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

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