Free Spirit PRO producer Ricardo Segura talks action-documentary production in Spain
Hello my name is Ricardo Segura Jr, I am a student at Northern Illinois University and entering my senior year where I am majoring in Broadcast journalism and minoring in Spanish. I was first introduced to Free Spirit Media my sophomore year of high school when I participated in the FSM News West Summer Pulitzer Program where I created my first documentary on teen depression and suicide. Upon returning to school after that summer I realized that I had a passion for media and wanted to learn as much as I can getting involved in a wide variety of programs with FSM. I have participated in Free Spirit PRO, Flash Forward, and internships such as MK Films Group, Cutters Studios, and the summer Pulitzer Program. These programs all assisted me greatly when it came to the transition into college allowing me to be prepared when it came to instructional time since majority of content I was exposed to during most of the FSM programs.
I was recently given the opportunity through Free Spirit Media and Media Process Group to travel abroad to Spain and assist in the creation of a reenactment documentary based on the Baha’i faith and the story of the “BAB”. The span of the production phase for the documentary was about three weeks and during those weeks we would travel to a few cities such as Seville, Granada and Almeria. I was very thrilled to know that I would be a part of this experience because it would be my very first time traveling abroad so I was up to being adventurous and doing as much as I could. Media Process Group’s Keith Walker and I both traveled together and the total flight time from Chicago to Seville was about ten hours. We had a day to adjust to the time difference and prepare a little for the following day since we would be scouting out the Alcazar of Seville and finalizing some shots ideas.
The crew out in Spain was welcoming allowing me to work a little in each department such as (Production, camera, lighting and Grips) and were very open to showing me a little of the work they do. Although we had three weeks to film the scenes for the documentary, every day was crucial, considering we would have to wait for the sun to be working with us when it came down to lighting.
There were a few memorable moments I had during my time in Spain, but my favorite cities that we filmed in were Granada and Almeria. One of the scenes that I really enjoyed was an execution scene that they had in the Alcazaba of Almeria in the courtyard. It was one of the intense scenes because it was one of a few scenes that we used an antique firearm that the soldiers would be firing at one of the actors signifying the execution. One thing unique about this scene was the idea that, there, we had about thirty soldiers lined up with weapon in arm and in ready position getting ready to execute the other actors that were placed along the wall. I was near the area where they were going to shoot the guns, and I think the preparation that we took to ensure the set was locked down was tense just ensuring safety, too.
The other scene that stood with me throughout the shoot, which was pretty touching as well, was when we were on one of the streets of Granada and we were filming a scene where we had the actor being held by soldiers while wearing shackles on his ankles, arms, and a nose piece. This was an intense scene for me because as the actor we being pulled by the soldiers the towns people were shouting at them as they walked down the narrow street. There was a point when I was taking still images with the behind the scenes person and I got side tracked by the action. I didn’t realize the crowd was getting so close to me, and I had to run and get out the way just to be sure the shot would not be messed up. During this scene, we really made the actors bring out their emotion. I think what I really enjoyed most about working on the documentary is being able to work close on set and just being able to help at any given moment when needed.
I think my biggest take away from partaking in the creation of the documentary was being able to assist both camera operators, watch over their process, and see what they take into account when filming a scene. I think this really helped me a lot because having to create video journalism packages and “Day in the life” packages has really inspired me to take my pieces to the next level, and really plan to make pieces that are powerful and can really inspire an audience member.