19th & Wilson had been a company for a couple of years, but hadn’t made anything yet. So I decided that I just needed to start with making a short.
I came up with the idea for “The Review” while I was on a drive home from work one day. I needed an idea that was simple, one location and had only a couple of actors in it. The smaller the cast, the possible. I’m not exactly sure what is was that made me think of the idea, but with the constraints I had set, “A hit-man who doesn’t finish the job” formulated. After writing out the five page script, I then went through and actually used some Lego figures and a shoe-box to make a storyboard. Primarily because my drawing skills are non existent.
Now that I had this script and storyboard, I needed to build up the 19th & Wilson team.
I had know Donnie Conty since I was 15 and given his love for music, I thought “Who better to do the music for the film”. I talked to him and he was in for not only doing the music but also being the sound guy while on set. A co-worker and good friend of mine, Edwin Pontanilla, had always fancied himself a writer. While I had already written the script for this, he jumped right on board so that he could be involved in the future projects.
Last, but not least was Eric Espejo. I had met him a couple months earlier while playing football on the weekends. When I saw he was making videos out of some video footage of the football games they had played the year before, I knew he would be a good person to collaborate with. So I brought him on board to 19th & Wilson. Which was one of the best ideas, as he has been essentially my right hand man in getting all of these films done.
Given that the short was our first, we simply got a couple friends and co-workers to be the actors. Jerry Michlik, Corey Churgin, Peter Rhee, Richard Friend and my wife all played parts. Edwin even got in on one of the thought guy parts. We also employed our wives to help out as the makeup crew.
As luck would also have it, the company I was working for had recently moved out of an office building, but still had a lease on the empty one for another month. The office manager was more than willing to let us use the empty one for a weekend to shoot there.
We set up 3 cameras to shoot the scene. One getting a wide shot and 2 pointed at both sides of the table. With all of the coverage we were happy with how the short came out. Especially given that it was our first one. There were different shots where we move the camera around a little, but a majority of it was from these 3 camera positions.
We entered it into a couple of film festivals and even the “Project Greenlight” competition. In hind site, it’s not a surprise that we didn’t get into any of them. But sometime naïveté can be a positive. We received a couple of good reviews and positive feedback.
Camera – JVC MiniDV
Credits – Producer, Director, Writer, Editor
Without further ado, here is “The Review”.