Zooppsters, we have quite an amusing array of videos to share with you today! This brilliant collage, created for the first Are You Interested contest, is the work of film-making mastermind jacenK. The videos capture various inventive scenarios of online dating-gone-wrong, and together resulted in jacenK walking away from the contest $6,500 richer!!! We have featured these videos below, followed by an interview with the inspired filmmaker himself! Enjoy!
“Online Date,” $1,000
“Movies in the Park,” $500
Tell us about yourself.
The impossible “pick your one favorite song question” (though these days I’ve actually picked one movie as well “Lost in Translation” and Tegan and Sara “the Con”….I already digress…#old)
Jason K- Chicago resident, Philly born, Florida jailed for years. Director, DP, Editor, Writer, Colorist, actor, improv comedian, photographer, artist, dancer, punk cord guitar player, kitty lover, film/music buff and someone who is finally working for himself full-time doing what I love (look at me ending on a happy non-sarcastic note) xx
Describe your film-making background. What got you started?
I’ve kinda been doing film my whole life.
- The child years were recording skits on a tape deck, directing gi-joes action scenes with friends, and even writing and performing a live comedy/karaoke show for the neighborhood parents around age 6-7ish.
- Teen years were in high school drama, performing in community theater, building sets and learning the background of stage and production/rehearsal/and making things work the night before show goes up. Also performing as a theme actor and learning to interact with people in character all the time.
- 20’s was the start of directing/shooting film on a vhs/hi8/vhsc camera during my decade run of improv/sketch comedy. If only youtube was around then….alas. I worked as a roadie for years, learning lighting/audio/video on a large scale. Then many years as a foreman for production companies.
- 30’s was the time I started to put everything to use for myself (and finally for a pseudo paycheck). Finally getting into mainstream film with the release of the 5D, I was able to start shooting feature film looking material without the SD setbacks. Within the past five years I’ve done everything from feature films, shorts, commercials, music videos, documentaries and even started my own film company.
Being able to think and figure out things on a moment’s notice. Not going into a situation with a predetermined idea of 100% of how things are going to go, instead being open to ideas instead of your ego. Not instantly saying “we can’t do that” but more so “how can we do that with what we have”.
Even in a “improv” mindset or a 48hr film, for example= you need to know what your are doing, a idea of how to do it, and the right people to get it done. I’ve been on a full cast and crew set that has been more unorganized than a one-person crew and 4-person cast (Dating 101 shorts for example). I think a lot of people have the idea that “the more people onset, the easier or better it will be”. Not the case, and if you’re not open to accept the fact that you don’t know what your doing and willing to learn- then it’s just fighting people’s egos (and there is no creative fun in that).
3. Real life experience-
These days a lot of people I see and talk to tell me about what their “film school” told them was right and “that’s the ONLY way to do it”- No, its not. Learning things for yourself (film school or not) is how your going to get better, and coming in with what other people said as your argument rather than your ACTUAL experience is what’s going to work in the end. Sadly the truth is things NEVER go according to plan and the more things screw up- the more you learn how to work around them so it doesn’t happen again. (see preparation)
4. Friends vs Work-
This one is close to the heart and took losing some people to figure out sadly, but at the end of the day when you’re “working” pre/production/post/whatever you need people that are going to take things seriously and not screw around all the time. If you’re going to be successful and in charge of a cast/crew/company you really need to be able to draw that line that says “yea I think you’re a awesome guy, but we are here to focus and work right now, not to joke and screw around all day”. I think having fun on set in a productive way is different from someone on set checking Facebook or telling stories about his weekend date while you are trying to troubleshoot a shot. The best example of what someone said to me that addresses this is my very first job at Ruby Tuesdays in which my manager said “Even if your life is horrible right now, you have a job= and when you come in, if you take that attitude with you and don’t focus on your work- you’ll lose your job. Then guess what, you’ll really have something to be upset about”.
5. Always improve, never settle-
This is the one that keeps you going, the one that makes you always want to be better than the last project, and in the end not want to look at something you did 2 years ago and think “I’m still at that same point”. I think a lot of being a filmmaker is finally believing in your work and yourself, and in a actual way that you know you can do something and other people like it who aren’t friends and family. To me a lot of that confidence has come with contest sites like Zooppa, having people I don’t even know like my work and want to see more is inspiring and makes me think all these silly ideas that freely come out of my head each day are entertaining to others as well.
What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
Well as of 2+ years ago I finally quit the day job in hopes that my skills would somehow pay the bills, I found that they can….though its always a uphill battle. I’ve always wanted to get to the point that I was mainly doing things that came from my point of view or creativity rather then just “hey you random guy with a camera, shoot this” . I think I’m starting that phase of people hiring me for my creative side based on what they see, and to me that’s all I can hope for right now= to do the things I find interesting enough that I don’t need to do the gigs I roll my eyes at. Hopefully that develops into not only creative gigs, but creative gigs with budgets that I can spend more than a 48 hr period on, and hire a few skilled people to take the journey with me. You have to never stop or feel you can “take a break” I think.
Always move forward, always learn, and always try to be better.