I like the vibe, and when I found out it was an all-volunteer nonprofit, I decided to help. It’s fun to help out, and I get to go watch a couple of movies for free. I really like it.”
What’s your typical volunteer experience with Filmworks? “Every month since summer of last year — about a year now — I do the street team route downtown and hit all the stops. Jewel FM, Peeve’s, all the Warnors shops, and others. Some of the shops close up early or pretty unexpectedly, so I make sure I’m there regularly every month.”
What’s your favorite part of Filmworks? “There’s a list! The first thing that comes to mind is that anyone can bring anything into the theater, drinks wise. Imagine going to a mainstream theater. They don’t let you bring anything in, sneaking food into purses like a common criminal. But here there’s so much more freedom, and that’s the way it should be. The rigidity of the multiplex is off-putting to me. At the Tower, it’s a personal experience. Jefferson comes up and speaks before it starts, and that’s personal. That’s what movies should be. They brought the director for the April film, ‘Kumiko the Treasure Hunter,’ and that was more personal too.”
What has been your favorite movie at Filmworks? “‘Life After Beth,’ the zombie one. My girlfriend hated it, but I thought it was funny! They took romance and breaking up with someone in a whole different direction, and dressed it up with zombies. At the end of the movie, a faux climax for the movie, the guy does break it off with her. She’s chained to a stove to prevent her from killing him. She’s already a zombie, but some part of her can still communicate with him and recognize what’s going on. He shoots her in the head, and the stove rolls down the hill with her attached. I’m thinking this is the most bizarre movie of all time, and I loved it. They mix zombie and romance genres, mashing them together. Great.”
What has been one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had with Filmworks?“It still goes back to ‘Life After Beth’ for me. They had zombies walking around outside The Tower Theater, and it was rad. It was some kind of semi-professional zombie crew, and they had a bunch of them stumbling around the theater, so it already set the vibe, with people taking pictures and such. That whole night.”
What movie would you like to see next at the multiplex? “I’m only excited about two mainstream movies this year, ‘The Avengers,’ which already came out, and ‘Star Wars.’ It has to really catch my eye and mean something. It has to be bigger than itself. Thanks to Filmworks, though, I can’t really remember the last mainstream movie I’ve seen at the theater.”
Filmworks thanks all of our June 2015 volunteers: Avigdar Adams, Lorna Bonyhadi, Frank Dougherty, Richard Flores, Megan Ginise, Neal Howard, Monica Marks-Rea, Susan Messina, Wes Pierson, Gene Richards, Bill Rovin, Brijesh Sharma, Joan Sharma, Richard Stone, Tracy Stuntz, Michael Torres, Jon Veinberg, Olga Verkhotina, Benjamin Woodcock.
To meet our past volunteers in the spotlight, and to find out how you can volunteer with Filmworks, visit our volunteer page.