Birthday: August 13th, 1996
Role: Filmmaker/Editor/Creative Director
How did you get to Jpixx? My journey to get to Jpixx is a long one so I will try to keep the story relatively short. In August of 2018, my wife Alexis and I had our wedding and were off on our honeymoon adventure. During this time, we caught suspicion that I had been laid off from my previous place of work. So, at that time we began surfing Indeed.com to see what other job opportunities were out there. We saw Jpixx, checked it out and from there put the idea of applying on the shelf. Once we returned to New Hampshire, I went into my old office and sure enough, our suspicion was confirmed. So I packed up my things, went home and applied to Jpixx. After a few conversations with Teviya and Jon, we found ourselves in a position where we could either stay in New Hampshire and watch our savings drain, or take a chance and move to Virginia Beach to see what could happen. So we packed up our sedan with everything we owned and moved down. The next Monday I went into the Jpixx office and the rest is history!
What aspect of production are you most fond of and why? This is a tough question because I have always loved everything about creating something start to finish. From planning, shooting, editing and finalizing, there is something in each piece of the puzzle that excites my creativity. If I had to choose one thing as my favorite though I would have to say Visual Effects. I started learning this area of post production when I was 12 years old and since have refined and continued to learn how to improve my skills. There is something about manipulating a shot to create something that can only be done by you and could never be exactly replicated. Since I first opened After Effects to begin learning how to composite, I have had a recurring spark of innovation every time I fire it up!
What do you enjoy most about working at Jpixx? The people by far. I have never worked with such an eclectic, dynamic, supportive and fun group of people at any other point in my life! All of us at Jpixx are always learning, growing and teaching each other more skills to become better individually and as a group. Also, the parties we throw are always pretty rad.
What has been your favorite shoot so far and why? I have had the opportunity to work on and direct a lot of great shoots while I have been at Jpixx. But my favorite so far is a project we are still in the middle of working on for the DC Bar. The reason being that it was an opportunity to go back to my roots of run and gun style of filmmaking. For a long time, I did absolutely everything start to finish on projects. But at Jpixx, things are done with a good amount of crew and equipment. At the DC Bar shoot it was almost like everyone on set got to go guerrilla style on their own areas of expertise. I got to focus on strictly lighting, directing and main camera operation while Rodrigo captured audio, Tyler manned our b-camera and Glenn in hand with Triston, took care of production. With each of us focusing on our strengths, we DOMINATED the shoot to create some incredible content at a fast pace.
What do you believe you bring to Jpixx? As a content creator, I am always trying to learn and expand my knowledge base in the filmmaking world. Sometimes I need to stop and look back to say, “Whoa, I actually made that?” Often, I am criticizing my own work and not recognizing the skills that I actually have a lot of the time. However, I do know that I bring a certain set of skills and knowledge to Jpixx as does everybody on staff/freelancing! Specifically, my post production knowledge and ability to think outside of the box to solve problems. Creative thinking is a skill I have because it’s something that, quite simply, I’ve needed to adapt to in order to thrive in this industry. Jpixx has equipped me with the most resources I have ever had to create and my reputation has always been to go beyond the scope of what I have to produce something stunning. Even now, I am still adjusting to the resources Jpixx has to offer and before you know it, I will probably be pushing the boundaries of that as well. It’s just an instinct I have to always do my best on whatever I am working on!
What is something that Jpixx has showed/taught you? To enable and equip people to do what they are best at. As stated above, before Jpixx I was a one man band. Any help I had on set was usually just from someone who wasn’t a part of the industry, just willing to give a hand so a lot of the time I would have to teach them how to do things on set. Now being at Jpixx, I have the opportunity to delegate to and trust the people around me which has been an incredible blessing. From on-set crew to the post production workflow, Jpixx has taught me that the people around me are the best filmmaking asset!
Proudest moment as a Jpixx team member and why? This is an interesting question because I could never honestly answer this about myself. However, my proudest moment would have to be about Lizzie Bankowski. When I joined the Jpixx team, Lizzie was still an intern and was working on a documentary about the fishermen in Virginia Beach. While she was editing, she had asked me for a few tips and tricks to help the process along. As she worked more at Jpixx, her skill set expanded and helped her do more with her documentary. She entered it into a festival and won a bunch of awards for it! I don’t feel I did much in the grand scheme of things, but seeing a coworker succeed, especially if I was able to aid, is always a proud moment.
What advice do you have for other people in the industry? The best advice I have ever gotten (in one form or another) is simply to, ‘Fail as Fast as Possible.’ The quicker you get all your failures out of the way and accept that your first attempts might not be your best attempts, you will grow exponentially. The more you take this principal to heart, the faster you will learn and the less attached you will become to your own biases when it comes to your art. Now, that was the best advise I have been given. The best advise that I could give is actually something that I said entirely impromptu during a keynote panel that I had the opportunity to speak at. We were doing a Q & A with the audience and somebody asked what they should do if they didn’t have the tools they needed to accomplish their dreams. During a rather long answer that I was giving, I remember saying, “The only way to achieve unlimited resources, is to not allow your resources to limit you.” (sometimes I am ordained with such nuggets of wisdom (chicken nuggets specifically)). Essentially what this means is, if you can dream it, you can probably find a way to make it as long as you look at what you do have and not at what you don’t. Anytime you get something, you are always going to want or ‘need’ to get something else to accomplish it. Now, this doesn’t mean you should never upgrade your equipment or increase your resources, it simply means that if your thinking is bound to that, then you will always be bound to that way of thinking. Once you start thinking beyond what you have and creatively solve your problems to achieve those dreams, you will be an unstoppable creative force.
Favorite hobby/pastime? Well even in my free time I am filmmaking (it’s an addiction, I will admit it.) But outside of that, I love hiking, coffee and exploring what nature has to offer!
Favorite film? This question isn’t fair. There are too many. But, it would have to be a tie between The Shawshank Redemption, Hacksaw Ridge, and The Prestige.
Biggest artistic influence? I have a lot of filmmaking influences that I follow for inspiration but by far my greatest influence is music. No music in particular, just all sorts of music. Whether it is 1920’s show tunes, Rap, Orchestral, Metal or just an ambient track, I am constantly influenced by the music around me.
What drives you? As in, what gets you up to do this everyday? Filmmaking has always been a passion of mine since I was 6 years old. It’s something that I have always loved and strive to be better at. It is, quite literally, one of the fuels in my life second to my faith and family. The excitement of trying something new, the innovation of the craft, the amount of which it absolutely sucks at some point on every project, the recurring ignition to achieve your goals and the sense of accomplishment and learning you gain by the end is a part of my life. It’s not something I have to think about, it is part of who I am as a person.
What big life change did you experience recently? On July 3rd, 2019, I got to meet one of the coolest people I know! My son Ryker Ivan was born into the world. He is a great addition to our family and every day is an adventure with him. (And yes, I am working on a documentary about the little dude!)