Archive for the ‘Film Maker of The Week’ Category

By: Nicki Legge

Desiree Srinivas

“I’m surrounded by people who are capable of changing the world someday.”

It is not particularly often that you find an actress with looks, talent, enthusiasm, and professionalism all wrapped in one, but Desiree Srinivas achieves all of these things flawlessly. Jump Ship Productions has had the pleasure of working with her during the IFP Breakout Challenge in 2012, and she was an absolute delight throughout the project. It seems lately that I cannot go to a major function without running into her, and she always happens to be working on some interesting project, literally right there on the spot. Since Desiree is currently doing so much within the industry, we thought it would be the perfect time to write about her as our Filmmaker of the Week!

Desiree comes from a family that appreciates the comforts of a good salary, so it was not easy for her to take the plunge into the film community; however, now that she has, she cannot imagine ever living without it. She is currently starting her second year at Arizona State University as a Marketing student. She did try exploring her options in theater for a semester but decided that it would be better to “get (her) coaching for acting and film outside of school and focus on a degree that will benefit (her) in more ways than one.” Desire has been involved in the AZ film community for a little over a year, but she says “it feels like so much longer with all of the change and growth I’ve experienced over the last year.” Her ultimate passion is acting, thinking of each character as a different variation of herself; however, her hunger for film is insatiable so she takes every opportunity, in front of or behind the camera, to be on set.

When divulging what she loves about film, Desiree’s passion absolutely shines through. She says “I think the greatest thing in film is the insane amounts of passion… Getting the opportunity to immerse myself within this small film family has made me realize that I’m surrounded by people who are capable of changing the world someday… Film lets me tell a story. It lets me convey, and hopefully evoke, emotion in someone… though I haven’t been in this industry for long, I can honestly say having the accessibility to do that has already changed me as a person.” Thus far, Desiree has been involved in (roughly) 15 or so projects, including student short films, feature films, television, and a variety of other film-related shoots. She was the main actress in Jump Ship’s own Face of Innocence. She was recently involved in a film in the 2013 Almost Famous Film Festival’s 48-Hour Film Challenge.


Most recently, Desiree has begun working on a new film called Helsing with ARTofWAR Pictures.  Her good friend Ryan Johnston has had the project brewing in his brain for some time. With her help fleshing out the story, as well as the talents of Will Hirsch writing the script, they were able to bring the idea to life on paper and have taken considerable steps toward bringing it to life on screen. Helsing is a spinoff of the notorious story of Van Helsing, with an original script and a unique western and steam punk-infused style.” Aside from helping with the story, Desiree will also be playing the Vampire Queen Moria, “the first victim that Dracula ever turned into an immortal vampire, who serves as the antagonist against Van Helsing in his never-ending hunt for Dracula.”

Desiree uses an array of techniques to get into character, switching it up as she needs to for different types of roles.  She says “for Helsing in particular, I am going to be doing something a little different. Over the next month, I plan to meet with Ryan for multiple rehearsals to work on the character development for Moria. I also plan to work closely with Wardrobe (Autumn Lewis) to get comfortable in the gaudy, eccentric wardrobe pieces… in order to evolve into this character.” Desiree considers this her most difficult role to date, but she plans to make it her strongest performances. ARTofWAR is in the processes of putting a Kickstarter campaign together in order to raise funds for the production. The team has already done some impressive work on the film, securing locations as well as a full cast and crew, and even completing their first day of filming. You can check the film out on Facebook, and keep an eye out for their Kickstarter; it starts next week!

Aside from being a talented actress, Desiree has also started doing a little modeling. With a few gigs under her belt already, she recently filled in for a missing model at a booth during the Phoenix Film Festival Industry Night for Brian Pulido’s new comic book character, Maria Muerta.” Her friend, Sage Greenawalt, asked if she could fill in for the missing model; his father, Mark Greenawalt, “is a notorious, insanely talented body painter,” and he was doing the makeup for the model that night. They loved Desiree so much that they brought her back on for Phoenix Comicon. Desiree is interested in dabbling in modeling a bit more alongside acting. If you are interested in working with her, you can find her on Facebook or email her Here.

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By: Nicki Legge

Steve Wargo

“I am a businessman who creates films for a living. I am not an artist.”

Several weeks ago I was Facebook stalking one of my favorite fellow filmmakers, Mike Rea, and I noticed a series of very intriguing photos from the set of a film called Poison Sky. Soon after, another one of my favorite people, Nile Popchock, suggested Steve Wargo as a Filmmaker of the Week. Since two of the most talented people I know in the Arizona film industry seemed to speak so highly of the same person, I decided to do a little research on his project Poison Sky. I was absolutely blown away by the scope and professionalism of the project, so I contacted Steve to do an interview.

Steve Wargo has been “in the video production business since 1981 when Director Ken Kennedy asked (him) to shoot a new open and a new close to his Nick Nolte film, Aggie.” He has been involved in over 7000 video projects, nine short films, and six feature films. He even acted as an extra in Used Cars, The Gauntlet, and Cloud Dancer. Instead of spending big bucks on film school, Steve “hooked up with seasoned veterans and learned from them.” His absolute passion is camera work. He loves to be the one “creating the image.” He says that “film is all about the message.  It’s a communication medium that can have an entertainment wrapper.” Steve is constantly inspired by “directors who find a new way to present their images to their audience. Alfred Hitchcock had his style; he scared the crap out of people in a very subtle way. Quintin Tarentino has an alarming style. If we were to do what he does, it would not have the same level of acceptance.”

When I asked Steve to name one thing he wants people to know about him, his answer was far too good to paraphrase. Steve says, “I am 100% serious about my job – FilmMaking. I have a reputation of being a hard ass on set. Well, the professionals that I work with will tell you different. There are a LOT of people in Phoenix who want to be filmmakers and there are a few who really have the potential to go all the way; the remainder are dreamers who think that being on set is the time to socialize, tell jokes, talk loudly, and just generally act like children. Well, the children on our sets don’t act like children. They act like “actors”.  Actors read their lines, get into their ZONE and become one with their character. I am a businessman who creates films for a living. I am not an artist. Almost all of my projects are paid. When we do free charity work, those jobs are treated the same as any paying jobs.”

Most recently, Steve has been working diligently on a film called Poison Sky. “In 2000, (his) friend Tony Kyle informed (him) that there were planes spraying chemicals on the populace of the United States. (Steve) laughed at him asked him what he was smoking. But, found out later that a whole bunch of people believed the same BS.” He decided to do a little research, and became fascinated with what he found; he even “started to keep records of what was going on in the sky above us.”  In 2001, Steve wrote a screenplay entitled Chemtrails, DFA. The timing was not right for his screenplay to come to life, so Steve continued doing research over the span of about ten years. Steve says, “I started with a small film that I hoped someone would be interested in but it has grown far beyond my expectations due in part to my cousin, WGA writer, Julianna Joyce Feher, who has taken the film to an entirely new level.” Poison sky is not only going to be a full feature, but it is “the first of a three picture franchise.”

Poison Sky

Once he got the ball rolling on Poison Sky, Steve needed to do a little casting; he went into great detail about his process:


Tyler Gallant was recommended by Steve Briscoe… I invited Tyler to meet with me, Yvette Edmond and Georgia Tavera at Outback at the Scottsdale 101. We talked for two hours and I selected Tyler based on his person, his political convictions, his patriotism and his darn good looks.

Nicole Randall attended a fundraiser that I was part of for UMOM… with me, Diane Dresback, Yvette Edmond, Steve Gottry and a few others. Nicole… had just recently sent me a headshot and resume. We all sat at a few tables and just talked about things. As I looked at Nikki, I realized that she fit the part of Samantha to a T. I gave her what I call a table audition and selected her to do the part. I chose wisely as she does a great job and she is very physically appealing.


We wrote a very lightweight part for our Bad Guy. This was a character that we would only see in small parts, like a jaw, eyes, back of the head, a shadow. Over time, we felt the need to develop this character further and went looking for our villain. An actor friend, Arlene Newman-Van Asperen called me to recommend an actor named Glenn Plummer, star of South Central, Southland, and Sons of Anarchy. We looked him up and we were intrigued. I sent Glenn a note, along with a script and he called me two days later and we did a deal over the phone.

Now, we needed a sidekick for our villain. In actuality, the sidekick is a more dynamic part for reasons that I can’t disclose at this time… I called a friend to get the phone number for Trisha Mann in L.A.   I had worked with Trisha on a project about 8 years ago.  I offered her the part and she snapped it up.

On Sunday, June 2nd, we met with Glenn and Trisha at LuLu’s Restaurant in Van Nuys  and sealed the deal. Glenn was a perfect choice because he has been a Chemtrail enthusiast for years. He already knows the subject. And, to top it off, he and Trisha played husband and wife in a film last year.

Poison Sky already has a huge following on social media sites, although it comes with no surprise since the film has such a controversial subject and such talented actors. Steve even received a check from an investor in Hawaii who did not even ask for a contract due to Steve’s reputation for ethics and honesty. He says, “That completely blew me away and it still doesn’t seem real.”  Steve hopes to premiere Poison Sky in the fall of 2013. He is also “in development on (his) next film and has secured two of the actors so far. (Plus he has) five more films in the cue.” If you are interested in contacting Steve, he can be reached HERE. You can also check him out on IMDB. Read more about him in MyLife Magazine.

981491_10151594966714242_1814446343_oWritten By: Nicki Legge

Several months ago I heard that a local film company, Running Wild Films, posted a full length feature that was completely improved called 1 (Improvised Feature Film). Like a good little film nerd, I decided to stop what I was doing (soul crushing work in a cubicle) to indulge in a little YouTube viewing action. I was familiar with the majority of the actors in the film, however one, Amber Michelle Davis, was new to me and I was completely delighted by her performance. I have since noticed Amber in multiple other films. Jump Ship Productions had the pleasure of interviewing Amber about her experiences in the film industry.

Amber has been involved in the film industry “for the better part of two years.” She says that acting is her first love, so it’s no surprise that she got an Associates Degree in Fine Arts and Theatre from Scottsdale Community College. While in school, “one of (her) acting professors encouraged a bunch of the ‘theatre actors’ to audition for some student films.Amber says, “I really began to love the filmmaking process on the set of the first film I was cast in. I had only ever done stage performances up to that point… Once I was on set I quickly fell in love with the camera.” Since her love of film sparked, she has participated in roughly 20 projects! She has been especially active recently. Amber says, “A very dear friend of mine has recently been a catalyst in reviving my passion for story telling through film. His passion for truthful and provocative storytelling is not only admirable, but contagious.

Out of all the projects that she has been a part of, Amber’s favorite is 1 (Improvised Feature Film). She says that, “It was the very best experience as an actor. We were all given character breakdowns and relationship cues, but the dialogue and interactions were all improvised. It was so freeing to just be in every moment and respond truthfully to my fellow actors. The process was liberating.” Aside from the improve feature, Amber has been involved in many other projects with Running Wild Films. Thus far, she has been cast in two of their 52 Short Films, “Liar” and one that is “due to shoot in July called “The White Stocking.” Amber says that the guys at Running Wild Filmsare phenomenal and (she) feels very fortunate to be included in anything they do!Amber even recently ate two crickets in support of Running Wild.

Amber won an outstanding individual performance award for acting at the A3F 48 hour challenge for her performance in “Itty Bitty Bang Bang” with Running Wild Films. Most recently Amber took home the 1st Place Best Actress award at  this years “Film School @ SCC’s Film Festival” for her performance in “Eduardo and Ted“. She says that she “was completely shocked both times!” She found out about the project through “the great Facebook,” but did not plan on auditioning until a friend of hers dragged her down. She says “to say the least, I am very thankful!” Not only is Amber a talented actress, she is also a professional makeup artist. She can not only make people look beautiful, but she also loves to play around with making them ugly. Amber says, “I’m not a huge fan of ‘real life’ gore, but I adore made up gore. I have had a lot of fun playing tricks on my mom with some of my makeup wounds.

Aside from her upcoming shoot with Running Wild Films, Amber is has also been cast in “another short at the end of June called Friendzone.” She will also be participating “in a film called Russel Benson’s Last Day.” If you are interested in contacting Amber, you can email her here, and you can find her on Facebook!

Written By: Nicki Legge

389553_2536081441655_1885901135_nAs technology advances, it seems like more and more films are using Visual Effects (VFX) and Motion Graphics to aid in the telling of a story. Filmmakers are doing amazing things with technology, building entire worlds on a computer. I have heard a lot of great things throughout the community about the talents of Logan Hennessy, but I had no idea how impressive his work is until I recently stumbled across his VFX/Motion Graphics demo reel on Facebook. I was absolutely blown away by the before and after shots throughout the reel and I immediately knew that I had to share his story by making him the Jump Ship Productions Filmmaker of the Week.

Logan is originally from Spokane, Washington. Before he moved to Arizona, he was attending a local community college, not particularly satisfied with the direction it was taking him. “One fateful night” as Logan says, he was watching the Appendices for the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and something clicked. Logan “always liked making videos with (his) friends, but it never really crossed (his) mind that you could do it for a living!… (he) became infatuated with the behind the scenes of a film set, and decided then and there (he) wanted to go to film school.” He decided that Phoenix would be a good place for film school, so he turned to the trusty internet to find schools in the Phoenix area.  Logan “found (his) school, and moved across the country in a little less than three weeks from the night (he) watched those Appendices.” He says “it’s the greatest decision (he) has ever made.”

Logan began school in January 2010 and recently graduated “fluent with After Effects, Cinema 4D, 3DS Max, and Boujou.” He chose Collins College because “It had great facilities including two large sound stages and a massive green screen.” My favorite question to ask filmmakers is whether or not they believe film school is necessary. I think Logan hits the nail right on the head with his answer.

It is true that film school is completely unnecessary and the degree that you get from it will rarely get asked for. Peter Jackson, James Cameron, Ridley Scott, and David Fincher never went to film school, heck, Steven Spielberg was turned down from film school twice. The only thing anybody really cares about is if you are good. Really good. If you have an uncle that runs camera for Hollywood feature films, you can start from the bottom there and learn a massive amount… in a very short time. 

The problem lies there. Not all of us have an uncle in the business, and we have literally no connections into Hollywood – THAT is where film school comes in. You essentially pay money to make connections. Yes, you learn some stuff in school, but you learn most of it on real sets. So that is the answer, you go to film school in an area that has a film community in order to meet like-minded individuals… building a network and learning all you can.

Logan was “drawn to visual effects and motion graphics because (he) does not want any barriers.” One of the biggest limitations for independent filmmakers is the lack of budget. Logan “decided (he) would not allow (himself) to have any restrictions if (he) didn’t have to. If (he) comes up with a story and needs the setting to be a post-apocalyptic wasteland, (he) can do that.” Logan says that it is difficult to choose a favorite project or graphic, every time he completes a project he immediately thinks of something bigger and better to do. Although if he had to pick one,   Logan says “it would probably be one of the first difficult shots I ever did… on a video I co-created for a video game that was being released that year (“Battlefield 3 Live Action Gameplay Trailer“). The climax of the video is a first-person perspective and as the character looks up into the sky, two jets collide and explode, followed by one of the jets falling into the screen and on top of the character. It was two years ago, and I’ve learned so much and honed my craft a lot since then, but seeing people’s reaction to that shot for the first time still gives me goosebumps.”

As much as Logan loves VFX and Motion Graphics, his true passion is working hard on set. Logan says “I learned visual effects so I could have no boundaries, but I’m a filmmaker at heart, and there is nothing like being on a film set. I really like to direct my own films, but when working for others my favorite aspect is being behind camera. I like to be able to have an impact on the look of a film, and being a camera operator or Director of Photography is one of my biggest goals as a filmmaker.” Logan has completed four of his own videos, most of which can be seen on his Youtube channel, ENRELEM, but he has worked on countless other projects through school and with other filmmakers.

“The best recognition I ever got was when me and a buddy released our fan-made trailer for an upcoming videogame called “Battlefield 3”, and after the second day that it was on youtube the creators of the video game posted it to their twitter and facebook, and subsequently it started showing up on gaming websites all across the internet. It received a lot of praise and was the first time I really felt like this is the only thing I could be doing with my life. I’ve never felt so giddy in all my life than the morning I woke up and saw the video had jumped 40,000 views overnight and the top comments said they were sent by the game’s creators. I can’t wait to do it again!”

The absolutely most important aspect of filmmaking to Logan is simply telling an incredible story that captivates people and forces viewers to learn a little about themselves and grow with the characters on the screen. He strives to never stop learning and never stop improving so that he can be the best filmmaker he can be. Now that Logan has graduated college, he plans to pump out consistent short films with his longtime friend Nile Popchock for their youtube channel, ENRELEM. He says, “the internet is an incredibly powerful tool for filmmakers, and if we can consistently create jaw-dropping films I don’t think there is any better option to get exposure… Making films is a gift from me to the audience, a chance to bring them into a world I created that they could only imagine in their dreams. I really do believe that through continuous, excruciatingly hard work I’ve got a shot at doing just that.” Logan is active on Facebook, he can be reached at (509) 979 – 7015, or you can email him HERE!

Written By: Nicki Legge

Most of us have grand dreams when we’re kids about what we want to be when we grow up, but as we get older and learn the ways of the real world, a lot of us lose that childlike belief that we can do anything so we settle for something more practical. There are many things that I like about filmmakers, but the one quality that I absolutely love the most is our ability to hold onto that childlike love for filmmaking and our drive to never stop until our dreams come true. Jump Ship Productions recently participated in both the IFP Breakout Challenge and the Almost Famous Film Festival’s (A3F) 48 hour film challenge, and during both there was one group that caught our eye. LJR Productions put out two delightfully whimsical films that were very obviously made with a lot of love. We had the pleasure of interviewing Jon Ray, the writer/director and owner of LJR Productions about his experiences.

Jon Ray is a perfect example of a filmmaker who will never give up on his dream; he wanted to be an actor as a kid, and even skipped school to go to an audition for a feature film, but unfortunately there weren’t too many productions in his hometown of Tyler, Texas. He got his start as a filmmaker in 2001, “when (he) shot 3 episodes of a Claymation series called ‘Toby Bear.’” From there, Jon received his first paying gig as “a PA on a Wonder Woman music video,” and he became a working filmmaker (which is a major accomplishment in itself).  Jon gained experience as an “actor, A.D., cameraman, boom pole, script supervisor, special FX, prop maker and of course PA.” From 2007 to 2012, Jon’s film career slowed down. He worked on finishing a degree in Digital Video at UAT and got “caught up in the game of making a living,” putting his family’s needs first.

In Dec. 2012, Jon decided it was time “to walk away from a 12 year career in Information Technology and change career fields to TV/Film,” and now he is able to do what he loves full-time as a freelance Videographer and filmmaker.  So far, Jon has “directed at least 11 shorts films,” not counting ones that were made for film school. He says, “I’m working my way towards Hollywood. One of my ultimate goals is to write and direct a studio film. Afterwards, I’d be happy going back to being an Indie or taking on more studio projects, but at least I want that one shoot in LA.” He is currently under a six month contract doing video work, but after that’s up he plans to “go back to working for my wife’s production company Sysnia Creative, where she is developing a TV show and has years of experience working on other TV shows.”

Jon has participated in six 48 hour film challenges with the IFP, the National, and most recently the A3F. His film Ring of Time was my favorite of all of the honorable mention films (and would have made it to the top 20 if I had been judging). One of the things that I personally found to be impressive about his film was the sheer size of the production that LJR pulled off in just 48 hours. They had a huge cast and what appeared to be several different locations. Jon says, “I signed up for the challenge a week before it began so I didn’t have a lot of prep work. Also, I only had 2 actors who were committed to the project, no location, no story idea and not much in the way of funds… Within the week leading up to that Saturday… we grew to 26 cast/crew members. We obtained access to a very nice mansion in north Scottsdale, thanks entirely to my producer and wife Samantha Ray… My secret was the mansion though in regards to locations. The place was so huge and the property varied so much I was able to stage all my scenes from photos of the place I got the night of the kickoff.”

Jon only knew five of the people involved in his production when the challenge kicked off Friday night, and one of the things he is most proud of was his ability to “take a group of people who have never worked together and forge them into an awesome cast and crew to make great art.” Jon says “It was amazing to see everyone come together to help bring my written word to life within such a short period of time.” What most people don’t understand about filmmaking is that getting your film shot is only half the battle. Postproduction is where a film really comes together, and Jon worked very closely with his wife, who edited the film while he worked on pulling together other information for the entry. He hoped to save time in post by using royalty free music, but he wasn’t satisfied with anything he found “So, being a keyboardist and composer, (he) wrote every bit of music you hear in the film in the final 2 hours before (they) left to turn the film in.”  

It was difficult for Jon to cut down such a grand idea into just 5 minutes. He learned during this challenge that the widely known rule that one page of script equals one minute of screen time does not always work out, and he ended up with about a six and a half minute film. Although he had to cut out one and a half minutes, Jon was able to keep everyone’s scenes, which is something he is very proud of. Jon says, “I feel like we are the underdogs, team wise. No one really knew LJR Productions or me and it was a group of mostly strangers who came together to make a great little film. As this was my most ambitious 48 Hour film project to date, I was hoping it’d at least screen with the top 20, but regardless, the feedback has been great and I’m proud of this film and the work everyone on my team put into it. We had some real professionals on hand that if not for them being there, might have made this a much more difficult interview to answer.” 

Jon is currently working on three documentaries, one of which is about his own struggles to make it to Hollywood. Jon says, “Regardless, what ends up happening to me, I plan to eventually release a documentary showing my ups and downs to hopefully inspire others to reach for their dreams and believe in themselves. It starts with letting go to all the things holding you back and then believing that with skill and effort the journey will take care of you… Never give up and never stop believing.” He is also writing two feature films and plans to start production of one of them later this year. One is “a paranormal thriller… the other bigger budget film is a high fantasy about knights and the Fae realm.” Jon has “started acting as an extra for other productions in order to be a better director, by understanding the process in front of the camera,” and offers his skills as an extra and production designer to interested filmmakers. He can be contacted HERE or through the LJR Productions Facebook Page, and you can see his work and look for cast and crew calls on his website.

Written By: Nicki Legge

Photo Oct 31, 11 43 52 AMLast weekend, Jump Ship Productions participated in the Almost Famous Film Festival’s (A3F) 48 hour challenge. We have participated in four challenges so far, and our crew has grown bigger and better for each one. During the Breakout Challenge, we turned to Sean Rasbury to do some Photoshop work on one of our props.  We were so happy with his work that we decided to bring him back for the A3F 48 hour challenge as an editor. Sean worked tirelessly during the shoot, dumping, organizing, and syncing all of the footage from our dual cameras, and when the shoot was over and the majority of the crew went home for some much needed shuteye, Sean downed a pot of coffee so he could work on the edit. Sean grew up in Metro Detroit; he “wanted to move to an area that had more film and video opportunities, but (he) didn’t want to move to California,” so he moved to the beautiful valley of the sun.

Sean has “been working on graphic design and video production since 2004, and audio production since 1998.” He was drawn to the wonderful world of film because it provides a diverse range of areas and ways that he can exercise his skills.  Sean loves that “there’s endless subject matter and new worlds to be created when you’re working in film.” He is most fond of editing, because “going through all the footage and assembling it is like a giant fun puzzle,” but his skills don’t end there. Sean also loves compositing and doing visual effects. Sean thinks he might also like to try writing and editing scripts, although being on screen is out of the question because as he says, “I have a face for radio and a voice for silent film.” Sean attended Schoolcraft College in Michigan for his degree in graphics, where he “won first and second place with two projects for the Motion Graphics category in a student and teacher judged competition.” Sean is a big believer in the programs at community college as an alternative to bigger film schools, and he can’t say enough good things about his experiences at Schoolcraft College.

When Jump Ship Productions invited Sean to work with us on the A3F 48 hour challenge, he jumped on board. He participated in this exact challenge several years ago with JP Frydrych and Craig MacDonald on their submission, Open Mic Night with Ber Co. Productions.  What sold Sean on the challenge was the ability to work with people he enjoyed working with on previous projects, while also getting the opportunity to work with some new people as well. He says his favorite thing about these challenges is “the camaraderie on the set.” Obviously the worst thing about these challenges is the lack of sleep (Especially for the editor who stays up all night while the rest of us sleep… Seriously… Thank you, Sean), but Sean never let that slow him down. As far as prepping for the challenge, he made sure to pack up all of his gear ahead of time so he could begin work on set while the scenes were being shot, and to get a few extra hours of sleep the night before. Sean says he might participate in another challenge because this last one was so fun.

As of right now, Sean does not have any definite projects lined up; however he is working on creating a variety of stock footage. He is always willing to work with other people and groups, and he has a wide variety of skills to offer. Sean believes that you learn something new and valuable on every set, and he loves to learn from new people and experiences; it is an added perk when he has more pieces to add to his portfolio. If anyone is interested in working with Sean, he can be reached HERE.

Written By: Nicki Legge

_MG_3666During the month of January, Jump Ship Productions had the pleasure of participating in the IFP Phoenix Breakout Challenge, and last week was the seemingly long awaited premiere of all the participant’s films. I definitely feel for the judges this year; there was a wide variety of excellent films from a number of talented teams. Although I had more than one favorite, the film that really stood out as a whole was Mission Control. This little gem took home Best Overall Film, Best Story, Best use of Theme, and Best Poster. We had the pleasure of interviewing the Producer and Editor, Parco Richardson about his experiences with the challenge.

Parco was born in in Memphis, Tennessee and grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina.  He relocated to California when he joined the Marines and fell in love with the West. Once he was out of the Marines, he decided to say on the West coast, but California was a little too expensive for his taste so he moved to Arizona. Parco has been interested in the film industry since he was in the 6th grade, but did not start getting his hands dirty until he began film school a few years ago. Parco says, “I wanted to become an actor/ comedian when I was younger, but when I first saw Pulp Fiction it inspired me to work behind the camera.” Now his main area of interest is Cinematography, although he does like to dabble in writing and directing as well. Parco has “collaborated on about 15 projects over the last three years.” Above all else, Parco just loves to tell stories. He is always astounded by “how you can get a group of people to collaborate together and bring the story to life.” His favorite project so far was a short film, directed by Travis Mills, called “Escort Driver.” This was Parco’s very first Cinematography job so it has always been close to his heart.

Parco decided to participate in the IFP Breakout Challenge because he is now in his senior year of film school and he “wanted to test (his) skills that (he) learned over the past three years.” He said that overall the challenge was pretty much what he expected, however there weren’t as many teams participating as he had hoped. Parco’s favorite part of the challenge was designing a kid’s room filled with all sorts of fun space paraphernalia. Parco said that his team came up with a number of solid concepts, but they ultimately chose to film Mission Control because it was the most fun and the easiest for the span of time they had. To prepare for the challenge, Parco invited several people on board who had participated in similar challenges; giving them the experience that helped them win four awards.

As a prize for winning best overall film, Mission Control won free submission to EIGHT film festivals, including Carmel Film FestivalSeattle True Independent Film FestivalPrescott Film FestivalSanta Fe Film FestivalBendFilm FestivalVegas Indie Film FestFilmStock and automatic selection to the Phoenix Film Festival this April! Parco says that, after adding a few final touches to the film, they might possibly submit it to even more festivals. Parco plans to participate in the A3F 48 hour challenge this weekend, and will also be working on his senior film in April called “Spirit Inside.” His ultimate goal is to become a successful Cinematographer and eventually have one of the films he directed in the Sundance Film Festival. Parco is very open to collaboration. If you are interested in working with him, you can reach him Here

Written By: Nicki Legge

eli2As a member of the Arizona film community, I often admire people that I’ve only met once or twice, or even not at all in some cases. Through our interactions with one another in the community, we build reputations, whether good or bad, that sway others opinions of us. I have only met Eli Godfrey once at an event at the Film bar, but through the fantastic things I’ve heard about him and the wonderful project updates I see on Facebook, I feel like I’ve known him for years. Eli is always supporting his fellow filmmakers, so here at Jump Ship Productions, we thought that it was our turn to support him! When Eli was in high school, he had an English teacher who told him to never stop writing. “Around the same time (he) started discovering independent and foreign films and getting really into the ‘hobby’ of actively watching movies – sometimes 2 a day. So (he) decided to put the two together and start learning about screenwriting.”  Eli has now been involved in filmmaking for about eight years and counting. During that time, he has been involved in three films as the director, two of which were written by him, and he has acted in “two features and probably 25 or so shorts.”

Eli calls film “social storytelling.” Although he loves to read just about anything he can get his hands on, he loves the active discussion and sense of community that revolves around going to a movie. Eli says, “You can sit in a room with 200 people and you’re all experiencing the same thing, and then you go out with your friends or significant other afterwards and talk about how you felt about it. That post-film coffee or beer discussion has always been special to me.” Eli has always idolized directors, and although there are many that have affected him over years, Woody Allen has always been especially inspirational to him. “He’s never stopped working despite slumps, terrible reviews, box office bombs…none of it seems to faze him. He just keeps chugging along and next thing you know he turns out another brilliant film and everyone loves him again.” As a filmmaker, above all else, Eli wants to simply tell stories. He is interested in directing, writing, and acting, but he is concentrating on acting at the moment.

Eli is currently working on a project called Fork in the Socket. It is a six episode web series about “Kevin, an advertising salesman who is struggling in his relationship and career, so he hires a Life Coach… who ends up making everything worse.” Eli wrote the script and will be playing the main character, Kevin. When I asked Eli about his inspiration for the script, he said, “My best friend since childhood is an absolute nightmare to deal with on every level. He’s the most difficult person I’ve ever encountered, and he’s caused me untold amounts of grief. People always ask me why I’ve kept him so close for so many years. It’s because me makes me laugh uncontrollably. On two separate occasions I’ve popped blood vessels in my eyes because he made me laugh so hard. There’s never a dull moment with him; he has an almost mystical ability to make something interesting happen at a moment’s notice. I wanted to capture that in a story, but I couldn’t just write about two guys sitting around a house goofing off, so I created this Life Coach character, who comes along supposedly to improve the main character’s life, but ends up completely wrecking it.”

Eli and the director of Fork in the Socket, Ryan Gaumont spent six full weeks casting the series. They wanted to make sure that all of the actors really love the story, so they sent the full first episode to all who auditioned, and sent the full series to everyone who was called back. After multiple rounds of casting calls, “going through people (they) know, people who were recommended to (them), and people who found (their) posting on durantcom,” they finally pulled together a cast that they know will breathe life into the characters. Eli says, “It wasn’t our only deciding factor, but it really got our attention when someone came to us and said ‘I really want this part.’”  Eli is currently hosting a Kickstarter campaign to pull together funds that will help make the series the best that it can be. They have a goal of $3000 and only TEN DAYS LEFT to donate! Eli chose Kickstarter because it “seemed to have more credibility. It’s a more well-known name and they have Amazon checkout. Almost everyone already has an Amazon account.”

Eli plans to begin shooting Fork in the Socket the last weekend in February. If anyone is interested in attending a private screening of the entire series before it hits the web, you can do so by donating only $20 on the Kickstarter campaign. They plan to have the screening in May, and the release to the web shortly after. When he is not pouring his efforts into Fork in the Socket, Eli spends his time working on a feature length screenplay and participating in other shorts and projects that are thrown his way. Ultimately, Eli would love to gain a large enough audience that he can work on films full time. He is happy to collaborate with anyone who is interested, and can be reached here.

Written By: Nicki Legge

Mike ReaThis past weekend, Jump Ship Productions took on one of our most ambitious films to date for the IFP Breakout Challenge, and with bigger films come bigger crews.  One crew member who especially stood out to me was Mike Rea, our amazing Lighting Technician. No matter how impossible the task seemed, Mike not only gave us exactly what we wanted, but he did it with enthusiasm. He also volunteered to be the Director of Photography for our unit 2 team, and did a stellar job; he is responsible for some of my favorite shots in the film. Mike grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona. He moved to the valley in the summer of 2008 to start film school at Collins College, and he’s been making films ever since.  Mike loves everything about film. He says that growing up, “When I had free time, I watched movies, when I was sick, sad, happy, angry, it didn’t matter. Movies have always been there for me.”  He has already been involved in more films than he can count, and doesn’t plan to slow down any time soon.

Mike has always been inspired by his “idol, Trey Parker, Co-creator of South Park,” along with other big names like Bill Murray, Humphrey Bogart, Alfred Hitchcock, and The Coen Brothers. But aside from these Hollywood stars, his biggest inspiration comes from his family. Mike says, “I am a very lucky guy; my parents (certainly including my stepmom) have been unbelievably supportive throughout.  My brother, his fiance, and all 3 of his kids are always asking about my projects and they all keep me going when it gets difficult.” All of the visual aspects of film are what Mike finds to be the most fascinating. He believes that “With lighting, you can create a mood without anyone on screen saying a word. With the right lighting you can make the audience uncomfortable, happy, or even scared.” Although Mike is very passionate about lighting (and this shows in his work), he believes that “camera work is possibly the most important aspect of filmmaking.” He hopes to work his way up to be a Director of Photography, and then finally a writer/director.

Mike in Action

Mike in Action

Mike believes that every project has “its own unique charm.” Because “Every set is different and every crew is different… (he) gets to interact and learn from all different kinds of filmmakers.” This has created an environment where he continues to learn and grow; he has not yet left a set once without learning something valuable. Mike is always up for a challenge because “it keeps him on his toes,” so when our producer, JP Frydrych, invited him to join our crew for the IFP Breakout Challenge, Mike accepted with no hesitation. His favorite part of the challenge was “Meeting new people and reuniting with old colleagues.” And although his least favorite part was being outside and wet on one of Arizona’s coldest nights, he learned that “As a team, we were able to achieve a really cool rain effect” with the proper placing of lights and a garden hose.

Mike loves to keep himself busy. He says “There is always stuff on the horizon, just need to keep your eyes open.” He is willing to work with any production crew, and believes that “No one team is perfect, no one team has all the answers. But if I can get in with several companies and groups, then that’s just more people I can learn from.” Mike is an extremely talented Lighting Technician and DP; he would be a wonderful addition to any crew. If anyone is interested in contacting Mike, contact him here.

Written By: Nicki Legge

Rachelle McCrayAfter taking a much enjoyed holiday break, we are excited to jump back into writing our Filmmaker of the Week articles, and there is no better local filmmaker to kick off the New Year than Rachelle McCray. Not only is Rachelle native to Arizona, she was even crowned Miss Arizona United States in 2011. Rachelle says that when she was just five years old, “I would walk around my house with my ‘Barbie’ Radio and record my family members… I created my own show which I called KDSTR, Kid Star radio. My parents would listen to my ‘broadcasts’ at the dinner table every night.” She took several production classes throughout High School and College, and also from professionals through Arizona and California. In a collective of about ten years, Rachelle has been involved in various areas of filmmaking, both in front of and behind the camera. Rachelle started out as a TV host, and will always hold that role close to her heart; she simply “can never get enough of it.” But what she really loves is producing; she says, “As a producer, pulling together the entire project, bringing clients visions to fruition is one of the best parts of the process.”

Rachelle has always had a passion for the entertainment industry and a thirst for entrepreneurship, so “Starting a production company seemed like a natural fit.” Her company Shelley Lynn Productions (SLP) is going into its fourth year of business. SLP is happy to take on any project that is brought to them, from corporate work to more creative projects. They service a wide range of clients including corporate entities, other production companies, ad agencies, and more. They “have produced a feature documentary, TV series, Web Series, Commercials, and Live Event Videos.” In a world that can seem, at times, full of nothing but bad and negative content, Rachelle concentrates on the positive. Rachelle says that, at SLP “We try to focus on positive content, or we choose clients who immolate good in their work too. We bring positivity to each and every project, and hope others can feel that.”

Holywood Makeover

Holywood Makeover

Although Rachelle has loved every project for different reasons, her current favorite is Holywood Makeover, and yes, the spelling is intentional. Holywood Makeover is a TV series that SLP is producing for a local faith based film maker. Once completed, the series will be 29 episodes long, and will be all about “teaching young filmmakers how to make independent films.” The idea behind the series is to show independent filmmakers how they can make quality films that are Hollywood worthy in any state. The show will delve into behind the scenes work on independent film sets, and will highlight different tricks and tips of the trade. They have chosen the beautiful state of Arizona as their backdrop because it is where most of their films have been shot. “The show will begin airing late spring, and will be available “on various TV stations and internet channels, worldwide!” If you are interested in seeing Holywood Makeover, you can “check your local listings to see when it premieres, as it will air on over 200 networks with a reach of 400 million people across the globe.”

Rachelle’s passion lies in “creating unique and quality projects” for her clients, and she promises that she will never “take one client, opportunity or project for granted.” SLP is looking forward to a big 2013 filled with many projects for multiple clients. “So far, it will be (their) biggest year to date, and it’s just getting better and better.” SLP works with skilled professionals throughout Arizona and even in California. They have someone for every area and every job; however they “are always looking for stellar, hardworking crew to join (their) team!” If you are interested in having a project produced by SLP, or are interested in joining the team, you can contact them on their website.