Making Site 13, or: I’m No Clark Gregg, But I Get By

He’s the guy who’s tasked – a very disciplined guy in my opinion who possesses secrets that would turn your hair white – but at the same time he’s tasked with handling these kind of diva superheroes, you know? “Oh, really, Asgard? Dude, just get in the car.”

Clark Gregg

Within the sci-fi genre, there’s a type of character we all know, and often love.  He’s a little more weary than the rest, maybe a little more cynical.  He knows more than he lets on, and usually more than he can let on.  If he hasn’t seen it all, he’s seen at least too much for surprise.  And he’s the guy who holds the story together.

You’ll know him as Walter Skinner.  Or Frank Black.  Or K.  Or Phil Coulson.

He’s The Agent.

Back at the beginning of the year I received an e-mail from Isaac Rodriguez.  Isaac was preparing to shoot his next film, a sci-fi thriller called Site 13, and had a role he thought I might be interested in.

While we had previously met at local film festivals, at the time I knew Isaac more for his work.  In the last couple of years, he’s made a name for himself as a go-to horror filmmaker, with shorts like We All Fall Down, Lilith, and Harvest all finding success on the film festival circuit.  So I was intrigued by his offer.

As it turns out, he’d seen me in a suit in one of my Facebook pics and thought I’d be perfect for the role of “Agent X.”

I did have to think about it for a little while.  But he kind of had me at “Agent”.

By way of explanation, Site 13 involves the disappearance of a young woman near the Medina River (the film was shot for the Parks and Greenspace category of this year’s San Antonio Neighborhood Film Project).  Without spoiling our various roles, the cast includes Gloria Bueno, Jamye Cox, Taylor James Johnson, Alyssia Rivera, Chip Tamez, and myself as various characters caught up in the mystery.  Knowing Isaac’s visual sense, I had a feeling he’d come up with something appropriately creepy.

My role only required one scene.  But I was still nervous – while I enjoy acting (and have hopefully learned a few things as Nikki‘s assistant), I still don’t see myself as a professional.  So I took advantage of the time I had to prepare, try to get into character, and try to do justice to all those classic agent characters who came before.

We shot that scene on a Sunday evening, not too long after that original e-mail, at an office building near Ingram Park Mall.  Most of the shooting had been completed on location in the three days before, so my scene (with Taylor and Jamye) came very near the end of principal photography.  When I arrived, they were moving a little ahead of schedule, so I didn’t have to wait long before they were ready for me.

For all the nerves I was dealing with, it was a fun shoot.  The cast and crew (including producers Manuel Navarro and Donna Swafford) were very supportive, and while I’m still not sure of my performance, they seemed to like what I came up with.  And I appreciate that.

It’s been a few months since the film was wrapped and submitted to the NFP, and while it didn’t make the finals, Isaac and Manuel have continued to submit it to festivals.  And so it was a few weeks ago that we found out that Site 13 was selected to screen at this year’s San Antonio Film Festival.

We’re all pretty excited, and I’m actually looking forward to seeing how audiences respond to my performance. So I hope you can make it to one of our two screenings this week.  The full details are at the link above, and the teaser’s right below:

Thanks to the cast and crew, thanks to friends and fans for their support, and thanks to you for continuing to follow along.

Until the next chapter, “be seeing you…”

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