Surviving as a Director and Where Do You Go

With the Killers Mask from Cider Springs Slaughter

With the Killers Mask from Cider Springs Slaughter

As a kid I remember dreaming of being on the set. The actions inside my head took place in dolly moves and crane shots. I did not grow up to be a director. I did grow up with a love for film and those who make them. I also feel I have gained a little bit of an understanding o what makes filmmakers tick.

Making a movie is always a mixed bag of emotions and agendas. Directors pin their hopes on a film and what it might do for them. Good directors usually can manage both and keep their focus on the film itself.

Continuum Motion Pictures The Team

Continuum Motion Pictures

It’s the agenda I want to focus on. I am making a basic assumption here, that the director wishes to make another film, make a bigger film and hopefully someday have a shot at making the big films.

I will share with you a bit of history I know. I have a friend who has directed a couple of big movies. He even went number 1 in the box office twice. His secret before he got to direct his first almost major film, he had directed probably a good 15 to 20 short films. With the digital world being what it is and the fact that all the filmmaking tools are now in the hands of almost anyone who wants to make a movie. Make movies. Make a lot of them. Set some rules so that if one of them gets attention it can go some where. Rules as I mentioned before about music and logos. Be working every chance you get.

The Worst Movie Ever and it is seen every where.

The Worst Movie Ever and it is seen every where.

I have had the chance to talk to many filmmakers around the world. Those that set their minds to it and take action make movies. Not always the best movies but they make them.  That has been our approach. Stay in production. Along the way you meet others that want to make movies as well. Work with them. Build a team.

The failure is rarely in the production values or technique, people just want to hear and see a good story. Take a moment on your stories. Work on a couple of ideas at the same time. Try and work with many writers or people who are trying to be writers. The number of drafts is what is important on a script. By definition a first draft no matter how good it is, is bad. Work out the stories so they make sense. And if you are making a movie that does not make sense intentionally embrace it and people will notice.

To quote World War Z when Brad Pitts character is talking to the Latino family: Those that keep moving live, those that stay die. There is truth to that in filmmaking. Keep moving and keep filming.

The Making of A Movie: Mano a Mano – Continuum Motion Pictures

Danny Torres CEO: Continuum Pictures

Danny Torres CEO: Continuum Motion Pictures

We began the project Mano a Mano a while back. It seemed at the time that it would be a pretty straightforward project.  Well that is until Bruce, the pick up truck, began to behave like Bruce the shark, in Jaws. We went through five tires, a battery, were towed out of the desert nearly every day we shot with the truck, caught on fire and just sometimes stopped working.

Mano a Mano is the story of a group of Latin immigrants crossing the Arizona Boarder illegally. Shortly after crossing they run across two Minutemen in a truck who begin to hunt them down. It is a thriller in the tradition of Spielberg’s Dual and El Norte.

We were lucky our two leads Mesindo Pompa and Luis Villafranca both are phenomenal actors.  They brought rare depth to the characters, which is one of the reason the film is getting as much pre-release attention that it is.  I myself James Duval and Austin Anderson play the Minutemen. I think we may have be typed cast based on our looks.

Matt Dyer writer/director and Danny Torres producer/DP ran the show.  It was a definite group effort on all parts. The entire Continuum Pictures team was involved from its inset.  We would leave LA at 4am and drive out to Apple Valley every day.

The film is a testament to the actors and crew’s dedication. It has definitely been quite the journey.  Bruce broke down at least three times on the way to the location. Can’t really complain. When you see what we put Bruce the pickup truck through it is amazing it survived at all.

We chose to shoot Mano a Mano in Spanish. The script was originally in English, but as we moved into the material, it was obvious that this film had a voice and that voice was the voice of the people crossing the boarder.

Unlike many chase movies, the film takes the time to explore the reasons for the crossing beyond the standard cliché statements on immigration.  Mesindo Pompa’s character is driven by his own past, while Luis Villafranca’s is driven by a dream.

Danny Torres, the son of immigrants from El Salvador,  found a way to guide this film as a DP and Producer that has kept the film fresh and new.  When Matt could not be on the set, Danny would take the helm. This is definitely a team vision, down to the dialogue.

Danny Torres

worked with Matt through many drafts before giving his green light. It has become the flagship project for Continuum Pictures and its move into the studio system.  It shows how a little company started in the San Francisco Bay area, can come to LA and actually make a movie.

Mano a Mano Temp Poster

Mano a mano directed by Danny Torres CEO Continuum Motion Pictures

Continuum Motion Pictures since mid 2007 as of this date has completed five features from pre to post, Convict directed by Austin Anderson, The Absent directed by Jason Durdon, Sabor Tropical directed by Jorge Ameer, Ocean Front Property directed by Joseph Neibich and Mano a Mano.  Additionally Continuum Pictures has reposted House of Adam directed by Jorge Ameer,  posted Ten Cents Short directed by Austin Anderson, and many short films.

Mano a Mano represents a leap in Continuum Pictures production ability. These lessons now take us into our next slate of projects. The whole team moves forward, with us recasting Mesindo Pompa and Luis Villa Franca in roles, as well embracing a new set of directors from our team, Quan Tran, David Scruggs, P. David Miller and Tyler Ross.

Danny Torres CEO Continuum Pictures & Austin Anderson

Danny Torres on location

A movie is often a metaphor for the life experience of its director.  Mano a Mano has become that metaphor for us as filmmakers and as a company. The Continuum Pictures team has learned along the way, you really have to want to be here and do this for it to work. Mano a Mano is the journey of two men who want to really be here. It is a reflection of the American Dream and the difficulties in finding it.

Continuum Pictures: The Dynamic Duo Danny Torres and Jason Durdon will give you Shivers.

Jason Durdon & Danny Torres

As Cider Springs Slaughter (formerly The Absents) begins its roll out, Continuum Pictures Studios now located on the Parmount lot, is gearing up for its next feature film Shivers. This vampire/action feature is to be directed by both Danny Torres, CEO of Continuum Pictures Studios, and Jason Durdon, CEO of Filmplane Entertainment.

Danny Torres CEO Continuum Pictures

Danny and Jason have been working together since the inception of Cider Springs Slaughter. They first met on a William Branden Blinn production, Thirteen or So Minutes, that went on to win in festival and play in many festivals around the world. Since that first production as producers, they have had a unique ability to set ego aside and work together as shared visionaries.

Recently, they co-directed the Zombie film Sirens, which will be released in 2012 on a Zombie Compilation called Zombie Chronicles. This shared experience, brings a powerful for to the production of Shivers.

Production on Shivers will begin late January 2012. In October 2011 Danny Torres lead Continuum Pictures Studios through negotiations which ended with the financing of three features, with Shivers being the first of these production.

Shortly after the completion of shooting on Shivers, the Jason Durdon directed Cider Springs Slaughter will release on VOD and DVD. Check out the trailer included in this post.

– James Duval –

Jason Durdon Kicks Off New Blog on Continuum Pictures

http://jasondurdon.blogspot.com/2011/10/starting-gun.html

Jason Durdon editing

Day 1 of the blog, the big online account of my march through hollywood. It’s Sunday, Bears are on their bye, and I’ve actually spent the whole day without turning on the TV or my big computer. Just me and my lady relaxing. This is strange by pretty much every account of my normal daily life, so I’m just enjoying these last couple hours before hitting back on Monday morning.

This week should be pretty exciting, lots of possibilities, lots of options. Like that feeling you get walking into the Home Depot. So much you could do, and everything you need to do it is right in front of you. That’s how I feel right now. We’re busy as can be at Continuum Pictures, November is starting off jam-packed with the fresh ink on a picture deal “SHIVERS” that my buddy Danny and I will be co-directing in January. SciFi / vampire pic. Heavy on the action, heavy on the awesome. A foreign picture deal that could see Continuum expanding to another continent, that’s brewing. James Duval and I celebrated by abusing the “all you can eat shrimp’fest” at Red Lobster. Scripts and stories are being sent in, details to follow. There will be no sleep till Brooklyn Christmas. (Any Beastie Boys fans out there? One or two? Maybe?)

So start following this blog if you happen across it. This is where I’ll be dishing out all the latest movements in my film endeavors, posting info on indie filmmaking, tips on how to make movies better/ faster/ cheaper, and also crying about the Chicago Bears. But only a manly cry. On the inside. Boys Don’t Cry. Glad I saw it, never watching it again. I segue a LOT.

Reinventing the Reel: The Five Hardest-Working People I Know in Hollywoo…

Continuum Pictures Producer Scott Hayman
Continuum Pictures: Reinventing the Reel: The Five Hardest-Working People I Know in Hollywoo…: I work really hard at being a filmmaker. Really, really, ridiculously hard. But I have my limits. This is a post dedicated to the five pe…
Scott Hayman should have included himself in this. He is an amazing young man who has helped us to get to the Paramount Lot as a company. He even found Danny Torres who became the head of our company and the leader of our journey as filmmakers.

Redemption: The Darkness Descending

On the Set of The Darkness Descending IMG_2440On the Set of The Darkness Descending IMG_2469On the Set of The Darkness Descending IMG_2456_2On the Set of The Darkness Descending IMG_2443_2On the Set of The Darkness Descending IMG_2392On the Set of The Darkness Descending IMG_2439_2
On the Set of The Darkness Descending IMG_2436_2On Set The Darkness Descending IMG_2441_2 james duvalOn Set The Darkness Descending IMG_2446_2 James DuvalOn Set The Darkness Descending IMG_2451Danny Torres On Set The Darkness Descending IMG_2459On Set The Darkness Descending IMG_2454 James Duval
On Set The Darkness Descending IMG_2462 james duvalSkeeter On Set The Darkness Descending IMG_2456_2Danny Torres On Set The Darkness Descending IMG_2443_2On Set of The Darkness Descending IMG_2473 James DuvalOn Set of The Darkness Descending IMG_2496On Set of The Darkness Descending IMG_2535_2 James Duval
On Set of The Darkness Descending IMG_2538 James DuvalDanny Torres On Set of The Darkness Descending IMG_2540_2Danny Torres On Set of The Darkness Descending IMG_2549Danny Torres On Set of The Darkness Descending IMG_2546 James DuvalOn Set of The Darkness Descending IMG_2554 James DuvalOn Set of The Darkness Descending IMG_2556 James Duval

The Darkness Descending, a set on Flickr.

Blue Dragon Entertainment and Continuum Pictures present:

Redemption: The Darkness Descending written/produced by Frank Krueger, Produced by Wylie Small, James Duval, Danny Torres. It was directed by “Break” director Marc Clebanoff. It also starred Frank Krueger, Wylie Small, William Romeo, Daryl Crittenden, Michael Walton and many others. The director of photography was Dave Sell, with additional from Danny Torres:

The Darkness Descending

Below one of the country’s most vibrant cities lies an unseen world shrouded in mystery and violence. In the vast maze of subway tunnels and caves, people struggle to survive as they are forgotten by the world above. Nothing is exactly what it seems and danger lies around every corner. It is a world of stories.

Chelsea Henderson, student and filmmaker entered this underground world to document these stories. This is what she found.

Via Flickr:
Written/Produced by Frank Krueger, Directed by Marc Clebanoff, Produced by Wylie Small, Danny Torres, James Duval

Blue Dragon Entertainment, Continuum Pictures

The Darkness Descending explores the harsh world under he streets of New York.

Filmplane and It’s Producers (via Filmplane: Facts and News)

Filmplane has a new site. it is an indie company which specializes in well passion and artistic projects as well as horror and thrillers. It is part of the Continuum Pictures film group. It is headed by Jason Durdon who became a Continuum Pictures Partner in 2010 and head of Filmpalne in late 2010. He and Danny Torres, head of Continuum Pictures make up a very intense producing and directing team.

Filmplane and It's Producers Filmplane Entertainment exist for the purpose to encourage independent films and to assist them in acheiving a higher creative success and distribution. It's mandate unlike Continuum Pictures, is any format any genre. The goal was to create a mechinism where the producer of Continuum Pictures, Dan … Read More

via Filmplane: Facts and News