by Jenni Ruiza
Actors are notorious for singing the sad song that there are no parts out there for them and, yet they seldom ever do anything about. So instead of complaining about it – we decided to do something about it! Creating the concept of “Becoming Ricardo” (Jesenia) and then teaming up to write and produce a full season of 10 episodes (both Jenni Ruiza and Jesenia).
It has truly been an experience unlike any other providing the optimal lens for creating work for ourselves, in addition to the attempt to rebuild classic comedies, such as I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners, which have always been special to us.
We’d like to thank TVWriter for recently reviewing our “Becoming Ricardo” pilot and pointing key issues that needed improvement in our pilot – which were some of the hardships we faced in our very first attempt at producing our pilot.
First thing’s first, you need a solid team. Jesenia and I have proven over the years to know exactly what works for us. Some writers are okay with passing their scripts via email, engaging in little interaction and real face-to-face discussion over their characters, actions, and dialogue. That simply doesn’t work for us. All of last year, we could often be found with papers scattered all around the table or sitting for hours on-end in front of a computer. Reading lines aloud, deleting, editing, adding and then burning out to start again the next day.
We presented the season one scripts to our cast, some crew, and a few industry friends, and after each episode was read, we then opened the floor for questions and/comments. Our actors gave us their candid opinions on the development of their characters and some fresh perspective on where some of the scenes could possibly go. After that, it was back to work – back to the computer seats to edit and tighten up the scripts until it felt right in our guts….and then came crunch time…A deadline set by nobody but us – because we are our BOSS, so we had to report to ourselves!
As the writers and producers of this show, we are HEAVILY involved with every detail of the show – from costume to shots to angles to sound to music to hair and makeup – you name it, we are involved! We even cater each and every shoot. Because we are so heavily involved, we had to work with a crew of people who understood that about us, without miscommunications.
We had so many technical difficulties and artistic differences during the filming of the pilot that would be too long to list (so we will save that for another post) – but instead of complaining, we learned from it all. We regrouped and formed a strong team — we hired our previous DP as our new Director (Tony Clomax) and appointed a new Director of Photography (Charles Gates), we hired a Gaffer/ Lighting Engineer (Jose Arias) and a Sound Technician (Nahja Noon).
We are working still working on a small budget, but with the help of the donations from our fans, we are able to have a little more wiggle room and have been able to invest in assembling a very talented crew! We are still working out kinks all the time – because we are perfectionists, we are certain we will get it right!
One thing we’ve realized when it comes to picking a solid team is that you can’t always go on referral or word of mouth. Work that was done well on one project may not translate to the needs of another, specifically one that you may have a clear vision of.
We make it a major point that all those on our team must have the same vision that we do about “Becoming Ricardo” – once that delineates or gets lost, quality is sacrificed. But at the same time – we encourage and respect everyone’s art on our team and allow them to express their ideas and expertise. We are very BIG on interviewing someone we may be thinking of hiring.
Our project and presenting it to our viewers with the utmost quality is incredibly important and not something that we would ever put in jeopardy. There’s nothing worse than having a team with a bunch of “I” captains, so we look for team players – individuals who enjoy not only their work but the strong efforts that their team puts in as well, whether it be our director, or actors, or even our production assistants (which can often times be us…and we’re okay with that).