Angel first came to town in late April 2016. As I drove to the airport to pick him up, I thought about how I didn’t even know who he really is. I didn’t know his race, physique, appearance, or personality. Here I was, having a man come and stay with me for a few weeks whom I didn’t know at all. What if he were a thief? A slob? A psychotic? A cat-hater? Too obese to sleep on my air mattress? In fact, all I knew about him was that he liked my screenplay, had a relevant resume, and was a colleague of my cousin’s.
Fortunately, Angel turned out to be a mild-mannered gentleman with a strong sense of fairness. And he had many skills that would be essential to making the film project happen. There is no doubt, RIK would not have been made without Angel.
Already, I mentioned several of the functions Angel performed: drafting the budget, helping find locations, selecting crew, arranging the auditions signup online, and helping me make sure that people I wanted to hire for post production were technically able. But there are a myriad details to making a movie, many of which Angel handled. Some were unanticipated.
We had rented a large truck with a very comprehensive and expensive set of lighting equipment. The company told us that there’d been battery issues with the truck, but that now they were fixed. However, at the end of the first day of filming, the truck wouldn’t start. And it was not in a good part of town. And it was night. I had arranged with the Mesquite Police Department that we’d be able to park the truck during off hours in front of the MPD, where there was not only observation from the office in front, but also cameras on the site. But there was no way to get the truck to the MPD. So, Angel stayed with the truck.
Oddly, a similar thing happened on the next to the last night of filming with our other big truck, one rented from U-Haul and which was filled with other expensive equipment, including the Digital Imaging Technician’s computers and drives. Again, Angel stayed with the truck. The toll on him was pretty severe. He was already perpetually exhausted from the long days, but to have to spend his night hours protecting the truck was a bit much.
But many of Angel’s Producer duties were not unusual. He made sure that we had all of the necessary permits for filming at locations, arranged parking for cast & crew with the city and conveyed it in a map to everyone each night, and notified all residents around where we’d be filming so that there’d be no problems from neighbors. But, perhaps most importantly, he handled a myriad of questions that arose every day, from whom our single driver should be transporting to where, to who should fill out an accident report if they tripped and fell.
Angel was also very, very helpful in a part of post-production; he commented extensively on several of the edits. Even though I knew he was unhappy that I didn’t act on all of his recommendations, he was extremely influential. One of his key roles was to identify cuts that were choppy and make recommendations on fixes. Also, without his hard-nosed criticisms of the action scenes, they would not be good. Angel was the single most important reviewer of the film. He had a very positive and outsized impact on the overall quality.