You may have heard the name 00 Productions being bandied about. It’s a new, homegrown film production company whose moniker evokes images of sharply tailored suits and a ban on stirred martinis. But the folks behind 00 Productions—reliably natty threads notwithstanding—come across as engaged, earnest and capable.
On assignment for OneHeadlightInk.com, I visited their Northeast Heights office for an investigative sit-down with 00 Productions partners and co-producers James C. Bays (screenwriter, producer) and Lukas Drake Lucero (producer). Jose B. Martinez, a local actor who partnered with them on the Pay It Forward Actors Studio, was also on hand for the interview.
By all appearances, the 00 Productions crew are thoughtful, serious and excited about pursuing their passion projects, networking and promoting nuevomexicano pride in service of the state and the film industry.
OHI: Y’all are a new production company with several upcoming projects slated. I’m here to get an intro to 00 Productions, to learn more about y’all’s plans, credentials and associations.
James C. Bays: There are 13 projects that we have ownership of. Right now we’re pursuing funding for the flagship project, a horror script titled “The Nightmare Game.”
OHI: Eeeee! I love horror movies.
Bays: It’s a lot of fun. Our main objective is obviously to make quality films, but we also want to work to unify the state film industry. What Lukas and I noticed early on is that there’s a disconnect with New Mexico filmmakers. What we’re trying to do is work together to help everyone succeed and reach their goals.
That’s one of the reasons 00 Productions got together with Jose [B. Martinez] to form Pay It Forward Actors Studio—to give actors a venue to read lines, work on their craft, get better. We’re also—the people in the Pay It Forward acting class—giving them the opportunity to audition for any of our films that are coming up.
OHI: OneHeadlightInk.com has gotten inquiries about y’all—who are these guys? On your website, your mission statement mentions connecting the New Mexico film industry with local businesses ranging from production to coffee.
Bays: That’s what we’re trying to do, build it up so that you know, when some big productions come and don’t use local talent, we can build a New Mexico company to make that happen. We’re trying to bring more revenue to the state and we’re trying to tell everyone that we can’t even afford a decent education for our kids. The more we can do, the more it helps our state as a whole.
OHI: We’ve already gotten off to a great start here, it seems. I’ve only been here since 2002, and I’ve already seen some stars close up. *cough* Alexander Skarsgard, filming “War on Everyone” at Sister bar Downtown *cough* So how did you guys hook up?
Bays: Lukas and I are old friends. We go back years. Jose was a friend of a friend. One thing we’re trying to do is get more people to communicate within the film community. Years ago—I’m going to be 50 in August—when I was a young man, I worked on a lot of productions in LA. Then, I came out here about 20 years ago and got into a different career.
My passion has always been screenwriting. That’s why I have so many scripts ready to go into production. Lukas and I became friends about five years ago. He graduated from UNM as a business major. We got to thinking: “Here are two halves of the same coin.” Why don’t we pair up and make some stuff happen?
OHI: What timeline are y’all looking at for your flagship project?
Lukas Drake Lucero: We’re going to start doing casting calls in July. We want to shoot this year for “The Nightmare Game.” I can only say so much about the movie. Basically, it’s about New Mexico, urban legends, and it’s going to reference the “The Twilight Zone” and “Tales From the Crypt.”
OHI: The folklore of New Mexico is genuinely fascinating stuff. And your inspiration sounds solid. Tell me more about the Pay It Forward aspect of 00 Productions.
Jose B. Martinez: Pay It Forward actually started in 1999. I’d been in the business 18 years as an actor, off and on, in Chicago and LA. To make a long story short, I was heading to LA and ended up getting stuck here. The Land of Entrapment—no, it’s The Land of Enchantment! I love this place. I no longer have to go out to the coast for six months to see how it goes.
After being successful in LA, I came back in 2009 because of the Writer’s Guild strike. On my return, I felt disconnected from other New Mexicans. They were doing stuff, and I wanted to be doing stuff. So we came up with this idea—everyone works together, shares ideas and a place to practice. That’s Pay It Forward.
I’ve talked with industry folks who say that, even above tax incentives, our state’s crew talent pool is the reason that filmmakers love to shoot in New Mexico.
Martinez: Definitely. And that’s our goal—to keep it here in New Mexico, to value the talent and environment that’s already here. My analogy was, “When somebody needs 10,000 sandbags for “Better Call Saul,” who are they gonna call? They’re going to call back home to LA or wherever and have stuff shipped out here.
—which is crazy.
Lucero: We’re in the desert. There’s literally tons of sand here. From craft services to actors and crew, let’s keep it New Mexican.
Samantha Anne Carrillo is: a Burqueña; a freelance writer & editor; a social media consultant & brand strategist; and a fourth-wave feminist & devout situationist. Connect with her at facebook.com/samanthaannenm, samanthaannecarrillo.contently.com and twitter.com/SamAnneCarrillo.