From Los Angeles, to Miami, to the beautiful island of Dominican Republic, it's been an incredible journey shooting our VIVA Short Film!
LOS ANGELES - day 1 of 5
Our production began on Saturday, March 26th at the prestigious Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, CA.
On one end, the lights and camera began their setup:
Below this magical setup, our hair & makeup artist, Itze de Jesus began her work which was a monumental part of our movie magic endeavor: match the look of our actress - Arami - and dance double - Camille.
At 11:30am, picture was up and shooting was underway.
We recorded with two cameras simultaneously: one on a tripod, and another on steadicam.
This allowed us to move much faster through our multiple shots.
Our choreographer, Lilian Manansala, was a pivotal part in ensuring a smooth shoot day.
She was also the greatest hype-human our actor & dancer would have asked her.
We are so grateful to have had her present.
Alas, at 5:59pm, after Camille performed her final fouettés, I exclaimed with joy "THAT'S A WRAP!"
The theatre was filled with a sense of pride and passion. We were making an incredible short film and we all felt it.
LOS ANGELES - DAY 2 OF 5
Our shoot was off to a great start, but now the team expanded for the BIG junkyard scene on Sunday, March 26th.
I, the production coordinator and AD, was set to leave my house at 3:30pm to arrive on set at 4pm. At about 2:15pm, I receive a call from our production manager to let me know that unfortunately he wasn't going to be able to make it.
I had a slight nervous breakdown, but I let it all out, took a few deep breadths, and put my game face on.
The production truck arrived on set and a 3 hour preparation began with each department setting up their equipment: lights, camera, hair & make up, crafty, and the star of the evening, ART DEPARTMENT.
Our art department team was let by Cleo Camp, and they had the bulk of the work turning a Los Angeles junkyard into one in a small town of Cuba. And boy did they do an incredible job.
Our amazing PA's jumped in to lend a helping hand as time was of the essence and it was imperative that we began shooting on time.
Our classic 1950's picture cars rolled in...
Our two PA's (production assistants) put on their domino player costumes...
At 7:30pm, picture was up!
The night was L O N G but we were blessed with a top-notch cast and crew.
Our amazing producer/production manager had hired a taco truck for dinner which really hit the spot.
A well fed team is a happy team.
At 2:43am, the exciting words were called and we cheered on another successful shoot day:
"That's a wrap!"
The dismount began and at 4:15am we had the final truck's tail lights on.
MIAMI - DAY 3 OF 5
We took a week to gather ourselves, catch up on some sleep, and land from an incredible trip that we all took over the weekend shooting VIVA.
The following week, we were off to Miami, FL!
We had one day before our trip to Dominican Republic to shoot a short scene with a wonderful local actress, Gley Viera.
However, while we had a full blown production with a crew of about 20 people back in LA , Miami was guerrilla mode: Director, DP and Arami to help in any way possible, which in this case was being sound.
We had already gone over budget in Los Angeles so we had to rent the sound equipment and do it ourselves.
This ended up not being a very good idea.
Just like any other department, sound is an art and a skill.
Additionally, the sound equipment we received was malfunctioning. Nothing like a good speed bump on the road!
An hour before we started shooting, when we noticed the equipment we rented and picked up that day didn't work properly, we tried to find a last minute sound person but to no avail.
Luckily, we managed to work around the equipment and got a few good audio takes which is more than enough.
Gley was also a joy to work with and she did a fantastic job!
All things considered, day 3 was still a successful shoot day.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - DAY 4 OF 5
The next day the team was off to DR!
Day 4 of shooting consisted of b-roll and pick up shots around San Pedro, our piece of Cuba in DR.
The shots were looking great!
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - DAY 5 OF 5
Day 5 was a BIG shoot day which consisted of THREE scenes, including the important opening scene of the film.
This day also consisted of driving off of set during lunch to get the necessary COVID test for their flight back to the US the next day... it was tight.
We had a great team in Dominican Republic which was put together by BU-K-PIE Producciones.
They worked tirelessly during our pre-production phase to help bring down the budget to something we could work with without sacrificing the quality of the film.
We are incredibly grateful for them.
While the team worked hard to get everything in, "you cannot negotiate with the sun," and by the last scene we ran out of sunlight.
While we might have to reshoot that one short scene, the DR trip was a great success and the scenes shot there look great.
los angeles - post-production and where we go from here
Since returning to LA, we officially entered the post-production phase and have started editing the film together - and by "we" I mean Steve, the writer, director, producer AND editor.
There's A LOT that goes into post-production.
In our case, Steve has a TROVE of sound files that unfortunately are neither labeled nor in order... an editor's nightmare.
Post-production also includes the need for sound mixing and mastering, another line on the budget item.
Piecing the film together will let us know if we'll indeed have to reshoot the short scene where we lost sunlight, or if we can get away with what we've got.
We have also begun submitting our work-in-progress cut to film festivals including TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) and Austin Film Festival.
So while we are well on our way to completing our short film, we still have some road left to trek and we could use all the help we could get to make it across the finish line.
If you can, please consider donating to our GoFundMe page.
Vamos por mas! VIVA!!!