Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chopping and Chopping

I've been going through the professor stuff in the last weeks or so. When I put together all of his material, it came out to be almost 2hrs.  The professor I had so much information, that I wanted to keep everything. I know that's not going to happen! I have been going through different drafts and cutting out info that I don't need. It's been crazy for met to cut-down because there is so much detail information. Not only is their is so much information, I have to follow a timeline of events that leads to the past to present time.

The timeline is very important because it all ties in with my doc, as far as why we're in the US. As mentioned before, I am throwing an educational part to my doc. Its a must and I hope it works out. In my opinion it ties in why I went to different cities and why the salvi community is in search for their own identity and being part of today's American culture.

This past week, I made some progress and cut down the professors conversation to 45 minutes. That's not bad... compare to like almost 2hrs.  The 45 minute version was clean and it got to the point without effecting the timeline that I want to input in the doc.  I believe I was working the professors interview for the last eight days straight. I just wanted to get it done for two reason:

ONE:  I need to give my artist  sound bites of the professors conversation. My artist will be making some artwork that will go along with the professors conversations. In other words, the artwork will be cutaways to the professors interview.  I think it will make the professors section very interesting.  So whenever an event is being talked about, a piece of artwork will be shown! I'm just trying to get creative with this project.

TWO: I have the urge to finally put the whole Doc together. Yup, that's right. The feature begins!

That's it for now

the filmmaker

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Last Interview

Oh I am getting close... yes it feels good.  I haven't written anything for awhile. After I finished FenomeDon's section, I took a little break. I am really trying to pace myself and no burn myself out.  I still have time to finish....

I am not sure if I mentioned it or not, but my deadline to finish is in August. My goal is to make the Sundance deadline in August. I guess I am officially announcing that today.

Therefore, as I said I am pacing myself.  So what I have been doing the last month or so is I ended-up shooting a music video for Conflikto Armado.  The song featured my boy Santos and another up-and-coming artist El Graphiko.  We shot the whole video in the city, mostly by the Mission District.  We recruited some lovely ladies for Videos.  I have to say they are very lovely! Everything came out cool. As we speak, it is posted on youtube - just check out Amore video from Conflikto Armado. The Conflikto is cool, he is on the move and has something good going.  The man gots some skills! They plan to do big things with video... Hopefully!

After that I got back on track with my edit. It was a good breather.  Now I am in the process of going through the professor's footage. Last week I also locked down with a sound designer for my flick.  My boy Justin is a wiz for sound.  I call him "Dr. J" sometimes because he just does surgery on his sound work. Its amazing!  We spoke for awhile and met. And next thing you know we just clicked.

Even though I took a little break, I am always thinking about my project.  Now I am in the process of possibly getting some artwork for my doc.  I am still working out details and playing with the idea.  So I am holding off for now as far as explaining my idea.  But once I know, you will know.

Well that's it for now. I wanted to check-in and say wassup!

The Filmmaker

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Coming Closer To The End

Its been a crazy couple of months. I haven't had a chance to write too much, only because life has taken its course. And what I mean by that is, I have been working a lot of hours, paying bills and trying not to be broke. But in between now and the last time I wrote, I have completed my NY section and I am now coming close to finishing my DC section. I squeezed in some time for my Doc so I can be ahead of schedule.

It was rough, but I was motivated enough to continue on with my doc. It is hard working long hours or full-time while trying to make a project.  I can see how people can easily loose focus and delay their own  projects because of work.  I try my best to not get off track. Sometimes I get too tired to do anything because work can get a good hold of you when "you are working for the man." I understand how that feels, but I do not let that be an excuse for not succeeding in life.  Nothing is ever easy... well, for me it is, I only can speak for myself.

I was talking to a co-worker one day and sometimes we'll ask each other if we are working on any projects... I would usually not say too much only because I hate to talk about things that are not complete. That's how I am! But getting back to the story, he mentioned that it was difficult for him to do anything because he works full-time.  I can respect that. I guess it is hard... but it always comes down to how much you want it, in my opinion.   In turn,  it feels good that I have not delayed my project for any reason and I am glad that I am still pushing myself.

As far as my DC part, for whatever reason, the DC section took me a little longer to put together. I guess the main reason is that I have been very cautious about not making my DC section similar to my other sections. I am realizing that when you have a compilation of different characters, you still want to keep everyone different and make it their own thing. So for awhile I was stuck and trying to figure out the best way to show this part of the doc.  I guess that is another reason why I haven't wrote. I had an "Artist Block," - something similar to "writer's block."

Sometimes when I get in those situations, I sit in a quiet room and I THINK, THINK, THINK, THINK, THINK, and THINK .  Sometimes that takes hours, days, or weeks.  But at the end of the day I put one-and-one together. I do a little math, but in a film kind of way. I do some takeaways, I add, divide, and multiply.  In film talk, that means I add a scene, take out a scene, and I combine scenes to have different options to present a storyline.

That's it for now.

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Monday, August 8, 2011

Dia Del Salvadoreno 2011

So much has been going on!!!!  I almost forgot to mention that I filmed my "ending" for my doc this past weekend. I've been so stuck and focused with my film that I've been on a "one track mind." But, I am glad to say, I HAVE AN ENDING for my film!  

Fenomedon, Reyes Del Bajo Mundo, and Santos were all in Los Angeles to perform at the Salvadoran Day Festival. It was a Saturday and Sunday event where all three artists performed both days in the heart of South Central where a large number of Salvadorans exist. When you're in these types of areas sometimes you'll feel like you're in Central America or Mexico because these both cultures are heavenly present in these types of area.

This past weekend every food cart and truck was out last weekend. It was hot and a good day to be out. I love it! Its a good weekend to be a Salvi. We've come a long way!

It took some time to plan for all three artist to come out for this festival.  To be honest I wasn't sure if it was going to happen (due to everyone had different schedules and mainly everyone lived in different parts of the states), but it all worked out.  For me, the fact that these guys were able to get together and make it to this event showd the importance of what they want to accomplish and what this movement means for them.  It was a very symbolic moment for me to see all this happen.

I know each artist feel the same way as I do, as far as improving the future of our salvi communities in the states.  I feel like it's in our hands to seek improvement. And because we're all salvi's in the US, we know it will transmit to the motherland, since there is still a connection between the two countries.

There words and presents were definitely heard at the festival. Hopefully, it's a spark for the community to move forward and begin new chapter in our history.  People were actually digging the music, I could see how people were tuning into their words and rhymes.  Since the music has been growing over the years, finally people are hearing the noise.  For salvadoran folks, they are use to hearing traditional music like cumbias. Now its a different generation, now its a different movement.

It was definitely a good weekend for me. I was happy, proud, and surrounded with good energy around me. I was more happy that is was a good turnout and people were out supporting the festival.  People were out with their family, eating pupusas, dancing, and laughing.  

This was a very important event for my film because everyone came together to rock a show.  For me it brought a better conclusion to my film - No matter how far apart everyone is ... the community and movement will always grow. I have to thank one of the coordinators from the festival, "Mr. Sanchez," he  made all this possible for me.

Thank you!
Thank you my gentes!
Thank you all for being part of this!

That's it for now.

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Monday, August 1, 2011

New York, New York

I am amazed how smoothly I am going through the NY section. After going through two interviews already, I am establishing a nice rhythm and structure. Because of the structure, my edits are happening easy and naturally.  And when I say naturally, I mainly mean that I am not forcing the conversations when I am editing everything together. I already know what I am looking for when I am putting the interviews together.  The way I am shaping the conversation is very simple ... I am just laying everything down on the timeline of Final Cut Pro.   I pretty much listen to all of the conversation from beginning to end without taking notes. There is no trick to it, but I think by listening to everything first before making notes, helps. Its probably a longer process, but it has helped me concentrate more on the interviews. I feel you are going to hear the interview more than once. If that's the case, make sure remember what is being said.

I let the talking influence my thoughts and how I approach my edits. Its obvious that I cannot use every conversation for my movie, but at least I can decide what conversation seems to be stronger than other conversations. To me... deciding what conversation is stronger then the other all depends on the theme of the film and how in-depth the conversation is, in which usually the in-depth conversation will help the theme of the film. Since I have various conversations on different topics, I pay attention how one leads to another and then I eliminate, add, and test. If it flows, then I just go with it. 

At this point, I figured out a structure that best suits my project.  Since NY is my third interview, it has been getting a lot easier to edit. What worked for me in the other two previous interviews is working out for my NY section.  I am aware things are going to change when I piece every interview together and make it a feature length film, but the style and structure of the film will not change.  And that structure has been already established. 

At the rate I am going, I should be done with my NY section in a few weeks or so.  I sure miss New York.  I really like that city.

That's it for now.

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

On To The Next One

That's right! On to the next one.  I just wrapped up with the SF section. I will now be approaching the NY section.

I'm getting in a groove. I am not thinking about anything when I'm assembling the scenes! Im like Edward Scissor Hands, cutting away!  I am just following the conversation and going with the flow. I know what I have, everyone's conversation is trapped and replayed in my mind all the time! To be honest, since I started this project, that's all I have been thinking about. I can't help it!  I know down the line, I will be dealing with taking out edits or shaping the edits to smooth-out the cuts... but at this point, I'm putting pieces together to see what I have. From there "I take a picture" and go with it.

It feels good to move forward. I feel so so so close to the finish line.

Once I finished the SF section, I immediately looked over the video and I got a weird feeling because I was  revisit that moment of time.  I don't know why I get so tripped-out about it.  When I say tripped out, I mean it in a good way.

I guess that's why I love making films... not only do i like the creation part of it, but to remember in time what happened in that period of time. In my case, its my life being recorded while I am documenting someone else's life. Hopefully, that makes sense, but it makes sense to me. In this particular project, it has been very cool that I can say I was in all these cities to make this.

NY Baby - You next!

That's it for now.

The Filmmaker

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Process Continues

It was a hot 4th of July and a good weekend. I can't believe we're towards the second half of this year. What a roller coaster ride kind of year! My SF section is coming along. I'm really really really happy with the progress. The process is  going so fast that I might get the SF section done this month. I have been really into it. That is always a good sign... well for me of course.

It just interesting how I am moving from one interview to another. I have realized how each conversation so far has been on point and interesting. So far they are all unique in its own way, but still the conversation are  focusing on the theme of the doc.

On that note, I am doing my best to put together the SF section. Santos has said and pointed out a lot of good points. I just want to be clear to the public that, everything you will here will be coming out of there voices and real thoughts. I wanted to stay away from scripted stuff, I don't feel like that's a real documentary, instead scripted stuff comes out like a "TV reality show." And that is not my doc. I am getting real reactions, real talk, and real thoughts.  all the thoughts and conversation is making it easy for me to edit because there is a nice flow from the beginning to end.

As a director I made sure the conversation leads to right direction and made sure we don't go off subject. They way I work, I already have a sequence edited in my head while I am conducting the conversation. That's how much I was involved and into my project. I took a lot of time to prepare and give myself an idea how I want to approach the project.

Hence, the project is becoming more easier to edit as I am keeping true to my vision. For me it helps a lot. Like I said when I open my editing sessions on my computer, I already know what to before the computer even turns on. That is all because the time I have taken to prepare.

That's all for now.

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Editing 2nd Interview

Its a hot day in the Bay today. Summer is finally here and so far things are going good. Last week I started editing my SF section. So far I am pleased. Its been a real long process to get through these interviews... So much is said and so much was shot. That's a good thing, though! There is a lot of good conversation and I am hearing things that I need to shape my doc. So far my SF section is structuring-out the way I want it.  I am definitely feeling like I am in San Francisco while I edit this section.

The only problem that I am having is deciding what conversation to go with. As mentioned earlier,  so much was said.  So much was said that I have to take a step back to see where I want to go with the interviews.  I can see how the interviews can lead to too many directions.  I don't want to open "a big can of worms." And when I say, "a can of worms," I mean that I don't want to go off tangent and loose focus of what the real meaning of what the doc represents. It's interesting because I went through the  same thing with LA section. And I have to say, I was really pleased with the turnout, even though it took me a few months to get a good draft.

I am really being patient with my edits. In the past I would always work too fast and try to get  through my edits emotionally. But, this time around I have taken a different approach. I am taking my time and making sure I am more detailed than ever. I am being more picky then ever and I am pushing myself to make everything perfect or at least close to perfect. So I am listening more closely to interviews and I am being more creative with the situation that I set myself up with.  I guess what I am trying to say is that, I have to be creative in every way to make this story as interesting as possible.

The SF section is another challenge and I am looking forward to another few months on this section! I am having fun and that's what matters most.

Sometimes I feel I am still in shock that my project was made. Lately, I have been going through footages of my SF and LA trip and I catch myself saying, "Did I shoot that?" I didn't have a conscious when I shot this doc. I was going to live and die with whatever was filmed.

That's it for now

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Getting Back on Track

I know its been a couple of months or so since you last heard of me. I have been working lately to get financially back on track. After my trip I was broke with a few dollars in my bank account and I wasn't sure if I was going to have a job or not. Luckily, I did not loose my job. Thank god! I was back on rotation with work as a camera guy. Even though I did not want to take a break from my project... I had to.  I had to be real with my situation... and the real situation is that - I NEEDED MONEY! I am not like most people where money is handed to them. I actually have to work to survive. I am on my own and I have bills bills bills.

The short time off was not a problem. There is nothing wrong with regrouping and planning your next move. I feel you have to do that! What is the purpose of life if you don't plan?  Like I said before, I'm at a stage where time is more valuable then ever and also time should never be wasted.

So far everything has paid off. Since I returned all the equipment that I borrowed, I was left without a computer. It was hard for me to edit sometimes because I would barrow my girl's computer off and on. It was hard to get in groove with editing, but I got some editing done with the time I had.  To fix the problem I saved some money and bought my own computer. I had to throw-down a lot of cash, but it was well worth it! After so many years I finally have my own computer! It's sad to say that, but the important part is that I did it on my own. Now, I am trying fix up my computer, so that I can properly work on it. I will be getting the editing software Final Cut Pro soon  and will be adding other software to get started.  Slowly, but surely I am making it happen. Once I have all the programs intact, I should be ready to roll. I will be editing around the clock.

With the time I did have, I was able to get a rough edit of my L.A. section of the doc. It still needs some work but the blocks are building and the project is coming alive. It looks like I will be editing all of the interviews seperatley and then I will be piecing them together. I am really excited because so far I am liking how my L.A. section is turning out.

I will keep you posted. Like I said slowly but surely things are getting done.
Thanks for be patient.

I tell myself everyday, "one step at a time!"

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker   

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's a Wrap!

It was a tough week. I came down with a bad cold, but I was able to finish and get what I need. I shot some L.A. b-roll and I finally interviewed the professor. The Professor was very helpful and very key to my documentary. The professor is definitely going to give my project some credibility. There will be people who are going to know a thing or two about the Salvadoran culture. I even learned a few things from him that I didn't know, but I rather save that for the doc. It was amazing how the professor condensed a whole semester of class into a couple of hours of interview time. The whole process felt like, as if I was in a classroom and he was giving a lecture... That's what pretty much happened. I was very overwhelmed with the knowledge and how much he knew. The interview started from the colonial years to present time. So you'll already know that a lot was said. I am glad that their is a program that teaches about Central America. More importantly, the program is a major. I feel that is huge. The program for me is a demonstration of how far the Central American culture has come. Central American folks were non-existence, until now.  Now the population is growing. We have folks from Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, and Salvadorans making their way in the U.S. I almost feel the program is almost like a reflection of how my project has developed.  That is one of the main reason why I wanted to do this doc... because representation of my culture was needed.

Once we were done with the interview and I pressed stop to stop recording, it felt weird. I was weirded out because I was not filming anybody else anymore. I said to myself... am I really done????  Yes, I am. In a way I wanted to continue filming. For awhile the camera was starting to become a part of me. Though,  it was a relief that I got done with this part of the process of filming, I will miss filming. I'll probably will need to do some pick-ups, but I will wait to see what I have first in order to make any decisions. I have enough footage to play with, so I am not too worried about it.

It's almost unbelievable that I got this done. After all the drama I went through with this project, I still came on top and got it done! On my way back to the bay, I rode the bus feeling good. I had a chance to breath a little. The down part is that I am feeling so sick right now.  Its okay , Ill live. I know I have another mountain to climb, but I am grateful for everything that has happened so far. I feel so blessed and I want to thank god for guiding me into the right direction. I will continue to fight and stay strong.  Its not over yet, but for now I am catching up on some sleep and rest because I know I will have a lot editing coming my way! Thank you for all of your support and love.

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In L.A. to Finish My Last Week of Production

I got in six in the morning. I am so worn out right now. I can't believe I am at the end of this journey of filming. Of course I still have to edit, but filming everything is the hardest part of production. I have my last interview set up this Thursday and Friday.  But for the meantime, I went to work as usual. I went around town to shoot some b-roll. I figured that I get a jump start since i am going to have a short week. I am trying to get back to the bay either Friday night or Saturday morning.

The 101. Since it's early in the morning, there is no traffic. That's a first for L.A. 
 I really want to get back on a set schedule. The last few months have been all over the place for me. Plus, I have been feeling sick. I haven't been eating well or getting enough sleep. That's never a good combination, but I am just telling myself one more week! I think next week I am going to start working as well. I am really happy about that because I am on my last drop of change.  

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Friday, February 25, 2011

Finish With My SF Section of the Doc

Last night was my final day of filming Santos. He had a show in Sacramento and he rocked it! It was a good show and he did his thing.  I give him props for doing whatever it takes to get exposure. He's a very committed person.  Thank you Santos for allowing me document a part of your life. I wish nothing but luck for you! Santos has been doing it for the last ten years or so. And its all for love for music. Its only time when something good will happen. I believe that people always get rewarded for hard work. Its called "paying dues."

Everyone at this point that I have interviewed has paid their dues.  That's the energy I feed off from. I know I mentioned this already, but it helps to be around people who want to do something with their lives. Folks like Santos, RDBM, The Salvadoran Author, and FenomeDon inspire me.

Seeing Santos onstage that night hyped me up. I wanted to get onstage and be one of those background guys who rapping with MC. I feel like the Spanish hip-hop is part of me now. I've been constantly around it, the last few months. I can't rap, but maybe on one of my next coming logs Ill write some lyrics and get poetic.

I've really got into this doc that I am feeling like a hip-hop artist. That might be a good thing... I'm just feeling the vibe and I just happen to see a good show from Santos.

I am almost done. Heading to La La land soon to finish!

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Busy Last Two Days

On monday I was glad that we were able to shoot at a pupuseria restaurant in the mission district. I have to say "Balompie Cafe and Restaurant" is probably the best place to get some homemade style pupusas. Its real Salvadoran food. They are off of Capp and Mission. If you are ever around the mission district in San Francisco, you have to go and try them.  Hands down, the best spot.  I was really excited about filming there. All of the customers were looking curiously because I had set some lights and plus I had the camera fixed up with the redrock adaptor, so it looked legitimate.  The waiters and wiatresses were all cool and helpful. They reserved a spot for me in the restaraunt, so they made it easier for me to film. I want to say thank you to the owner for making it happen. Good looking out! The interview was just as good.  Here Santos opened up and we carried a conversation about his journey in the music game. This was pretty much our last sit down interview. So it was important that Santos said what he needed to say. It all worked out. I just can't wait to start editing, but I want to wait till my last interview, which will be on March 1st.

Yesterday,  I was in on another studio session with Santos. I believe I have been to three sessions already, so its good that I catch him working on his album. That's really important for the documentary because I want to make sure I get them in action. I learned something to about studio sessions... its a long process to get something right. I learned about bpm, bars,  counts,  hooks, and verses.  All that is another language but it is also very similiar to the filming process. In every art form there is some sort of structure and process that everyone goes through. I know some people would be bored going through the process, but I don't because I enjoy the fact that I see something get created.

I am almost done with Santos's section of the documentary. We have few more shoots, a show, a photo album cover shoot, and finishing off the second half of the video. I almost done! I can't beleive it. At this rate when I get done I might not have a job because I have been taking too much time off already. Oh well, this is for my art. I'll worry about it when I am really broke, which is very soon.

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Sunday, February 13, 2011

6am Shoot Today

It was an early shoot for me this morning. Today was part-one of making Santos' music video. We are going to break it up in two days to finish it. We decided to do a music video since we weren't schedule to have an interview.  We both felt we had to do some sort of filming. So we did!  I think its been almost four years or so that we've been trying to make a music video.  Time and scheduling was always a big issue.  I feel those two things has always played a factor in my life.  If its not time or scheduling, then its definitely a money issue.

But I am glad it happened this way, I couldn't of asked for better timing! Since I have been documenting him and his music this whole month, it made sense to make a music video. The song that we will be doing is "So blessed," it is a song from his up coming album. The song is a uplifting, feel good song. Actually, I filmed one of his studio sessions when he was recording "So Blessed." So that was cool to witness.  

I'll probably use some of the video for my doc. the good thing is it all relates. I am capturing peoples lives, action, and what their doing at that particular moment.  So I am glad that I can share this experience and be part of this moment. I am even happier that I will have two music videos made in the last two months...along with making this doc. My other video that I made was with "Reyes Del Bajo Mundo," when I was on my east coast trip. I got the filming bug right now so I am shooting for the stars! I have to think big, that's the only way.

Right now, I am taking a break at Starbucks, drinking some warm green tea.  Santos dropped me off by fisherman's wharfs when we were done with todays shoot. I had a good day and wanted to jump on the blog to share this moment. When I am done with my tea, I am going to walk around the city to shoot some b-roll for the doc. Like I said I got the shooting bug!

Tomorrow should be fun because I got permission to shoot inside a pupuseria restaurant. Santos will be doing one last interview in the mission district.  I'll let you know how that goes.

The work don't stop!  God Bless!

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Still Filming in S.F.

I don't think I have had a break since I got back from the east coast. I literally shot the next day! I've been so busy that I keep forgetting to keep my blog updated. This past weekend I was all over the city filming with Santos. We've been getting a lot of stuff done. I'm just happy that everything is going as planned. Santos and I have scheduled out the month so far. We have one more one-on-one interview at a Salvadoran restaurant, couple of studio sessions, one concert, and a music video to do. I have to do all this, this month because I have to return the equipment soon. Santos is one down dude.  He's all about getting stuff done.  I like the fact that he's working on his second album, its good that he i continuing on and showing that he is in this for the long run. He's been doing it for the last so many years traveling back and forth from Central America and the states.  He has the skills and talent, there is no question about that. I've seen him rock a few shows. He definitely a performer and knows how to work a crowd.  He's got it!  I think everyone so far that I have interviewed has the potential to have an impact in this game.  As for Santos you see the dedication in his eyes and he's sacrificed a lot to be where he's at.  A lot of this will be learned in the interview process.

Im holding up pretty good. I'm trying to keep strong minded because I've been a little worn out, but I will finish strong. Its really tough to do everything by yourself.  But people like Santos wants me to continue with filming because he's interesting that I want to capture every moment. Some day I will have a budget and crew to make things go smoother. As of now, this is indie status.  I still have one more interview to complete my project. I have the professor to film and he should be the last piece of the puzzle. Once i am done, I can take a short break before I get into editing. The plan is to finish no later than the first week of march.

Plus, I need to get done because I need to get back to work and make some money. My money in my bank account is getting less and less. I've been gone for a month or so!  I'm trying hard to not to stress, but I have to finish this project. Its been in the waiting for the last four years or so. I'm going to be hurting for money next month. I am going to be strong and figure it out. Work has been slow and I don't think they liked that I took a month off. Its something I will deal with, but I believe in my project and I understand the potential it has. Its a risk that I have been taking, but if you don't try in life, then you don't make nothing out of yourself. All I can do is believe and keep the dream alive.

Tomorrow I will be filming Santos at the studio. I always enjoy to see the creative process happen, from writing, to making beats, to recording. I'll let you know how things go tomorrow. I still have a little energy in me. Ill be okay!

I am still alive and making it happen!

Until next time.

Junior Gonzalez
The filmmaker

Monday, January 31, 2011

Downloaded Last Footages of My East Coast Trip Into Computer

I AM DONE, FINALLY!  I should say I am done for now. I am downloading my last footage into my computer. I am happy that I was able to get everything I needed from FenomeDon. We did our final interviews this past Thursday and Friday.

For rest of the weekend I was out all over the DC area getting extra B-roll.  I was mostly on the metro subway going to different sections of DC. I had fun, the metro was really convenient. On one of the days I went to a Salvadoran chicken spot in the Mt. Pleasant district, where they BBQ style the chicken, it was pretty good - The place is called "Pollo Sabroso."  I was also by Howard and Washington University, DuPoint Circle, Georgetown... I was all over.  I even saw all the monuments and paid a visit to the white house.  I felt like a tourist, but I got some good shots for the doc will. I think i covered the city pretty good. My goal is to definitely make the audience feel like they are visiting DC as well.

This month was really rough, but I was able to see it through. It feels good that I completed this half of the documentary. At first I was very nervous, but I stuck with my gut and good things happen.  Though I feel bless that I completed this part of filming, but I am ready to go back home and be on my schedule and sleep on my bed.  Though I am not completely done because I still have to go to SF and L.A., but  that will be a little easier since making arrangements will be more convenient for me.  Everything worked out.

I want to take the time and say thank you to FenomeDon. Thank you for trusting my vision and allowing me into your house.  I wouldn't be able to make this happen without your help.  Thanks for believing in me and thanks for believing in the project.  You have a gift and I know people will hear your voice! You have what it takes!  Thank you and Thank you and Thank you... I will never get tired of saying that.

My flight leaves tomorrow afternoon and I am actually looking forward to "going back to Cali... and I do think so."

Its nap time!

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Monday, January 24, 2011

Halfway Through The East Coast

I'm down to my last week on my east coast trip. Everyday has been productive and I am satisfied with how everything is turning out so far. My first week in DC has been nothing but work! Like i said before we shot the first day I was here. I have nothing but respect for FenomeDon. He's been great and helpful with my journey to complete this doc. I can't stop talking about his energy... its ridiculous!  He's all about bringing the music and culture in a brighter light. I have a feeling we will be hearing his voice in the future. He's a hardworker doing his thing. I can actually say, I am a witness to that.

I enjoyed this past weekend as well. The Reyes Del Bajo Mundo came down from New York this weekend to do a track for FenomeDon's upcoming album. We also took advantage of finishing the Music video. This past Thursday before Reyes came down, Fenomedon and I took advantage of filming all of his section for the music video. I have to say, it was the most fun I ever had in a long time. It was good times because we shot only night shots and we were roaming around DC like 1100pm. We didn't return home until 330am or so. It was late, but it was the best time to shoot because no one was there to bother us. I am just surprised that we didn't get stopped by the police because we were filming around all of the monument areas. On that note, we made it work for us, considering we were using available light to us. I have to say we got some damn good shots! You'll see the end product once everything is all done. I can't wait! It was super cold that night too, I think we had to stop a few times to get hot chocolate and coffee. But I didn't care, it was all about making the video. Like I said before, I will do anything to be able to film. I love doing that. Its my drug.

Once Reyes came down, we went at it and filmed.  We were in the Chinatown area filming the last pieces of the music video. I was very excited that I completed this Music Video. In a way, its like being part of history because these guys are going to blow-up soon. They make good music. It's onlt a matter of time where the mass media will recognize them.  I'm glad Reyes and  Fenomedon can now include me in their collections of music videos. It also actually helps with my resume because I need more material like a music video to build on my reel. I never did a music video where I am filming in two different cites. I think that's really cool. What 's even better that, the video just happened! It was an idea that was being talked about, but I didn't know if it was going to happen or not. But it did! What this tells me is that it was meant to be and these guys are the real-deal. They definitly have paid dues... now they are hungry for results.

That night when I was done filming Fenomedon's section of the video, I woke-up from the few hours of sleep I had and started editing his section. This is a perfect example of when you have time and your priority is just only to film, then your able to finish projects much sooner.  I was in the east coast to work and I did.  I got a lot of the edits done that late afternoon. Also I wanted to work on it and get a head start because once I return to California, I was not going to have time to work on the music video. My main goal is to continue on to finish making my doc. Plus, I am going to be locked-up in room to edit everything. Not there yet but I have a lot on my plate.

Reyes returned back to New York that late Sunday night.  That same night me and FenomeDon sat in his kitchen table at 11pm and decided to finish editing the music video till the next day. We didn't get done until 7am the following day. We worked 8 hours striaght to finish up the music video with no sleep. After that, we  went to the market and bought a whole chicken, went to the bakery to get fresh sandwich bread, and got  some other ingrdients to make "Pan con Pavo"... A salvadoran style chicken sandwich. It was my way of celebrating the completion of the music video.

I make some good Pan Con Pavo! I still have another week of filming. Almost Done.

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Busy Week in DC area

The production continues here in Chocolate City. I shot the first day I got to D.C. ... FenomeDon picked me up from Chinatown and I pretty much flipped-on the camera and started interviewing him in the car. We drove around for a couple hours or so. I liked the fact that he wasn't camera shy. He was ready to work and get down to business. There is nothing wrong about that. FenomeDon has an interesting story.  He's someone who is getting into the game and trying to get his name out there. I learned that he has been on a lot of tracks from other local or fellow artists' albums. What I like about him is that... he is hungry to make-it! I caught him in a time where he is working on his first album. I feel like that is a big deal. To be able to complete a goal like that would be a big accomplishment. Its been in the works for the last few years or so. He dropped a mixtape a few years back, so that people can know who he is. Now, he is trying to up his game and prove he's a legitimate MC by making an LP album. I learned that everyone can easily make a mixtape. And for those who do not know what a mixtape is... It is basically a rapper rhyming over known beats (for the most part). There is not too much production involved that goes into this process. Obviously there is time and effort spent to make a mixtape sound good, but it is definintly nothing compared to making a solid album from scratch.  In mixtapes, its all about the flow. I guess its good for someone to get exposure from a mixtape, but for the most part you get more props, if you make a album that has a concept, sick beats, featured artist, and a clean produce sound that gives an overall quality. I learned all this from FenomeDon. While I am shooting, I am also learning.

The next day we had another one-on-one interview explaning his journey in details. That night we didn't go to sleep until 3am or so. In fact I think every night this past week we were sleeping late getting work done. But I really liked this interview we had because there was a lot of soul  behind it. And what I mean about "soul behind it," Fenomedon had huge amount of passion to improve his culture and seeked to have a better connection to the community with his music. It would devastate him, if he didn't get his voice heard. He was all about the "positive energy" and making things right. I liked that. I really felt that he was on a mission and no one was going to stop him.  We also talked about politcs, life, and certain people that has influenced him. I was learning that while he was maturing and growing as a person, he wanted share that within his music.

On another night I was able to explore a note book where he has been writing lyrics and songs for years. this notebook was like a bible. It was filled with a lot of songs. It was so inpirational that I actually filmed a lot of his notebook to show that he is really dedicated and serious about his work. I was capturing sentences, phrases, and words. I want to say I really got a sence of FenomeDon the artist. There was also written material that I don't want to get too much in detail because it was too personal. He was really expressive in his journal and I felt he had a lot to say.  I am happy that he allowed me into his world for a few hours or so. I had fun filming his notebook.

I also had a chance to film one of his studio sessions. That was fun. One thing I am noticing about FenomeDon is that he has some crazy flow. He's one of the guys that rhymes clear and fast, but it is cool. When I saw him get on that mic... man he owns it! Its funny because I would tell him to breath because he rapped so fast. But once you hear him, you'll know what I mean. So I got some good footage of him getting in action.

We filmed the day after that. We actually cruised around the city and got some short interviews. I got a chance to know more of the DMV. FenomeDon kept saying that DMV is the metropolotan area of DC, in which represents DC, Maryland, and Virginia. And the Beltway is the freeway that surrounds the borders of these states. These cities that I mentioned are very very close to one another. You can probably get to each of these stateline within minutes.  But since DC is the heart of this metropolitan area and if live inside the beltway and live near close to the borderline, then people will say they are from D.C. 

The most dominant latin group in DC are Salvadorans. Its probablly the most populated city with Salvadorans behind Los Angeles. I mean you literally see a pupsas place at every corner. While we were driving around, I happened to find the apartment building where my family grew up. It was kinda crazy how it happened, but while we were filming and getting shots, I reconized the area I grew-up in.  The first seven years of my life I was raised in Silver Spring, MD, a neighboring city by DC.  When I recognized the area I told Fenomedon to drive closer to the area. It felt weird, because I remember clearly in my head when I was little. I even got out of the car and started taking pictures. It just crazy because if my parents would of not split up, I wouold probably still living in Silver Spring. Who knows, I would of probablly been a whole different person. My life would of been different.

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Special Shout Out To Reyes Del Bajo Mundo! Bye Bye New York!

My trip in New York will be coming to an end tomorrow, as I am heading to DC to continue on with my doc on this east coast swing. I will be taking a shuttle bus tomorrow morning in Manhattan by time square area. Right now, I am in Jersey staying with a good college friend. RDBM left early Thursday morning to head to San Francisco to do a show.  I actually met RDBM at a Jamaica Queens subway station because I wanted to film them leaving the airport. I stayed up like for more than 12 hours that day.  I caught a path train from Jersey like 230am Thursday morning and arrived around 330am. It was all worth it!  These guys are the most dedicated and committed folks I know. They get down to business! Its really great that they are committed to spreading their music.  I'm a fan.

I tried to write everyday this week, I really really tried, but I was too damn tired.  Since my last blog I was literally filming everyday. It was crazy! But this is what i live for. I always get a natural "high" when I am filming.  I really believe that I am addicted to filming. To tell you the truth, I was so caught up with all the action that I forgot that I had a blog! I had a good time in NY, it was a good experience.


Since my last blog "New York Effect," I have been shooting like a mad man.  I shot around New York.  I went to Washington Heights where all the Dominicans live, cruised around Manhattan. I even went to little South America on Roosevelt street.

There is a lot of Latino culture there, especially Sur America.  The last few days we decided to work on a music video.  It was my way of saying thank you for being a part of this documentary. I had no problem to making their video with them. If there is a way I can help and give back to them, this would be it.  We basically shot around New York and places we visited.  I have been editing as we speak. I think its going to come out cool. I am going to make it an "underground" type of video.  What's cool about the video is that FenemoDon is featured in it. So that means the video will continue in D.C. It just happened to work out that way.

One last things. Word up to Brooklyn! I have a friend that lives that way.  New York will always be in my heart.  There is a lot love here. Who knows, maybe I'll move out there.

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Monday, January 10, 2011

New York in Effect

It is Jan 10 and it was a crazy past weekend.  We worked and got down!  Reyes are no joke, they are the real deal. Their all about work and i like that. That's what I came down here to do. I was feeding so much off their energy, that I would loose track of time and forget that I was filming in New York. That's how much I was into it this weekend. On Friday we shot the main interview as we had our one-on-one. It went really well. I got a good sense of who they really are and what they represent. Before I would here their music, but who is really behind the mic? That was my job to find out.  As a group and being together for so long, it amazing that they continue to preach their sounds.  They have a lot of passion for their craft. I can appreciate that in an artist.  While doing the interview, I realized how different they were from each other as well. They had different personalities. One was more laid back and the other was more vocal. But when they get on stage or if they're in the studios, they make magic happen. The two really compliment each other. They both have good chemistry and they make it work considering being opposite from one another. The group interview was solid and I learned what "Reyes Del Bajo Mundo" is all about - two incredible minds! Since they were a group I came with an idea that I wanted to show them and interview them individually.  We worked it out in the busy weekend schedule and made it happen.

From Left to Right: Cruz and Dinamico
On early Saturday morning, I interviewed Dinamico, he took me around known areas around queens. One was by the beach called long beach.  It was really cool. We went their because Reyes shot one of their first videos on the boardwalk.  I asked a series of questions, so that I can know what he's about and understand him more. I thought it went well. I can't wait to edit it.  One thing I want people to realize in this doc is that... i will be honest with this piece. Hopefully, people will get grasp of every individual, so that you can understand where the music is coming from.  As a filmmaker, I am always glad that I can flip on the ON-button and capture real life. If its not being documenting, then its not really happening! Well in my case it is happening.

Since we shot really early, Dinamico took a break and I met up with Cruz, the other half of the group. we went to a different part of queens... Far Rockaway. This is another Latino area, but mostly a lot of Central Americans are present in this part of town.  We walked around and I learned that this was one the areas that  Cruz use to live in. I was able to get personal with him as well.  I really want to show that they are not only artists', but they are real people who are trying to live their dream.  Its only natural to show that. I really wanted to prevent my doc becoming a one big Music Video.  So it was important to get detailed and learn somewhat who I am following. At this point I feel like I am getting to know Queens where, Reyes Del Bajo Mundo was born.  I was getting good material. The day was going good so far.

Once we got done with this portion of the interview, I had  both group members meet up and we continued our journey around NY.  We drove to an area called 5 Points.  This area is probably the most incredible area I have seen in my whole entire life!  It was an area that has abandoned buildings where a non-profit group took over to showcase graffiti art.   Graffiti art was everywhere, it seemed so surreal. It was like a courtyard of four story buildings surrounding the area and from top to bottom, graffiti work was filled. I'm in the process of getting permission to use the footage that I filmed.  But once it is cleared, I will show you some incredible images. There was this one artwork where it was of hip-hop rapper NAS, and over his image was the lyrics of "One Mic."  You can easily stare for hours at ever image. This was like a little city of graffiti work. Personally I have not seen anything like this. I did an interview at this area with Reyes because since their music is hip-hop, I wanted to show that graffiti is also part of a sub culture of hip-hop. They come hand-to-hand.  It was a good Saturday. I shot for most of the day.

Sunday, I went to one of the main spots of Queens, Jamaica. This is the area where Reyes spent most of their time.  Jamaica was cool. It reminded me Los Angeles, it was a combination of Van Nuys strip  and the alley's of downtown.  Queens is no joke! Its a very commercial area and a happening place.  If you ever happen to be in Jamaica, you have to try some coconut meat patties. They are tasty. They stuff meat into a bread and then they fry it, then they put a coconut fried bread over the meat patty. All I know It was good. I happen to get some b-roll and get some footage of the group walking around the area.  They even took me to an area where they shot "Cream" from the Wu Tang Clan. Check out that video and I can say I know where that place is.

Whats funny is I even found a Salvadoran Restaurant in Jamaica. I had to walk in and order some stuff. I am in New York getting some Salvi food. You know how I do it!

These guys are always staying active ...  later that Sunday night, Reyes had a Internet radio interview. We drove to the spot and it was a start-up Internet radio company who is helping Latino artist get their name out there.  I like the radio interview because they were being interactive with people who were on-line.  These guys are doing it and I'm glad that I am here to witness it.

It was a busy weekend, but I never have a problem when I am filming.

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Friday, January 7, 2011

New York Baby!

I got in last night, I'm in queens area baby! I was too tired to write last night. Also, I was too damn COLD. I'm a Cali guy, so cold weather don't exist from where I'm from. But to be honest, it is not too bad. I'm actually enjoying the snow right now...yup, I said snow.

It has been a tough week. Early this week I took another rideshare to pick-up all the equipment from LA, so that I can use it for my trip.  I'm basically a rideshare king living my life on the road!  I packed about four bags. I have two big bags to check in and I will be also carring-on my Laptop bag and another small bag. I stuffed all of the lighting stand in my big duffel bag and stuffed the lights in my laptop bag. I made it all work! All of my lenses, microphone, other accessories are in a small bag. I basically have a whole studio in my luggage.  I'm like the one man crew on this trip. Lets just hope I don't get robbed!

But all in all,  its definitely good to be in New York.  The energy here is always live. The last time I came to the Big Apple was when my short film, "Woz's World," entered a NY film festival a few years back.  I took advantage of the opportunity and flew out to NY to help promote my film. Also, it was an excuse to go to NY... Why not!

Now I am back starting my east coast filming for my Doc. Last night, I took it easy. I am staying with one of the artists' place.  They good peeps.  I will be following the two guys of Reyes del Bajo Mundo for the next couple of weeks. I'll be in their own backyard of queens area.  So it should be interesting. I'm going to show where they are from and have multiple conversations with them to get to know them.  So I'm excited.   I think today we are getting six-inches of snow. I just hope snow does not become an issue when we're filming because I wanted to be outdoors with the group to walk around and capture the Queens area.

I'm getting a little nervous about the trip, but its a good nervous.  What I like the most about making this trip and filming... is that I really don't have an idea how things are going to turn out. That's the truth. I guess I am addicted to that rush and challenge.  I feel that is what filming is all about ... you plant a seed and watch it grow, while you nurture it. In this case the seed is the Doc idea, you let it grow by filming the subject, and you're nurturing it by telling your story.  I've always enjoyed that feeling and challenge.  I believe I am a creative guy and I feel when you're "planting the seeds," the creativity comes out and you make it to something special.  In my early film career, I've been taking those steps and letting things grow and develop.  So god bless that everything goes well on this project.

That's it for now.

The Filmmaker