Last year I had the pleasure of coming on board a new campaign for fashion designer Ximena Valero. Her clothes have been seen on numerous celebrities including Jessica Alba, Katey Perry, Alicia Keys and Eva Longoria to name a few. Ms. Valero is well known for her clothing line Transformable Fashion, an innovative selection that has the ability morph into completely new looks and styles, by making a few simply adjustments, as can be seen from said video.
After viewing some of my projects, including 10 Years Later, Ms. Valero felt my style of filmmaking would compliment the look she wanted for an upcoming project. So began the infamous journey of preproduction. We sat in her studio, located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, and discussed concepts, ideas, and strategies. Was this to be a short narrative, a commercial, interview, behind the scenes? Eventually we came to the conclusion that it would be a series of mini documentaries where a subject would attempt to answer the question, What is Beauty?
Just over a week ago we began our venture in the mini doc series known as Transformable Fashion. Our first film would be with Rockabilly Model Janelle White. As far back as I can remember I've always been a fan of women that sported the classic 40s/50s look. The work and detail they put in their hair, make up and clothing, has forever fascinated me.
I also had the pleasure of teaming up with Photographer Sandra Jara. Sandra was a great help in documenting the shoot, helping me set up compositions and being the fresh set of eyes I needed on set. Plus she helped keep my lens clean, which is always a plus in my book.
We began the shoot in downtown, I wanted to get shots of Janelle in her street clothes as she made her way through the hustle and bustle of 7th street and beyond. We also made sure to stop and shoot at the Red Line station, I'm a sucker for subway shots. Pros: Cool depth of field shots of the tunnels and trains going through them. Cons: People walking into your cool depth of field shots of the tunnels and trains going through them.
While making our way to one of the locations I noticed that the streets we closed off. Block after block barricades were set in place as they took over a large sections of 7th street. I learned later that a half marathon was taking place that evening. So, seeing how the streets were closed and people had the freedom to walk in the street, I took advantage of this opportunity and got some great shots.
Later that day we continued our filming in Ximena's studio. We filmed shots of Janelle fixing her hair and preparing her make up. I will say this, I thought I had an idea of the time and effort it takes most women to get ready. Turns out, I was completely wrong. Filming all the detail and precision Janelle took to get ready, by the end I was exhausted to say the least. I had no idea the amount of effort it takes to look flawless. My hat goes off to you ladies, all of you deserve a medal and a high five.
In total it took about 8 hours to shoot, which isn't too bad for most projects. We already knew what we wanted and where to go, making preproduction keen. The final cut should be posted online soon and I will provide the link as soon as it becomes available. Here's to this project and more to come in 2014.
- Manuel Montanez
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