Posts Tagged ‘YOUTUBE’

The Duel YouTube Pic

An unnamed hero faces imminent danger as he confronts a gluttonous mob boss and his two henchmen. Just as he is about to make his move, something unexpected happens that completely changes his world.  This film premiered at the Phoenix Art Museum on August 10th 2012 for the IFP Beat the Clock Challenge 2012. It was Nominated for best trailer, Awarded 3rd Place overall and Best Actress (Chelsea Samuelson). It screened at the Phoenix Film Festival during

an IFP Short’s Finals showcase at Harkins Theatres Scottsdale 101 and took home 2nd Place overall. It was an Official Selection of Phoenix Comicon 2013 and nominated for several awards including: Best of Arizona, Best Narrative Short, and Best Action Adventure.

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64330_314153972046078_2092282656_nProduced by: JP Frydrych and Craig MacDonald
Directed, Shot, and Edited by: Robert Garcia
Written by: Nicki Legge
Set Photographer: Jacquelyn Nelson
Makeup & Wardrobe: Devon Garcia
Script Supervisor: Chelsea Samuelson
Behind the Scenes: Herbert Steve Hernandez
Lighting Technician: Jeff Elwell

Sound Design: Nile Popchock


Hero: JP Frydrych
Villain: Herbert Steve Hernandez
Comic Book Boy: Craig MacDonald
The Duel ActressComic Book Girl: Chelsea Samuelson
Henchmen: Jonathan Levy Maiuri & Mike Diaz
Damsel and Jackie: Nicki Legge
 Alvis Scary and Cool Kat Lyss

Special Thanks to:Haus Murphy’s
Drawn to Comics
Kathy’s Corner Boutique
IFP Phoenix

The Duel 3rd place

Award Nominated Comicon

Poster GriefBy: Nicki Legge

One of the most impressive projects I have seen bouncing around the wide world of Facebook is a feature film called Grief. With Kevin R Phipps at the helm, this film has snowballed into a substantial project with some of the most talented actors and crew on board. Grief delves deep into a surreal world of life and death, following a main character, Kari who unexpectedly takes her own life, leaving her friends and family to plummet through the unforgiving stages of grief. With the combination of impressive special effects, and phenomenal acting, Grief is sure to be a film that you do not want to miss. Kevin was kind enough to tell us about his inspiration for Grief and the long, rewarding path he has gone down to breathe life into his creation.

How long have you been involved in filmmaking?

I have been involved in filmmaking for about 7 years now. I started out as an animator doing motion capture etc. and then did comic book coloring for some major comics like X-men and Gi-Joe for about 6 months. Then I decided I didn’t want to be in a cubicle anymore so I said, “Let’s make a movie!!” I had no idea what I was getting myself into. LOL I have been professional AD for about 4 years working on some great projects like Oil of Olay, Kelloggs, Qwest, and Head and Shoulders among others, all while gathering more and more knowledge about directing, which is where my heart really lays.

What made you interested in creating films?

Well to be frank I asked this of myself about a year and half ago. I said, “Why the hell are you doing this?” The truth is when I started I wanted to feel worth it… to be validated. I was searching and giving pieces of me to the audience and hoping they liked it. If they did then I would find my worth through that. That wasn’t really healthy for me and since, it has changed. Mostly, it has been about challenging the audience, finding truth in acting, and I have learned you can inspire and change the way people see things as long as you tell the truth with your work. Mostly though, I want to let the audience lose themselves for a couple of hours and forget the craziness in their lives. They can smell and taste the truth in your work and if you’re lying or not willing to go down the rabbit hole fully, then they will be weary of your work.

What made you interested in coaching actors? How has this affected your writing/directing style?

This is a really great question. I got interested in coaching actors when, after seeing my first feature, I realized that I wasn’t there for the actors to allow them to feel like they could truly let go. I had no idea what I was doing, and I could have been more conscience of them and what a truthful performance in the imaginary circumstance is. So I started studying, acting with a passion because I knew actors were the face of the film, and without them being able to be their best, your film is dead… After learning the Meisner program, I realized I wanted to give back to AZ and share this powerful program to help actors find their truth. It really has become a huge part of my life, and to see them grow and change has been a blessing.

Meisner 2013 class graduation showcase.

As far as writing and directing, it has definitely had a huge impact on my directing. I am flabbergasted that most film schools teach lighting, camera, art, etc. to directors, but they don’t teach how to work with actors… so many directors have no idea how to speak the actor’s language. In fact, most have no idea if the actor is really being truthful… I beg all directors to please learn how to work with actors; it’s a must. If you don’t know how, then you have no business directing…Too many beginning directors get focused on “I need you to cry here!!!” But what does that mean? Where do the tears come from?

Incidentally, I am working on an 8 week intensive program for just directors who want to learn how to work with actors… It will truly transform the way you see your films, and I can’t wait to see some amazing things the directors will come up with afterwards.

How many projects have you completed (rough estimate is fine)?

I have directed 1 feature (and I’m working on another right now), about 7 shorts, 4 music videos, and a handful of commercials. I’ve been an AD on about 8-10 features, 9 shorts, and about 12 commercials.

Have you received any awards or recognition?

I have a few awards, for my first feature. I won best audience award at the fear festival, which in turn got me distribution. I got 2nd place at the SCC film festival for my short, Sitting. I got best live action short at the Phoenix Film Festival about 6 years ago…. My favorite is the audience award; that is what I find to be the most rewarding because they are my target, to speak in marketing terms. If they are happy, then I am happier.

What do you love the most about film?

Film can be the most exhilarating, sometimes most frustrating drug addiction I have ever known. Mostly, I love the massive amount of creative people you put into a room… all fighting for the same cause. Artists can be known to be introverted, but here they are forced to speak a language together, and it just works. I didn’t understand the family thing until… a couple years ago… I saw the wave of emotions and personal journeys, and at the end we all loved each other. It was amazing. I also love it when the actors find their space and truth on film. They just get it, and it’s extraordinary; it can make the crew and me cry and laugh. It truly is a magical experience that can’t be traded for anything.

What is one thing you want people to know about you?

I love with my heart. I come from a place of love even when I may not be feeling well. That sometimes I’m introverted, and most of the time I get excited about just being around people and helping them on their journeys. Oh, and I love chocolate pudding on my pizza… Don’t ask. And Transformers.

Where did you get your inspiration for Grief?

I had just got done doing a program in the mountains called the Mankind Project. I had hit rock bottom, lost my home, my car and my job all at once. I had to rebuild, and that meant becoming more aware of who I was as a person and learning to let go of my past to find my present. So, after I got done with the program, moved back to AZ, and started teaching again, I started to become interested in how you can really find your own truth by hitting the bottom. So I started writing Grief to help actors go the deepest they have ever gone. It started out as one story, then ended up being six stories all tied into each other.

Did you do any research on the stages of grief while you were writing the script?

I researched a couple of different takes on the Grieving process. Of course there was Kübler-Ross’s take on the grieving process and her five stages. There is a newer thought that it’s seven stages, but I find that Kübler’s has those seven, she just condensed them…. It was absolutely imperative to research it because each stage is the “theme” of each of the characters stories. So whenever I felt I was getting off track, I would read my research again and go noooooo, she wouldn’t do that that’s more like Denial.

Each of your characters seem to have such different and unique personalities; did you base any of them off of people you know, build them around their stage of grief, or did you have another method of breathing life into them?

I did a ton of things when doing this script. They are very unique and different, but Kari, the main character bonds them all. I used some people I knew or know, I used myself in a few different places like anger and the alternate version of Kari. I even did this great thing where I had two actors improv some scenes that I outlined, watched them work, and recorded it. It was amazing, and they came out to be some of the most fun characters in this film. They are going to get a special thank you because they really brought a new awareness in my work.

How long did you spend in preproduction?

I guess about 3-4 months. I am not really sure because it was a back and forth thing. Part of the purpose of this film was to go on a raw journey for myself and see what would come out of it. We are flying by the seat of our pants sometimes, and other times we do heavy pre pro. We are shooting this film a few days at a time every two weeks. That gives us time to do some more pre pro for the next few days that are coming up. Sometimes you just have to do it, and the footage has been amazing! The producers and most of my crew I have worked with before and we trust each other. It’s their journey as much as it is mine.

How long do you anticipate production and post-production will take?

We are editing as we go. We finish scenes; they go to the editor for a rough cut. I have scenes we shot the day before rough cutted the next day. It’s awesome!! I highly recommend it because it would tell me immediately if we missed anything or if we want to get more. Post production is estimated at 3 months I believe. We are trying to hit some festival deadlines.

It looks like you have some impressive special effects in the film. Are you working with an effects artist and if so, who?

There are some awesome effects, and we are doing them live; no CGI. The film is about not only what is going on inside, but each character has a manifestation on the outside as well, a more physical denial or anger if you will. My effects team is collaboration with three talented ladies, Vicki Xericos, Vanessa Siler, headed up by Dania Garza who has been amazing at the makeup and visual effects. I like having a makeup artist doing the effects too because Dania understands painting with makeup so she uses layers to find the realness… these 3 have been awesome to work with; I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I keep challenging and they keep meeting me with awesome results. We puked up another person the other day but that is all I am telling you.

I know that you had an Indiegogo campaign back in 2012, have you utilized any other means of raising funds for your film?

We did! It went well. We also did a home auction and donations. I have sold things to make this film. Most of the stuff is just material things, stuff I don’t touch anymore or don’t need. It has been great in simplifying my life. The amazing donations have kept us a float and we are almost done so it’s working. But you are always hustling. Make no mistake my producers and I are always thinking of new ways to do this or do that. If you have a passion for something, you will find a way; if not then you may have to ask yourself if it’s what you really want.

Have you learned anything new from your experiences with this project?

Do everything from the heart with a little sprinkle of logic so you’re not flying blind. If it’s not from the heart, then no matter how much cool stuff you do it’s going to be missing something. I also have discovered that if you have a great project, you will be humbled and honored at the gifts you will get from the world around you. I am an AD by trade so I understood my limits and how much we should be shooting a day as to not burn us out and have a quality project. Some people think it’s great to burn though a film as fast as possible; unfortunately I have seen the results, and I know they could have done better.

Do you have an estimated premiere date?

January. Earlier for festivals, but I believe we are shooting for early January.

Do you have any other upcoming projects planned?

Next up is “Iniquitous,” with my good friend and partner Andre Payton as the exec producer, and my friends and partners, Ruben Angelo and Jason Wiechert, helping on the production side. It’s great! It’s about a troubled woman who lost her mother when she was young. She then decides to purposely get possessed with her mother’s spirit to save her, and of course it all goes wrong and she ends up with a different person inside of her. Andre had approached me with the film, and I wasn’t sure at first because I didn’t know what I could offer to the genre. When we decided to make it so that she purposely possess herself, that was where I was like, “I don’t know that I have seen anything like that! LETS DO IT!!!”

Then we are working on to a couple of others. I have “107/Juliet,” my first action film and an awesome film written by my personal friend Josh Mathieson… and another personal project called “Mend.”

Is there specific contact information you would like us to list in the article for interested parties?

Check out Rangelo Productions on Facebook! And check out the site page which is almost done. Also, Epic Sky Productions on Facebook!

By: Nicki Legge

Favor Movie PosterAt the beginning of April I found myself stumbling through the halls of a Harkins, wide eyed and overwhelmed by the sight of independent movie posters and enthusiastic filmmakers. Jump Ship Productions was honored to have our short, Titus, play in one of the Arizona Shorts blocks, and while that was exciting in itself, my favorite part of the festival was actually watching other people’s films and talking to their proud creators. After a whirlwind weekend, I saw many films that will stick with me for many years, but the one I loved the most was a delightful dark comedy called FAVOR.  This independent feature was written and directed by Paul Osborn. It took home the award for Best Screenplay, which Paul has won before at the Phoenix Film Festival.

FAVOR is about Kip Desmond, a man who has everything but stands lose it all when his fling on the side ends up dead. He asks his longtime friend, Marvin Croat to help him dispose of the body, causing an unexpected series of events that leads them both into a dark and dangerous place. This film kept me guessing and sitting at the edge of my seat through the very last scene. If you missed FAVOR at the Phoenix Film Festival, it will be making its Hollywood debut on Saturday, June 8th with the Dances With Films festival at the Mann’s Chinese Theater. I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Paul about his experiences with his film FAVOR and as a filmmaker in general.

Get Your Tickets!

Get Your Tickets!Get Your Tickets!

How long have you been involved in filmmaking?

I’ve been pretty obsessed with movies and television since birth, and was directing Super-8 movies in my backyard long before puberty hit.  Whether you define it as a calling or a sickness, it’s hard-wired into who I am.

What made you interested in creating films?

I’m interested in making them, I expect, because I love them so damn much.  It’s really that simple.  When I see work on the screen that I really dig, it makes me want to go create my own flick.  The continuum of cinema is kind of like one big conversation.  Some movie fans are willing just to listen; others like me want to have our say.

What do you love the most about the filmmaking?

I love completing any part of the journey where you can step back and see that what you just did works.  That might be nailing a scene in your script, finding the right actor, getting the dialogue to snap the way you want it to on set or getting a sequence to work in the editing room.   But in between those moments it’s a struggle.  I wrestle a lot with my own creative limitations.  Filmmaking is less about loving the process and more about being addicted or involuntarily compelled to do it.  As I mentioned before, you can label it either a calling or a sickness; both terms are appropriate.

You are obviously a talented writer and director, are any there other roles on set that you also enjoy?  

On the set of FAVOR

On the set of FAVOR

I’ve done a lot of other production jobs in my youth – assistant director, props, sound, camera.  None of these are as satisfying as directing.  I did operate camera on FAVOR and most of OFFICIAL REJECTION, and while the technical and physical challenges of doing that while trying to run a set and monitor performances can be a bit much, I found I really liked the control it gave me.  A side benefit of shooting FAVOR myself was it put me right up on the front line with the actors instead of dozens of feet away tucked behind a monitor.  I think that translated into an intimacy on-screen we wouldn’t have otherwise gotten.

How many features have you been involved in?

I’ve been involved “above the line” in three: FAVOR and OFFICIAL REJECTION, both of which I wrote, directed and cut, and TEN ‘TIL NOON, which I wrote.  I was also either a producer or executive producer on all of these.  Prior to that I’d been an editor-for-hire on a couple of features and worked in various crew capacities on about five others, starting with the John Travolta flick CHAINS OF GOLD when I was still in college.

I know you have received Best Screenplay TWICE from the Phoenix Film Festival (which is the award I have always coveted the most). Have you received any other awards or recognition for your films?

I’ve actually been really lucky with the awards thing.  TEN ‘TIL NOON and OFFICIAL REJECTION each won nine awards during their festival runs, although not nearly all of them were for me.  I’ve also won awards for editing movie trailers and, if you want to go way back, for my student work.  You gotta take awards in stride, because you want the work to be about the work, not the statuettes.  And I never expect to win anything, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t nice when it happens.  I was a horribly un-athletic kid and jealous of other boys that had walls full of trophies and ribbons.  So when I look at my Copper Wings, I figure it’s just life finally evening out.

Did you and Leslie start working together and then get married, or did you get married and then start working together? What are some of the pros and cons of sharing your life’s passion with your spouse? (This is especially interesting to me because our producer is also my boyfriend)

Well, for starters, we were friends long before there was anything romantic going on, and there was already a pretty solid foundation of professional respect established during that time, but yes, we were dating when I brought her aboard OFFICIAL REJECTION as a producer.  That was her area of expertise, so it made sense.  I think our professional relationship works because we’re interested in different sides of the process – me more the creative, her more the business and logistics.  We also communicate well and since she’s my wife she’s already hip to my bullshit.  If something’s not working in the movie, she’s in a position to just blurt it out without pretense.  The last thing you want is a partner who’s just a “yes man”.  And when I have to work late on the flick there’s no spousal backlash about missing “couple time” – usually she’s the one shoving me into the editing chair or onto set.

What is your favorite project so far, and why?

That’s a tough one.  By the time I finish a movie I’m honestly completely sick of it.  Probably better to ask me in about ten years.

Most artists look at a finished product and think of all the ways they could have made it better with more time, money, or even more knowledge. If you could remake any of your films from scratch, as if the original never existed, which one would you choose and why?

None of them.  It’s true that when I look at them all I see are the flaws and what I would improve with hindsight, but they reflect who I was when I made them.  When you make a movie, or at least a feature, it’s a process that swallows you up and doesn’t spit you out for years.  When you emerge, you’re a different filmmaker and you want to tackle different things, not go backward.

What is one thing you want people to know about you?

About me personally?  I guess I’d want them to know that I’m not nearly as dark as the movies I make.  I’m a friendly guy, honest.


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.

ninthFifty-five teams from Arizona, Southern California, and Nevada, participated in this year’s challenge with 47 teams making the deadline. The theme was Something Magical, line of dialogue, “I can’t believe it worked.” and a Ring as the prop where a character had to put on or take off a ring.

Top 20 Public Screening Tickets
The Top 20 Public Screening takes place February 28 at 7p.m. at AMC Arizona Center 24 Theatres in downtown Phoenix. Tickets can be purchased HERE.

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Top 20 Teams (listed alphabetically, these films will screen on Feb. 28th)

Bogdan & Friends
Follow Your Poem Productions
Fortune & Merit Productions
Half of a Half Productions
iDokie Films
Jump Ship Productions
La Linea Productions
Lethal Hobo Productions
Luke Hansen/Ignominious
Midnight Specialist
Mindclover Productions
Myyyyles Productions
N’Raged Media
Running Wild Films
The Collective
The Junk Drawer
ThinkTank Creative
Toast Productions
UAT Hyped

Honorable Mention 10 (plus ties, listed alphabetically, watch these film on Vimeo!)

Art of War Pictures
Blue Harvest Productions
Broken Door Media
Cobra Kai Films
Dark of the MATINEE
Imperio Azteca Productions
LishKohn Productions
LJR Productions
O’Connell Family
Pops Says NO Productions
Seriously Dude Films
Ugly Baby Studios

How It Works?

Teams create a 1-5 minute film in just 2 days or 48 hours. In addition to meeting this challenging deadline, teams must also incorporate this year’s official guidelines (theme, prop and line of dialogue).

Films that meet the guidelines will be reviewed before a panel of judges who will select the Top 20 films for the Public Screening on February 28 at AMC Arizona Center 24 Theatres in downtown Phoenix.


The A3F encourages complete artistic freedom, but do have some rules that pertain to the film challenge.

  • Films must be 1-5 minutes in length including all credits.
  • Teams must own or have rights to their music and permission for all locations.
  • No explicit violence and gun use will be *critiqued.
  • All footage must be shot within the 48 hour time-frame, animators are allowed to pre-build templates.
  • Teams, cast and crew must promise to have fun and become Almost Famous!

Judges Panel
Jason Francois – Lead Judge/Assistant A3F Director.

Bill Pierce – Film Critic. 

Lee Ann Cone –  Script Supervisor

Jay Lee – Filmmaker

Joel Kaye – Cinematographer

Jae Staats – A3F Founder/Director

Jump Ship Productions entered Mr. Wallace The Great. Get your tickets now!

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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.

Mr. Wallace has lost his ability to perform magic and it’s affecting his sales at work. From the team that brought you “TITUS” and “The Face of Innocence”, Mr. Wallace The Great is a light hearted comedy about an average goofball Wizard. This film was made for the Almost Famous Film Festival‘s 48 hour challenge. If selected as one of the top 20 it will premier on February 28th 2013 at AMC Arizona Center 24. Get your tickets HERE!

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Mr. Wallace Credits TrailerCrew:
Director: Nicki Legge
Cinematographer: Mike Rea
Editor: Sean Rasbury
Writter: JP Frydrych
Produced by: Craig MacDonaldJP Frydrych
Original Score By: Nile Popchock
Set Photographer: Jacquelyn Nelson
Makeup and Wardrobe: Devon Garcia

Second Camera & 1st AC: Katelyn Pribula

Props: Devon Garcia and  Jacquelyn Nelson

Behind the Scenes: Robert Garcia and Sean Rasbury

Lighting Technician: Mike Rea
Sound Mixer: Nile Popchock
Boom Operator: Ryan Ammann

Mr Wallace: JP Frydrych HR Rep: Jonathan Levy Maiuri Maverick: Craig MacDonald                                    Boss: Robert Garcia Secretary: Jacquelyn Nelson

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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