Alejandro Montoya Marin Balances Action and Comedy on a Nano-Budget in Monday
Indie Film Junction | July 6, 2020
Indie Film Junction | July 6, 2020
Like Josh Stifter, Alejandro Montoya Marin was also featured in the Robert Rodriguez-produced series “Rebel Without A Crew” for the El Rey network. The series followed five filmmakers as they set out to create their first feature film on a $7,000 budget, the same budget behind El Mariachi. Alejandro’s movie, Monday, is now available on iTunes and Prime.
IFJ: Congratulations on the release of Monday, your first feature film! Can you tell us a little about it?
AMM: Thank you! Monday is an action comedy made for the reality show Rebel without a crew, Produced by rebel without a crew himself ROBERT RODRIGUEZ.
IFJ: You originally made Monday as a short. How much did the short inform your decisions when making the feature version? Would you recommend filmmakers shoot a short as a proof of concept?
AMM: Yes, do as many shorts as possible to help story telling and to show people what you can do.
IFJ: Even with minimal resources and an ambitious shooting schedule, Monday is able to sustain a high level of energy and showcases your talent for shooting action. Can you tell us how you were able to achieve that?
AMM: Oh man, thank you, how? I had great actors, who let me try different things. I wanted to do the best job possible, and they could see that so they gave it their all. The actors and my boys Kenny and Ryan had a BIG part in making this movie. I also embraced every problem we had. We wouldn’t let it get to us. We came close to breaking down, but we stayed strong. Just go shoot it!
IFJ: Many indie filmmakers shy away from action because there’s a preconception that dialogue scenes are easier to shoot on a budget. How do you feel about that?
AMM: It’s true. They are easier, but I like to challenge myself. That should be your goal as a director, to evolve and get better as a story teller.
I’m doing my first horror film. I’ve never done horror and I’m doing my research because I want it to be good. I don’t wanna just do the same project.
IFJ: Do you have any advice for safely shooting action and stunts under constraints like the ones you faced?
AMM: Be safe, considerate, don’t overwork your crew. Be tolerant and solve problems. That’s how you’ll get your movie done.
IFJ: Comedy is another genre that filmmakers might be hesitant to work in when there’s limited time, but Monday has so much of it, and it works. What was your approach to making sure the humor in the movie landed when there was little time to rehearse and virtually no time for extra takes to explore and improvise on set?
AMM: I was able to make a movie, mentored by one of my idols. The key is have fun. Enjoy what you’re doing. As hard as it is, I wouldn’t wanna do anything else.
IFJ: You made Monday as part of the “Rebel Without A Crew” series for Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network and had the opportunity to consult with him during production. What was the best piece of advice he gave you?
AMM: To be patient, and to edit in my head. Stress is gonna be present, I smoked a pack of smokes a day during production. But get through it. Jump the hoops, get to the other side and embrace it. You’re making a movie. That’s one movie more than everybody else.
IFJ: What was the most challenging scene you shot? How did you overcome the obstacles that it presented?
AMM: The party scene. I imagined a cold beer waiting for me at the end of the evening of shooting ad I just pushed through.
IFJ: What is something you learned while making Monday that you wish you knew going into production?
AMM: Be more confident.
IFJ: Did the script evolve during production due to logistical issues?
AMM: Oh yeah hahahaha, So much so, but at least 80% of the script is on the screen.
IFJ: How much of post-production did you handle yourself?
IFJ: When you were cutting Monday, did you run into any issues where something didn’t work or seemed to be missing? How did you resolve it?
AMM: I added style, I fixed it in post. We added subtitles, filters, and embraced the indie aesthetic and it worked, for me anyways.
IFJ: What is your favorite part of making movies? Writing, shooting, editing?
AMM: Shit, when the audience responds to the material. I always get misty eyed when people laugh and respond to the moments
IFJ: What is your least favorite part of the filmmaking process?
AMM: Editing hahaha it takes forever.
IFJ: With all the movie and series options available now, it can be hard to get eyes on a film that doesn’t have a giant marketing campaign behind it. Do you have any advice for filmmakers that might help their work be seen?
AMM: I go through the same thing. But keep making good projects, grow your fan base. Show them that when they see one of your projects they are guaranteed their money’s worth. Always take the audience into consideration.
IFJ: What would you say to a filmmaker with limited resources that is reluctant to dive in and make their first movie?
AMM: That’s an excuse. Get your phone, rent a camera, wash cars, take a summer job. Invest in yourself and make something.
IFJ: What’s next for you?
AMM: Our next film is Millennium Bugs, it’s done and just waiting to find a home for it. We want to shoot our horror film CAPTIVE, as soon as things are safe to go back into the world. Then a mini series based on my short film PERPS. After that, another movie with Mucho mas media and Corazon films. It’s gonna be a busy couple of years.
Director Alejandro Montoya Marin
Runtime 60 min
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