Showing posts from 2012

The Baby Cries - Directing the Rehearsal

(from left Mario J. Novoa, DP Dan Cotreau and Actor Miriam Peniche. Photo by Sacha Barry)  Learning from previous experiences and allowing enough prep time, I wanted to really pursue the art of cinema from a different vantage point. My primary goals were to allow the actors the space to explore the location we would be shooting in. This would allow the actors to see how best to use and take ownership of their domain. My other goal was to understand how best to use the camera in that same space. I've learned from master filmmakers that allowing yourself to explore the film frame and the performance, would give you the opportunity to shoot what you envisioned. So as we played in the sandbox today, I was able to see all the opportunities. In the next few weeks I will refine what my intentions were and what I learned today. Thanks to my awesome Cast & Crew today!

The Hobbit Soundtrack

Really enjoying listening to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Original Motion Soundtrack) by Howard Shore. It really stands on its own and makes you feel nostalgic. Follow the link to listen to on Rolling Stone's website.

The Baby Cries: Table Read

A talented cast and crew embarked on a table reading for The Baby Cries. The Baby Cries is a short film comedy based on a stage play I wrote for CASA 0101's The Brown and Out Theater Festival this year. It is a story of a gay couple raising their newborn daughter and the chaos that ensues when the traditional Catholic Salvadoran grandparents show up. The talented Cast includes: Martin Morales, Miriam Peniche, Matt Pascua and MJ Silva. As the writer/producer/director of the film, it is a proud moment to see the "baby" come alive. The play version generated a lot interest and praise from the audience, and it was great to hear how well people connected to the story. Time and time again people would tell me how they identified with each character - people from all walks of life: gay, straight, male and female. When writing the piece, there was a part of me that wanted the characters to be identifiable with anyone and people did indeed connect to the story of family, trad

Motivation: Top 10 Filmmakers

Watching the work of these directors are always inspiring. If you need an injection of motivation, poke your eyes out with the work of some masters. 1. Steven Spielberg 2. Alfred Hitchcock 3. Quentin Tarantino 4. Martin Scorsese 5. George Lucas 6. Francis Ford Coppola 7. Ang Lee 8. David Lean 9. David Fincher 10. J. J. Abrams by Mario J. Novoa

Film Directing

I loved this roundtable interview. For a director that loves hearing from other pros, this was the best soup of the day I've ever had. Full uncensored interview with  Quentin Tarantino  ( Django Unchained ),  David. O Russell  ( Silver Linings Playbook ),  Ben Affleck  ( Argo ),  Ang Lee  ( Life of Pi ),  Tom Hooper  ( Les Miserables )   and  Gus Van Sant  ( Promised Land ) .

The Baby Cries - Production Design

I took photos of the location during our preproduction of the film The Baby Cries, to help get a sense of coverage. This is the hardest part for a director sometimes, because you have intuitively know where to get your best shots. Sometimes your intuition can work against you, and you end up with bad shots. This is always frustrating. I've learned to experiment in pre-production and production, and find the best shots that conveys story, color, design and most importantly, allows the actors to do their best. When I took this random photo in pre-production, I rewrote a scene between the grandparents in which they talked about their relationship with their son. I loved that we could see across the Silver Lake Reservoir in L.A. I didn't know if we could pull it off, especially with the lenses that we were working with. Although during production we had a limited amount of time, I went back and reshot the scene again with actors Martin Morales and Miriam Peniche. This time we

The Miracle of Tony Davis (feature) - Casting Process

Today Casting Director Shelby Holt walked me through the process of casting for the feature film The Miracle of Tony Davis. This is a micro-budget feature based on true life events that occurred in 2003. Pastor Tony Davis was shot 5 times and was clinically dead for 15 minutes and experienced something extraordinary in what he describes as "heaven". Shooting commences in a few weeks so finding the right actors for this movie is going to be challenging. I am looking forward to meeting the cast and collaborating with Director Donre Walker in the process.

The Baby Cries: In Pre-Production Mode

Taking The Baby Cries from stage to screen has some fantastic challenges. Last night I had a great session with Production Design and Actor Martin Morales regarding the look of The Baby Cries. For two weeks I've been discussing lenses and cameras with Director of Photography Dan Cotreau and trying to find a look for the film. This is the first time as Director that I've approached a film from a production design perspective and Martin had some great ideas. I listened intently and pictured what the ideas would mean in the scope of a film frame. I heard about the environment of the room, the color in the scope of emotion and using light to convey a passage of time. Between production design and cinematography, there are elements, ideas and design that overlap. As a director I try to listen to what people are bringing to the table so that I can let them create within the vision I have. My main approach is always about the performance in front of the camera, so I hope th

Going Mobile with Your Marketing

Backed up by statistics and analysis of mobile devices, I found this article to be a great resource of what is currently applicable in the marketing arena. After reading I shared on my personal social media channels because it was checklist anyone could use. I work with a lot of creative people and thought that this information could be useful to many of them. I am currently constructing a marketing plan for an e-commerce site and found that it can be checklist I can use. I see high school and college aged students so focused on their mobile devices and have noticed a trend to all things mobile. It’s not just cellphone but also readers and iPads. People are always looking at reviews, store locations and hours, sales and entertainment. With mobile usage spiking over desktop usage next year, this article is apropos to the times.

Review: The Cure's "The Head On The Door"

I wandered into Amoeba in Hollywood today and upon browsing the clearance section I found a gem. That gem was The Cure's "The Head On The Door", which I fell in love with. This album clearly is different from the many innovative albums that The Cure created in the 1980's. My favorite tracks were: In Between Days, Kyoto Song, The Baby Screams, Close To Me. I can't musically pinpoint why I thought this album sounded so different, but I can only say that it sounded upbeat and free. The tone seemed to be that of a band experimenting various forms of music while keeping in tune with the particular "Cure" sound. For me this has become a delight to listen to and highly recommend the ecstasy. 

Location Based Advertising

Hollywood Video rental stores went down in flames a few years back because of it’s lack of vision and competition with Netflix. I was a store manager in Pasadena, CA when I saw a mass migration of customers too Netflix. There were many tools that could have been used to help promote Hollywood Video on the internet, put the company opted to increase late fees and other ineffective profit goals that eventually killed it’s operations. Having a tool like “location based marketing” could have enticed our customer’s to pay us a visit and receive discounts while at the store. Perhaps it is wishful thinking, but whatever company fuses this tool to their advertising goals could gain new customers and retain their loyal base. In the article, " Understanding Location-based Advertising. ", geo-fencing was a concept I thought sounded complicated, but in reality many metro areas can speak to their population with accuracy by using this technique. Knowing how to integrate its use can be b

Keep It Simple:

“Keep It Simple” is always the best philosophy when it comes to offering people choices, and I think that delivers simplicity of navigation. This site showcases talent in such a way that you are automatically drawn into the product as opposed to an over thought website using sophisticated methods to heighten brand. When browsing for shirts primarily you offered sizes, gender-based products, price options and artists’ showcased work. It is easy to navigate through the pages and select what appeals to you. The use of the shopping cart as a smiling icon was very entertaining and innovative. I appreciated the site’s experience and entertainment factor, it made shopping very easy.

Branded to Kill

One of the most interesting Japanese films I've seen. Why? The anti-hero (Joe Shishido)who loves to sniff the rice. The insane creative cuts that edits out the boring parts. Drops you into time sequences in weird ways. The visuals are dynamic and impressive. The production design serves the action and story. The sex is raw and unforgiving, you feel like a voyeur. It's in Black and White and invites noir-ish elements. Criterion Collection on Hulu Assassins hunting assassins. Directed by Seijun Suzuki

Ode to Creative Work

City Lights

Charlie Chaplin's heart-warming story about a "tramp" that falls in love with a blind woman, is so touching and moving. One of my favorite Chaplin films.

Disney and Lucasfilm Get Married

Glad to know Kathleen Kennedy will be the President. A new Star Wars film in 2015! Perhaps the old original gang will be back together again?

Cloud Atlas - An Intense Fulfilling Adventure

After an intense day of writing, I slammed my laptop and ran to the Cinerama Dome to watch a film on the top of my list, Cloud Atlas. Catching the tail end of the Gangster Squad trailer, I closed my eyes, gave thanks and awaited my 2001: A Space Odyssey moment. Well, what else could I compare it to? The trailers and promos looked amazing:  snippets of Sci-Fi drama, romance, passion, inner-space, death. And who wouldn't want to see a movie behind the filmmakers of Run Lola Run and The Matrix? The film did not disappoint but exceeded my expectations (Yes, I had many cynical expectations!). As I sat in The Dome I experienced a profound baptism of stories that traveled through the ages: past, present, future. Stories that hit on many themes with a subtle touch of melancholy. I was so immersed in each story, that it was hard to transition from one story to the next (but that was the intent). The film was crafted in a way that you only received bits of story lines at a time. On