When you shoot a movie, you essentially make three movies. You write one and, oh boy, does it look pretty on paper since it’s all in your head. It’s a dream state, everything moves so fluidly, so uninhibited. It’s your world, unchecked.
Then you shoot a movie. You fill your story in with faces, morphing text into bodies and bodies into text. Some faces you’ve never seen before but find in your artistic and spiritual community. You come to them and they to you, when you need them and they need you.
Then you edit a movie. Your movie turns into an unrecognizable form, at least during the early going. Then boom, you’re inspired to orphan the literal intent of your story/screenplay. In the dark booth, the footage speaks: “oh surrender, my good friend…”
The marrow of Mismo did surface though—a feat only possible because of the indefatigable talents of Lorraine, Danny, and Jeff. There is no “I” in filmmaking. Just look at the credits. Lots and lots of souls interacting, sharing talents, sharing energy, and then boon, reality created.
I met my film partners when I moved to San Francisco. I wanted to further my interest in storytelling. This sounds so self-actualizing, but we long for stories just as much as food and sometimes more. Storytelling reflects us back onto ourselves.
We see our journey through the characters before us. We see and overcome our interiorized struggles by witnessing characters leap hurdles and slay dragons (okay, that’s the boy in the sandbox speaking), then wham, you see the characters (and your interiorized self) slipping out of the belly of the whale. A light beckons. The hero returns home from his journey. You return to your bodily mind with a newfound gift too.
No mythology is more powerful today on our temples of consciousness that representing our journeys to ourselves in the form of movies. We love visuals. We love them even more when they move before us. Who would have thought, put twenty-four pictures in front of me and watch what you see.
“So Gino, what is Mismo about?” I’m supposed to have a perfect pitch line—the grocery line kind that woos the mortal makers of movies. Don’t have that, but I do know what we have. We have stories upon stories breeding together, born out of human connectivity. We are caught in an ecological web of causal social relations. Most of the time these relations are unbeknownst to us, until we are affected, of course, wondering what just hit us.
Our fellow humanity hits us. No fault of anybody. Most of us are not evil by nature, just frequently mistaken. However, it’s in the commerce of our mistakes that we come face to face with our brothers and sisters—sometimes dramatically, sometimes tragically. Whatever the case though, we inevitably learn that as much as we think we are different, we are also all the same. Mismo.
Mismo was bootstrapped by its core team of producer, director, camera operator and sound/lighting technician, who pitched in dollars every month to cover the costs for making the film. During production, more than have the budget went to feeding the cast and crew who, on most days, enjoyed delicious home-cooked food courtesy of New Shoes Productions aka Lorraine Flett catering.
Because there was virtually no budget, the cast and crew volunteered their time, and, in most cases, locations were free. With such a complex, parallel story line, there were many schedules to coordinate, and, as though that were not enough, we shot in 44 locations!
One Friday when the producer and director were scouting locations, the producer received a phone call that her main actor for the weekend had an eye infection. Without missing a beat, she went into action making phone calls to find out whether pertinent cast members were available to work with the other actors already scheduled for that weekend, all the time calculating which locations would be needed for which scenes - and then making the necessary calls to secure locations. Of course, the whole cast and crew call for the weekend had to be entirely redone...
In her words, it was just a Rubik's Cube. The director, however, commented, "They should hire you to run Homeland Security. Heck, I don't think Patton was this efficient."