In this interview, Jamie Garcia and Brandon Guerrero of 1757s Studios talk about what it's like to work in film as they recently finished shooting their first and most recent project, "By Mothlight."
When did you start getting into film?
Jamie: I’ve been working on film sets for about three years now. I’ve always worked on local productions and have participated in films as an actor, producer, script supervisor, make-up artist, director... you name it, I’ve done it! I just love every moving part that brings a film to fruition.
Brandon: I've always been intrigued by the art of filmmaking. I love watching films as much as my body needs water. But up until the production of "By Mothlight" I thought actually working with film as a writer was way out of my league. Now I can't get enough. This is definitely the beginning of a new chapter of one I hope never ends.
When and how did you start 1757s Studios?
Jamie: Well in December of 2019, Brandon Guerrero added me on Facebook and proposed a meeting to discuss a film he had written. He was excellent at creating scripts but needed help getting the project off the ground. I offered to assist him by directing and producing his project. After that, we became a team and started working together to develop 1757s Studios.
What has been your inspiration?
Jamie: My biggest inspiration has been A24 Studios. They specialize in creating films that are risky, strange, and artistically driven. They focus more on visuals and character development than appealing to a mainstream audience. That is the type of film I’d say Brandon and I want to make. We are both invested in creating something “different” and hoping that an open-minded audience will embrace those ideas. A24 had a very similar approach. The first movie that made me fall in love with that studio was “The Lobster”, it is still one of my favorites. When that film was released in 2015 most people hadn’t heard of A24. But after producing so many films, the studio now has major mainstream successes with “Hereditary” and “Midsommer” to name a few. That goes to show that if you keep making the art what YOU WANT eventually people will embrace it.
Who has helped you along the way?
Brandon: Our biggest supporters are Audrey and Donald Paty. They let us shoot our film on their horse property and taught me that with the right attitude I can do anything I want. Without them, I doubt "By Mothlight" would ever even have happened.
What made you want to create "By Mothlight"?
Brandon: Nothing in particular. "By Mothlight" started out as this silly idea for a horror I'd thought would sit and collect up dust. I love to write and my drive to give this story life hadn't sparked until I met everyone who was on board. It's amazing what you can create with that little extra push.
Have you ever wanted to give up what you're doing? What keeps you creating?
Jamie: Many times I’ve wanted to quit. I recently took a 3-week break from editing to focus on my mental health because creating a film on top of working full-time and taking care of my home can be very taxing. BUT every time I feel defeated I decompress by going to the movies with my husband and I leave reminded of why I love filmmaking. I want to share my vision and talents with the world. I want to create something that will inspire other young adults to keep cinema alive.
What's something you've learned that you wish you would have known when you first started?
Brandon: To always be better financially prepared in case of any hiccups on set. You can basically never have too much money for production.
What's a memorable challenge you faced?
Jamie: The most memorable challenge I faced was finding funding for our project. As a producer I really wanted my cast and crew to be catered to since our shooting would be outdoors. I had an investor, Vidal Conde, generously contribute to the project because he is passionate about film. I used the money to pay for a port-a-potty, handwashing station, and disinfectants to keep everything COVID safe. But near the end, I was left short when an unexpected expense arose and I had to rent extra equipment. I asked the community for help three days before principal photography and I was touched that in less than 24 hours I raised more than enough money to provide food and drinks for everyone! I will be ever grateful for all who shared my post or contributed to the cause!
What is success to you?
Brandon: Happiness. Pure organic happiness. Forget mansions, forget Lamborghinis -once you go you can't take none of it with you. It's not all about the destination, it's the journey it takes to get there. If you can take a good look at your surroundings and say you're happy with what you got, then congratulations, you're successful. If you want more then go get it. But success is being able to say I don't want more right now, I'm good right here.
Jamie: Success to me is having people enjoy your work. Yes, money is nice but if you’re passionate about your art the biggest success is having it resonate with people. I want individuals to go to a movie and walk out thinking about its meaning, symbolism, and purpose. If something I make can inspire someone in any way that is success to me.
What are your dreams?
Jamie: I have many dreams. The biggest is making a change in society and collectively shifting our focus to protecting the earth and minimizing our consumption. I would like my next set to be 100% GREEN and offer sustainable/compostable materials. I think it is essential to create art that doesn’t harm our planet. I would love to direct a documentary that will motivate people to realize the lasting impact they make on the earth. Through my work as a filmmaker or even with my day job as a wedding coordinator, I strive to incorporate eco-friendly alternatives to daily needs.
You can support Jamie and Brandon by keeping up with their studio on social media.