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Showing posts from February, 2017

Project: Waking Dragon

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Filmic Pro low-light tests from Juan Maestas on Vimeo.

I wanted to give this renewed effort a memorable name, so I came up with Project: Waking Dragon. Yes, I know it's cheesy, but I wanted to put some sort of energy, some sort of familiar to it. I've always thought of my familiar as a dragon; I feel my imagination is as powerful as one. And I feel that it has been asleep for a long time, and now it's waking up.

With that, I added this first video sketch- one of many- with clips I already had to get the ball rolling. There's nothing spectacular about the editing or the choice of shots. I had to throw something against the blank canvas to get started.

I have more video sketch ideas coming which I'll get more interesting shots and more creative editing. I also have about 6 mini-docs that I'd like to do profiling interesting people I know. All these projects are designed to get more familiar with equipment, getting out and producing stuff, and basically getting th…

Rebel Without a RED

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I had worked on a film that used RED cameras- and I can honestly say the equipment is only as good as its operators. Using a RED has always been the holy grail of many indie filmmakers that choose not to dive into film. Those that do often go the Super 16mm route- like Robert Rodriguez. In his book "Rebel Without A Crew", RRod claims he shot El Mariachi for only $7,000, and most of that was for the film stock. He begged, borrowed, and stole everything else to get the film made.

Before DSLRs, using a depth-of-field adapter was the only way to get a filmic look on to digital video. I attempted a DIY version on my little HV20… with mixed results.
Speaking of HV20s- amazing short films have been shot on them- take Ayz Wariach’s WHITE RED PANIC for example- it’s not about the equipment, it’s how you LEVERAGE IT:

WHITE RED PANIC  by Ayz Wariach, 2008
Still, shooting a feature on an HV20 is still going to be massively time and resource intensive. Not to mention it’s getting hard…

"Keeping it Fresh..."

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I got that line off of "Grounded for Life". I miss that show.

Although "Corner of the Mind's Eye" is in a state of hibernation, Lost Skies has been busy. As we speak, two feature length films are being assisted... and commercial work has been constant. The two films are "Archangel Alpha", directed by the talented filmmaker Aaron Martin, and "Two Sides of the Moon", produced by Helen Ferguson-Frichen. I think both will be extremely entertaining.
On the commercial front, package illustration has been done for Glowtrition International, for beauty product lines. To the left is a close up of of said illustrations. Digitally painted in Painter IX and Photoshop.
I've recently started a gallery at imaginefx.com, website to the best magazine I've ever read. I cannot say enough good things about it, it truly is that marvelous.
Although COTME is in hibernation, it's not dead in the water. It is currently in competition in the 2007 Slamd…

Meet Nadine Crowfoot

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Allison McGowan loves to perform in any capacity and is excited about venturing into acting. She currently "performs" as a television technical director and was cast as the female lead in J. Maestas’ short film Love's Confession.

In Corner of the Mind’s Eye, Allison is Nadine Crowfoot- the deceased wife of Joseph Crowfoot. Joseph is consumed with the loss of his soul mate, and his obsession has blinded him to sinister designs that he should have otherwise foreseen.

Allison is married to Todd McGowan, and together are raising one cat.

Meet Frank Crowfoot

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Although Albert Huerta decided to pursue acting in his thirties, he had in fact been born an actor. Albert had always dreamed of acting, and was told by many that he should get into it. Watching others perform and boasting he could do that, his lovely wife made him put his money where his mouth was and signed him up for a local church play- and at that point Albert was hooked.

Auditions were rough and discouraging at first. After one particularly rocky one, he considered hanging up the gloves. He called his older brother, Buddy, to let him know he was through- and being the wiser older brother, Buddy refused to let him give up. “My brother, he’s my biggest fan.” Albert chides when asked.

All of Albert’s mentors are right. He has an incredible gift. “Now I am an official SAG Status Actor… I am so grateful I didn’t quit.” Albert continued, “All I can say about this experience is follow your dreams and never, I mean NEVER give up! Your ship will come in one day and you need to be ready f…

80s-type Space Fantasy

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Been messing around with a couple of old ball point pen sketches. The idea for these group of characters was meant to be a take on a 80s indy comic's blatant rip-off of Star Wars. Pretty specific? Actually, not really- I'd go as far as saying that many comic books back then were very derivative of Star Wars or Star Trek.

I couldn't help but to put a mullet on the space pirate.

Salt of the Earth

Howdy!

It's been a while since I've updated, but for good reason- Lost Skies Productions has been very busy gearing up for a feature film that we are planning on shooting next year.

With that, we've started on a series of short films that lead up to the feature: the first one called "Salt of the Earth" starring Yolanda Arrey.

Yolanda is an incredibly talented actress who I had the pleasure of meeting and casting in Corner of the Mind's Eye a few years ago, and who also was cast in the 48 Hour Entry "Maybe...". I've always had told her I'd write a role just for her because she is so freakin' incredible.

Here are some stills from our past couple of shoots:


The Indomitable Yolanda Arrey


Linda Eyring & Chris Harvey


Chris Harvey who just got bad news...


...over the death of a loved one.


But are there others involved? Dani Jae and Tracy York seem to know.


And so does Trevor Hawkes- but he ain't talkin'.


Nor his partner- Russ Adams…

SOTE Post & Oisin

I seem to have a tendency to post close to the last day of the month. I will try to be a bit more frequent. "Salt of the Earth" is in post production. It's been edited... Sound Design needs to be done as well as some VFX. We're also in need of some pickup shots. I was hoping to get it done by the end of October... it still might happen.

I've been helping Russ Adams from Ritual Pictures with his new short film "Oisin", which is based on his feature "Malice". He had asked me to DP and edit it. It's been really great fun- we've been shooting it in downtown Ogden. We're half way done but I should have some stills to show in the coming days.

More to post soon...

Oisin Stills

Russ and I have been discussing the final look of the film, which he wanted to have a real cold, dark, stark grittyness to it. Part of the issue was our location was flooded with light and no electricity- which presented the challenge of shaping the light with flags and drapes. We cut down quite a bit of light, but the ambient was very wild.



Unfortunately, a generator wasn't an option- it would have killed our sound, and we didn't have time to make wild takes since the location was triple booked, much to our chagrin.



However, we did it. I'm happy with the results- though we agreed some of our last takes will have to be re-done because we were rushing in the end not to impede on the party with the third booking. Ah! The joys of micro-budget filmmaking!




This weekend, we're finishing up with the happier times of Oisin, and some gritty and horrific injustices that he must face.

The Post-Production Run

I'm in the process of editing 2 shorts right now- My short "Salt of the Earth" & Russ Adams' "Oisin". Not really a big deal, SOTE is pretty much done- it just needs a few VFX, a couple of Pick-up shots and sound design... and to be scored. I was hoping to finish it up this month but I'm going to have to push it off until November.

Oisin is forming rather nicely. Where we shot SOTE on location as the near future, Oisin was shot on a soundstage period set, built by the filmmaker himself. It was actually rather ingenious: Russ had built four panels of "brick walls" to create the period feel of an interior of a castle- everything from the local lord's chamber to the dungeons the prisoners were kept in. We did use one old metal door within the complex and moved the walls to simulate that it was the cell doors, and the illusion came was impressive. Later, he had flipped the walls around to create the tavern walls for the happier times of the…

What lights my fire

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Lost Skies Demo Reel from Juan Maestas on Vimeo.

As I look over all the endeavors of my creative life, I have often stopped to wonder what it is I am truly meant to do. I don't deny that I am gifted in drawing- but I haven't pursued it because while I do enjoy it to relax, it's only on occasion... and I never get into a state of "flow" when I do it. I'm not passionate about it.

Filmmaking, on the other hand, is something that I do enjoy. I love all aspects of it- from conjuring up a script to directing actors to finishing off the edit. I love it all. It is the art of the times.

I am truly lucky to have a day job where I am able to both draw and do video production. However, if I had to choose, I would definitely pick video... it simply interests me more.

With that, I am rebooting Lost Skies Productions for it's original function, as a virtual base for my filmmaking endeavors. I have a couple of small scripts I'm looking over and I'm planning on pe…