Juan Carlos Oganes' film-making and work blog.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

More horses for Elmore's chase scenes

So, the Ing. Teodoro Elmore chase scenes are scheduled for prompt filming together with Margarita's (a rabona character) departure from the battle field. The latter to be done this saturday.
Went to check on the horses that will be used on the chase and got myself 50: the same real number of the chilean Carabineros de Yungay squad that was sent by general Baquedano to oversee damages to the railroad and enemy lines and defenses north of Arica. The valley scenery is perfect to emulate the Chacalluta valley where it all happened.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Film versus junk TV approach: Thoughts...

As the end of the year approaches and also in the final run to finish my film, many things come to mind: It's been quite a road so far, quite a steep road, but I'm saving the thoughts for now and will just write them down here at the actual end of the year.

This weekend we filmed Elmore's improvised prison scenes where he is interrogated about the mines all over Arica and the encounters on it's streets with Carlos Weguelin. As always, filming sessions take quite a bit for I'm very careful with lighting and the mood I want to create, dialogue and accent is also of paramount importance and of course the veracity of the acting and performance.

Talking with some actor friends and specially with some that haven't had film experience but just TV, it is quite a demanding job to do perhaps just tow or three scenes per day approximately compared to twenty or more on TV. My surprise when talking those experiences are of high value as it is an interesting fact worth mentioning here and of whcih I also have an answer that I shared with them all: Film is forever, TV is the here and now.

I come to this conclusion and train of thought because I'm sure many out there have noticed this fact of our own national TV productions and series: lame, superficial and as far as low-class production value scenes, story, plot, acting and character development, not to say the artistic side where there is simply no interesting lighting but just plane/flat atmosphere all over. And this is the result of a sad but true fact about some local producers and directors: the go the easy way out to earn money quick. Period.

TV relies heavily on advertising and on the time factor where -without soundign redundant- time is money so there's a tendency to rush the taping and recording process as to go on to the next scene in order to be in time for next week's (or even tomorrow's!) airing. No wonder technicians, production people and producers treat each scene like if it was some kind of "run for your life" scenario where continuity, essence, depth, professionalism and or artistic value doesn't count. That "fast food" type of filming is a process I so hate and dismiss because in the end the only excuse those people create is the fact that our audience is not well eye trained to even appreciate a well done TV series or film, bceoming easily amused, thinking that's the way productions should be because of their undereducated ways of appreciation, etc.

But I've seen it's just a thing that happens here only as far as I've noticed. TV series abroad like from Europe or the US come packed with high production values all over. TV series like 24, Dr. House, CSI, Law & Order, Six Feet Under, X-Files, etc. are full of imagery and artistic flair that it's a movie in just a TV hour (42 mins. The rest is filled with commercials). Maybe a person would tell me not to be cruel and compare their TV with ours as they manage millions of dollars in budget. Bullshit. That's not excuse. Money is no excuse for lack of good lighting, good plot, well shot scenes and deep character development. It's just that lazy Peruvian approach to TV audiences (which many call "chicha") that go for the quick and easy way to earn large amounts of money with minimal production values in order to comply with those audiences standards. "Why bother giving them a nice, lush, polished product? They are not gonna appreciate it anyway" -I've heard them say. Perhaps some don't and perhaps they wouldn't be able to output as much as twenty-something scenes a day if each one was shot correctly, losing it's deadline in the end, but at least they would start to train our Peruvian "chicha" populous eyes with higher values, raising it's standards and becoming more appreciative of the art of film-making and/or TV.

I'm sure if we took some local TV series abroad (I don't want to mention series names for many reading this have their own picks to which one I might be talking about) to those countries, they would immediately bounce back for not meeting world-class or at least professional standards.

We have to educate our people with more production values and also our actors with the proper attitude and approach to them for it spoils their view of this audiovisual field and makes them think film is also like TV and that it should be shot quickly and fast so they can leave and go home or do something else. Film-trained actors or with film experience know that film is art and art needs its time to cook like a good meal. The Gioconda wasn't painted overnight nor is a film that wants to put audiovisual value into it. No wonder I'm not alone on this and have also learned that a fellow respected Peruvian director that precedes me in age and experience even takes longer to shoot (one scene per day), taking months and months to finish his film.

Film is art. Film is forever. I don't want to rush thru it's process only to watch it later when done and see some scenes lacking that flair I wanted initially and find myself kicking my own ass for not taking more time to film it only not to bother an actor. I don't want bad scenes to haunt me each time I watch them. I want to be proud of my product and so should "real" actors who respect themselves do. Thank God I have plenty in my film, otherwise I'd have to fire many at the very beginning, slowing down my schedule. When I cast I look not only for talent but also for attitude. I love my cast.

Film is art...and I will never treat it like "fast food" as many other producers here do. No matter how much money they earn or how spoiled they are, it's of no wonder why they are infamous for putting on TV so much crap. Crap they don't even mind to supervise for they don't even show on set many times as real directors who love their new creation as their baby do.

No wonder we are where we are at....and we have to change that.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My MAS magazine october article

My October article for the MAS magazine. Forgot to post it back then :P

Soon...the November one.


Feeling that numbing/tingling sensation on the right side of my face and arm again. Was feeling it some days ago and now it's back.
I know stress levels are high nowadays and I got lots to handle but it's starting to worry me much.

Still working here to get this done in time. The year is ending and many holidays get in the way of my filming schedule. It is a hassle to work with hundreds of extras and make many things coincide in time and space, but no matter how organized, it is hard anyway for anyone who has done this or wants to do something of this size and scope. This week's scenes are of lesser scale but on December comes the larger ones (except for next week's Ciudadela's explosion which involves almost two hundred on set).

Meanwhile, here are some freeze frames / frame captures from my film camera of recent scenes. Looking good if I may say.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Reviewing footage on a free day

Resting for the day sleeping eleven hours straight. Two days of continuous filming with only two hours of sleep isn't the healthiest of things but if I don't push things forward, who else will? The price of being independent in the film industry: freedom of creativity-lack of rest.

Was falling asleep driving myself home last night. Not a good sign, I guess.

Bolognesi and More atop Alejandro Mac Lean's house.

Rehearsing the lines with actors.

Applying prosthetic and make up for soldiers

Peruvian soldiers resting in the trenches of the Ciudadela fort.
Slowly, things are getting in shape. Watching how many scenes I'm away from finishing can be overwhelming but entering finally the last part can be also exciting. 30% more and I finish it all.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Good to be back

First day of filming after a hiatus of a couple months waiting for the right weather paid off.
It was like if time never passed and we've all been filming for endless months, well oiled so to speak.
As always, coordinating with army people is handling things in another way different than in civilian ways. Maybe because of the size of the Institution is that it takes way much longer to get things done in comparison to my people and it can be a bit draining, but it finally flowed along fine.
First day of filming for Carlos Vertiz as Bolognesi in the desert as we have already shot with him interior shots early this year. Now it was together with Arias y Araguez and Francisco Cornejo.

Finished the whole five scenes scheduled for today and they were done with the care and time I like to take for each. No rush and no careless improvisation but pure time to do the best takes one can take.
Happy with the results.

Tired, sleepless, dirty, unburnt but pushing forward.

Came back home at 1:30am and tired.
Tomorrow, another day of filming....and on and on.
It's good to be back to filming and making my dream :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lights, camera, action!

At last, after long and stressful days of hassles and hurdles, tomorrow we restart filming "Gloria del Pacífico".

It is maybe not good timing date-wise for holidays in the army are approaching (they are already celebrating and it interferes with my schedules (or mine with theirs) and finding common time and space for both parties is a battle itself. But finally orders are orders and tomorrow is soil, heat, thirst and sun burning again.

Worth waiting for the sunnier weather. Continuity reasons.
Send us strength, people!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Filming day approaches and doing all the coordinations and planning for it is as always, a steep climb uphill and headache. Was missing retaking my film and the adrenaline it feels but, it is also nightmare doing stuff this size and specially trying to pull together many things like the army (and it's erratic times), hundreds of extras and it's wardrobe, thousands of blank-bullets making, actors schedules (that sometimes clash with their own agendas), transportation and all the expenses it involves to make it happen in the same time and space. And now that holidays approach its even worse!!

I truly love this film but it is in reality a true huge mind-boggling thing to put together. There are times or days like now that I just wish I could close my eyes and have it all come together as I envision it in a second. But until the day I get granted magic powers, I have to do it all alone, one by one and in its pace so it is done as professionally as it has been so far. This truly sucks my whole time and drains me emotionally with all the hurdles and dilemmas that I have to solution in tight time-frames. But when I see the results in the trailer and the footage on my editing station...it's all worth it.
The nation deserves it.

Last night, while attending the last day of a theater play of some good friends of mine (who also appear on my film) that takes place in the Presbitero Maestro cemetery, as I waited to be seated, I walked toward the Guerra del Pacifico hero's pantheon crypt. Never been there before and not even at night, but it was a good experience. If only they knew all the efforts I'm doing to make their sacrifice worth in the minds and eyes of the new generations of Peruvians. I called for their strength for they also faced hurdles involving hundreds of people. Maybe they are sending me light and strength from heaven all these time.

I want to finish this soon. I love my film and I truly need a break: physically and emotionally. Still a few months away from doing the last scene.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trailer "Voces en el Silencio"

Made a trailer for the film I did last month "Voces en el Silencio".
Seems it will be turned into a feature lengh one and we are in the talks for it.

Now, back to do the filming schedule for "Gloria del Pacífico".