Juanita Looks For Her King (Part 1)

In January 2018 I decided to create one short film a month as an ode to my creative love affair with film, storytelling and comedic debauchery. 

This month’s short film, Juanita Looks For Her King, is a comedic skit about a girl who ventures to France to find the ultimate sugar daddy: a king. Watch February’s debut, Juanita Looks For Her King, below:

The Addendum | Director’s Notes

Here are some of my personal and loving insights from behind the scenes. Enjoy! 

It’s amazing to see the arc of #AskJuanita and my comedic pursuits.

I remember being so hesitant to even show my face on camera in a way that wasn’t quantifiably inspirational or educational. I felt shy, ashamed and unconfident.

It was four years ago in NYC that my love for characters became more public.

These were earnest efforts, indeed. Later in San Francisco, I began shooting more, even if hesitantly so. You can see my first episode here. But it was in snowy Montreal that I truly dove into the practice of comedic storytelling and committed to shooting one episode per week of #AskJuanita.

If I’m really honest, it felt like therapy for me.

I scheduled weekly comedy chats — as we called them — with a friend to hash out ideas and make sense of our precarious emotional life. I joined an improv class and started to include my friends in my shoots. I tried out stand-up comedy and performed live dozens of times.

I didn’t know what I was making or looking for.

But there was something about the planning of an episode and the inclusiveness of a team and characters that drew me in.

So here I am, in 2018, bringing together my learnings and willing to take more risks. 

What creative risks did you take in this piece?

The creative risk in The Damsel was singing on camera and baring my soul. It’s the most honest piece of work I’ve shared to date even if people think it’s strange and unusual. To me, it actually reads as very transparent. 

In Juanita Looks For Her King, the creative risks were more in the process itself. I freestyled and improvised most of the episode while in the streets and subways of France. I found the bones of the story in post production which was new for me. I was shooting without any real storyline and allowed myself to be seen more publicly while acting. All of these felt like creative stretches for me.

Do you like making #AskJuanita? Why not do it full time?

I AM Juanita full time. I'm kidding. :D As for being a YouTuber or filmmaker full time... I love it and it’s for me. I feel weird saying filmmaker still. And I’m giving my voice a chance to develop before I try to “make this into something”. It already is something. And as I look back over the past four years, I see how far I’ve come. That alone is the profit; creating a sense of self from the process of the work as opposed to what people say about it.

What is your favorite part of February’s film?

I love that I’m asking myself these questions. It shows that I care, even if it maybe sounds strange to the reader. I’m ok with strange. I also love the intro to Juanita Looks For Her King. It maybe seems unnecessary and yet I love it. I love how the dualistic tone creates a layered effect and depth. I love how it shows two very different sides of me. I love how it isn’t necessary and yet somehow fits.

What’s next?

Sharing this film and editing March’s (part II to February’s Juanita Looks For Her King). Big picture, my dream is to write, direct and be featured in my own show on Netflix (or something like that). To work with people I respect and love and make something I’m deeply proud of. I look at Ava’s A Wrinkle In Time and I think, One day I’m going to do that. And I will. In my own time, in my own way.