Moment Invitational | How This Was Shot | Mango Street

Rachel + Daniel from Mango Street ain't your mother's filmmakers. Dive deep in their creative processes and find out what marked their film as the MIFF winner.

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We launched a film festival dedicated to the mobile creative, “The Moment Invitational”. 11 filmmakers made heartfelt, visually juicy short films with their phones. They each proved you can create incredible work with the devices we use everyday. We got to sit down with each filmmaker to learn just how they did it.

Daniel (@danielinskeep) and Rachel (@rachelgulotta) from Mango Street (@mangostreetlab) were the ever-so talented winners of the Moment Invitational for their thrilling short film, ‘Make Sure You’re Missed’; a treasure chest of unexpected haunting tricks that seems fresh and terrifying all at once. Both Daniel and Rachel know how to pull the right strings to create an atmosphere so tense and unnerving, no wonder audiences fell in love with their film’s deliverance. It was an honor to pick their brain about how the two work so well together and what sorts of logistical trades were under their belt for shooting their short. Scroll down to read the final chapter for our  “How I Shot This” interview series.


BTS of Mango Street for Their Winning MIFF Film "Make Sure You're Missed"
BTS of Mango Street for Their Winning MIFF Film "Make Sure You're Missed"
BTS of Mango Street for Their Winning MIFF Film "Make Sure You're Missed"

1. As the winning film, what sets you apart from the other films?

All of the films were each so unique and well-told, so each of the films were all already set apart from each other. The theme of suspense was very broad and everyone approached it differently. Our film ended up more traditionally suspenseful, whereas a lot of the others put a different spin on it. Our favorite take on it was Ash Taylor's Heima. We love how there was no resolution in his film and still feel the suspense of it.  

2. That first gimbal shot was incredible, how did you plan and execute it? 

Since we started conceptualizing the shoot, we always planned on opening with a long continuous shot throughout a house, landing on our actress. This served two purposes: building suspense and having the camera represent an invisible character that our actress feels the presence of and is haunted by. We also wanted the end of this shot to be the reverse of our last shot. 

We did a few walkthroughs to establish the camera moves and it then took about 5 takes to get just right. Rachel monitored the feed on our iPad while Daniel operated the phone on a gimbal. 

3. How did you find the location/talent? 

We knew the location was a key part of the film and searched through a site called Peerspace where you can find locations for filming. This cabin stood out to us because it was so unique, especially in the middle of LA. We thought it'd add to our actresses lonely and isolated feeling. Our actress was someone we've used several times before as a model and we knew that she'd understand our vision and be totally down to do it. 


BTS of Mango Street for Their Winning MIFF Film "Make Sure You're Missed"

4. What went wrong during the shoot? If anything?

Our biggest limitation was just time. We could only afford to rent the cabin for 7 hours and we had a lot of shots to get done, with wardrobe and set changes throughout. We had a few technical issues and there are definitely things we would've done differently if we were to do it all over again, but considering the limitations, everything went pretty smoothly.

5. The lone cabin in the woods you shot at fit the mood and tone perfectly. How does a location help tell a story in film?

We could've saved our entire budget and shot it in our apartment, but we knew that the location would set the tone for the entire film and knew it was worth investing the time and money in to find the right place. 

BTS of Mango Street for Their Winning MIFF Film "Make Sure You're Missed"
BTS of Mango Street for Their Winning MIFF Film "Make Sure You're Missed"
BTS of Mango Street for Their Winning MIFF Film "Make Sure You're Missed"

6. What was the challenge in trying to balance the flashback scenes with real time?

Our actress had to have different hair and makeup for the flashback scenes and in order to show the passing of time, we had a fresh flower bouquet in the flashbacks and in present time, the flowers are dead. That, and with a few other changes in set helped us set the flashbacks apart. 

7. It’s not doubt that the creative process of filmmaking requires teamwork. What, to you, generates fruitful collaboration? And what do you do to enhance this collaborative process?

Between the two of us, it's knowing each other's strengths and being there to help the other person when he or she needs it. We spent a lot of time in pre-production planning out the idea, theme, and mood so that we were both on the same page on the shoot day. 

8. Bouncing back off the previous question — the two of you often work together on creative film projects and yet work with such poise. What sorts of advice do you have for those working with significant others in this industry?

We have very complementary strengths, so we are able to balance each other out. We can designate work based off our strengths to streamline things. Having spent five years photographing weddings together, we are used to each other's working styles and needs. We recommend learning your partner's Enneagram number so you can learn how to best work with each other. You'll better understand how each person handles stress and how you can help alleviate that and avoid miscommunication.

BTS of Mango Street for Their Winning MIFF Film "Make Sure You're Missed"
BTS of Mango Street for Their Winning MIFF Film "Make Sure You're Missed"
BTS of Mango Street for Their Winning MIFF Film "Make Sure You're Missed"

9. As independent filmmakers, your creative drive is everything. What sorts of project are you typically most most drawn to?

We make educational videos every week, so we're stoked to work on personal projects that are more creatively satisfying. Our short films we've made for our channel are our favorite videos we've made. Projects like those allow us to be as creative as we like without having to please a client or audience.  

10. What’s harder? Getting started or being able to keep going?

Getting started is always the hardest part. Once you've started, you've gained some inertia to keep going.


BTS of Mango Street for Their Winning MIFF Film "Make Sure You're Missed"

Thanks, Mango Street!

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