Making Movies With Our Friends – Tijuana Edition.
Months ago our good friend, Franck Deron propositioned us to shoot his short film. When our schedule finally had an opening last month, we jumped at the opportunity to head down to Tijuana, Mexico to collaborate with Franck. We left on a Thursday morning from San Diego and made our way 20 minutes South and across the border with no problems. We arrived to our casa about 30 minutes later, a mansion in Playas. For the next 5 days we lived like kings, or as king-like as a film crew can feel while lugging cases and cameras and working 14 hour days.
After settling in, it was shoot time. Our first scenes to shoot would be the bicycle scene, the mugging, the drunk bar scene, and drunk walking through the city. All the scenes this first night were with our superstar, Pablo. What a great experience it was working with this humble, kindhearted, hard-working, and talented individual. While Pablo was a crowd favorite, we must mention Team TJ straight away! Team TJ guided us, translated for us, held lights, carried gear, and produced everything we needed to make our film. Thank you Amigos, we couldn’t have done it without you! We are so grateful to all who had a hand in this project.
The film is almost finished..check back soon for the link! While you wait, please enjoy these behind the scenes photographs!
After a perfect night of shooting we headed back to our abode and got some rest. Morning 2 came quick and we headed out to spend the morning in a tire shop. Nothing like the smell of grease and rubber first thing in the morning! It was actually really great. It was a beautiful day with a nice breeze. The shop was extremely photogenic with the natural light pouring in. Pablo was a good sport again, letting Astrid and Venus dirty him up for the part. Tire grease is authentic makeup for a mechanic right?
After wrapping at the tire shop with Pablo, we headed about 20 minutes out of the city to our lead actresses school. We arrived at the school about 20 minutes before the final bell and set up our shots. The kids were all excited to see a film crew on site and everybody wanted to get their moment. After we got our shots in the quad, we headed out for the rest of our scenes with Andrea. While the school scenes were cute and light, the remainder of her scenes would be dark. Andrea played the role of the kidnapped and trafficked teen. Shooting her drugged and trapped motel scenes were uncomfortable for all. On the first take when Adriana gets up and pounds on the door to be released, Lee mistakes it as real and opens the door, ruining the shot but making us all laugh and love his sensitivity.
Our 3rd day of shooting was another early one. We’d be working with Pablo again, shooting his running through the city scenes. It turned out to be another great shoot day, mostly because of Pablo, but also because of fried bean tacos and fun people watching. After the running scenes we headed over to La Cevicheria to film an outdoor insert of Pablo arriving to work. After about 30 minutes we changed locations again to our interior dish-washing location. Once inside, I spotted an opening in the ceiling, crawled up and got a cool shot from the top down. I never thought I’d find myself in the attic of of restaurant in Tijuana – cross that one off the list…
Later that night, after we were done with all of Pablo’s scenes for the day, we met up with our other lead actor, Antonio, who would play the role of the pimp. He is a fantastic actor with such a great look. We were very happy to have him play the part. We started with his scene in the shoe store. All Movi shots in there, following him down aisles, shooting through the glass displays, lots of great angles to play with at this location. After the shoe store, we went back to La Cevicheria to film Antonio driving in the car. After that we drove around the city and into the red-light district to film him driving more. An officer stopped us in the red-light and told us not to film the girls; we reassured him we were only filming Antonio. We didn’t learn our lesson with the warning and proceeded to walk through a different part of the red-light, filming on foot, following Antonio walk past a number of bars with girls for sale. Within a couple minutes of this, Lalo, our assistant and translator ran up to me and told me he overheard a security guard calling the police on us. I told Kevin and we all took off as fast as we could. This was the only scary moment of the whole trip.
Day 4 we met back up with Andrea and Angel, our kidnapper boyfriend. We shot the first scene nearby our casa in the beachtown. Franck liked the color of the icecream shop for the first meeting of the kidnapper and Andrea. It rained – we called it foreshadowing.
After filming the scenes with Adriana and Angel, Franck drove to the border to meet tonight’s actress, Christine and bring her across the border – while he did that, we all ate pizza. Once the pizza was gone and our actress arrived, we we’re ready to roll. Everyone was excited for tonight’s scene with our LA actors. We filmed in a pay by the hour motel room in the center of the city. The thick air-freshener filling the air made it that much creepier. Midway through our shoot there was a loud knock at the door. I peeked out and the guy said, “your hour’s up.” I told him we’d take another and politely closed the door.
Once we had all the shots in the motel room, we headed out to the parking lot to get our shots of the kidnapper and Andrea arriving. They were such champs to show up, shoot, go home, come back, shoot again, and then go to school the next day. Such great kids!
Our final day was with our boy, Pablo. We ended the shoot on a rooftop, overlooking Tijuana with a view of San Diego in the far distance. Over the five days of shooting, 5 of us from San Diego united with a bunch of awesome people from Mexico and 2 great actors from Los Angeles and made something beautiful. Thank you Franck for trusting us to shoot your ideas. We love collaborating with you. Thank you Brandon Puda for recording all the sounds and Lee Williams for providing the muscles. What a blast it was spending the week with everyone. Sweet memories made…let’s do it again soon! #makingmovieswithourfriends