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SHOOTING

• The first day of recording it was nearly 100 degrees. 
• It was the first time using the specific camera for Kev and Jack and they were unaware of how bad the batteries were. In the heat especially, the battery percentage was dropping quickly and they only had two batteries. So as they were finishing scenes at the first location of the high school, they put one in an outlet on the outside of the building to charge. By the time they took it out, they thought it would have gotten a bunch of power - but it had barely gone up. They had to charge it some more during lunch, plugging it in at the pizza spot they went to. 
• On that hot first day of shooting, Jack forgot to put on sunscreen and paid the price.
• There was a joke initially in the script about Dakota tricking Elias about Frank Ocean dropping his album. During the later second day of shooting, the album actually surprise dropped that day.
• When Frank Ocean released “Blonde” on that second day of shooting, he also announced that his own Boys Don’t Cry magazines - tied in with the album - were available for free in a store in the city but the crew was farther out on location while shooting. They debated abandoning the rest of the days shoot to go. Ultimately, Pedro texted his sister, who went downtown along with his little brother to try to secure two copies). But by the time they arrived and waited on the line - there were none left.
• Also on the second day of shooting, the crew took a break to eat at what happened to be the second half of the Brazil championship Olympics soccer/futbol game. Pedro had studied abroad for a period in Rio and the team has remained close to his heart. Neymar, Brazil’s star player, is one of his favorites. The boys watched on as Neymar ended up kicking the winning penalty goal that game, securing the championship for Brazil and making Pedro thrilled.
• The crew stayed overnight at Kev's house during the second shoot. After wrapping up some scenes inside at night, they went on a midnight run to the local 7-Eleven.


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Jack Sommer - Director, Co-Writer, SITE DESIGNER

Kev and I were talking for years about doing a short film, one that was narrative based, but never rushed it. We have been writing feature-length projects since the start of 2015 but this was the first short we actually wrote and developed. Originally it was meant to be all video. When I wasn't satisfied with how it was coming together in editing, I sat on it. I had this idea for a website mixing the two not long after, but wasn't totally satisfied with how that was coming out initially either. So I waited a couple months. Then I came back to it at the end of November and something clicked that it could actually work this way. Kev and I spent many nights of December on FaceTime Audio Calls re-working the script and writing in a lot of new dialogue. Before the written scenes in-between were complimenting the video clips, but we subconsciously ended up transforming it so that the opposite was actually the case and the videos were just part of the story supporting the words. I thought I wasn't going to be happy with this if it wasn't an all video short film, but by the end of this process I'm actually happy with how it came together. Writing is a very important element and process to me, and I hope this mix of clips and screenplay gives a taste of our vision and style. It's the start of many more to come.


INSPIRATION

• The 4:3 format was inspired by Jack becoming obsessed with Twin Peaks.
• The format of the website was inspired by Donald Glover’s “Because The Internet” screenplay site, which was released in December 2013. Non-relatedly, Jack also started working on the first attempts of the website during the same weekend he was originally supposed to go to Glover’s PHAROS concert in Joshua Tree, which he unfortunately didn't end up attending.
• The thematic concept of the screenplay was inspired by the work of John Hughes, one of Jack's favorite filmmakers, as well as Richard Linklater.
• The playlist while writing the script included American Football and Brockhampton.


KEVIN DE LOS SANTOS - CAMERAMAN, CO-WRITER

This one definitely got the ball rolling for us. Jack and I have written a couple of scripts over the last two years or so, but none have gotten to this point. We always had the idea of working on a film together over the past few summers but like many other things in our lives, it just never really happened. This time things got serious quickly once Jack began to order equipment, outfits, and props for the character. From there on we began planning on dates to shoot, locations - and of course who would play these two main characters. It didn’t take much to go with Pedro (Elias) and Drew (Dakota), who were the perfect fit from the start. Then came the actual shooting, which was challenging to say the least. From waiting for the wind gusts or loud cars to pass by to get good audio, the camera overheating several times because of the blazing sun and 100 degree weather. Can't forget how sunburned we all got. The script and initial idea for this short film changed immensely from it’s original stages, until we were finally satisfied with what was coming out of it. After all the changes, frustrations, mistakes and all other negatives; all that really stands out is all the jokes, laughs, moments, foods, drinks and great shots that we shared.  🙏⚾️


REFERENCES

• Karen's Cafe is from the TV show One Tree Hill, a show that Pedro put Jack on to watching.
• There are several nods to The Shane Show, which is Jack and Kev's favorite radio show. This includes "Coffee coffee coffee coffee" (which Shane always tweets), the argument of Kershaw being a Top 5 all-time pitcher, and the "Why you coming at me foul, breh?" line (which is an infamous moment of the show that happened while they were re-writing the final edition of the script).
• Corey, the replacement shortstop, is named after Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
• Sanderson is taken from Derek Jeter's middle name, one of Kev's idols and also one of Jack's favorite baseball players.
• Elias goes to see the movie American Honey during the story. The crew went and saw the film together a couple months after shooting.
• The statistics about a third of the students being homeless in East Palo Alto is indeed true and a very real issue in the community, especially lately.
• The climate change statistics are from an actual New York Times article that Jack had read around the time of re-writing.
• Jeanette referencing Dakota posting Snapchat's of Elias dancing to the car was inspired by a tweet that Kev saw of the same being done.
• Elias is watching The Wire with his sister. Kev was also watching the show from shooting through the beginning of the re-write, and is partially the reason why they used that.
• Highlands, the title of the film, comes from the hilly area that Carlmont High School is located in (fully and more formally known as "The Highlands"). The school's mascot is even based off this as the mascot is a kilted Scottish highland warrior.
• The Google cafeteria joke was one that came about from Kev and Jack both thinking that it was way nicer than it actually is and mocking it a little bit.
• Dakota's dog being a Rottweiler during the fence scene with Kenny and Roberto was chosen as a homage to Ferris Bueller's Day Off, one of Jack's personal favorite movies.
• Menlo College is a big athletics school but also is focused on business and is in the Silicon Valley.
• Lorenzo's Sandwich Shop, where the team eats at the end, is an actual spot in Belmont by the high school that even has baseball decor adorning its walls.


PEDRO PINCAY - ACTOR (ELIAS)

When the idea was first presented to take a role in a film with Kev and Jack, there wasn’t too much thinking about it. I’ve always been an animated person and I’ve always wanted to try my hand at acting so this was a great opportunity. Elias wasn’t a city boy like me but we all have a similar spark of change as we grow up so it was easy to play on that aspect of my character. From our first scene on the field under the scorching hot sun, to the late night deli runs, we had a great time filming and never suffered from a dull moment. Besides the actual filming, we were in the middle of a Frank Ocean magazine/album drop as well as the very eventful Olympics with Neymar Jr. scoring the gold medal-winning goal simultaneously. The film will definitely capture a genuine experience and some real emotion.


PROCESS

• The premise of the story was thought of in late May and brainstormed more throughout June. The first script solid version of the script was finished over weekend of the Fourth of July when Jack was house/dog-sitting for some family friends in his neighborhood.
• Shot over two long days and a brief morning in July and August 2016. About a month went by in-between the two days of shooting due to scheduling difficulties. It was at one point even almost delayed another month to mid-September for the second shoot.
• The film takes place in spring, was shot in summer, worked on in the fall, and released in the winter.
• A large chunk of the text sections of the final script were re-written in the final month before the release of the project. 


ANDREW "DREW" WHITE - ACTOR (DAKOTA)

Earlier in the year, Jack had asked me to play a role in this film he wrote. I had no prior acting experience but it was always something I'd considered pursuing. Playing Dakota felt right as he reminded me very much of myself and the theme of the film was relatable. I jumped at the idea of working with Jack and Kev creatively because I'm a fan of their work respectively. The natural chemistry Pedro (Elias) and myself had allowed me to really get into my role and feel out the vibe of each scene. The trials that come with shooting a film were unforeseeable, especially to a new comer like myself. We faced technical difficulties, heat exhaustion, dehydration and fatigue. Working 15+ hours on set was grueling but our collective personalities eased the workload. A never say die attitude coupled with an overall passion for art was something that we all held, which allowed us to accomplish wonderful things on set. The days we spent filming created a brotherhood between us which I truly believe to be essential when working towards a common goal. Definitely something I would do all over again.


ADDITIONAL THANKS

R. KATZ, H. SMITH, D. GREEN, H. SANTOS, M. ALFARO, D. ASHTON

FEEL FREE TO SEND US AN EMAIL (CLICK HERE)


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© COPYRIGHT SOMMER AND SANTOS PRODUCTIONS 2016

ALL PHOTOGRAPHS BY CREW & CAST

THANK YOU FOR VIEWING.

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