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