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Edder listened intently. He didn’t want to stop the take, but knew that he had to. Diego, the director, was acting in the scene: a reflective moment set in a city park in a quiet corner of Mexico City.

But something was wrong with the microphone, and instead of hearing the actors’ voices clearly, it was picking up distracting background noise from passing traffic and pedestrians. He gave the signal, and Diego called, “CUT!”

A photo of a movie being shot with an Android device and a device used to hold the camera steady. An arm holds the filming device while a young man appears in front of the camera.
For Diego and Edder, an Android is more than a phone—it's their camera.

The two filmmakers turned to their Android (Go edition) smartphone and opened YouTube, so they could browse their library of downloaded videos about mic repair. Moments later—tutorial watched, equipment mended, and relief in the air—the two jogged back to their places, ready to roll.

Diego and Edder are used to navigating the many hiccups of filmmaking together. The two met in high school, and despite their diverging tastes—Edder is a metalhead and horror film obsessive; Diego prefers comedies and Michael Bublé—they knew they wanted to tell stories together. But as high school ended, their dream of turning filmmaking into a profession felt impossible: Their families, though supportive, saw movie making as a teenage diversion, not a way to make a living.

But for Edder and Diego, it was essential—and nonnegotiable. “I’m an introvert by nature,” says Diego, “but I remember when I was 10 years old and I watched the bonus material from the Narnia movie. I saw what they did behind the camera, and I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to making films. I fell in love.”

“For both of us, watching movies is our way of escaping reality, and making them is our way of expressing ourselves.” —Diego

After high school, Edder started honing his editing skills at night while working at a bakery during the day. Diego, during breaks from his job teaching theater to kids, would send his friend magazine articles highlighting specific uses of color in films. “We learned everything from cinema magazines, from reading,” Edder says. Then, in 2018, they saw an advertisement for a competition for short films made with a smartphone. Diego and Edder wanted in, and so they grabbed their Android phones and got to work.

Diego and Edder soon found out that, logistically, the hardest part of shooting a smartphone film was making sure they didn’t run out of data. So they turned to YouTube and Maps Go on their Android phones, and together, these apps made every step of the process easier. Maps Go allowed the filmmakers to send places and directions for locations to their cast and crew, as many times as needed, and using a lower amount of data. Meanwhile, by downloading Youtube videos in advance, they were able to watch and rewatch tutorials about lighting or mic settings, also without expending valuable data.

One of the most significant YouTube videos they downloaded was a film called Modigliani, which Diego and Edder referenced countless times as they were lighting certain scenes. Diego also liked to have videos of interviews of the director Guillermo del Toro on hand, so he could find some inspiration about the directing process whenever he needed it.

“We want to help young filmmakers achieve their dreams. To show them that maybe they just need a cellphone. That’s the idea.” —Diego

After wrapping production, Diego and Edder entered their film into the competition and attended the 2019 awards ceremony without high expectations. So when their names were called as the winners, Edder was speechless. “It felt like someone had poured a bucket of water on me,” he remembers. Suddenly, with a short film completed and a competition win behind them, Diego and Edder saw their future differently.

Today, Edder and Diego have their own film production company, Story Draws. They are working on their next film, a time travel epic based in their hometown. Diego and Edder want Story Draws not just to produce their own work, but to help people who don’t have resources, like they didn’t, to create things and express themselves. “We want to help young filmmakers achieve their dreams,” says Diego. “To show them that maybe they just need a smartphone. That’s the idea.”

How Diego and Edder do it.

Android (Go edition).

Diego and Edder continue to shoot Story Draws’ films on an Android (Go edition) phone, using its built-in camera in lieu of expensive film equipment. Their goal is to teach other filmmakers working on a budget how to use smartphones to make their own movies.

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Maps Go.

Maps Go helps Diego and Edder track and share shooting locations around Mexico City, so that they can save data while keeping up with their shooting schedules.

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Youtube.

Diego and Edder use YouTube as they’re creating the style and “look” of their films, downloading videos to bring with them on location, which they can then reference on set. They also use the YouTube app to problem solve when they encounter technical hurdles, browsing through their library of downloaded YouTube videos for ones that will help fix equipment.

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