Aaron Lee Lopez is the owner of Mutt Productions (www.muttproductions.com) in San Antonio, TX, a boutique post house that offers production, editorial and audio services for commercial projects, music videos and shorts, which in turn, help fund the creation of the company’s own original content.
Lopez’s career spans both production and post. He began as a PA and learned the different aspects of production before getting into post while in LA. When he founded Mutt, it was with the goal of making indie films.
Mutt recently secured distribution with Indican Pictures for its Tex-Mex/grind house film The Return of Johnny V and for Dani The Ranch Hand, a film that was conceived and directed by one of the studio’s interns.
Lopez credits his “knack for production” with allowing the studio to take on low-budget creative projects. He’s able to act as EP, editor and colorist, as well as read a script and break down how to achieve its specific needs using low-cost but flexible tools, such as Canon DSLRs, Red’s Scarlet and Apple’s Final Cut Pro.
“The Scarlet is little, but the quality is insane,” he states. “You can shoot beautiful wide-screen imagery, which I love. You can take that camera around town and no one will even know you are shooting a movie. And these cameras take in more light, so you can use less lighting. It’s so much easier to shoot stuff.”
Mutt is home to four suites — the main room is configured with Apple’s FCP 7 and Color. They also have an Avid Pro Tools room, which is manned by mixer Brandon Olmos.
“I put together a plan,” he says of the studio’s business. “Once we figured out the system that we wanted to use, I started to market myself as a production company that can ‘make people’s dreams come true.’”
Johnny V and Dani were essentially tests to see if the plan was viable, he notes. The positive experience now allows Lopez to share with storytelling clients how they can secure a distribution deal, “as well as make their money back.”