This weekend, for the first time, we participated in the San Antonio Film Commission’s own, “48hr Film Experience“. If you have never participated in one of these before, let me tell you it’s quite a ride! For those unfamiliar with the weekend long event, each team is given specific criteria to incorporate into their film, and then have 48 hours to write, edit, and score the film. Films are also limited to 8 minutes in running time. So a couple weeks beforhand we started casting in preparation of the event. I was lucky enough to land Anthony Guajardo (pictured above), who has been most recently seen on AMC’s hit new series, “The Walking Dead”, as Miguel on episode 4, “Vatos”. Let me tell you, Anthony has a bright future in front of him. Not only does he have his head on straight, he’s extremely professional, polite and considerate to everyone around him.
Ismael Rodriguez, assistant director/editor, and I arrived at the El Tropicana Hotel Friday evening along with the other 27 teams, after a little socializing, it was time to draw for our genre, location, character and line of dialogue. Below is what I randomly pulled and was quietly relieved…
Character: Tops, an aircraft mechanic
Location: Wrong Side of the Tracks
Dialogue: “That kids a born leader”
After a quick call to Cedric T. Smith, our writer, to let him know what we drew, Ismael and I headed back up north to meet at team headquarters, a suite at The Residence Inn at Stone Oak that Cedric had lined up ahead of time. When we arrived, cast and crew had already started filing in and by 10pm we were on the road to start shooting at our first location, Specht’s Store, Restaurant and Saloon. As we started out of city limits and leaving the bright city lights behind us, with Cedric’s storyline fresh in my head I wondered to myself if we were being too ambitious? Could we actually pull this off? Could we translate his words into the visuals I wanted to create and still meet the deadline? I knew we had the tools to make it happen, I just reminded myself to remain open-minded, flexible, spontaneous, and not over-confident.
Specht’s store is a gorgeous location that has been around since 1890 with lot’s of history and character. At almost every corner there is something intriguing to shoot, including an cold, dark underground cellar with turn-of-the-century wooden doors and rock walls. Miles Taylor and his crew really took care of us and we appreciate all their hard efforts. We wrapped day 1 in the cellar at 6:30am and everyone headed home for a couple hours of sleep before our 9am call time.
We woke up to a beautiful Saturday morning with bright sunshine and little wind. It was day 2 and that meant, location change to the serene and beautiful, Wild Sunday Farms, owned by the film friendly, husband/wife duo, Charles and Lara McDaniel. My wife, Rosemary Guerrero take’s riding lessons here and came home with pictures one afternoon. At first glance, I knew I had to keep this site in my back pocket. Lucky enough when I inquired with Charles and Lara they were all for it and extremely hospitable. Here we shot the bulk of our daytime scenes as I was trying to capture some of the daily life on a working ranch, as well as grab some great scenes inside the hay loft, stables and bridle/saddles rooms. These rooms were exactly what I was looking for, providing great colors, textures and natural lighting.
This took us into midafternoon and onto our last location, Specht road, A wonderful country road with white fences that really gave me the “outside of San Antonio” look I was going for. When Cedric called out those wonderful 3 words, “It’s a wrap”, I was relieved but knew we had gotten a lot of footage and a full night of editing was in front of us, boy did I have no idea. Ismael and I arrived back at the my house, set up shop on the dining room table and agreed to sleep for a few hours, then get up and hit it hard.
9pm comes around and Cedric T. Smith and Tucker Allen, our sound composer, are now with us around the table spitting out ideas and thoughts as Ismael and I are organizing and backing up files for redundancy. My best guess was to be done by 6am, umm yeah, that was completely wrong, more like 6pm the next day! 7:oopm, Sunday evening, we were piled in Cedric’s car, with me in the front seat with my laptop still exporting! Luckily we arrived and were able to get it in. WHEW!!
I have a lot more thoughts of this weekend and how I think the final product turned out. But I will leave to writing that until after the screening on Dec. 7th at Santikos Bijou Theatre.
The San Antonio 48hr Film Experience was a first time for all of the cast and crew except one, our lead female, Judy McMillan. Judy was nothing short of amazing, from her acting to her drive and focus. Her level of professionalism was truly inspirational to our rookie cast and crew. Hopefully, this will be the first of many collaborations with her.
Cedric and I would like to thank everyone involved, from the actors, to the crew, the parents and of course the spouses waiting patiently at home. Without yall, none of this would have been possible. Thank you for trusting in us and the vision. I come away from this experience with a lot of new thoughts, ideas, lessons learned, friends and most importantly, memories. The SA 48hr Film Experience is a very unique experience, if you have never done it, give it a go next year! Win or lose, we were given a chance to be creative with old friends and the opportunity to make new ones, and to me, that’s what it’s all about.
Again, thank you and I look forward to seeing everyone again at the screening, Dec. 7, 2010, 7pm, Santikos Bijou Theatre.
“Wild Sunday” Cast and Crew
Judy – Judy McMillan
“Muneco” the Kid From The Wrong Side Of The Tracks – Anthony Guajardo
Lori – Ysenia Anais
Paige – Paige Pratt
Tops – Daniel Kutzer
Diablo – Duran Gonzalez
Johnny Lee – Danny Sommers
Officer Crawford – Mike Ahlers
Officer Martinez – Laura Delagarza Ahlers
Friend – Stacey Drzymala
Miles – Miles Taylor
Director – Rod Guajardo
Assistant Director – Ismael Rodriguez
Director of Photography – Rod Guajardo
Editor – Ismael Rodriguez
Colorist – Rod Guajardo
Sound Engineer – Tucker Allen
Original Score – Tucker Allen
Song “Three Murders” by Deadman
BTS Camera Operator – Richard Jemal
Associate Producer – Pat Whitfield
Production Assistants – Febra Gaitan
San Antonio Film Commission
Wild Sunday Farms
Lori Rodriguez Allen