Respect the Light Production Journal #3

Welcome back to another entry in the Respect the Light Production Journal. (Just a quick reminder that episodes 1, 2, and 3 are all streaming NOW on Prime Video! Go check us out so you can say you were a part of this thing as it was happening!) This is the first of three entries detailing the experience of working with the characters of Respect the Light, and we’re starting with Manny Garavito.

It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that Manny’s involvement in this project helped shape what it would become and what’s possible to do with it. Each day after we got back from shooting, we’d review our dailies and were consistently blown away by how distinctive the material was. As an event producer, Manny really knows how to pick his venues and that translates so well on screen. Visually, each venue is its own, giving each episode its own unique feel, in a way that we simply didn’t anticipate prior to production.

Thinking back on our experience shooting Respect the Light, we honestly have nothing but gratitude for how welcoming Manny was to us. I vividly remember referring to his role in the comedy scene as that of a “promoter.” He told me he preferred the term “producer”. As a producer myself, I can say that title isn’t an overstatement.

In Episode II: Fire & Ice, we see the full scope of Manny Garavito’s job, including setting up, hosting, DJing, photographing, and managing the comics at a show, all while keeping the audience entertained.

In Episode II: Fire & Ice, we see the full scope of Manny Garavito’s job, including setting up, hosting, DJing, photographing, and managing the comics at a show, all while keeping the audience entertained.

Manny’s relationships were also a significant contribution to the project. He opened doors for us that I’m confident we would have had a harder time opening by ourselves. Through Manny, we were able to portray the business of comedy, which is a perspective the project would’ve absolutely missed out on without his involvement. He’s how we were able to get Rudy Wilson involved. He’s how we were able to get the credibility of having Kyle Grooms on stage to open our pilot episode. He finessed our access to all but one of the venues in the series.

It was clear early on that his expectations weren’t consistent with what we’d imagined for our project. Where we were more interested in people, it seemed Manny thought we were more interested in the venues and the comedy. Once he realized we were genuinely interested in him and his work behind the scenes, he seemed pleasantly surprised but was very accommodating. Of the three comics, he was also the most private so when he finally opened up, we knew the project would get to some interesting places emotionally.

In Episode II: Fire & Ice, we follow and interview Manny and he discusses how he’s had to motivate himself in the absence of someone pushing and encouraging him. Are you a self-starter? Do you know one? Throw them a little love and shout them out in the comments.