Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sundance Film Festival

Yesterday was a big day for me. I finally sent out my doc to Sundance.  I'm really happy that I made the regular admission deadline. That was a huge weight off my shoulders. Originally, I was trying to make the early deadline, but that was not possible. There was too much work to do. What matters is that my film was mailed out on time!

This is going to sound funny, but I never thought I would make it this far. As you know already, I've been through a lot with this project and to be at this point is a big accomplishment. It really feels good! I don't think I had the opportunity to just relax and just soak everything in until now.

Yesterday, I was pretty much scrambling around to make sure I had a DVD.   It took me awhile to figure out how to put my movie on DVD, but I was able to work it out. Thank god! Once everything was done I checked my DVD and I actually watched it on my television set. To be honest that was a weird feeling... but in a good way.  Just to be able to watch my film on TV was actually kinda cool. It looked like a real movie! To see my film at this point was very interesting. It seemed like yesterday I was just going to my first Salvadoran Day festival in Los Angeles (the place where my Documentary was born).

I went to a coffee shop afterwards to fill out the admission form on-line. Once I was done with that, I ran to a close by post office. I had to hurry because they were going to close soon.  

I know Sundance is going to be hard to get into... I already know that! But I never want to say that I missed an opportunity. I feel like I did my part as far as making my film and mailing it out. That's all I can do to make something happen for myself. It's way better then not trying at all. I always shoot for the stars! This is all part of the process.  I can say that I've gone through it... I've worked hard and I have paid my dues!  I will always feel good about that. I know it is going to be a long wait until I get a response from Sundance, but I am not going to stress about it. If I don't get in, I still believe I have a good movie. Plus their are other major film festivals out there. Hopefully, one of them will give me a chance.  And If I do get in ... then I will take it from there.  But I don't want to get too ahead of myself. 

So now... all I will be doing is mailing out my film to other film festivals.

Wish me Luck!

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Monday, August 20, 2012

Getting it Done!

I just got done with all my subtitles. Doing subtitles was no joke! The good thing is that my movie was probably 30% in Spanish. So it took me a couple of weeks to go through the whole movie. What took long is that I had to place the translations in their proper place and I have to make sure one is able to read it long enough as it appears on screen. It's all timing.

But what was more challenging was translating the lyrics from the rappers. That was interesting! There was so much meaning and metaphors that I had to really think about how to say it properly in English.  I kept playing every song over and over till I had it right.  I had to make sure the translations sounded correctly because sometimes when you're translating Spanish to English ...  it does not sound as effective or meaningful. Therefore, I had to get creative and capture the essence of what these rappers were saying. All in all I got it done!

Working on my doc mostly every night on my train ride after work from SF to SJ
Next time I am hiring someone to do the translations and subtitles. That's when I have a budget! Some day I will! No it will happen!

I made my film 16x9, that way it feels like a film. I added all the effects to certain video clips. It literally took all day yesterday for everything to render. RENDERING SUCKS! I hope someday final cut changes that part of the software! The system takes to long for something to render.  I hate to wait... but that's part of t he process! Once it was done rendering, I watched the movie again and this time around I was really feeling the film!
Well that mean I am done! The final final final step is putting it on DVD. Hopefully that process shouldn't be too difficult. I guess I will let you know.
But I am done!!!! It feels weird!!!

I still have time to make that SUNDANCE film festival deadline! I am crossing my fingers!

Junior Gonzalez
The filmmaker

Monday, August 13, 2012

"It Sounds Like a Movie"

That is exactly what my sound guy told me when he called me, "It sounds like a movie."
I was very happy to hear those words! Its been a long wait and the sound is done.

I rushed to his place to hear it and I was good! We had some minor changes as we were both revising the sound but the sound came out good.

The sound definitely had that raw feel. The sound had a distinct sound as if everyone was talking on a microphone ... like if there was a venue and they were talking to a crowd.  What it added was the feel of a hip-hop artist on stage.  That is the feeling that I got since my doc deals with the Salvi underground hip-hop.  So I loved it.  I loved his creativity and direction that he took.

This is where all the sound cables  begin

Now I can say I'm on my last lap with this process. I am sure that I have been saying that recently, but I am smelling the finish line.

Sometimes I just want to just take a break ... but I know I can't because I have to make the Sundance Film Festival deadline.

Like I said before I still have to finish up with my credits and subtitles.

I am doing it!


Sunday, July 22, 2012


Yes thats right, I said it! I have a final-cut!  Sorry for not writing in the last couple of weeks. My editor finished his part of the deal. He really came through and fixed my film. I can't thank him enough. When I picked up my project a couple of weeks ago ... I couldn't  believe what I saw! The doc really took a jump from where it started.  The doc is structurally where it needs to be!

One of the reasons why it took me a long to write is because I was working on transitions in between scenes. It took me a couple of weeks to do all that. For me, working on transitions was the very last thing I needed to do to complete the editing process. With the transitions, each scenes connect and the doc smoothly moves forward to each section and interviews.

Even though I have a final-cut ... this does not mean I'm done. What it does mean is that I can move to the next stage of fixing and mixing my sound.  Yesterday afternoon I met with my sound guy, "J-Doc." We finally got together and talked about a game plan to approach this project.  I am in good hands with J-doc. He is another talented dude who is good at what he does... sound.

After overcoming the final-cut stage, everything should be smooth sailing from this point.  All I need to do is sound work and finish up with my credits.

Almost there!

J-Doc getting ready to do some sound work for my film

Thats it for now.

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Movie Trailer

Since my editor has been cutting my film, I almost feel naked without my project. But of course, I always have to keep myself occupied. So for the last few weeks I have been working on my movie trailer.

Its been a process to make the trailer, but I feel I got the essence of what my doc is about. Right now the trailer is running close to two minutes.

I realized when making the trailer for the Doc, the process was really different from making a narrative one. I feel like when you are editing a narrative story, its easier to cut to action. Instead of editing to action with a doc, you have to edit to dialogue. The two styles are definitely different.  But I think I made it work.

I am actually going to L.A. next week... Again! Since I'm hooking up with my editor, Ill be taking advantage of going over the trailer.  It will be a busy short weekend, but things will get done!

That's it for now.

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Movie Poster

I just want to say thanks to my boy! He hooked me up with a movie poster. I love it! It really represents my movie to the fullest!  Here's a sneak peak of what is coming... Slowly, but surely my doc is coming alive each day. Whenever I see this poster... it really reminds me of how far I came. It feels good that I didn't quit. The long hard work is finally paying off.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Back from the LA LA!

I spent the last six days in L.A handling some business as usual.

I spent time with my editor and got down and dirty with my project. We went through cuts and had a lot of discussions .... I mean a lot of discussions!   And man, let me tell you,  each day I had about 2 or 3 cups of coffee.  Im not a coffee person, but coffee has been my medicine lately. Im so happy that I made the trip! My editor has been very helpful in this stage of the process. It is true what they say ... sometimes all you need is some fresh eyes!

You see my homie in action...  Since he's been spending so much time with my doc, I think he's turning half Salvi!  Ha Ha. But he's a genius!

I'll admit I am getting really anxious... And I just want to be done!  I know I am getting there and I'm being patient about it.  And I know I say this all the time, but I hate the wait!  On my off time I went to go see some good friends and hung out a little as well.  I actually saw the Venus Transition at Angel Point, an area by Dodger Stadium. Wassup Clau! It was an awesome experience. The whole Venus Transition resembled a new beginning to a new life. This new life is what I am also experiencing as well  ... so it was a special moment!

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Give me that Beat

This past week I got my music squared off. My boy's friend came through!  I was really happy about that.  And the cool part is that he's from San Jose. Represent!

We got together in his studio and we went through his library. And let me tell you ... I was blown away with how much music he has made. This guy is the real deal. Hands down, he has some sick beats! I know his sound will make a difference in my film.

I've already experimented and started connecting his sound and with my scenes. And lets say ..... damnnnn!   I'm happy!

Thanks for the hook-up! I owe you.

Sick beats ... Get that instrumental album out there.

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Archive Photos

I've been talking to a Salvadoran organization for the last few weeks or so about using some archive photos that they use on their website. This organization has pretty much been through the whole process of Salvadorans evolving in the United States.  I like the fact that this organization is a resource center for Central Americans. And what's more interesting is that they have been documenting their progress through these photos that I want to use. I was so impress with these photos that I had to find a way to use them.    

Like I said, I made the call to the organization a few weeks back.  And to make the story short ... Today,  I got a letter of approval to use the photos. I was really happy with that! The photos will be used in the history section of the professor. 

Slowly, but surely the doc is coming alive. I have about a month in half before my deadline. At the moment I am on track! So that's good.  

Now I have to get my music situated. I am hoping today I will be meeting with a indie hip-hop producer. We'll see how that goes! 

That's it for now. 

Junior Gonzalez 
The filmmaker   

Monday, May 21, 2012

The L.A. Session Continues

I had a very productive weekend... Once again I made another trip to the city of Angelo. I hooked up with my editor and mannnnnn let me tell you that I am so happy and relieved!!

Damnnn, you have no idea how I was feeling the last couple of weeks. I was so burned out with my project! Ever since my editor took over ... he has really opened my eyes and has done major improvements to the film.

We went through all the interviews... we spliced out unnecessary dialogue and the interviews were becoming a lot smoother.

I want to thank my editor because he is a life saver .... I owe you man!!!!!  I really mean that!

We just spent a weekend and just talked about the doc.

We both agreed that my editor would be spending another month on the project. He has been doing a good job so and I want to continue that momentum.

I want to give another shout out .... thank you C.   She got my paintings done and damnnn they are tight! She surprised the hell out of me. She came out with her A game ... no joke! Her paintings are the very last thing I will be filming.  I will not be picking up another camera in a very long time.  I definitely saved the best thing for last!

I am very serious about these paintings, they came out great! She is a rising star. I am happy that she was able to be a part of my project ... she added a special touch to the project.  - "We fly like birds"

I am getting close ... thank you to the two that I mentioned today ... from all of my heart you have taking my project to another level ... all because of you!

I will be making another trip to LA LA land ... I should just move there again... we'll see .. LOL.

That's it for now.

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bye Bye Spain!

Its coming down to wire now... It looks like my official deadline to be done with my project is August 10. That is when I will be sending it off to Sundance Film Festival.

Just recently I had to purchase some stock footage of the civil war that happened in EL Salvador. I really didn't want to spend money, but I needed to buy some archives to help visually tell my story. I bought a minute of footage and I paid a HEFTY PRICE! Lets just say I had to cancel my trip to Spain. Damnn! My only opportunity to leave the country.  I have to finish my movie, its my priority! ... I just hope my investment pays off.  I really want to be able to compete and have a chance to enter these festivals. I know it will be difficult to get in, but I can always pray and hope for the best.

I have applied the archives to some of my scenes and I have to say it does make a difference.

But within these moments, I also decided to do another edit of my doc... I just also recently saw the film with another set of eyes... actually my sound guy. I thought I would be ready for a final cut and start working on my sound. This is where I  realized the doc needs to be cut down more.

I was getting feedback from my sound guy and I agreed that it wasn't ready as well.  I was a CRUSHED because I thought I was close to being done! I'm just getting anxious to finish, I spent so much time on this that I am loosing some energy.  Lets say I was crushed that I was a little discouraged.  But I know I need to slow down and look at my options.  At this point my eyes are tired everything looks the same, I'm not sure what was working is actually working.  I'm going on an emotional ride right now because I am finally feeling the fatigue and the stress to getting this project done.

This is probably the first time that I am feeling this way.

To help with the situation I called one of my buddy's that lives in L.A. ... he's a filmmaker too and a talented editor.  I just shipped my Hard-Drive to his place in Los Angeles so that he can give me the fresh eyes that I need.  I'm burned out!

I trust him and we will work this out together... I will continue to stay confident and be more patient. I am just happy that I have friend that I can count on.  But for reals...  I am burned out!

I am still also in the process of trying to get Music for my doc.  I'll save that for another day. One thing at a time!

Once this is all done ... I hope to make that trip to Spain or somewhere out of the country. I will need a break!

I will keep you posted.  

Junior Gonzalez
The filmmaker

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pick-ups for The Doc

This past weekend I took another trip to L.A.  - My mom says I should just move back! I probably should, but I'll save that for another conversation.

Well, I went to a Salvadoran Student conference that was held in Cal State Los Angeles. It was very educational and very informal on my part.  I don't think I ever participated in an event that centers around Central American issues.  For my community that is very very important!

This committee that I have been in touch with has been very helpful and has allowed me to film this event. This event consisted of workshops, lectures, special guests, and a art show from Central American folks.  It was just a well rounded event. I was really glad to be part of this conference.  Being a Salvadoran, its really good to see the community come together and work towards a better future.

As far as how this event works for my documentary... well one of my interviewee talks about different organizations or educational organization coming together.  I thought this event would fit perfectly with his conversation. This conference would actually show images of that being true.  Even though the event will not be entirely focused-on, but it will be a demonstration of slavi organizations making a difference.

I'm proud of that and glad I was a witness to something positive and inspiring.

I like to thank my homie in NOHO, he came through with the equipment for me to film the event. Much love! It was good to be back for a little bit to see some friends and also a new friend ... wassup brea!  

Thats it for now!

Junior Gonzalez
The filmmaker

Monday, April 16, 2012

Stamping the Project!

Before I start, I like to wish me a belated birthday.  It was this past weekend. I am happy to live another year... God Bless!

While celebrating, I also worked on my project... of course! I am really coming close to a final cut. I am in the process of deciding to keep certain scenes or adding different ones. This part is not so hard ... its just making the decision what I want.  So I am trying to keep it simple. I'm looking over some scenes to see if it is moving the story forward or transitioning properly within scenes. So I am at that point right now.

What is great for me being at this stage as well... is that I started working on credits and making titles. I am really happy about that. Personally, when one is starting to work on titles, then that means you are almost done. But more importantly, you are "stamping" the project. The project is official when adding credits.  So I am really happy about that.

I am making titles through Motion. I was about to use after effects, but decided to use motion since the program is linked to Final Cut.  I rather keep the programs linked to help with my workflow. So far I am creating some cool titles. Its my first time working with motion... or I should say its my first time making titles. I figured I had to learn at some point. Plus, its best for me to do it this way.  That way I don't have to depend on anyone.

I am coming real close to finishing... I can smell it! It will be a big weight off my shoulder when I am done. I don't want to get too ahead of myself, but its definitely feels good!

That's it for now.

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

B-Roll for the Professor

I had a very quick trip to Los Angeles. I basically drove up late tuesday night and came back on thursday.

I had to do it! 

Its been almost a year where I have been trying to get with the professor to film some additional footage of him.  What made it difficult is that basically he lives down south and I live up north. We completely  had two opposite schedules.

I didn't really really push for the additional shoot until I was done with my rough cut.  It was crystal clear with my rough cut that I needed the extra footage.  Luckily, I was able to schedule something that last week of March.  Otherwise,  I would of had to wait till fall because after the last week of March is spring break and a few weeks after that school is out! And fall was not in my schedule to get my project complete.  Plus, I wasn't sure if I can get another day off in the middle of the week from work , since my job was getting busy. 

All in All... it happened.  I shot the footage of the professor giving a lecture to the students.  At the moment I am already testing the footage. 

Thank god that everything worked out!  

Junior Gonzalez 
The Filmmaker  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chopping Away!

I've been on a "Edward Sissorhand" tear.  Since my last trip to L.A. all I have been doing is cutting away with my doc. Right now I shaved off about 20 minutes or so.  There was fat in my film that needed to be taken out so that my story can flow.  After hearing my peers and soaking in all their thoughts about my doc... made me realize what I needed to do to enhance my story. The feedback has helped me understand a lot about my film... and has open my eyes to see what my my film is really about.  Like I mentioned before, I was the only one looking at my cuts (edits).  It was good to hear what people thought.

Yes, my film revolves around music, but its a lot more about music. Its about a culture, its about a history,  its about having a voice.  The music plays a major role in my film because its a metaphor of people expressing their thoughts and its vehicle to drive and send the message.  For me .... getting on the mic, podium, TV,  or news means (most of the time) you are always trying to say something about a cause, a problem, and in this case is the importance of representing a culture in a positive light... a culture that has been oppress for so long.

At this moment I am getting really emotional about my project because I don't think I have ever done something at this level and never felt so close to an issue or a film.  I have done many films in the past, but their was never a emotional connection to them. Don't get me wrong their are some films that I feel proud about, but I have never experienced something emotional to a film.  I guess I am now understanding what a filmmaker is about and not just someone who makes films.  Their was a term that I always heard in the past. The term was "give your film a heartbeat." I'm understanding it now...  it just doesn't meant to make it come alive.  Its a little more than that.

I'm really digging deep into my film. Editing at this point is become a lot more fun than the earlier process. I am mostly shuffling around scenes and testing what works within the doc.  I really feel like I am coming close to a picture lock.  Once I get to a picture lock .... I am pretty much done with the editing process.

I'm getting there ... being patient and working efficiently.

That's it for now.

Junior Gonzalez
The filmmaker

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rough-Cut and Artwork in La La Land

Its tuesday morning here in North Hollywood. I'm at a coffee shop killing time while I wait for the greyhound bus to come, so that I can go back home to the Bay!  I figured I would take some time and write a little. I came to Los Angeles Saturday night. I was trying to get here on Friday, but I was stuck at work and didn't get out till midnight. Uuuuugh!

I came to L.A. this weekend because I finally put a rough-cut of my doc together. I worked my ass off this past month to put all the pieces together, so i can finally showcase my story. Plus, I was very anxious to see how people would react as well.  I have been editing for a whole year and pretty much I have been the only person that knows what I have. It was definitely time to get some feedback!

I wanted to show my friends my project out this way (LA) because I highly respect their opinion. They all have some creative minds and their filmmakers themselves, so they understand the "process."  The rough-cut is what it exactly means... a rough-cut!  I needed to know if my structure was working and see what needed to be fix or adjusted before I start fine tuning and really shaping the story.

At this stage of the film, a rough-cut is an IMPORTANT process before you start making your way towards a final-cut stage. And what helps is the FEEDBACK! I was nervous about showing what I have, but it all worked out. Besides learning some mistakes i did with my doc, as far as, needing to clarify some sections, and taking out some edits. For the most part,  people were understanding what I was trying to say in my film.  On that note,  that is really good.  That means my story is almost there... not quite there, but slowly progressing and coming together.  Hearing what people had to say about my doc has helped me look at my project in a different way. That is exactly what i needed to experience. I took some good notes and some pointers from my peers. I am getting a better idea of how I can improve my story.

My friends were amaze of what I have shown them... I believe one of them said finally! "Its been almost five years that I have been hearing about this doc."

Another reason why I came to LA is because I wanted to discuss some artwork being made and inserting them into my doc. I met up with my Salvi friend and we hooked-up in her art studio.  Actually, she is the first person to watch the whole project. She is a cool kat. Very creative, smart, and knows whats up! I'm glad that my life has crossed paths with her.  We came together and went over images of what were going to be sketched. I believe we came to a conclusion of having about 18 drawings.  The drawings will consist of historic and present time events that has happened in the Salvadoran culture.  The drawings will go with the Professor's section as he talks about these events. I think it will be very interesting.

This chick is very talented and I believe you will be hearing more about her in the future. She also exposed me to other organizations that other Salvi folks are involved with. After we were done with our meeting, I went with her to a baby shower.  It was a Salvi party! It was actually fun! I had a good time. At the baby shower is where I met other Salvi organization leaders who are doing some great stuff for the community.  I believe they are putting together a conference in a few months, in which I will attend.  I will be filming the event and including it to my doc.  There is a section in my doc where I talk about leaders are forming, and how education is becoming an important factor.  These folks are making waves. Much respect and love goes out to them!

This is it for now.

Junior Gonzalez
The Filmmaker

Saturday, January 7, 2012

One Year Anniversary!

I can't believe it! Today is actually one year since I took my trip to New York. It doesn't feel like I've been editing for a whole year. That is crazy to me! I have to say this has been the most challenging project in my early career of filmmaking. I think the editing has been a huge process for me. I don't think I have ever tackled anything like this, so far.

From the BAY to NY to DC back to SF to LA 
I am still shuffling everything together and I hope to have a rough-cut by the end of this month.  Its going to be very rough but at least I will be able to see my vision come alive. This process is literally like shuffling cards. Since I've been placing everything on the timeline of Final Cut... All I have been doing is moving this scene this way, this scene that way, this scene over here, not good to have scene here.  Man, its not fun. I'm already getting a headache explaining all this.  But the good part is... I am not editing anything. Since all the pieces are already together, I am just moving sequences around.

I like the fact that I am moving quickly... that is good. The part that gets a little frustrating is finding sequences that will connect and flow with people to people.  Beginning this process feels like you don't really have a story and it just feels like people are only talking without having no connection with the following person who follows.  No story is formed at this point. It can drive you nuts!

I am sure everything will form and come together... I just don't see anything developing right this moment. I am very aware of this process, so i will be a little more patient.

Its part of the process...

Junior Gonzalez
The filmmaker

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year! 2012!

Can't believe another year has gone by. My new years was good. Nothing crazy happened, I just hung out with m family for a little bit. My aunt made some bomb ass Panes de pollo (Salvadoran Chicken Sandwich). Then after I went to a good friends place where I bought some Tic Tack (salvadoran vodka) and made it a night.  I hate to hear or have a new years resolution. I'm good with that.

What's important is to always be moving forward with life an pushing good momentum into the new year and continue on with what I started. That means in a few days its going to be my one-year anniversary since I took my New York trip. Wow! That means I have been editing for a whole year. For a Doc, I think that's average - more or less.

I actually made some progress with my doc this past new year weekend. I stared working on my opening credit sequence for my Doc. I think it came out good. I still have to add sub-titles and credits, but to get an idea how its going to start and look is a good feeling.  I have this thing that I have to ALWAYS work on my opening sequence for any projects. For whatever reason in my head if I can't capture the audience interest in the first few minutes, then they are not going to be interested in what world I represent. So  its always important for me to capture atmosphere and mood. So this weekend I hammered it down and worked before I left to m  new years party and wake up the day after to finish.

Since I have the opening sequence...I can fluently follow what comes afterwards - the story!

Hope you all had a safe and good New Years Day.
Follow your Heart and Dreams!

The Filmmaker