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"Simplicity": A Cinematic Mentorship and the Birth of Something Huge


In the ever-evolving realm of filmmaking, every project is a unique journey. For Sneak On The Lot, the second filmmaking workshop, aptly titled "Simplicity," was a transformative experience that not only challenged conventions but also set the stage for something monumental. Starring the iconic Danny Trejo, this short film became a symbol of creative innovation, collaboration, and the power of reversing traditional casting norms.

The decision to cast Danny Trejo as the hero was a pivotal moment in the workshop's conception. Known for his compelling portrayal of villains, Trejo expressed a desire for a new challenge, a chance to break away from the mold that had defined his career. The Sneak On The Lot team, intrigued by the prospect of reverse casting, readily embraced the idea. The result was a narrative twist that not only defied expectations but also showcased Trejo's versatility as an actor.

Set against the iconic backdrop of Universal Studios' backlot, the film was shot over two intense days, bringing together a collaborative effort from approximately 20 teachers and students hailing from high schools across the nation. This unique blend of seasoned mentors and aspiring talents laid the foundation for an environment where creativity flourished, and practical skills were honed under the watchful eye of industry professionals.

What added a distinctive touch to "Simplicity" was the decision to shoot on 35mm film—Something we were unable to achieve in any previous projects. The film stock used for the project was repurposed from short ends on Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report," which we kept while working on that picture.

The workshop gained significant attention when The Hollywood Reporter visited the set to capture the unfolding magic. The resulting story showcased the innovative approach, the star power of Danny Trejo, and the unique blend of education and industry experience that Sneak On The Lot brought to the table. It was a momentous recognition that marked a turning point for the organization and heightened anticipation for what lay ahead.

The soundtrack, a crucial element in any film, added another layer of distinction to "Simplicity." Recorded in Utah, it featured an orchestra comprising high school teachers and their students from various local high schools. The recording session not only produced a captivating musical backdrop but also provided a rare opportunity for students to be mentored individually by their teachers, creating a profound and memorable experience.


As Sneak On The Lot looks back on the journey, it's evident that "Simplicity" was more than just a film—it was the start of something huge. The workshop embodied the organization's ethos of pushing creative boundaries, fostering collaboration, and providing a platform for mentorship.


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