Everyone has a bad day once in a while, right? This is the premise for the new indie action-comedy film, Monday, from Alejandro Montoya Marin and starring rising actor Jamie H. Jung.

The project was part of a Robert Rodriguez contest and TV docu-series, Rebel Without A Crew: The Series, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his own indie film El Mariachi.

Monday recently premiered at SXSW and the TV show landed on aired on Rodriguez’s El Rey Network and Verizon’s go90.

I recently caught up with Jamie Jung to find out more about starring in both.


What can you tell us about your role in the new indie film Monday?

JAMIE JUNG: In Alejandro Montoya Marin's Monday I play the lead role of Jim. It's his bad day. His Monday which goes from bad to worse. Jim is a guy just floating through life. But when I get fired for being late to work (again), and dumped by my long-suffering girlfriend, I struggle to change my bad habits. That is until I get mixed up in a drug war! Life's responsibilities are magnified as I race through town to save my friends and family as the night gets increasingly violent. It's a real trip. This character has such a great arc and it was a welcome challenge to perform the comedy within this very exciting, sometimes dark, sometimes dramatic, but always stylish world.

How does the film fit into the mix as part of Robert Rodriguez’s new TV series Rebel Without A Crew: The Series?

JJ: Alejandro was one of the 5 filmmakers hand-picked by Robert Rodriguez to make their debut feature film for $7000 in 14 shooting days. Once we were on the ground in Austin shooting our movies, the teams were fairly isolated. We had a lot on our plates, not only in terms of making a microbudget feature film but in overcoming obstacles that were unique to this project. Most filmmakers can rely on a group of filmmaking friends, a familiar film-friendly city, and the fact that there's wiggle room when scheduling, budgeting, etc. Since we were relying on Robert and his team to help us figure out what was available to us in Austin, Texas we had our hands full assessing what we could and should follow up with to most efficiently help produce our movies. I will say that most of the films had a horror element to their story which I believe is strategic. The only thing you can control when making a microbudget feature is the story you're telling and how effectively you can manipulate your resources to tell that story. Every filmmaker on this project really went for it. But the strategy in having a horror angle is so that you can get away with certain flaws or a low-budget feel to the film that horror elements can allow an audience to overlook. Horror is also more marketable when pitching a film without name talent, directors, writers. I feel like the violent elements and the heightened style of our film will not only help us market our film but have allowed us to make a more impressive film for our lack of resources.



How was it working on such a low-budget project?

Working on this independent film was uniquely challenging. We wanted to work on an indie the way we'd been accustomed. When we shot the short film version ofMonday we were at home in Albuquerque with a crew of professional film production friends who supported our project with equipment and labor. As part of the Rebel Without A Crew project, we were only allowed a single Plus One--Cinematographer Ryan Halsey--whose experience as the general manager of Serious Grippage & Light Co helped to cement the aesthetic style and quality of our movie. All other requests for resources basically came down to money...which we didn't have. So it was definitely a unique challenge in that when we didn't know how to film something with the resources we had at our disposal--regardless of whether we could cut something together in post, or whether we could figure something out on the fly--we made choices and moved on. We consulted our instincts. And thank God Alejandro and Ryan have incredible instincts, as well as such training and experience in film production.

Any interesting stories from the set you can share with us?

JJ: Most of the drama from shooting a feature film within the "Robert Rodriguez filmmaking machine" was caught as part of the docu series Rebel Without A Crew: The Series now airing on go90 and Tumblr. We lost our 2nd lead during pre-production. Locations fell through at the last minute. We created props on the fly; one of which was a little plastic chair we found, broke, and duct taped back together so that I could "break the chair" in a particularly comedic moment of the film. Other little tips and tricks Alejandro came up with or pulled directly from Robert's films or personal advice really shed light on the power of creativity to tell story. For example, we used an actress' rouge as gunpowder and cigarette smoke to dress up an empty shell casing. But it was seeing the man himself that gave us all a big adrenaline boost! Robert Rodriguez stopped by our set one night when we were preparing for a pivotal scene in our film. We weren't able to use fake guns that night, and we were scrambling to figure out how to perform and shoot the scene without revealing that we weren't using guns. Robert comes from around a restaurant and Alejandro yells across the parking lot "Excuse me! We're filming!" and immediately hears the reality crew's radios crackle. "Did I just yell at Robert Rodriguez?" Yup, he'd surprised us with a set visit. He came up and shook all our hands. He then quickly moved to Alejandro and our camera genuinely excited to share in our work. Alejandro and yes, we too, were a tad nervous! What an experience to have Robert Rodriguez watch you act in real time.

Did you have to change anything because there was also a TV crew shooting behind the scenes?

JJ: Our entire production was documented for the Rebel Without A Crew: The Series TV show now airing on go90 and Tumblr. What that meant for us during filming was that we had to open our set to the crew for interviews and to make sure that we weren't bringing too much from outside of the world of the show into the show. For example, we wanted to have some dolly shots to add value and energy to our film. But we had to actually build the rig once we'd reached set so that the building could be documented. Ultimately it was a pleasure to get to work with such a supportive and accommodating reality crew. And to have the entirety of our debut feature documented is something we'll be able to have and to cherish forever.
What’s been the biggest lesson you took away from the opportunity?

JJ: It is possible. It was not easy. It was not ideal. But when you have obstacles that prevent you from doing something, sometimes you decide not to do it. This put the idea of control back into filmmakers' hands where it belongs. It has inspired me to produce my own projects even though financing such projects had seemed daunting. When making a any movie, there is a lot of trust involved. I say that indie films are fueled by faith. But when you only spend $7000 and only shoot for 14 days you bring the risk factor down. It is a winning formula. And I want to see how successful we can continue to push this model for ourselves in the digital age.

Got anything else coming up we can watch for the near future?

JJ: I just premiered an AFI short film that I am very proud of called Young Adult which will be appearing at numerous film festivals this year. I am also involved in the stage-play Slaughter City which will be presented at the Lankershim Arts Center in Los Angeles this summer. There is also a reality show about the LA Metro that will be following me later in the year. You can follow these projects by visiting my website JamieHJung.com and by connecting with me on social media: Twitter: @jamiehjung Instagram: @jamiehjung
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