“Understudy” behind the scenes

UNDERSTUDY is the story of Clara Klein, an understudy dancer in the hit Los Angeles dance show, Sanz De Rio. Clara struggles with her identity and must make choices to overcome her long-term boyfriend’s infidelity, rid her self of jealousy over the lead role, and redeem her integrity for past mistakes. No matter how hard she struggles, Clara may never get to be number one, but she still learns to be confidant in who she is and appreciate her role as a professional dancer.

In mid June, Cristina Malavenda shot her graduate thesis film, "Understudy." I was a member of her crew as a sound technician and filmed us having a blast. You can hear me yell "rolling" before the filming starts!

In this video, the dance performance was held at the Bridges Auditorium in Claremont. The studio was the same studio they shoot "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Dancing with the Stars."

Directed by Cristina Malavenda
Starring Jeanine Mason (winner of So You Think You Can Dance)
Choreography by Desi Jevon

Cristina watching a take from the "final fitting" scene. Jeanine Mason and Justin Ray watch themselves on the screen. We shot the musical version of this scene in the video above.


Jeanine Mason waits for direction from director, Cristina Malavenda. Marcello Dubaz, my co-sound technician, listens in to hear what we are filming next.

Jay Visit, the director of photography, tells his crew how to adjust the lighting. The blue pad on the ground is for Jeanine. Her character is very clumsy and tends to fall a lot. The woman in the blue is our stunt coordinator. Don't worry, Jeanine was not actually hurt in the filming of this movie!

Jeanine and Justin


3rd Street Dance Studio - We shot our dance rehearsal scenes here. "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Dancing With the Stars" also film rehearsal scenes at this studio.

On Hollywood Boulevard in front of Pantages Theater. Clara, Jeanine's character, talks about wanting to be a famous dancer. We may need to do some sound designing for this location -- all I could hear were the homeless people behind me singing... Not a problem though! We have the resources at USC to make this scene sound perfect!

Comments are closed.