New Feature Film in New York

I am doing the pre-production of a new feature film based in New York.

The director called me from over there and hired me to work for him at a distance. I couldn’t physically travel to New York because I am doing physical therapy and my doctor didn’t allow me to work yet. So we agreed that I would do the scheduling, budgeting, and breakdown before the principal photography starts.

For this production I am using the Movie Magic screenwriter, Movie Magic Scheduling, and Movie Magic Budgeting. These software are really good. They are very helpful with the whole process of pre-production.

The advantages of these software over other software, like Celtx for example, is the industry standard interface. Pre-production of films in Hollywood is made the same way for a long time. Scheduling a feature film is a three-part process: 1 – breakdown the script, 2 – preparing a production strip board, and 3 – determining the final shooting schedule. The movie magic package helps a lot with this process. Little things like the color coding, break down categories, and full integration between script, schedule and budget are key to the creation of a well structured pre-production. Then we have more advanced tolls like Report Design, Day out of Days control, Red Flags features, Calendar Management, and Element linking that makes the scheduling process way more precise.

Another good aspect of the Movie Magic package is that the company who creates the software gives a couple of courses for free. Right now I don’t have time to do them, but as soon as I finish this schedule I might take some courses. I might be able to catch little and more advanced things that I wouldn’t otherwise.

The main production of the film is scheduled to start in July. I am having a lot of work to put everything together as fast and accurate as possible. So far I am doing fantastic. My job is to manage everybody schedule, solve this jigsaw puzzle, and deliver the schedule and budget in two weeks.


In Pursuit of Happiness – A critic about the film “The Secret”

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for

And certain of what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1



The film The Secret tells about the law of attraction or how to achieve success in life through the management of feelings. Even though it is a very controversial film with structural problems, it is an important message that needs to be spread continuously. It is a self-help, full-length documentary that seduces the audience with the idea that everything is possible if positive thinking and positive attitude is the focus. This message is important to society, because it contradicts what mass media message of today’s world preaches.


People in today’s society are told how and what to feel. The reason for that is to keep the status quo. To begin with, let’s take a look around and analyze what messages and philosophies of life are being offered through mass media, such as billboards, posters, movies, TV, fashion, and commercials. Every second, every moment, something is being suggested. “Eat this, do that, buy this, look at me, envy that,…”. I his essay Information as power, the United States Army Colonel John R. Robinson explains that “Persuasive Media Message provides or changes meanings, and meanings give direction to action.”


Whether we like it or not, we all listen to the vibrations of our environment. We walk through life every single second using our five senses. We want to see amazing images, taste good flavors, feel good, smell nice fragrances, and talk about attractive subjects. Everybody wants to satisfy bodily pleasures. Businesses today have the power of utilizing this need of satisfaction in their favor, so we would only feel complete if we have their products. When people are unhappy with what they have, they feel the necessity of acquiring happiness by buying products. They need to have the newest computer, that particular perfume, the perfect lifestyle, the newest car, the icombo (ipod, ipad, iphone, imac, icrap…), and every little thing that would make them feel better about themselves. However if they are honest with themselves and able to crawl out of their material bodily consciousness, they will realize that the real happiness is not coming from outside. Nothing really satisfies as much as the real truth about things around us. The real truth that is never changing, no matter what year, what nation, what technology. Happiness is found within. The Film The Secret reinforces this notion that we are responsible for our happiness and nothing and no one can change our destiny besides us. This movie points into a direction of thinking that strengthens the philosophy that thoughts create things. As Mahatma Ghandi says “A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”


The Secret is often confused with religion due to its psychological fundamental theory. Because of that, the film generated controversy among the viewers. There was an overwhelming press over the release of the film and book, and the over media coverage created polemical discussions to the subject of The Secret. The good part of this discussion is that it raised arguments that would make the film or book better if the author had knowledge of them prior to release The Secret.


Although on the surface this movie is a bit excessive and over-simplifying, there is an important point to consider in the roots of the main idea. The word “roots” is used here because the way the documentary is represented is rather foolish: here it is a “secret” that is being revealed, something like a magic key that is handed over to the viewer during the viewing. The same tools used by the mass media to make someone slave are used in this film to get the point across. The use of famous people’s quotes for example is misleading. It gives the idea that there is a secret society where everyone who is successful is part of and knows how things work in their favor. The secret is not about getting stuff. It is about developing a sense of true identity and being unafraid to go after feelings in life and being open to many possible ways of achieving it. The documentary it gets to a point of being one note. The beginning of the film presents the story of an older woman telling about her life being a total mess after a divorce, a death in family, and broken home. The film sets up for a question that is never answered because the woman is never mentioned again. It was a creative decision that should not be done, therefore showing that the director of the film did not have enough experience making movies. It is plain and simple documentary about positive thinking. The message is not as secret as the film tries to portrait. This concept is around for a long time. It is a different perspective, using commercially filmmaking to express old ideas. If we look at every quote that is in the film we realize that these people understood the positive thinking theory, but they did it because of natural and personal reasons, and not because at a certain point in their life they got across with a book that contained the secret. Dr. Fred Alan Wolf, one of the people interviewed in the film, had even declared in his personal website that “The Law of Attraction seems to imply that merely thinking such thoughts will attract the object of those thoughts to you. I don’t think the universe works this way. There is no magic field ‘out there’ or magic genii ‘out there’ that will answer those thoughts by granting your wishes as the film seems to imply.”


The Secret is an important message that has to be told, but it is not the complete way to find happiness. The Secret focuses our hope self ward. It is all about self-empowerment, self-fulfillment, and getting whatever we want. But what does it matter profit, if a man loses his soul? Life is meant to be abundant, but money is only a part of wealth. If we want to be completely satisfied we have to find balance in life, exercise our positive thinking towards our body, mind and soul, and take actions to get what we want.



Killer Priest

After shooting Feed Me, I was hired to shoot another feature. This time was with the director Damian Chapa for Amadeus pictures.

We worked together in Brando and we both knew what to expect from each other. I fixed the schedule for him and helped him with the production. This time the crew was way smaller than usual.

Killer Priest is a conspiracy film about mind control victims of religious groups. A hitman is hired by the church to kill powerful people. He discovers that he is a mind control puppet of high ranking Illuminati. He goes after everyone that stands on his way to find the truth. In the midst of this, he falls in love to another mind control victim.


I am here at the backyard of a beautiful house in San Clemente, Orange County. Tonight is the last day shooting at this location. This place has breath taking views. The people are warm and everybody seems to like us.

I will give a back story to this production. It was a low budget film, shot with no permits and literally on spot decisions every single day. I had to manage a crew of 35 people average and come up with decisions that would keep us motivated, on schedule, and under budget.

We faced all sort of troubles during this second week of production. Starting with the sudden change of location on Tuesday. We were shooting in Burbank and the idea was to shoot there for at least 3 days with the possibility of shooting 5 days total. Well, the very first day we had the cops getting there all the time. Instead of telling the truth and get over with it, some production people lied to the cops saying that we were doing a party and not a film. Cops by nature are dogs searching for lies. They knew that something was up. We had no permits and on top of that, the neighbors were calling the police all the time.

We ended up shooting one day and a half. The cops, neighbors, vibe, nothing was working. The solution was to move some where else. That’s when we decided to go to San Clemente at Rusty’s House. His wife Debbie opened the house for us and let us use the place for 5 days. We not only used her house but we shot at her neighbor’s house. Her name is Alice.  We were also fortunate to shoot in a multi million mansion overlooking the ocean, which in my opinion was one of the best locations we got.

I had the pleasure to work with a guy that randomly appeared one day on set as an extra and I hired him to be my personal helper. His name was Steve and he had no experience whatsoever in the film business. The very first day of work he managed to help me find the multi million dollar location. He got a hold of a guy called Berry who is one of the most generous person that I had the pleasure to meet lately. He is a very known person by everyone in San Clemente and also a real gentleman and a good friend of Rusty. By the fact that he is so well connected, he managed to get us the place in less than one day. I believe that God provides if one keeps a strong heart on everything that one does. Berry told me so many good things that I will keep for the rest of my life. That day was magical.

Right now we are wrapping the last scene of the day. Today I had to do the 1st AD job because the 1st AD had personal problems. Well, I am here typing on the computer because my actors for the last scene are doing the make up. I felt like writing this post because I think this moment is a very special moment in my life. I will get married in a couple of weeks from now, I am finishing my 2nd feature in less than one year, and I will graduate on my 2nd university this semester. The most important is that I feel God closer to me everyday. He is my best friend, and everything is possible because of Him. Thank You.



This was one of the craziest yet amazing months of my life.
I started the month completely broke. Instead of freaking out, I put myself together and started working my own projects: 2 scripts and a new demo reel. I had faith that I would pay my bills.

During this time I got to know some people that worked on a new TV station called REDE ITV. This is a Brazilian network based in LA with open programming for the whole southern California and I believe with concession for other US states. I went there for an interview with the owner Josias and his wife Sandra. I was surprised when I discovered that Josias knew my father from the time they were young and used to work together in the same group of actors and directors of stage plays back in the days. The interview went great and after that I did at least 4 freelancer jobs that saved my financial situation.

But the best was about to come. I have a friend called Joe Camacho with whom I had classes together. He mention to me about a production company that needed 1st and 2nd AD for an upcoming low budget film. He thought that it could be a good idea if we worked together there. We went on a meeting and in 4 hours I left the place with a contract in hands. The money was enough to save my finances, but I really didn’t care about that. The best part of this project was the project itself. It’s a film about one of the greatest actors that ever lived: Marlon Brando. What makes this project even more special is the group of people that are involved with it.

Starting with the director Damian Chapa who is definitely a creative person. His passion for filmmaking and his love for the art is visible on every time he smiles on set. He is a grown up man with the power to keep a young soul. We had major obstacles during the process of making this film and, like a warrior, he never let the production down and he kept fighting. This project is a challenge from day one and, in order to make it, one needs a good production team. That’s where Annette Young, Pete Allman, Ryan Torres, and Manny Lopez come to make the dream alive. They are the responsible for everything. They are on top of every issue. All the time they are talking to investors, actors, publicists, and celebrities. If wasn’t for them, there will be no film.

MYC Agnew is the head of everything. He is the voice to be heard and respected. He calls to himself this responsibility and he takes every matter as part of his day by day duties. Everything goes through him. Madla Hruza is the production and costumer designer and she is the artistic eye on every set and costume. She oversees the great work that Amor Sanchez and Parlav Chaudhary do. She is a true artist. Making a film like this needs a very accurate make up department and the head of this department is Keith Beck who is not only very talented but also a very real and nice person. He works with Jason Becker who is the hair stylist, Brittany Hall who is the make up fashion, and Gage Hubbard who is the special effects make up. They are fast and they know what they are doing. They help me more than I help them.

Of course that every film needs actors and this film has an incredible cast. Windy Myers is the casting director that takes care of more than 50 principal actors and 300 extras that we need to make this film come to life. I introduced to her the wonderful and personal friend Lakrishi Kindred who is now helping her with extras.

The camera and sound departments are the best department in this film. Pierre Chemaly is the DP and one of the best that I had the pleasure to work with. Nothing would be possible if he didn’t have a marvelous crew to work with. The Gaffer is Elton James, the grip is Ray Klas, Luigi Ventura is the 1st AC, and the 2nd AC is Abu Baker Siddiq. All of them are fast and understand the nuts and bolts of their profession. Of course that nothing would be possible if the sound department wasn’t good enough to keep up with the camera department. Kirk Dwye is the sound mixer and James O Connor is the boom operator. Together they make the crew complete to deliver one of the most beautiful and controversial indie film of all times. We also have help of a number of PAs who come every other day. Those that I can remember are Joe Hang, Travis Thomas, Parris, Brittani Turner, Jermeil Squnders, and Will Hoover.

There are people who helped but off set. The writer is James Quinn and the editor is Nathaniel Nose. He participated in one scene at the Military base in San Pedro. There is also the still photographer Naoe.

Well this is what I can remember. There are so many people helping on this film that I can not even remember of every one. There are people helping with locations, with cars, with props, with wardrobe, you name it.

I wish I could have more time to talk about each one of them. But at this moment right now, I have to work on the schedule and send call sheets so everybody could be on time at the new location tomorrow. It’s a lot of work, but a great pleasure.

Yesterday we had barbecue on set. We did a late party and everybody loved. I was pleased to see everyone happy. My roommate Peter Roca who helped me to cook for everybody.


LABRFF and Positive

Well, that was my first film festival. I was very anxious and nervous. I did not know what to expect. Showing a film to an audience is like driving your son for the first day at school (I don’t have a kid, but I can imagine). You know that from that point on, he will be susceptible for everything that the world has to offer. Love, doubts, passion, criticism, encouragement, fear, laughter, jealousy… Like a human being, your film is now part of the world. Now your son will have a life of his own. If you devote yourself as a good father, don’t worry, your son will be a great man.

The festival was a hundred times better this year than the previous editions. The line up of films, the amount of professionals and networking, the food, the party, the friends… Everything had a taste of pleasure that was remarkably better.

I was kind of sad because my film was shown on a different aspect ratio than the original version, and also the bad encoding of the film, made the image looks terribly overexposed. That threw me off a little bit. I could not enjoy as much as I could. But even with these problems, the audience reaction was good. They laughed at the right moments, and payed attention at the right moments too.

A film critic said that “the film was genius, because of the concept use of what is positive.” That made my day. I had a producer friend of mine impressed with the acting and wanted to know how I could manage to get the actors at that level of commitment.

Because of this film, I got a lot of other jobs, I made amazing contacts, and I could establish good relationships.

Thank you
Mario Amadeu


I want to wish a Merry Christmas full of joy, love, and fun.
God bless all my family and friends.
My fiance is here with me and we are enjoying the first Christmas together. We had dinner last night and I gave her and my roommates Christmas cards where I told them in a funny and caring way, how important they are in my life. My father called me later at night and I could talk to him and wish him also a Merry Christmas. This morning I called my best friend and we spoke for 20 minutes. Life is beautiful if you have friends, the most valuable thing.
As far as filmmaking, well, I can’t complain. I am directing my first feature film and the result is better than the expected.

First part of the film almost done

We are taking 5 days off and we will start production back again this Sunday, December 20. Ron Quigley (dir./e.p./lead) had to travel. His brother with cancer unfortunately past away. We were about to wrap our second week shooting, and the bad news came. Ron tried to hold on and keep going. This is a lot to handle. The best thing for him to do was visit his family, spend some time away, recharge batteries, and come back renewed.

The good part is that the production is on schedule, footage looks amazing, performances are believable, crew is getting along pretty well, workflow is  in shape. I’m pretty confident that Ron is happy with the work that everybody is doing. As for me, I am really happy with my work too. I am feeling more confident about the work that I do. I can manage the crew better now than I ever managed before. We are always getting good results. Best of all, I am making new friends.

Everybody is amazing. I don’t want to leave anyone behind, but as far as I remember there are in the

– camera/grip department John, Pat, Mark, Tra, Bobby
– make up Deonna,
– Art department with Stacy and Adam,
– production with Edward, Suzana, Rich, Felipe Costa, Coco,
– stills by Maria, and Kevin
– catering by Chris,
– audio by Kevin,
– cinematography by Peter Lugo,
– and direction by Ron.

stills in this post by Kevin.

Everybody is doing an amazing job. There is an excitement every time we call action. I hope this excitement will follow us wherever we go.
I hope that Ron’s brother is resting in peace now. I dedicate my work in his name. May God bless his soul.

Start of production and engagment

Tomorrow we will start the film. The guys had already being there today for a test shoot and pre light the set. I was not able to go because I had to get done with a bunch of school work. I had even a test of one of the best classes I ever took: grip. Good thing is that I nailed the test. I am getting my school done and I am ready for the film.

We are going to start tomorrow from 7 am to 7 pm. It’s a lot of work but we are getting more people to work with us. Today I met a guy that wants to take some still photography of the film. That’s great. I hope he can join us.

There is also one more thing that I would like to mention.
I am an engaged man. I will marry my princess. She didn’t know that I planned to propose to her on thanksgiving. I prepared everything for when the moment would come. I even taped the whole thing with a hidden camera. It was awesome. I was very nervous and stressed out. My neck was killing me since I decided to take this step. It was about one month ago. I called her parents and they were happy with the news. We will figure our plans after I am done with the film and she is done with her finals at school. Now the world is opening to a new perspective. New adventures. New challenges.

I pray that God will bless the end of 2009.

My first Feature film as a Co-Director

I am going to co-direct my first feature film. Just sign the contract today.
I am in a hurry now to make it possible because there are a lot of things to do. I am going to share the direction of the film with the executive producer/lead actor Ron Quigley. By the fact that he is the lead and he is in 80 per cent of the film, he needs someone to direct the film while he is acting. I got his contact through a great friend of mine and the dp that I work almost every time Peter Lugo.
My job is pretty much go over all the aspects of the film, like directing actors, cinematography, schedule, break down, and management. It will be challenging and worthwhile.
At the beginning of this year I told to myself that I wanted to make a short film and then I wanted to make a feature. Well everything you wanted is possible if you persist and work hard. I could not see myself directing a feature because after finishing the short film I was so tired and so broke that I could not believe that a feature would be possible. Well last thing I know is that I was talking to this guy and making this project part of my life.
As soon as possible I will post more information about the project.
Like I said before, I’m in a hurry.