The Rose Order Production

This production was an adventure from beginning to end.

I had more than 70 plus cast and crew members and we worked out of 10 main locations including the University of North Florida, and Clay Country Historic Jail. I was happy to notice that all locations showed us great support.  I’m so honored that we received the Official Selection at the 2016 Amarcord Arthouse Television and Video Festival, Official Selection at the 2017 Philly TV Festival and Official Selection at the 2017 Audience Awards!

When this script was given to me by director/writer Tami-Lee. I told her, I would be there from beginning to the end. It was different, the main cast was predominantly female, it was action, and it was Jamaican. This was something you haven’t seen on the big screen.

On the set, people were everywhere! We had such a large cast, and scheduling everyone was a pain in the butt. Our locations were great, but we had a limited time to be there.  My cast members would often disappear and I’d hunt them down like a dog sometimes. When I arrived at the warehouse location, the Fire Department was already there. It scared the crap out of me, I thought my precious warehouse was on fire, but they were just there training new people. Later, they decided to hang out on set for the day and watch us shoot. That was interesting!

When it comes to the stories behind the scenes, I can go on and on. At the end of the day, all the productions are like that.  My job as a producer is to keep everything together. Where things were out of whack, I’d pop it back into place. I enjoyed my time working on The Rose Order- one of the biggest production I’ve ever worked on. The team was great, and I couldn’t have done it without them. Now, The Rose Order is the great piece of art.

Cirque du Mors

I’ll call this production my miracle baby: we had to focus very hard on the art direction for this one. Most of it was shot on green screen, it had a circus theme, all the effects were done in post, and all of the characters spoke French. We used the Red Epic camera, and the visuals were stunning! During the Cinema World Fest Awards 2016, the production won 7 awards: Award of Excellence First Time Filmmaker, choreography, cinematography, costuming, special FX & makeup, lighting, and set design.

I had nothing to do with this production when it first started, but the director/writer Taylor Walsh come to me with concerns a month before the shoot. The first producer wasn’t communicating with him, and he didn’t know what was going on with his own project. Within 5 weeks, I locked down the cast and crew, and we found actors who were willing to speak French in a short period of time. Once everything was set, the production was on schedule.

On the first day of shooting, we were busy setting up lights, cameras, and props. Everything seemed too big for the green screen, and then the stylist came to me with doubts that the wardrobe wasn’t coming. The stylist felt like the designer sent her on a wild goose chase, and perhaps she was right- we had five minutes before the shoot time and there were no costumes. We were freaking out.

Finally, I decided to tell the stylist what I always say in times of uncertainty and hopelessness- “We’ll be fine”- and then I went to work. She had all the cast sizes, so I sent everyone on a lunch break, and the stylist and I were off to an find the nearest mall and costume store.

When we got to the costume store, everyone there helped. In less than 15 minutes, we had our outfit for the main character. A maid outfit, white string, scissors and hot glue gun turned into wardrobe magic. We made that outfit in less than an hour and no one knew it. We were so proud of our wonderfully rushed design. There was so much craziness on the first day: the cast, wardrobe, and visual effects, but this production came out great. There were a lot of heart dropping moments, but we worked through them. Everything happens for a reason, and it’s almost always true for production.

Lona del Amor

This production was a full destination trip to the islands of Puerto Rico. With a very small crew of the producer, director, and cinematographer we had to double up the responsibility to keep this production under budget. With help from our island friends, I believed that we could do just that. All of the cast members had to be Puerto Rican of course, and we shot in the Director’s hometown of Penuelas.

The entire production was a cultural experience, and not knowing how to speak Spanish was a great challenge for me, but I left all of the Spanish speaking to the director, Eddie Alicea Gonzalez. We took the trip to Puerto Rico in September 2013; Eddie and I visited the island just to see what we could get access too. San Juan was our original location, but with all the tourism and regulation stuff, Penuelas became the better choice.

As production was taking place, the town of Penuelas showed us so much support. The school’s theater was our meeting grounds and source for talent. We did our table reads there, conducted interviews, took headshots during auditions, and so much more. The government of Penuelas blocked the streets for us and allowed us to shoot there without interference from the local traffic- it was incredible.

 While on the trip, we filmed in the mountains, and it was absolutely breathtaking. Unfortunately, I fell and cut my right foot while I was up there. I didn’t want to go to the emergency room, so I settled for the local corner store- I took care of the cut like a champ. I lost the toenail from my big toe, but like I always say, “I’ll be fine.”

With my toe massively wrapped with bandages, we continued with the production. I became a little handicapped, but that wasn’t going to slow us down. Oh, no! The locals really helped us when they could. We had ten scenes to shoot, and it was a rough week of shooting for the three of us.

On the last day of the shooting, it happened to be the Festival del Flamboyan. It was kind of like fall during summer time. The trees leaves were turning yellow, orange, and mostly red, and it gave the town a very warm color. The sun was out and the wind was blowing cool fresh air.

While the locals celebrated the Festival, it felt like a scene from the Fast and the Furious, at the gas station plaza cars were everywhere. It was the definition of a true block party for about five blocks. The music would make your hips pop, and watching the people enjoy themselves was beautiful, but before we knew it, it was time for shots! Shots, and more shots! It was a great way to end production.

Everyone at the festival knew who we were, and we even found out people were late to work because of our shoot, but it was cool, they knew we were just filmmakers trying to show the people of Puerto Rico in their true light. The power of film.