Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Moving on up working as a Production Designer

I recently finished my first job as a production designer. For those of you not aware of what a production designer is, he or she is the individual who designs the look of the project. I don't want to get too into the project but I figured I would post some pictures of a few things that my assistant Damon and I built for the project.
We built the Ice Cream Cart below, I think it turned out pretty awesome!
 Below is me with the body part grinder that we built. It's made out of an old wood chipper and some MDF. This was the highlight of the project for me.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Shooting a fun Promo for Work

The jobs I get on commercials and music videos are all freelance jobs. That means I work for a day or two, get paid and thats it. That also means I don't know when I'm working again. Since I kind of freak out when I don't know when I'm going to get paid again I need to have a regular job. That job is manager at Last Stop Props & Scenic in Burbank. Fortunately the owners are also in the industry; so there is always a way to work time off, I'm on day 10 of 21. So one day about a year and a half ago I decided I was going make a promo video for the business. I'm in love with classic stop motion effects so I cleaned the dust off my Rebel 2Ti and set up a tri pod facing our cyc wall. With the help of a remote and then later my buddy Anthony I took photos of myself and over two hundred items in our shop. I hope you enjoy the video!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Acting can be so Much Fun!!

So I recently played two parts in a short film. The film takes place in a post apocalyptic future where roving gangs rule the streets and death is around every corner. The first roll I played was that of an old man who gets the crap beaten out of him. This was super fun, the make up lady did an amazing job giving me a great beat up look. The end of my scene had me turn to the camera and spit out a bunch of blood, awesome!! Then a few days later I shaved my beard and played a killer clown who hosts a tv show. The tv show involves clowns breaking into houses and murdering the inhabitants. So two very different roles and quite a good time. I love the film business.

The SONY job

I've worked on allot of cool projects but one of my favorite finished projects was a SONY commercial I did summer of 2012. I was doing art department under JP Gutierrez production designer on the job. The first day of shooting started at 6am the day after my birthday, needless to say I didn't get a ton of sleep. I was lucky the shoot was in the Glendale studio which at the time was very close to where I lived. The other plus about that studio is that my homie is the stage manager, it's always nice to know the guy in charge. The commercial was for a new pair of SONY 3D goggles. The theme of the commercial is that the glasses are so intense you will actually experience what happens in the video your watching. JP designed 3 amazing living room sets for the job. A big part of my job was driving the 5 ton truck around and picking up props and other set dressings. If you watch the video you will notice an amazing Eames chair that I had the pleasure of picking up from Rapport on LaBrea. I love Rapport they have such amazing modern furniture. One of my favorite segments in the video is an explosion that a SFX artist (Aaron, Alien Resurrection) I know performed. After the explosion, a close up of the actors ear was filmed while Aaron shot it with a blast of air and some foam, very cool. Unfortunately Aaron tested it on me first and had the levels a little too high. It stung pretty bad and the way I screamed Aaron thought I was going to turn around and sock him. Well I didn't and instead had a pretty good laugh out of it. I love the movie biz!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Contest

Last year I decided to film and enter a spec commercial for the website Poptent. If that last sentence confused the heck out of you let me explain. A spec; is a commercial that is filmed with out the companies knowledge and out of your own pocket, with the hope that you impress someone. Poptent runs contests for spec commercials that end with the companies purchasing said commercials. This contest was for SIM Mobile, a pay as you go cell phone company. Their big thing is you can remove your sim card and put it any phone (I'm not sure who owns a phone that still uses sim cards). SIM Mobile wanted a gritty urban feeling while using the tag line "More for the People". For some reason the future set battle scenes from Terminator kept popping into my head. The shooting went pretty well, I even used a few actors from the Cat Power video "Cherokee" I worked on. I called in allot of favors on this one including my old pal Moses Martinez who shot 2nd Unit. My major problem with this project were the post issues. Mainly the music and sound, I had a friend who promised three days in a row to come over and help. Six hours before the deadline to upload the video my buddy Anthony Ceglia and I created the music and sfx using Final Cut. Not everything came out the way I wanted but I was still really happy with how everything came out and I love all the acting. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Codename: Beacon

Codename: Beacon was the brain child of Chicago transplant Michael Arzola. Michael plays a psychic government assassin (condenamed Beacon) who has just been called back into service. Michael had acted previously for me in Static City. When he told me about this project and that he needed some help I agreed wholehartedly. I brought Moses Martinez along to film it and I got a small part as Michael's victim. After we filmed Michael edited it all together and put this out. As you can see it never made it out of rough cut stage. A few months into 2010 I had a falling out with Michael and he erased me as a friend from Facebook. Oh well glad I'm done working with him. Enjoy the video

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Static City

Welcome to Static City, a film that I worked on (wrote, produced,acted) from '07-'10 and unfortunately was not able to finish. I wrote this film for my best friend and fellow LACC film school alumni, Moses Martinez. We had no money what so ever and when I mean no money I mean nine hundred dollars, lol. Not much money, we were all poor. I think we got some cool stuff on camera including a giant warehouse that Moses got us for free. I love all the great acting also Mark Wood, Jo Mani, Bart Leenders, Gabe Fonseca and Andie Ximenes all did an amazing job. I also had a part in the film, the original part was that of a drug dealer who the police interrogate at an after hours spot. Then the day before we were to start shooting the main actor playing the white cop told us he couldn't do it. So Moses comes to me and says "yo if the guy playing the Mexican cop fell through I would be playing him, but it's the white cop". So I took over as the co-lead with Gabe. We had a great time making this and a shout out to Shaun Phaneuf for the great job as gaffer, 1st AD and terrorist, you were awesome!! Sorry for everybody I missed!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

More Work with Corona

So this is another in the line of Corona commercials I worked on :) This job was really fun! We actually closed a street in Long Beach down for two days. The project was shot with a stedi cam and all in one shot. At the end of the video you will notice a giant billboard with a Corona sign on it. I helped the construction crew hang that sign. Unfortunately while we were up there the scissor lift's battery died. This happened a minute before lunch, so they just left us up there for an hour, lol. It kind of sucked, and it was hot but we got down eventually and were able to eat(that's all I cared about any way). Enjoy the commercial it was a fun one to make!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fun Times with Corona

In early 2012 I worked on a series of Corona commercials. I was an art PA on the whole thing and actually got 5 union days. The shoots were fun and all over Los Angeles. The location here was the parking lot FOR the Los Angeles Sports Arena. The first few hours of the day was moving the cars into the right position for the shooting. Then we started set dressing, that means putting out all the props. During the filming I was hiding inside of a blue car and working the smoke machine that is next to the grill. If we had a real fire we would of had to have a special effects guy and a fire marshall, way too much money! This whole shot was one take and involved a glide-cam set up. The operator did an amazing job and had a really cool look, like the bad guy from the 80's flick Body Double. Please enjoy the spot as much as I enjoyed making it!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cat Power, the desert and I

Have you ever been in a situation that you knew just wasn't right. In summer of 2012 I had my own end of the world experience. I was working in Lancaster (that time of the year you could just refer to it as hell) on a music video for the indie artist Cat Power. If your like most of America there is a good chance you don't know who Cat is. Though she has appeared on Letterman and dated actor Giovanni Ribisi for like 6 years she is still pretty indie. I've also discovered since that shoot that allot of her fans are a tad unbalanced, we could have a whole chicken and the egg conversation with that one.
I was hired (when I say hired I mean I worked for free) to do props, I ended up also doing art department and chauffeur for the singer. I worked for free because they didn't have enough money to pay allot of positions. It turned out they did have two thousand dollars to buy a Ford Bronco for the shoot since it was getting tough to find one to rent.
I can't get too into what happened on the shoot since I signed a confidentiality agreement. I can say we originally were shooting the video for a song off her new album called Ruin (I actually really like it) instead mid-way through filming it was changed to the song Cherokee. If you watch this video and think it doesn't make any sense that has nothing too do with the change in song, from the get go the idea never made any sense! I might have said too much already, don't want to get sued, got to love Hollywood. I can say that everyone on the crew and and all the actors were amazing and some of the coolest people I have ever met.

Check out below the art and clothing from two guys I met on set who you will recognize as zombies at the beginning of the video.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Amateur stuntman has fun with breakaway bottle

A co worker and I were bored last year so he decided to film me hitting myself over the head with some breakaway glass. We buy most of our breakaway glass from a company in the San Fernando Valley called Alfonso's Breakaway glass and it's not cheap, but it is safe. The film industry uses breakaway bottles to protect the actors from injury. Even though it's safe it can still cut you if it gets in an eye. Enjoy the video.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What is Craft Service

Craft service or crafty as it is some times called is the table where you will find many delicious treats for the crew and actors to enjoy. While not as important as many of the other departments on set, the people running crafty are definitely the most popular. That is because their the ones who provide all the food on set between the meals. When your working 12 to 15 hours for a few weeks straight you need as many calories as possible. I decided about four years ago that crafty was going to be my new career. I only did it once but I must say it was one of the best times I ever had on a set. The project was for Cracked and was filmed at the famous Eagle Rock breakfast spot Pat & Lorraines. The pop culture spoofing crew picked the perfect place since Tarintino's Reservoir Dogs first scene starts here. The video I'm hoping to be able to embed below was one of the funniest things I have ever heard being filmed. If you look in the background you can see the very funny Randall Maynard and I playing extras. Enjoy, I know I did!!

Special thanks to Matt Barrs for getting me the gig in the first place.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Welcome to Level 7 Part 2 a terrifying descent into low pay, long hours and bad craft service.

So I show up to Linda Vista hospital on two and a half hours of sleep at 4 am. Life sucked at that moment and it was only going to get worse. So the first thing I noticed when I arrived at Linda Vista was how dark it was. Turns out the generators we rented were to power this place! I don't do well in dark places, I am very terrified of the dark. It's a fear that never went away. So here I am in the basement of a reportedly haunted 1940's hospital. Welcome to art department Jason Parker! Within an hour though and before the real sun was up Linda Vista was bright and alive. For the laymen art department are usually first on set and last to leave; with AD or producer being the exception. After that I was driving the cube truck to east Hollywood to pick up silver with diamond star laminate. This was going to be laid down on the floor of an elevator. When I got back it was already lunch. Driving any where in Los Angeles always takes forever. If you have a job where you drive in LA you are going to get a screaming call once a week asking "where are you!!!!" from your boss. It helps too have thick skin. Well lunch was crap, the only plus was a cute pixieish lawyer with a vintage bob stopped by the shoot to see me. My boss wasn't actually too happy about that but hey no harm no foul, lol. After lunch I helped a friend of mine do props in the laboratory scene. The usual day on a shoot is 12 hours, due to some problems this day went 17 hours!!! Yeah 17 hours sucks but I can deal with that, I grew up in Alaska, if you didn't work you didn't make it. The problem was the craft service was awful. Cheap generic cola, one kind of chips, no tub of red licorice(every craft service table has a tub of red licorice) couple apple & oranges that only looked good from one side. This was a day that tested everything I was made of. The guys I really felt bad for were the aliens. They were in full costume for at least 8 hours straight; I don't know how they did it. Well day 1 of 3 ended. I also found out later that I was only getting paid a 100 dollars a day, HAHA well that's the film biz!

Now imagine this at night, creepy!

Can you find this creepy looking place in the movie? I spent 12 hours in this room. Longest day on set for me.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

[WELCOME TO] LEVEL 7, the beginning of my troubles

Welcome to Level 7 was the first job I worked on where I was doing art department. For those of you not aware of what art department is I'll explain. First there is a production designer, he designs the look of the project, he then has art department and set decorators make his vision. This story starts a week before the shoot, I got hired as art coordinator. My job was to call different rental houses, give CC info, rent trucks and even pick up some stuff. I had just picked up a giant fog machine when my power steering went out about 15 miles from home during rush hour the night before the first day of shooting. Well some how I limped back to Eagle Rock and my awesome mechanic stayed 45 minutes late and fixed it, thanks Budtho!! Well the next day the shoot started and I became the low man on the totem pole, art PA(production assistant). Our day started at 4am, oh by the way we were filming at Linda Vista hospital, a reportadly haunted hospital. Stay tuned tomorrow for the 2nd half of this story.

Welcome to Level 7, a terrifying descent into low pay, long hours and bad craft service.

Linda Vista, my favorite haunted hospital in Los Angeles