There's an exchange in The SunQuest between Ben, the story's main character, and Bo'Ra'K'n, the evil force that is never quite vanquished in The MoonQuest and The StarQuest.
"It's not over," Ben shouts.
"It's only just begun," Bo'Ra'K'n retorts with classic menace.
I gained a whole new perspective on that exchange Sunday evening after we wrapped shooting on The Q'ntana Trilogy preview film: All the footage may be in the can, but the road to getting our feature films onto the big screen has only just begun.
On the preview alone, there are hours and hours of editing to be done, a soundtrack to compose and final decisions to be made about the best form for this film to take in order for it and our project to convince investors to finance a MoonQuest feature. (The preview film is part of a presentation we will be making in the months ahead to potential MoonQuest-feature investors.)
Once funds start coming in, and I know they will, there will be a million additional things to consider, primary among them are finding a director, production designer and DP (director of photography) who hold a vision that can lay the foundation for the world of The MoonQuest.
I can't move forward, though, without looking back -- not only over our two weekends of principal photography, but to the months of preparation that preceded even that. And as I look back, I do so with a depth of gratitude that has no adequate words to describe it. I couldn't possibly name all those whose talent, time, skill, support and generosity have made it possible to get even this far. But there are three I must single out:
• Kathleen Messmer, who so believes in The MoonQuest that she's bucking conventional wisdom and launching her production company (Anvil Springs Entertainment) with an ambitious, SFX- and VFX-heavy fantasy, and so believes in me that she's taken me into her home to make it possible for me to devote nearly all my time to this project.
• Darryl Garcia, Jr., whose commitment to The Q'ntana Trilogy has been superhuman. Kathleen told me early on that there's nothing Darryl can't do, and he quickly proved her right. There's also little he's not prepared to do, which became clear when he stepped up from his casting-director role to fill director's shoes no one else dared take on. This was Darryl's first directing gig, and he performed brilliantly, passionately and creatively.
• Daniel Zollinger, who took on the DP role when others found it too daunting and used his vision and creative power to transcend all the equipment, location and budget limitations we threw at him.
Then there's our cast. It took us two months and three casting calls to assemble this gifted company of professionals, all of whom volunteered their time and talent. Many so embodied their roles that they will always seem inseparable from them to me. Several moved me to tears repeatedly with their performances.
Brilliant acting has nowhere to go without the support of an able crew. There, too, we have been blessed with enthusiastic and capable men and women who not only worked without compensation but went above-and-beyond, doing whatever it took to make sure we got the footage we needed.
We also had many individuals and businesses lend and/or donate resources critical to a successful production -- from costumes and catering to locations and financial contributions.
As I talked to cast, crew and donors over the weeks leading up to the shoot and during our five days of principal photography, I was humbled -- not only by their dedication but by their gratitude at being part of this grand adventure, an adventure that had its unlikely genesis 17 years ago in the Toronto writing workshop that birthed The MoonQuest book.
I don't know exactly how the feature-film version of The MoonQuest will come together. All I know, with all the certainty I can muster, is that it will...and that this amazing group of incredibly talented, generous, passionate and committed individuals will have been instrumental in what I also know will be a huge success.
To all of you, for helping my dreams come true: Thank You!
Truly, it has only just begun...for all of us!
• For more information about the stories and the production or to make a financial contribution to the project, visit the Anvil Springs Entertainment website.
Photos (c) 2011 Mark David Gerson:
#1 - Our Sony EX-1 camera silhouetted against a Sandia sunset after our first day's location shooting (camera loaned to us by Modern Camera for the final weekend's filming)
#2 - The "martini shot," which is what the final shot before wrap is called. Here, a scene from The MoonQuest
#3 - Director Darryl Garcia, Jr. and DP Daniel Zollinger setting up a shot, with help from 1st AC Bryan Jones and 2nd AC Lani Wasserman
#4 - Cast and crew enjoy lunch, catered and donated by Andre's Catering of El Paso, TX. (Andre's donated breakfast and lunch for both days of location shooting)
#5 - Our production mascot: Nala, the blue-eyed, nine-week-old pit bull who spent this past weekend on set and stole everyone's hearts. (She nominally belongs to Robert Douglas Washington, who played Yhoshi. In actuality, Robbie belongs to Nala!)
#6 - The slate, in a rare moment of rest
To see more production photos, visit these three Facebook photo albums:
• Cast Table Read
• Weekend 1
• Weekend 2