On Friday, November 4, 2022 from 8:15 to 11:00pm PST, First Friday Films interviewed the Cast & Crew of J. D. Mata's "Spirit, Light & Love" Official Music Video.
PhilE: Hello. I am Phillip E. Walker-MFA, the Meetup / First Friday Films (FFF) Founder & Host. If you have yet to see J. D. Mata’s “Spirit, Light & Love” (SLL) Official Music Video, please log onto. https://youtu.be/Z1gEKbyPbRo
PhilE: Elated to see you artists here at this November 4, 2022 "Spirit, Light & Love" (SLL) FFF Discussion, I thank all who have already arrived and who are still coming for attending this interview chat. So, who wants to start off by sharing their experience of creating what my Film Poster Quote review calls a SERENE dance on the Hollywood Hills?
Jeddah Ballet Academy: Hello Phillip. Thank you for having me.
Katherine Phillips: Hi Ethel. Hi Phillip. Nice to hear from you two again!
Dr. Ethel Pitts Walker: Hello, Katherine.
PhilE: Hi Katherine. Hailing for Highland, California, Katherine Phillips served as the Assistant Director for Ryan Stevens Harris’ 2022 Rancho Cucamonga 48 Hour Film Project’s “Sweetest Vacation”. I’m hoping that she wins the Inland Empire 48HFP 2022 regional competition’s Best Special Effects Award at our Film’s Election Day Best Of screening in Redlands, CA.
Katherine: Saw the Video and it gave me some major Aerosmith vibes.
Jeddah Ballet Academy: Yes, very spiritual too.
Jacks Guerro: Hi! Am I in the right place? I don’t have much experience with meetup 😂
Jeddah Ballet Academy: Hello Jacks! I saw your comment. I hope you’re there, since I know you have a lot to share.
Katherine: Hi Jacks. Hi Jeddah. Nice to meet you.
Jeddah Ballet Academy: Jeddah is Mary Frances.
I was in the Video. I wanted to share what an amazing experience it was. I’m an actress and dancer retired from ballet. I have to say it was so wonderful working with this Cast and Crew. It’s been awhile since I was able to express myself to music in modern dance and just be free!
Ethel: Phil is having major problems loging back onto this Platform.
Personally, I found the Video to be very peaceful and comforting.
Katherine: I'm also getting some Errors while refreshing. However, the phone app seems to work well.
Mary: Yes, well, I’m just so happy to be able to join up tonight.
Katherine: Nice to meet you, Mary.
Mary: Thank you Katherine. You too!
PhilE: I just got a phone call from Director J. D. Mata who is having problems loging into this Discussion. Hopefully he will be here soon.
Mary: J. D. Mata is an incredible artist song writer! Also, Phillip was so deep and his Character was up lifting but intense. You couldn’t help but gaze at him, even while filming!
PhilE: Jacks & Mary ~ For you, what was the most enjoyable aspect of shooting SLL?
Mary: As an instructor and former ballet dancer, it really felt magical to move to such a beautiful spiritual song!
PhilE: I felt the "magic" also, Mary! It was wonderful working in the environment that J. D. created and actual fun to dance among you and the other ladies!
PhilE: Katherine ~ Can you explain in more detail how "Spirit, Light & Love" (SLL) reminded you of Aerosmith?
Katherine: The melody reminded me of the one from Aerosmith's “Livin' on the Edge”.
PhilE: Katherine ~ To you, does my work in SLL seem similar to my "Sweetest Vacation" performance?
Katherine: I think it was very different. All the actors seemed like they were in a trance. My impression was that it was a shared spiritual experience with multiple spiritualities mixed in harmony.
PhilE: Katherine ~ I LOVE your vision that we Dancers were having a "shared spiritual experience with multiple spiritualities mixed in harmony". May I quote you in my marketing of the Piece?
Katherine: Absolutely! Additionally, “Sweetest Vacation” felt different acting-wise. You definitely have a good range, Phillip!
PhilE: Thanks for the Love Katherine ~ I take much pride in my range as a performer! Hopefully, it will help "Sweetest Vacation" win at the Festival de Cannes!
PhilE: Ethel ~ Please tell me what you saw as the theme in the SLL Music Video.
Ethel: I'm not sure about the theme. I thought it was about the spiritual togetherness of diverse members of humanity, and I found this to be comforting.
PhilE: Wow Ethel! You got something nice out of SLL as well! May I quote your "spiritual togetherness of diverse members of humanity" in the Music Video’s marketing campaign?
Ethel: Yes, you may quote me.
Mary: I’m very excited to hear about the up coming events!
PhilE: Cool, Mary ~ I wish you could come to Redlands on Election Night and be my guest at the 2nd ever screening of "Sweetest Vacation". It's a really good film that just might win the Inland Empire regional competition.
PhilE: Mary ~ You are a Hollywood performer who had your own dance studio before the Pandemic. Please share with us WHY you applied to dance in “Spirit, Light & Love” (SLL).
Mary: As a child and in my teen and college years, I was not only a dancer but also performed in the theatre. During COVID-19, I had to close my school in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. After two years I returned to the States, had surgery, barely recovered and then started submitting myself for acting gigs. Always in the back of my mind, Dance is there as a part of my soul! I saw the ad and became as excited as a school girl and decided to submit for the part Modern Jazz Dancer. At my age it’s not very common to perform as a dancer, so wow, was I happy that I got the part!
PhilE: Yeah, Mary! And we didn't even have to audition.
I no longer submit for jobs that don't pay my minimum $1,000.00 per day performance fee. But there was just something about J. D.'s Breakdown of this Gig that attracted me greatly. I think I could feel the kind spirit even in his writing. A refreshing discovery among Hollywood Breakdowns! So, I too was thrilled when I was cast. Then, that morning on the Hollywood Hills became more than I ever anticipated!
Mary: So true! And that’s right, Phillip, we did not have to audition.
Jacquetta Green: Hey there everyone.
Ethel: Hello Jacquetta.
Katherine: Hi Jacquetta! Nice seeing you again.
PhilE: Welcome Jacquetta Green.
Hailing from Redlands, California, Jacquetta Green was one of six event organizers from the 2022 production of “Junetenth.Rocks” plus was the first 2022 Rancho Cucamonga 48 Hour Film Project “Sweetest Vacation” Team Member to win an Inland Empire regional competition Award when our Film was honored as the AUDIENCE FAVORITE in Group A at its Oct. 19, 2022 Regal Edwards Ontario Palace World Premiere. Her trophy will be presented at our Short’s storming night Best Of screening in her hometown.
PhilE: FYI: Director J. D Mata can not login via his cell phone. Therefore, he is going home from his Gig tonight and will attempt to login on his computer. I will wait to talk with him about SLL. However, it is nearly 10:00pm, the time that FFF normally finishes. If you can stay for maybe 20 more minutes to chat with J. D., please say so.
Katherine: I can stick around for a bit.
PhilE: Good Katherine! Please think of a question that you would like to ask J. D. Mata about SLL.
Mary: I’m still hanging in here for another 20 minutes.
PhilE: Mary ~ Have you shared your SLL performance with friends and family? If so, what has been their response?
Mary: Oh yes, I did share. Everyone loved the Song!!! They thought the dancing was similar to a shaman. I told my daughter that no one was a Shaman, we were feeling the spirit! Most of my friends were quite taken by the vocals and lyrics. Everyone commented on the brilliant intense performance of yours, Phillip!
PhilE: Mary ~ I’m glad they approved! And, yeah I agree Mary, the Song is mystical. Its composer, J. D. Mata, gave permission for me to use it as background and theme music for video production in the re-election campaign of my City Councilwoman!
Ethel: I am signing off. Good luck to all of you who worked on the Video, and I hope it will uplift all who see and hear it.
Katherine: Good night, Ethel! Have a good night.
Mary: Good night, Ethel.
PhilE: Thank you, Ethel!
J. D. Mata: I'm in! J.D. here!! There's something about MARY!
Katherine: Hello J.D. Nice to meet you.
J. D. : Hi Katherine. Nice to meet you - too.
PhilE: Katherine ~ Once J. D. answers my question about how the Song came to him, please ask your question.
J. D. : The Song came to mewhile I was rehearsing at 3:00am at the Tujunga Village in Studio City. I practice there late at night, so I don't wake up the neighbors. LOL But, it came to me like a bolt of lightning, a true GIFT from the cosmos (Spirit)! There was no labor involved, within a 30 minute span, I had written the Song - and I knew it was SPECIAL! The next day, I put out the casting call for the Official Music Video. And the Song and Video were born within a THREE DAY span. I cast the project based on intuition. There were 100 submissions. I chose 4 Dancers.
PhilE: As I hope you can see J. D. ~ Katherine is a very special artist, who I hope you will hire some day!
Katherine: J. D. ~ I was also wondering about the Hollywood Hills Set. In particular the ring of stones on the ground. Were those there when you arrived or did you have to gather the stones and create the circles?
J. D. : In terms of the ring of stones, it was already there.
Katherine: What a great find then!
J. D. : This Music Video is Set in LA’s Runyon Canyon. That has been my magical place for the past 20 years! I run there. I have been waiting for the perfect project to shoot there and it arrived with “SPIRIT, LIGHT & LOVE”. There was such a reverence on the SLL Set, like we were all summoned by Mother Earth for a special mission. A truly remarkable magical experience.
PhilE: Yes, J. D. ~ Magical in so many ways that I can't count them all!
Katherine: J. D. ~ Do you have a studio where you record your songs? Also, did you play while on the SLL Set, to get everyone into the music?
J. D. : I have my own home studio, where I record most of my songs. In terms of playing on the SLL Set, I did not play live very much - but I did play along with the playback. I had a small generator, which allowed playback of the Song on a speaker. It was not too loud though. I didn't want to disrespect the beautiful nature and its inhabitants. It was just right:)
PhilE: Yes, J. D. ~ Having performed 97 music videos prior to yours, I can tell you from experience that your playback was absolutely "just right"!
Katherine: More and more people are making their own home studios. It's a wonder how technology has improved.
J. D. : I say I make "Studio Films," because I create, edit and many times shoot out of my STUDIO APARTMENT:)
Katherine: It was an honor to be a part of yet another great First Friday Film event and Discussion. Thank you, Phillip, J.D., Mary, and Jacks for the wonderful Music Video! It was nice seeing everyone tonight but I'm heading out for the night.
PhilE: Thank you for coming Katherine. As always, your participation was WONDERFUL! Sleep well.
PhilE: J.D. ~ Please let me now make a special public announcement!
As J. D. knows, "Spirit, Light & Love" this week received its first of many external Awards to come. Please check your email J. D. and view the beautiful Certificate which honors your work on our Music Video!
Katherine: Thank you, Phillip and congrats on the Award J.D.! Sleep well!
J. D. : I'm SO excited, honored and GRATEFUL for the Certificate. THANK YOU Phillip!!
PhilE: Good, J. D. ~ With just the two of us now remaining at this Meetup Discussion, please share some personal stories about your creation of SLL.
J. D. : We had a Cast Member, who when I first met her there at Runyon, I started giving her suggestions about where to park and wardrobe. However, she was just there to exercise and had no idea who I was, and what I was talking about. It compelled her so that she asked if she could be part of the Shoot, anyway. How could I say no, she was on vacation from Florida, and had been invited by the cosmos to join us.
PhilE: Yes indeed J. D.! ~ Jacks was here at the beginning of this Discussion but had to leave before I could solve tonight's tech problems and ask her to tell the magical story about her SLL casting. So, I'm glad you shared the story for this chat's publication.
J. D. : Also, Phillip ~ I believe that the second wardrobe which you chose for this Shoot truly made the Film special. You transformed us and rocketed this Project into another dimension.
PhilE: I’m thrilled about that vision J. D.! As I mentioned on the SLL Set, you were the first director to use that Wardrobe. It felt good to dance so purely with just that majestic piece of cloth upon my body. I'm glad it worked so well for the Production.
J. D. : All the cast members, MARY, PHILLIP, JACKS and JANA brought their super spiritual powers to the SLL Set and made this experience (for me) filled with SPIRIT, LIGHT and LOVE! I am eternally grateful!! I must also add that the spiritual movement in the Music Video was authentic, divine and delicious. It was art in motion.
PhilE: I love it J. D.! ~ "Art in Motion"!
Please explain in detail your dream or vision for the future of SLL.
J. D. : My wish is that SLL will travel the World in every way possible. My prayer is that it inspires anyone, who hears it - sees it or dances to it, that they be shifted to more spirituality, light and LOVE!
PhilE: Yeah, J. D.! We can do that. Just stick with me and I will help make that happen!
J. D. : I'm with you 100 percent!!!
PhilE: My final question for the night is one that I like to ask every First Friday Films featured artist when time allows.
As if you were a critic in a movie theatre where you had just watched "Spirit, Light & Love", please write a formal, critical but glowing Self Review of that Music Video. This is something that I will use as a marketing tool. So please take your time and create a well written Review.
J. D. : Upon seeing the title "Spirit, Light & Love," I was expecting a feel good, maybe even sappy feeling. However, I was left feeling inspired and interested in the meaning, the mystery of life and all its beauty. The music, written and scored by J.D. Mata - was subtle, serene, and soared in authenticity with its anthem like verses and chorus - Bob Dylan meets The Grateful Dead. The scope of the indie cinematic texture to the visual was divine. It has the look of a classic black and white film, but in color.
The setting of the music, The Hollywood Hills, I found to be curious. It's the juxtaposition of glamour against the backdrop of nature. It's as if it's an invitation for Hollywood to come and heal. Lastly, the spiritual movement artistry would make Twyla Tharpe, proud. Each Dancer seemed to be moving, as if being guided by Spirit, Light and Love. It is art in motion, as manifested by the final dance performance of Phillip E. Walker. Look deep into his eyes, and you'll get it, I did.
PhilE: Great job, J. D. ~ Yours is a fine, "Self Review"!
PhilE: As our late comer, we welcome Hope D. Williams.
Hailing from Aurora, Colorado, Hope served as the Production Designer and Manager for Director Ryan Stevens Harris’ 2022 Rancho Cucamonga 48 Hour Film Project’s “Sweetest Vacation”. She just might win the Inland Empire 48HFP 2022 regional competition’s Best Prop Award at the Film’s Election Day Best Of screening.
Hope: I enjoyed the music in “Spirit, Light, and Love”. The Dancers enhanced the music as they flowed with a smooth melody.
PhilE: There are so many great quotes shared in this SLL Meetup Discussion. Hope Williams' is yet another one. Great fatter to help design the up coming movie poster!
J. D. : Phillip ~ I will have to stop at this point. I have a few chores I need to get done before it gets later. THANK YOU for this inspiring beautiful Platform, for believing in me and for being such a FORCE for all things good in our World!
PhilE: That's a perfect way to close J. D.!
Phillip E. Walker: To be the subject of a 2023 FFF Showcase, Register your under 16 minute film/video at http://FirstFridayFilms.online. ALL TOTALLY COMPLETED FORMS WILL BE SCHEDULED FOR SHOWCASING.
That’s a wrap!