Show Us Your Shot: Behind the Magic of WEB

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In this segment of Show Us Your Shot, writer/director Leslie Rivera discusses how his short movie, WEB, a supernatural thriller about a father trying to keep his newborn daughter safe from a terrifyingly large spider, came to be and how he created the special effects for the movie on a low budget. Through a combination of masking, compositing, green screen, and stock footage (various shots of a tarantula in front of a green screen were purchased from multiple stock footage sites), Rivera was able to bring the creepy antagonist of the movie to life.

Rivera created WEB working as a one-man band filmmaker, which allowed him the flexibility to make the film while juggling his responsibilities as caregiver for his child and freelance editor. It was the perfect way for him to make WEB, to continue his passion as a writer/director and spend as much time as possible with his daughter.

Rental storage unit turned studio for Papi Ramirez vs Giant Scorpion
Rental storage unit turned studio for Papi Ramirez vs Giant Scorpion
Scale model car prop used as real car
Scale model car prop used as real car
Final wide shot comp of lead character Bruce "Papi" Ramirez driving his car (scale model 1964 Mustang convertible)
Final wide shot comp of lead character Bruce "Papi" Ramirez driving his car (scale model 1964 Mustang convertible)
Production footage of writer/director Leslie Rivera as Bruce "Papi" Ramirez to be composited with footage of scale- model car
Production footage of writer/director Leslie Rivera as Bruce "Papi" Ramirez to be composited with footage of scale- model car
Final close up comp of lead character Bruce "Papi" Ramirez driving in car
Final close up comp of lead character Bruce "Papi" Ramirez driving in car
Writer/Director Leslie Rivera builds a miniature set.
Writer/Director Leslie Rivera builds a miniature set.
Writer/Director Leslie Rivera builds a miniature set in a rental storage unit turned studio.
Writer/Director Leslie Rivera builds a miniature set in a rental storage unit turned studio.
Miniature desert highway set
Miniature desert highway set
Getting ready to film a miniature gas station background plate
Getting ready to film a miniature gas station background plate
Miniature gas station background plate ready to be composited in FCPX
Miniature gas station background plate ready to be composited in FCPX
Miniature gas station plate with a foreground parking lot plate and a background stock footage plate of mountains composited in FCPX
Miniature gas station plate with a foreground parking lot plate and a background stock footage plate of mountains composited in FCPX
Bruce "Papi" Ramirez parks his car (a scale model 1964 Mustang convertible) at a motel parking lot with a miniature gas station background plate chromakeyed and composited entirely in FCPX.
Bruce "Papi" Ramirez parks his car (a scale model 1964 Mustang convertible) at a motel parking lot with a miniature gas station background plate chromakeyed and composited entirely in FCPX.
Rivera films a miniature highway background plate.
Rivera films a miniature highway background plate.
Rivera builds a miniature gas station set.
Rivera builds a miniature gas station set.

Photographs from production of Papi Ramirez vs Giant Scorpion courtesy of Leslie Rivera

Leslie Rivera’s Bio

Stories, entertainment, movie magic, and the search for truth. Those are the things that drive Puerto Rico-born writer/director Leslie Rivera to create uniquely entertaining narratives. For Rivera, each project is an opportunity to push his chosen art form further, to explore the human condition, and to leave a mark on the fabric of the world. A winner of the Philadelphia Film Festival’s Philly Pitch and a Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab semi-finalist, he has made myriad short films and documentaries. He is an avid educator of low-budget filmmaking techniques, believing it is through hard work, mistakes, repetition, failures, and self reflection that a filmmaker learns and gets better at their craft.

Rivera has taught multiple master workshops for various organizations, including the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival. His YouTube channel, Les El Blatino Cineninja, is full of video tutorials that teach movie magic. Rivera is currently in post-production on his five-part limited series, Papi Ramirez vs Giant Scorpions, which was shot in a rental storage unit using green screen, miniature props, sets, and stock footage to create a quirky, campy, retro cinematic look for an entertaining story about the lengths a soon-to-be-father will go for his child.

Links for Leslie Rivera

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