Introducing Filmmaker Jesse Griffith Competing in Kodak Super 8 POV Video Contest
How did you get inspired to become a filmmaker?
Sitting on my dad’s lap at the age of 4 watching Star Wars had a lot to do with it. Fortuitous that you should ask that this week (Episode VII: “The Force Awakens” just opened.) But the big spark was actually at the end of a clay sculpting class I took at the Mosswood Community Center at the age of 7. On the last day, our teacher Dan, showed us a clay animated super 8mm film he made titled “War of the Walls,” where little clay men clashed over who could own the most lego bricks. It blew me away. I signed up for his Super 8mm animation class and have been making movies ever since.
What is your favorite part about the short film form?
Actually, every time I make a short film, I’m sad I didn’t make a feature. But the nice thing is the short film doesn’t take over your life for a year. The best thing is that they are easier to balance with a day job.
Who were the people that supported the making of this film?
This movie was made for $400 for the initial production, and an additional $500 to transfer it to HD, all out of my pocket.. My parents supported us by housing the cast and crew. Our contractor owned a ranch filled with animals and his daughter owned a horse… so they volunteered it to us. That ranch has since been converted to a party rental location and hotel..
What resources do you use as a filmmaker? Music, locations, props, editing, crew, etc.
“Southpaw” was originally hand spliced on film… you can actually see the tape on this HD print, which actually adds to the effect. I’ve spent hours on other digitally shot movies trying to recreate the effect of damaged 8mm film on the computer, that came naturally with shooting this Super 8mm film.
What is your next project?
A feature sci-fi film titled “Cockpit,” based on the short film “Cockpit: The Rule of Engagement.”
The independent film business is a difficult one. What keeps you motivated? Where do you see the industry going in the future?
I’m motivated by audience reaction. To have people cheer, whether in a large audience screening, or writing all caps in the comment section… is fuel for the creative fire.
Which filmmakers, artists or individuals have most influenced your work?
James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, and Robert Rodriguez. Cameron for his Sci fiction that feels so real, Steven Spielberg for creating those emotional moments where you cheer or cry, and Robert Rodriguez is a recent addition for breaking out of the Hollywood mold, and consistently making movies his own way and balancing his family life.
What advice would you give new filmmakers?
Martin Scorsese advised new film makers go do something “else,” before making film. I respect and understand that advice, but it would never work for me. My advice is find a way to sustain your craft. Choose a skill, get good at it, and good things will come. Never make a movie like it’s your last. Make ’em like you plan to make them forever.
Interesting note: I work as an effects & graphics artist at Jimmy Kimmel Live. The picture of me in the Delorean is from our Brooklyn “Back to the Future” special. I got to sit in the car! Thought it be fun to use aa this year’s picture of me since “Back to the Future II” took place in 2015
Please like and follow my fan page for my next sci-fi film…
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