Transforming for Stay Home

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Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who has watched Stay Home short film. The response has been amazing and bigger than my wildest dreams! I have a goal to get to 100k views we have a long way to go but I have faith! Making Stay Home was a transformative process not just from documentary to narrative but physically as well. I knew that I wanted to go method actor lite with this and show some real hair growth and 

bread mangle making this film to show how 14 days could progress. With Stay at Home orders in full effect, there wasn’t any way to get nice shave and haircut so the temptation was low.
Going into the shoot day for bathroom scene I had a decent growth on my beard and neck and my Continue reading

STAY HOME Watch it NOW!

Ready to watch STAY HOME : SHORT FILM HERE or on Facebook.com/arowefilms or youtube.com/arowefilms. It would mean a lot to me if you all hit the like buttons and share it with your friends. Help me get this to an audience. Part of this is self-promotion because I want my hard work to be seen but also because in the process making Stay Home, a film in which I was the sole cast member (with voice by Carla Ayala) and crew, this became much more than a first time film. With the development of COVID19 in America developing in real-time, it became important for me to not just be a character that happens to be black but to provide context to what that means in the narrative of this pandemic mesh with the black experience. How we as people of color poorly deal with our health, not seeing doctors, not taking things seriously, and improperly deal with mental health as the demographic hardest hit by the COVID19 virus. I made last-minute changes to help create an undertone to the visual narrative because to me the role of an artist is to entertain, create perspective, and say something. Without those last-minute tweaks, I believe I would have done the audience a disservice as an artist. For me this is more than a film or short film, it is a fracture of the black experience during a health crisis. Thanks for watching and I look forward to your feedback!

Savage U with YBM Smoove

You know sometimes you plan something and have a vision and idea and its all plotted out and then all of a sudden the whole house comes down and you have to catch up. That is basically the story of Savage U. I contacted YBM Smoove earlier this summer with an idea to help promote the release of his new album “Wichita Savage University 2” and everything was go. Problem was that I didnt have time yet and I wanted to let him finish the project first. Fast Forward I cant ever seem to have enough downtime to really work with anyone and that be the only thing I have going. What I have yet to talk about and I will tease here is that I will soon be releasing art work for sale as well as People Collector merch but we will save that for another time but visit https://arowefilms.com/buynow. I have also been working on the podcast along with creating a new show and my usual doings with EFC. All of this made it hard to give Smoove a date and it has been a game of chase the mouse. Smoove opened for Cali’s controversial rap star Blueface and the way he talked the days leading and after I wasn’t sure if he realized how much things had just changed for him. I also didn’t know Continue reading

From the Ground Up Episode 2 : Plainview Kiet

This was not supposed to happen the way it did. It felt like this episode would never finish. I went in thinking this would be the shortest episode to come from the “From the Ground Up” series because of the lack of content. When we shot with Plainview he was dealing with a lot of personal things which were documented in the episode but it meant musically there wouldn’t be a lot of the rich b-roll that was captured with other artists. I told Carla this would maybe be 20 minutes.  Recognizing there would be a struggle to get to half an hour I thought of ways to have a creative edit that could push the episode to 30 minutes.  As I started breaking down the segments I soon realized maybe there is far more here than I thought.  Plainview was very slow to open up. I could tell he came in wanting to be open but has never been put in a position where he would be on the record to express the things that truly troubled him. As I reviewed content from each session I realized he was giving more and more each session.  He was less guarded as we spent more time together. Which actually made the editing process harder. I no longer could breakdown segments into themes on a subject matter, I had to treat the segments more like peeling the layers of onions.  Plainview would give me explanations through his guard and then on another day give me a little bit more with a new context that served as a vehicle to a larger revelation that I discovered. Plainview Kiet actually suffers from a crap ton of inner turmoil and trauma.
 After a session of shooting when Plainview was shooting a music video Carla said to me “…I find it interesting that he said he grew up without his parents…” I initially blew it off as this is a very common theme amongst artist in this genre who come out of broken homes. It was not until I was more than half done with the scene arrangement that I realized that that notion would be almost the driving force behind a lot of Plainview’s personal makeup as a person. I knew that I had to balance that across the episode and this grew to make this one of the most complicated edits I had to make. The people want music music music but as a creator, I know the long lasting impression comes from the story and it is my job to balance what people want with the story I need to tell. The initial cut of Episode two came in at 47 minutes. Which was far too long I knew cuts needed to be made. This audience will not have the patience for 47 minutes of talking no action. I had to make some major cuts and I had a nice flow to where things were headed and the next thing you know the MacBook charger committed suicide. The damn thing just stopped working with 30 percent battery left. This would be the second charger to go within a year and I was surely not going to pay 100 bucks for a new one from Apple. 9 days later thanks to Amazon I received my replacement. That was a painful thing because I do so much of my creativity on the Macbook and I was stuck.
Boom I am back at it and lost all momentum but now after time away from it, I realized many of the cuts didn’t make sense and the flow was blah.  43 minutes is the total time and I think maybe if I re-edit the final scene  I could cut about 4 minutes off of it. So I rework it and boom 42 minutes…not enough… maybe if I cut this conversation and rework the middle scene I would save 4 minutes… nope  41 minutes. Maybe if I make this scene last and move this to the middle I can save 4 minutes.. blah blah blah. I had become obsessed with getting this once 20-minute episode that ballooned into 45 minutes down to 30 and I just couldn’t do it.  It was frustrating because now I am finishing Plainviews lines and actually having conversations with the screen and just going delirious about this one episode that should have been done a month ago but the god complex of directors make you obsess over small things that the big picture wouldn’t see. I had finally had enough and became content with the final runtime. The people have waited long enough and the stories were so pivotal that the need to be longer so that context would stay intact. 
There is one scene I wanted to keep but used it as a tradeoff to keep a story I felt was more important about his relationship with Space Station  Not Human owner Tevin Jacques.  I will use that deleted portion for bonus content later and it is about his use of the N-word in his music as an Asian artist. Heads will roll but its the conversation fans wanted me to have with him to justify his reasoning.  Another more obsessive nature of the edit occurred after I submitted to being done I watched it over and over and said to myself “lets back the early half with even more b-roll to keep energy high going into the second half when things get more serious. There is one beautifully emotional moment where we get to share the reuniting of Plainview and his mother for the first time in over a decade.
Episode 2 of From the Ground Up drops on Facebook and YouTube or the official website March 30th, 2019 at 5pm. I hope everyone enjoys it please let me know what you think.
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