Category Archives: People

The Hero Within | The Story of Dr. Kay Sornmayura | Behind The Scenes

During the month of July, I had the pleasure of producing a documentary film called The Hero WithinThe work is a profile of Dr. Kay Sornmayura, a Hepatitis C expert who originally moved to the United States from Thailand in 1989. After years of working at multiple hospitals throughout Miami and ascending through the ranks in the world of nursing, she became a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) working at the Schiff Center for Liver Disease at the time of production.

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Dr. Kay working with one of her patients.

Not only did I get to spend time learning about Dr. Kay’s unique yet classically American story of reward through hard work, I also got to spend time talking to one of Dr. Kay’s patients who showed me just how difficult it can be to go through Hepatitis C treatment. The patient (whose name nor face are shown in the film to protect her identity) had nothing but good things to say about Dr. Kay’s caring attitude and perseverance in seeking a successful treatment; words which served only to solidify the value Dr. Kay lends to the nursing profession and making me feel incredibly proud to have the opportunity to profile her professional career.

“This woman saved my life,” Dr. Kay’s patient said. “I would’ve been gone … but she saved my life.”

From a production perspective, this piece definitely had its challenges. Creative freedom was restricted, for example, due to being unable to film in most of indoor areas of the hospital facilities that Dr. Kay works in. Additionally, working around Dr. Kay and her colleagues’ busy schedules while still balancing the full-time gig that I have right now was a circumstance I would’ve rather gone without. This, of course, is a reminder that the more I pursue this kind of work, the more likely I’ll be able to do it exclusively without having to have another gig to pay the bills. A man can dream, right?

This production also marks my first experience shooting exclusively with a DSLR; specifically, a Nikon D3200 with one telephoto and one standard zoom lens. I can describe the experience in one word: terrible. SLRs may be great for getting cinematic video of very specific subjects or places, but for the run and gun shooting that I do, there couldn’t be a worse contender for the job.

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Nikon D3200 with a standard lens. Source: Amazon UK

I predicted this going in, of course, but since I’d never actually done it before, I wanted to give it a shot and see how it stacked up against my years of shooting with prosumer camcorders like the Sony PD170 and Canon GL2 in the standard-def days and the Sony HVR-V1U which I used to shoot recent pieces like Sasha and The Cat. A very picky focus, terrible onboard audio and an inherently unstable form factor were three big gripes; you can work around all of them, sure, but doing so makes you wish you had the right tool for the job to begin with.

Overall, however, this was a very positive experience that I’m looking forward to duplicate moving forward. Hopefully I’ll go back to having my preferred shooting tool and also have some more creative freedom next time.

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You may recognize the girl on the right from a previous ElMonzon.com work. Yes, that’s right! It’s Cat from Sasha and the Cat!

That being said, the honor of profiling such a hard working individual’s story is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. Getting to know peoples’ life stories is something I’m really into and producing this documentary was an opportunity to do just that.

‘Til the next one! Hope you enjoy and if you have any comments, questions or concerns, make sure to leave a comment either here or on the video itself!

 

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TRAILER for “Dogs”

My friend Andrea suggested I mosey on down to my local dog park and talk to people about their dogs. An unassuming suggestion – but man, what a journey she sent me on. So far, anyway, it’s been nothing but smiles and confessions of true love talking to dog owners about their best friends.

Here’s a very quick wrapup of the conversations I’ve had so far. Not sure what direction this story will take just yet, but given my experience, it’ll certainly be an interesting one!

TRAILER for Inglorious Motorists

Driving around a dilapidated warehouse section of Miami a few days ago, I stumbled upon Alejandro Garduño riding his custom built motorized bicycle. As some of you might know, I tried my hand at daily-driving a motorized bicycle, but that was an electric build – a decently sleek one at that, if I do say so myself.

Garduño, however, has gone the way of gasoline in choosing his steed. I had to pull him over and talk to him about his whip, and maybe begin a conversation about and an investigation into the world of motorized bicycles in Miami.

Are they motorcycles? Are they bicycles? Are they safe? Are they legal? And perhaps most importantly – are they fun!

I hope to answer all these questions and more in my upcoming project, heretofore titled Inglorious Motorists.

Hope you enjoy the trailer!

Sasha and The Cat (A Documentary)

During the month of April, I spent a lot of time with these two girls: Catleya Sornmyura, an event planner at the Biltmore Hotel and an acquaintance of mine from high school, and her best friend Sasha Bruno, a herbal pharmacist and up-and-coming entrepreneur of paleo muffins.

This is their story: a feel-good documentary about the power of friendship and how two completely different personalities have found solace in each other’s company.

Continue reading Sasha and The Cat (A Documentary)

The art of finessing with DJ Luna

A few weeks ago, I hung out with budding DJ and big-time Wale fan and friend, DJ Luna, also known as Mikaela Sorina. I asked her a few questions and hung out with her at “The Art of Finessing” event at Footsoldiers Wynwood as she disc jockeyed for the first time. Here’s what I learned and saw.

Continue reading The art of finessing with DJ Luna