Recent Project: Tension Speak “Choke”

I was hired by local San Antonio rock band Tension Speak to create a new music video for their upcoming CD release, “This War”. They choose the track “Choke” and after a brief meeting with the band, and listening to the inspiration for the song I came up with a storyline. The song is about the world caving down on you, with so much pressure you feel like you are getting choked out.  I know I can relate to this, and I believed others could as well.  We were to use 4 members of the band to show 4 different vices, including alcoholism, drug addiction, no money, and cheating wife.  The lead singer, Fred Silva was to play the role of the “Angel”, stopping the other person from doing damage to themself or to others.  Sounded great on paper, but could I pull this off??  This would be my second music video, and after the first one, I was confident, but staying humble.  I went home that night, thought about it some more, came up with a shot list and went to bed uneasy.

A few days later the band, my friend and fellow San Antonio filmmaker, Ismael Rodriguez, and I met at the home of lead guitarist, Ray Martinez.  On the first day of shooting we were to shoot his scene, alcoholism, Chris Cabello’s scene, unpaid bills/no money, as wells as Randy Martinez’s scene, unfaithful spouse.  We knocked out the alcoholism scenes quickly, as well as the “bills” scene.  Next up we were to meet up with our actors, Valerie Garza and Ryan Herrera at La Cantera Mall, where we were to film Valerie, playing the cheating wife, with Randy secretly following them.  I had worked with Valerie before on a .com commercial before, and so when we needed a female actress on this project I knew who to call.  Once I feel comfortable with people I work with, I like to call on them for new projects.  With Valerie, I knew exactly what I was getting.  Someone who is positive, easy to work with, shows up when requested, and professional.  When I told her I was also looking for a male actor to play the role of her sancho, she came back with Ryan’s name.  Ryan is someone she had worked with before, and I trusted her pick.  He was exactly what I was looking for and a pleasure to work with, thanks Ryan!  We wrapped up at La Cantera Mall and headed back to Ray’s house for the bedroom scenes.  Not going to say much what happened there, but we had fun with Valerie and Ryan keeping us laughing.

We wrapped day one, and over the next month or so we grabbed several smaller scenes, like Chris’ scene in front of a convenience store thinking about robbing it, Fred’s walking scenes and Dan’s drug scenes in a Valero bathroom.  Also, we took an afternoon to film on top of an undisclosed downtown San Antonio roof top. :) Thanks for the tip Bryan Ramirez!

The day of the CD release party rolls around, Saturday Dec. 19th, and due to scheduling conflicts, we still needed 4 more shots with 3 members of the band.  So 1pm that day we met back at Ray’s house with my daughter Isabella, shot for about an hour, and I headed home to finish editing.  I completed editing around 6pm, and started the export process and was able to get the DVD copy to them at Clicks to premiere the video.  At the end of their set, the lights went down, projector went up and everyone turned to face it.  At a premiere, I am always nervous something will fail, but by the end of the video I heard the crowd scream, I opened my eyes with a sigh a relief, it was done and people enjoyed it.

I’d like to thank the band, Ray, Fred, Chris, Dan, and Randy.  I had a great time with you guys and hope we can work together again.  Ryan and Valerie, thank so much!  Roland Martinez, you are awesome!  Vicky, thanks for letting us take over your house.   And to my friend, Ismael, thanks for the awesome assistance and the great behind the scenes photos.  (Below)

Hope you enjoy Tension Speak’s, “Choke”!


BTS photos courtesy of Ismael Rodriguez

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Tension Speak Band Members:
Lead Vocals:  Fred Silva
Guitar: Ray Martinez
Guitar: Chris Cabello
Bass:  Dan Baird
Drums:  Randy Martinez
Booking Info:

One response on “Recent Project: Tension Speak “Choke”

  1. Michelle says:

    Looks great Rod! I love all the BTS photos too. How are you liking the Cowboy Studio rig? For the price I feel like I should just get it, but I’d like to know what it’s like. From the pics it also looks like you’ve modified it a bit.

  2. Rod says:

    Thanks Michelle! I am really liking the CBS rig, for the money, you really can’t beat it. It’s super comfy and I like the fact it’s hands free. Yup, I have modified it a bit, it now has a rail system on it which allows me to attach my follow focus and handle. I am working on a writeup with pics and hope to have that posted this week. Again, thanks for stopping by and checking it out the music video!

  3. Rod! So great that you write theses Blogs, it is always a great and sometimes rare thing to see how the Director reflects on their work. It has been awesome working with you as well! You are definitely leaving a mark in San Antonio Film. You are creative and diligent in all of your work and the final product is always a show of that. Thank you for letting me a part of your film :) I wish you lots of success in your future projects!

  4. Iz' says:

    Rod, Saw the video and also the bts pictures. Wow those are great shots! Do you know what the photographer used for it? Looks very smooth! Thanx again.

  5. Rod says:

    The photographer, Ismael Rodriguez, used the same type of camera as used for the video, a Canon T2i For some of the photos, I believe he used Adobe Lightroom to color.

    Hope this helps, thanks for stopping by!

  6. Tony says:

    Dude. I haven’t been here in a while, and I’ve got to say, you are really turning out some great stuff!

    This video is incredible!

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