It’s not everyday that students can travel to the movies and watch a film their peers directed. Junior Brandon Woods and sophomore Bella Ramirez, however, are looking to break that standard.
Back in middle school, Ramirez developed the idea of creating her own movie. Around May 2018, she began working on the script, but, upon realizing her lack of cinematography skills, decided to table the thought due to lack of motivation and faith in herself. At the beginning of her sophomore year, she joined WAHS, where she would learn how to film, edit and write her own scenes.
Ramirez knew she couldn’t complete her vision alone. She found her co-director in her fellow WAHS member, junior Brandon Woods.
“Immediately [Woods] stood out to me as the kindest and most patient student in the group,” Ramirez said. “Beyond showing extreme patience and kindness, he also had a lot of talent needed for the film. He knows everything, I swear.”
Woods currently serves as the business manager of WAHS, but has been a part of the publication since his junior high days at Heritage.
“Editing? He’s a Premiere Pro,” Ramirez joked. “Audio? He knows Audition better than NPR. And the most wack of all, his skill with the camera is positively insane. He shoots Hollywood-level video in South Florida.”
Earlier this year, Ramirez and Woods worked together on short films for WAHS, including a music video. Taking their skills to the next level, Ramirez formally asked Woods to join her movie crew in early December, and the bond escalated to co-directors somewhere along the line.
“I knew of [Ramirez] and that she was a yearbook legend but had never personally met her before WAHS. Because she was new, she wasn’t sure how to edit using Premiere Pro or any other software; therefore, I offered to teach her,” Woods said. “She was very attentive and seemed to care about learning new things. [When Ramirez approached me about the film], I said yes because I knew that she was a very diligent person, and I knew that when she has an idea, she sticks to it.”
The movie itself stems from a writing prompt Ramirez encountered in middle school. Tackling the merger of two popular genres, the duo is working to bring a superhero comedy to life.
“In the dark times of today, people really need a reason to laugh,” Ramirez said. “As a lover of both superheroes and comedy, a superhero comedy seemed like a must for a local summer hit.”
After about three weeks of writing the initial draft of the script and about another month editing it, Woods took it upon himself to spend about a week designing the costumes for the characters on paper as well as in Photoshop. The team took several more weeks finalizing the movie logo, piecing together audition packets, getting the film’s website up and running, finding locations, creating a financing and marketing department, building props and more. The schedule extends into August, when the film premieres.
As for the cast and crew, Ramirez and Woods, along with their musical director junior Jeremiah Bang, advertised auditions via their respective social media platforms. The orchestra, headed by Bang, will play original music that will be featured in the film.
Bang, another member of WAHS but also a percussionist in the Patriot Band, found the film to be a great way to combine his love of media and music.
“As a music composer, I get to analyze the themes and motifs of the story. By doing this, I can further develop those ideas with music and bring in audio cues that really portray the audio behind the film,” Bang said. “At the same time, as a cinematographer as well, I can look at the ideas in a visual perspective. My position allows me to see two sides of this storytelling that effectively depict the message the directors are going for.”
Not wanting to give too much away, Ramirez noted that the “hero and villain break the mold” of the average superhero movie. The script contains “plot twists, breakdowns, elevated humor, not-so-elevated humor and really loveable characters,” according to Ramirez.
Regarding the financial aspect of the film, Woods explained how the team looks for sponsors to fund the film. They also plan to ask AMC theaters to show the film and donate proceeds to Project Alive.
As of now, the film still has much work to be done, but with the cast and crew already set, hopeful viewers can still count on seeing “The Adventures of Mister Perfect and Friends” in theaters August 2019.