JD Mata Films

J.D. Mata is an actor, independent filmmaker, musician/ Choir Director, Piano Bar player, etc... He lives in Los Angeles. This is the place where he will reveal his "rebel without a crew" Robert Rodriguez inspired style of indie filmmaking secrets! And, just "A day in the life" stuff!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

"Double hitter"

Yesteday was a "double hitter" in the sense that I shot a DAY/ INTERIOR then a location became available at the last moment and I scrambled to find the actors for the shoot and shot the unplanned NIGHT/EXTERIOR scene as well.

I was sitting at the Swinging Door BBQ restaurant in North Hollywood feasting on some Tri-Tip celebrating a successful day of shooting with my good friend Steve Worth, as I do every Friday night, when the call came in that the location was available. I was off to the races!

The day shoot consisted of my friend Dave who works at Jennifer's coffee house where I have my makeshift office.
In the scene, I stab him in the eyes. So sad; cause, he is such a visionary! Ok, bad yolk!! haha

For the night shoot, I managed to corral another Jennifer's clan, Wes, don't know his last name, and another buddy, Robert. Robert by the way is from the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas as well. They played Detectives who also succumed to the forces of evil, DANTE!

My mammoth crew consisted of the AWESOME Fernando Luis as Camera Operator and ME!!!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Three is free...

Again, there were just three of us at the shoot today. (Camera asst., "Fernando Luis," supporting female lead, "Erika Arias,"& myself-Lead Actor- Director.)

Fernando is an amazing actor, he plays a cook in this flick, and has been golden as Camera operator. I have a feeling he'll be making great films someday.

I can't stress the importance of working w/ minimal crew and actors.

We shot at my friends house using one of her rooms to cheat as Dante's apartment. Then we moved on to my apt. for the exteriors.

The whole shoot lasted about four hours, and no "B.C.D.'s! (behind the camera drama)

In terms of the scenes, Dante kills his ex-wife who came to collect on a pile of backlog of child support payments! This guy is a total psycho.

I'm near the END!!!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sweet 16

I shot day 16 of the Psycho flick last night. Call time was 8:30 p.m. and we wrapped around 4:00 a.m. By nature I'm nocturnal; therefore, if you work on a movie with me, you too will be nocturnal!

Last night's shoot was free of any "B.C.D's" (behind the camera drama). My crew consisted of my Camera Operator, the lead actress, and me! Trust me, a reprieve from the B.C.D's is a direct result of indie rebel w/out a crew filmmaking!

I write my scripts with this in mind. For example: One of last night's scenes consisted of a chase scene in a big old basement parking garage. My character DANTE is chasing and trying to KILL the female lead, CHLOE.

First of all, I knew that late at night that huge basement parking garage would be empty and LIT like a freaking million dollar action thriller! Secondly, because its basement parking for a market, there are always grocery carts, MY DOLLY SHOTS!!!

And here's the best part, the pilars, escalator, elevator, and amazing depth of field, were all FREE!

When you see this chase scene you will be PROUD, or maybe just wanna kick my ass for getting your hopes up:(...

P.S. My very first post is a music video I recently shot. "SHHeck" it out!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

On the mend....

It turns out the lens to my camera needs to be re-calibrated. This is a result from dropping it last week in which i've blogged about. Basically, everything on the viewfinder was a bit off kilter which really worked for the elevator Killing scene i shot a couple of nights ago.

This is also a great excuse to take a break, no pun intended, from shooting!

The EDITING phase is right around the corner, and i can't wait.

One of the many blessings of being a "ROBERT RODRIGUEZ Indie Filmmaking Disciple is you get to edit your own flick as well.

Friday, September 22, 2006


"Call time" was midnight this morning cause we were using an elevator at a parking structure on Ventura Blvd. There were no people or cars which eneabled us to work uniterrupted as I, "The Mexican American Psycho," severed the EAR off another victim because he couldn't name a Mexican American Acccordion player!

We put a sandbag on the door of the elevator to get our shots in when some dude drove up cause he was trying to use the elevator above us. He didn't fret since he saw we were shooting a flick and not like stealing stuff. Actually, we were stealing the SHOT!

Then, we heard footsteps as a security guard came within feet of busting us, but stopped right before our makeshift location.

The scene was "KILLER!"........

Thursday, September 21, 2006

"Filmmaker on the Run!"

So how does one shoot 2 1/2 pages from a script in less than four hours.
"Do it before my spouse gets home!" Okay, you guys are sick! It's not what you think. Shoot the, "SCENE," before the spouse gets home.
The crew consisted of me and a camera operator, and another actor. I used a three lighting set up. Key light, Back Light, and Fill Light, what more do you need!
Just to re-cap, I'm shooting my fifth feature film, "Mexican American Psycho!" I'm using the Panasonic DVX 100A 24p camera, and a 3 piece ARRI lighting kit!
All locations have been ""Begged, Borrowed, & Stolen!"
Yesterday, we transformed a perfectly beautiful dining room into a studio apt. where CHAVO the cook in the film lives, and DIES! I, playing, DANTE, the Psycho killer, does the honors. Alright already, I know it's not a stretch playing this role;)......jd

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Back to the "Promised Land"

I fly back to the "City of Angels" today from McAllen with a deeper realization and affirmation that filmmaking, pardon the cheeze, is my "Calling!"

I will continue shooting Mexican American Psycho tomorrow....

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Where two or more are gathered...

In my view the screening was a "SU" not a complete "SUCCESS" The attendance was scarce as there was virtually no publicity for the film. All of the publicity went to larger budget films.

I had a few people come up & tell they cried at the end. Well okay, my mom & good friend Betty. Mom said this was my best film! I think she also kinda said that about my last film, and the one before that one.:)

By the way, I think these film festival's are losing perspective in terms of what they are about! When I think of a film festival I think of "Out of the Box," "Artsy," Unconventional, Ultra-low budget filmmaking with unknown actors, and FILMMKERS who like pawn everything they own to finish their movie! For the record, i haven't pawned everything I own, YET! That's only cause they wouldn't give me SHIT for my Timex!

Back to L.A. soon to finish Mexican American Psycho!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Home on the range...

as you've guessed, still in McAllen, as in a couple of hours will be the screening of "THE DIVORCE CEREMONY!" I'm curious to see how this audience will respond. since i'm from here, i'm hopeful they will identify more than anyone else in the world w/ this movie. I really think this movie has a chance for distribution!

I visited my parents yesterday, as i had not been able to so over the past years due to various circumstances, and it was truly an amazing reunion!
parents ROCK!

C u at the movies and i'll report on the response from the home "Peeps!"

now get out of here and go shoot a movie so you to can have the ANXIETY, NERVOUSNESS, DOUBT, SEL LOATHING associated with showing your film!! JUST KIDDING!


Thursday, September 14, 2006

My arms are tired....

I sit here at the airport of my hometown, McAllen TX, as I've just flown in from L.A.
My arms are tired from all that flapping! :)..If you think that's corny, you should have seen my grandma's feet!!!! haha.McAlen is still McAllen as a part of me still misses this place, but my real home is now L.A......I will visit my parents. I haven't seem them in like two years..........

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A pause for the cause...

So i decided to cancel today's shooting in order to do a minor re-edit on THE DIVORCE CEREMONY which will screen at the CINESOL film festival in my home town of McAllen, Texas this Saturday, Sep. 16, 2006 at 4:00 p.m.

A pause for the cause is always recommended, in my view, to all you indie "Run and Gun" filmmakers.

Look, if you're like me, you poor bastard if you are, I edit my own films, and that process takes at the very least a month. So to extend your "Principle Photography," by a week or so due to burn out is prudent, in my perception.

Your head will tell you that you're being a lazy bastard, and you probably are anyway when you're not shooting; but, if you read my last blog about dropping the love of my life, my camera, shit like that starts to happen when fatigue sets in.

Take a pause for the cause and you can use tweaking your last film as an excuse to do so! Your camera will thank you!

Now go shoot a movie! You lazy freaks!

See You At CineSol

Here is a link to a newspaper article on "The Divorce Ceremony," my third film, starring APOLLONIA KOTERO from "Purple Rain" & myself which will screen at the CINESOL film festival this weekend in South Texas.

CineSol celebrates 13 years with screening across the Valley

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Camera FELL, but not our SPIRITS!

Todays shoot was amazing then right before shooting the last scene of the day, I got sloppy, & didn't notice the mount on my camera for the tri-pod was loose. I rested the camera on the tri-pod and gravity got the best of me. I managed to break, no pun intened, part of the fall with my foot. The camera did not break, and we continued to shoot & pretty much laughed it off. My heart sank faster than the velocity of the drop!!!! Thank you film GODS!

Today i was an Actor, Director, D.P. Grip, & Craft service. In true indie style, BABY! the fatigue and weight of wearing all those hats I'm sure contributed to my baby taking the plunge this evening!

Mexican American Psycho lives to FILM/FIGHT another day.

I will not shoot day 14 till next Wed as tomorrow I'm doing a tweak to THE DIVORCE CEREMONY and get it tight for the film festival on Sat.

Oh ya, I'm flying to McAllen Texas, my home town on Thursday for the CINESOL film festival!

I look forward to seeing my family and friends. all TWO of them haha.....amor, amor, amor

Filmmakers must wait to DIRT NAP!

I just got through shooting, it's almost six a.m. and my call time today is at 8:30 a.m. If you wanna be an indie filmmaker you must make a pledge to never sleep again, until that nice perpetual siesta, "Dirt Nap!" I found a camera operator, but he got tired and left early! Another consequence of people coming on board for free & expecting it to be like a summer camp experience! Not indie filmmaking! Morelike BOOT CAMP! I had to set up the shots on the sticks then run into the scene! It's quite fun & funny. If you go to my screening, I will tell which scene it was at the Q&A. I'll work to the bone, because it is my baby! I should have gone faster, but I can't unring the bell. I must sleep now.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Indie "Fire Fighter"

I've shot 11 day's of my new flick, "Mexican American Psycho," & I've spent about $500.00 Robert Rodriguez, EL MARIACI, FROM DUSK TO DAWN would be proud! However, It's been brutal finding locations and crew to work for free. I used a really cool camera operator, but, I just found out this morning he will no longer be available. I would shoot the scenes, but it's kinda hard because I'm in them. I suppose I could clone myself, but that's another genre and another future jd mata film, anyway, back to the subject at hand. This is what we call in the film world, "Putting out fires!" And this baby is a BLAZING! So, i must stop blogging and start fighting! I shoot tonight at 8:30! I'll keep you posted. Like you care!:)

Mexican American Psycho shoot, "Stunts"

In indie filmmaking, there are no funds for stunt men. I did a scene where I'm thrown & dragged into an apartment by JOY, a victim in my movie, from my "Killer" Poncho. My body aches all over this morning as i did this scene w/ absolutely no grace. When you see the movie and you see me thrown & dragged in like a "Rag doll," it's the real deal! I often tell people that filmmaking is my Wife/Girlfriend, well yesterday i got the "Crap" beat out of me. Do you know the # to social services in L.A.?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Cowboy Boots In L.A.

This is my latest original song and video.