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"Wassup en LA?" is your family-friendly TV

Deacon Pedro

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

by Mark Matthews, Undercover Hollywood Missionary
When Carlos De la Vega decided he wanted to become a filmmaker rather than an engineer, he didn’t let lack of funds stop him. A native of Nicaragua, he went back home and wrote a script that his people could relate to. The result was Los Gallos no Lloran (Roosters Don't Cry) - a feature he eventually directed, shot and edited himself. Back in Miami he peddled the film on the street-corners to the local Nicaraguan community who eagerly bought up his DVDs. He made back his production costs, and some profit to boot too!
I’ve seen this film and it’s no “Die Hard”, but it’s certainly no slouch either and rather fun to watch! It illustrates that anyone can make a film no matter how limited your means are. I’ve previously talked about films like “There Be Dragons” and “Little Boy” that have budgets of $30M and I want to dispel the notion that you need to have big money to get started in film-making.
Talent is more important than budget, and an example that illustrates this is The Human Experience. The film documents a pair of brothers' search for meaning in human suffering. Written and produced by Joseph and Michael Campo, they started simple by filming one of their friends living on the streets in their native New York. The film is thought-provoking and polished,  and went on to earn 30 awards, and gain distribution through Sony Pictures Classics. It’s surprising to learn that the whole film was produced out of their home by only a handful of people on a very limited budget. It goes to show that skill trumps money when it comes to film-making.
De la Vega is at it again. He and his partner, Rudolpho Zalez are developing a family sitcom: Wassup en LA?. Think of it as The Cosby Show but with a Latino twist, following the life of a Cuban family as they move from Miami to Los Angeles and the adventures that ensue. De la Vega is a strong Catholic, and wants to produce a show that is fun to watch, but without all the objectionable content and agendas so present in sitcoms today. What I’ve seen in pre-production is hilarious and I personally think the show will be a big hit.
They’ve developed the project over two years, and are now ready to produce the pilot episodes. Producing the pilot takes a fair chunk of change – at least $50K, and how they’re raising this money is unique – they’re using a new service called Kickstarter.
Kickstarter is social-networking-meets-venture-capitalism. Teams submit videos to the website describing their project, then anyone can pledge support, usually in exchange for early product or early copies of the film. The service has become hugely popular for indie films and tech companies.
Their Kickstarter campaign will be launching shortly, so check back here  and support their film. I think this is revolutionary because Christians can now have a direct influence on what kind of shows get produced. Studios will sit up and take note when they see shows like this get produced.
I’m inspired by Carlos’ story, and I think you should be too. Please keep these guys in your prayers as they put the final touches on their project.
Your Hollywood Undercover Missionary,
Mark Matthews
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Mark Matthews is a graphic designer and animator working in Hollywood.  Listen to his "What's Good About Hollywood?" column once a month on  S+L Radio.

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