For years I had been wanting to produce a documentary longer than my typical three minute film that I create for nonprofit organizations I work with. It was March of 2020 and I had just finished watching One Day at Disney and Period End of Sentence and I was inspired to create my own short documentary. Amor and I have partnered over the years and I felt that the stories that were happening across the border needed to be told more in depth.
I reached out to Amor about the idea of creating a 25-30 minute film highliting the Amor Mexico Team and the work they are doing to build homes alongside families in Mexico. After the first meeting they were completely on board and I was free to tell the story how I was experiencing it and how I wanted to share it.
This was the initial concept for the film I wrote.
“All across Tijuana families are living with inadequate shelter ; creating an environment of stress, vulnerability, and desperation for families. An inspiring group of individuals are working to change all that by building homes with roofs that don't leak and doors that lock...”
I reached out to my friend Sammy about the project and he jumped on board to help me develop and shoot the film. My motto for the film was “show don’t tell” I really wanted people to feel and experience what was going on without someone telling you and I was dedicated to not shooting any sit down interviews in the film. It was to the point where I wouldn’t set up cameras for most of the interviews.
I contacted a couple potential donors and they agreed to help sponsor the film and then I set up a GoFundMe to raise additional funds from family and close friends. In total I raised around $12,000 for the film and was able to purchase a BMPCC 6k Pro Camera, pay some stipends to our crew members, vehicle insurance, production, post, etc…
After much delays because of COVID, I was finally able to start production in October of 2021.
The film was nearly exclusively filmed with a BMPCC 6k Pro Camera in 8:1, some additional footage during Glady’s scene was captured with a Red Komodo, and a vehicle mounted shot was filmed with a BMPCC 4k.
After the shoot day, I would take all the footage into Davinci Resolve and transcode into Pro Res 422 LT for Final Cut Pro. Making sure to keep all the camera name files the same. I recored all the audio separately on a Zoom F6 and with a Sennhesier ME66 mic and Sanken Cos 11 Lav that was timecode synced to the BMPCC 6k Pro.
Those files were then batch synced using Sync-N-Link, I would then go into the synced files and organize the audio meta data and link the audio to its corresponding FCP audio role. From there, I was ready to begin editing with the synced files that Sync-N-Link created.
I created transcriptions and .srt captions using Premiere and google translate.
It was a really amazing, clean, and not overwhelming workflow. You can check out how I organized roles and my project in the photo below.
Sammy encouraged me to start cutting early on, so one of the first scenes I cut was the intro into Misaels section. This was kind of a fast pace cut using the sounds of the day. I believe the second scene I cut was the intro to film. Neither of which I thought would end up in the final film.
By October I had shot all the scenes for the film and with the help of Sammy I was able to dial in the the final cut. I was then ready to get the film transcribed accurately in English. I had been cutting most of the film before that using the Spanish that I know and some poor Google translate transcriptions. Thankfuly I had the help of some awesome people that are mentioned at the end of the credits and they helped me get the film across the finish line.
Once I had picture locked in FCP, I exported an XML to DaVinci Resolve and a 32 bit master audio file. I imported the timeline and relinked the camera files to the original .braw footage. Decomposed all the clips in the DaVinci timeline, deleted all audio, imported and dropped in master audio, colored, added graphics, credits, and captions for final finishing. Exported final film in resolve.
I know this is a lot and fast but if you’re intrested in my workflow and need help on a project, I’m available for consulting.
I hope this this film is inspiring to you and motivates you to get out there and join an Amor Trip or even shoot your own films and tell stories. I would be remised to not thank my wonderful wife Hannah for dealing with me and putting up with my late night antics and discouragements. You push me forward and I love you for that.
The teachings of Jesus are why this film exist. He’s shown us to care for each other like ourselves and Gil, Gladys, Misael, and Julio are examples of that.