We would like you to meet this week’s Featured Zooppa Member, Hunter Hopewell! Hunter is an 18-year-old filmmaker hailing from the Desert Gem, Las Vegas, Nevada. He is the owner of Rock*Comedy*Film, a production company which combines his 3 major passions of life. Hunter has won several awards with us at Zooppa, recently taking 1st place in Unilever’s How Do Kids See Mom campaign. Check out his full interview!
What first interested you in film?
I was first interested in film on Christmas morning 2007. I received a MacBook, and began playing with the iMovie app. I still remember how fun it was to record something and be able to play it back. Eventually, I was making silly videos with my friends, and I realized that these little videos were forever. Film is a way to preserve memories and reach out to the rest of the world. I may have known this before that Christmas morning, but this was the first time I had the tools to record, edit & playback all with one amazing device – I was hooked.
In high school, I joined my school’s Broadcast Journalism class where we produced a live broadcast for the school every morning. I loved it and achieved the top position in that class by my senior year. Broadcast and filmmaking truly made my high school experience extra special, and I owe that to my parents for their support and to my teacher, Mr. Clark. Broadcast was a creative outlet, a place to sharpen my skills, and share my passions.
What drew you to the Zooppa community?
Zooppa makes filmmaking even more rewarding. I realized Zooppa gave me the chance to earn some money doing what I love. The connections they create between businesses looking for fresh media and creative producers looking for opportunities to do work that matters is admirable. Some other sites charge filmmakers to submit, but Zooppa provides opportunities free of charge.
What do you like most about crowdsourced film contests?
Crowdsourced film contests give filmmakers opportunities to engage their talents with familiar and fun brands. Zooppa makes it very clear what the client wants in their overviews and briefs. If I ever have a question, I can always count on Zooppa support for a speedy, friendly response. From start to finish, working through Zooppa has been a pleasure every time.
What do you like to do when you’re not creating video masterpieces?
When I’m not shooting and editing films, I play guitar and record music. I’ve been playing guitar for eight years, and I’ve got the finger calluses to prove it. I play guitar and sing in a little band that my girlfriend, and I put together with some of our talented friends. If you’d like to hear one of my original compositions, check out “Pretty Good Problems” available on iTunes. I also like to record original scores for my short films. I like the complete product to be original work; plus, I don’t have to deal with copyright issues.
Where is home for you?
Home for me is Las Vegas, Nevada. Well, actually, fifteen minutes away in Henderson, but Las Vegas sounds edgier. I love it here for the weather, the vibe, and the entertainment.
Where do/did you go to school? How has your education influenced your filmmaking?
I am a film major at the UNLV Honors College going into my second year. My professors all have a lot of experience in the film industry and always give excellent instruction. Professors Francisco Menendez, an accomplished feature filmmaker, and Elvis Mitchell, a nationally recognized film critic, have already guided me so well, and I am very much looking forward to my future at UNLV and beyond.
What/where do you find inspiration for your films? Share a bit about your creative process.
Inspiration for my films almost always comes from some form of personal experience. Most often, it will be seemingly insignificant events that I feel many people can relate to and that I’d like to expand upon. For example, the first contest I won through Zooppa was with a short film called “Pink Elephant.”
“Pink Elephant” tells the story of an enthusiastic photographer whose photo keeps getting ruined by passersby, forces of nature, and a low battery. This comes from a personal experience I had trying to take a photo of my dad in Disney World, as oblivious tourists kept walking in front of the lens. I expanded upon this idea so that it had a broader theme and a happy ending. Generally, I like making films that can be universally understood and leave people in a better mood than before.
Which was your favorite Zooppa contest to participate in? Why?
So far, my favorite contest to participate in was Unilever’s How Do Kids See Mom? I collaborated with our neighbors, The Johnsons, who have twin four year olds that truly look up to their Supermommy. We had to make the kitchen look like a disastrous mess, so we goo’d dough on the chandelier, smashed a vase, cracked eggs on the counter, and plopped spaghetti on the kids’ heads. Everybody had fun, and the result really makes us all smile.
What are you currently working on (job, films)?
I am currently working on a few projects. I recently finished the screenplay for my short film, “Dream Girl,” and have already begun shooting. I plan to it finish it this summer.
I am creating a pilot for a 1/2 hour weekly cable show called “The Rock*Comedy*Film Show.” Not sure which network we’ll make a deal with yet, but it’s a work in progress. Portions of the show will be available as a web series on our RockComedyFilm.com site.
I am also doing some freelance work for several companies, and of course, I’m always looking for more Zooppa sponsored contests to participate in.
Ever since I was very young, I’ve wanted to be a cast member on Saturday Night Live. There is no clear path to this goal, so I’m doing my best to forge one. I want to keep doing what I love for the rest of my life, which is make others happy through Rock, Comedy, and Film. That’s what brings me happiness.
Link us to any work/a portfolio that you would like mentioned.
Most of my work can be seen on our website, RockComedyFilm.com, Inspiring Entertainment. Thank you and stay tuned!