Friday, December 24, 2010

A Gift from Latino USA

Enjoy these wonderful Christmas stories, 2 from my favorite writers; Michele Serros & Julia Alvarez 


Monday, December 20, 2010

Blood, Sweat & Tears aka Funding Your Film With Your Own $$$

My first film was Love Song, part 2 of the Love 10 to 1 trilogy. I wrote, produced and directed Love Song and co-produced the other two stories in the trilogy. IT WAS HARD WORK. That film took everything I had to give and I am happy with the results. We are still not done with it; there are some technical issues with the first story. We are trying to fix them because that’s the first story our audience will see.

We finished shooting that film in the summer of 2008. Production started in October 2007. Due to our lack of financing we had to shoot the first two in October/November and my piece in the summer of 2008. We set out to make an indie version of Love Actually on a micro budget. We funded the film with our own money. All the money I’ve put in to that film would be enough to put a small down payment on a small house in Los Angeles. I don’t expect to make that money back any time soon or at all. That film is supposed to be my calling card, instead, it became my film school.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Meet the full cast

Clockwise - starting w/me holding the pot - Lucy, Ona, Brian Sorbo, Daniel Zacapa, Carlo Alban & Catalina Maynard - blocking the scene

Carlo Alban as Auggie,  Daniel Zacapa as Benny, Catalina Maynard as Alma & Onahoua Rodriguez as Michele

The Big Deal - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner!

Monday, December 6, 2010

That's a Wrap

I am humbled by the love, generosity and respect the crew bestowed on me and the actors. Everyone worked so hard to make this come together. I am extremely happy with the results. I got amazing performances from the four actors and the crew kicked ass.

I am eternally thankful and grateful to the following people; 
My good friends Laura Somers & Karla Legaspy who worked so hard for me, they made my job less stressful and having them around was a combination of relief and joy.

My husband who's had to put up with my hectic schedule, a house full of props, scripts and paper work all over the place, basically living in total chaos during our first few months as a married couple. He came out on both days to help me and be supportive. 

My crew, those amazing guys (they are big, strong men to everyone else), they came through for me once again. I am so happy to work with them, they made me and the cast look so good by letting us do our job in a safe and fun environment.

My most special THANKS go to Michele Serros for honoring and trusting us with her wonderful gift.

I will blog more but I got to get some sleep and be at work tomorrow bright and early. This movie's not paying for itself!



Friday, December 3, 2010

One Day 2 Go

Last night I bought more props - the most important props - the food props. One of Michele's friends pointed me in the direction of Tops Value in Culver City. It's a huge Latin market with everything you can possibly imagine and then some. I was in heaven when I saw their Goya aisle, and they even have pork shoulder to make pernil, but I digress. I bought the meat based props and cooked the meat for the tamales filling. I bought the cheapest meat I could find (this is a prop and no one will eat it). I bought it already seasoned because I did not want to touch it. I nearly threw up cooking it, it smelled so nasty. I was going to make the masa for the tamales but good lord, I found a huge bag of already premade masa. The opening credit scene is of Alma and Michele making tamales. It will be a short sequence, about 20 seconds long but like everything else, 20 seconds of film/video takes a lot of prep work.

Last night I was able to sleep, so I'm happy about that.



Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sharing Resources

If you are reading this, chances are you are a filmmaker or thinking of becoming one. One of the reasons I keep this blog is to share the resources I've aquired along the way. There are many rental houses in town and a lot of them offer great rates for indie filmmakers. I will keep updating my resources and hopefully you can benefit from it.

For this production, we are using Brian Sorbo's company Flickersound. Brian will be my gaffer once again. I love working with him and you will too. Brian is extremely generous and I can guarantee that no one in town will beat his rate for equipment rental, and if you are lucky, he will be available to gaff for you too.


Two Days Before Production

Since Saturday, I have been averaging about 3 hrs of sleep per night, it must be anxiety. Last night I was able to sleep through most of the night. Things are falling into place. I got my crew together, most of the equipment has been rented and I bought most of the props.

Again, I will be wearing 50 hats; director, producer, production designer, errand runner, you name it, I'm on it. When I feel like I'm at the breaking point, I always say next time I'm hiring someone to do all of this but the reality is that I can't afford to. I can barely pay the crew and the actor's salaries are deferred. I have to admit that as hard as this road has been, all the heartache and stress that this production has caused me, I LOVE IT. I get off on the rush of figuring out how to make it work, how to make it look as good as an HBO show on a microbudget. Fine, I admit it, I'm a masochist!

I have one last rehearsal with the actors tomorrow night. We will be working on blocking and scene transitions. I need to take a picture of their scripts, they have more notes than there are lines.

I need to make the final decision on what camera we are shooting with. I got an amazing deal on the RED but it shoots at a 4k resolution and all that footage will be a nightmare to deal with, not to mention how much money post will cost. Matt Boyd, my kick ass cinematographer suggested we shoot on the Canon 7D, I got my research done on that workflow only to have him call me last night saying he can get an amazing deal on the new ARRI Alexa. His connection just got it and is giving us a great deal, (about 66% off). I need to check with the insurance company to make sure we have enough coverage for the camera and the lenses. We have the 7D as a back up plan but Matt is stoked to work with the new ARRI.

While I am glad for having choices to make, I won't have much time to get familiar with the camera before we shoot. I don't know if other directors get as involved w/these details but I'm a bit of a control freak and I like knowing what I'm working with. I've worked with Matt before and I trust his judgement so I am going to let him make the choice. I checked out the ARRI website and it is a pretty neat camera.

Off to work I go, I am not a woman of leisure. I have two full time jobs, one that pays the bills and one that nourishes my creativity.  My two full time jobs have been kicking my butt this week.