Robert Rodriguez is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, editor and musician. He shoots and produces many of his films in his native Texas and Mexico.
Rodriguez is the son of Mexican-American parents Rebecca, a nurse, and Cecilio G. Rodríguez, a salesman.
He began his interest in film at age 11 when his father bought one of the first VCRs, which came with a camera.
While attending St. Anthony High School, he was commissioned to videotape the school's football games. Reportedly, he was fired soon after for shooting them with a cinematic style, instead of shooting the whole play.
There he met Carlos Gallardo; they both shot films on video throughout high school and college.
After graduating Rodriguez went to the College of Communication at the University of Texas where he also developed a love of cartooning. He invented a daily comic strip entitled Los Hooligans with many of the characters based on his siblings – in particular, one of his sisters, Maricarmen. The comic proved to be quite successful, running for three years in the student newspaper The Daily Texan while Rodríguez continued to make short films.
Rodríguez grew up shooting action and horror short films on video, and editing on two VCRs. Finally, in the fall of 1990, his entry in a local film contest earned him a spot in the university's film program where he made the award-winning 16 mm short "Bedhead".
He went on to shoot the action flick “El Mariachi” in Spanish, which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 1993.
He earned most of the $7000 it cost to make El mariachi (1992) by subjecting himself to experimental drug studies.
Rodriguez has since made many films whose genres include: action, thriller, sci-fi, drama and film noir.
Rodríguez not only has the unusual credits of producing, directing and writing his films, he also frequently serves as editor, director of photography, camera operator, steadicam operator, composer, production designer, visual effects supervisor, and sound editor on his films. This has earned him the nickname of "the one-man film crew."
He calls his style of making movies "Mariachi-style".
In 2006, he and his wife Elizabeth Avellán, with whom he had five children, separated after 16 years of marriage.