Production Diary 6/27/2012

A column article by: Ace Masters


The astute will realize the last post Burning Mind column - on the recent Phoenix Comic-Con - was the first Burning Mind column in a number of weeks. I took some time away from the column due to some family issues, which once again is an unfortunate and untimely pending death of a family member, this time one of my aunts. I was also sick for a couple of weeks.

But the good news is I am no longer sick and my aunt has not yet passed on. The bad news is that my aunt is on borrowed time, with stage 3 brain cancer. Unfortunately, there is nothing I, or anyone, can do.

I will be sad to see her go, but life is life and knowing her, she wouldn’t want anyone to be sad, but to continue living. It’s an Irish thing.

To that end, I want to jump into this column with some gusto.


It’s time to get back to what life is about, for me, that is creating something that didn’t exist before, whether it be new comic books, novels, short stories, woodworking or the short film Smokes.

Smokes is the big reason for this Production Diary. I mentioned long ago that the production diary’s point was to highlight the development of my projects and to showcase what I write about in the business aspect columns being put to use.


Smokes is an original short film production, based on an original concept and story by Clay Stubblefield.

Smokes stars Greg Bronson, Bobby Minch and Ron Summers and features Dawn Nixon, Kirsy Olivares and Charlie Lai.

Written and Directed by Ace Masters, Produced by Ace Masters and Dave Parrish.

Two weeks ago, on Wednesday, June 13th oddly enough, the short film Smokes officially went into production. We shot over two nights, Wednesday and Thursday, for about 54 minutes of footage, which will become around a twelve to fifteen minute short film.

This was my second outing as director and producer and my first outing as cinematographer. Yes, I am the writer, director, producer and cinematographer on this short.

Smokes stars the same cast as my previous short film Did I Do Good, along with some new faces.

This is a major step forward and something I am looking forward to with high hopes for the future.

Smokes was filmed at the Super L Ranch Market, which is located at the COFCO Center in Phoenix, AZ. The owner of the Super L Ranch, Charlie Lai, was very supportive of the project. He not only let us shoot at his market for free, but he is also in the film in a small role.

What is the purpose of Smokes, and what happens next?

The purpose of Smokes is to showcase the talent of all involved: myself, the actors, editors and everyone else it takes to make a production come together.

Ideally, I did Smokes, Did I Do Good and future shorts, as a calling card to showcase my talent and get work in the film industry and maybe the comic industry. I also want to help the others involved move their careers forward.

Once the film is edited and ready to go, packets will be created and mailed out to three different places: agents, producers and film festivals!

Film Festivals will get Smokes the most exposure. I am still researching what festivals to submit it to; the only one I know for sure is Sundance. Getting out to film festivals -- and possibly getting awards -- is a great feeling.

Agents and producers are where one finds work, especially if one wants to be paid for a living. Similar to submission package cover before in the Burning Mind, the package going out to agents and producers will included a copy of Smokes, Did I Do Good, footage I shot from both films, bios, cover letter, promo materials and more.

The point is to showcase the work and how far you are willing to go to promote the work.

Of course, nothing is finished yet. I am still waiting on a first rough cut, and it may be three or four cuts before we get the short right.

However, Smokes is not the only project moving forward ...

Dragon’s Spear will soon be going forward at lightning speed.

Dragon’s Spear is within weeks of being ready for submission.

Starting next week – Sunday, June 24th – Malacai and I will lay the groundwork for the submission package, then start putting the official package together. Currently we set a target date of July 10th to start submitting this to all interested parties.

A couple of weeks ago I launched an official Facebook page where I will post updates and one random page of art from Dragon Spear on Wednesdays for the next few weeks.

2012 is shaping up as a good year and going forward into the second half of 2012, only good things can happen. This column will be one of them. I will continue to write Production Diaries, The Business Column and Opinion Pieces when I believe something is relevant.

Now, I want to end this piece by asking everyone to do me a favor: Create something. It doesn’t matter what, just let your imagination run wild and create something that didn’t exist before.

Ace Masters

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