Kendall Jason Writes About Being a 2nd Act Filmmaker

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This is new…..

 

I was trying something different.

 

I am a “fan”… of art, music, film and generally anything you might consider “nerd” culture. I use this to deconstruct my own identity, masculine persona and cultural expectations of masculinity in hopes it will take me out of my comfort zone and keep me from doing the same thing over and over. The approach provides a launching pad for my ideas to develop and change while tackling new projects, which keeps my studio practice fresh and unpredictable.

This process is what drove me to enter the 2nd Act Film Festival this year. I needed to push my practice in a new direction and engage a different audience within the context of film culture. In past years the 2nd Act Film Festival has produced some amazing films by a talented set of filmmakers. Honestly, I had no expectation of getting in, since I was coming from an art making background. Although I tell stories in my art, I use a different approach that incorporates the manipulation of objects, image and space. I tend to allow the subject matter and materials to dictate what the final embodiment becomes, without considering constraints like length, cast and crew. So, when I received notification that I was chosen as one of the ten filmmakers I was in uncharted territory.

Before receiving the Artistic obstructions I considered a setting for this story. I wanted to use objects and locations that contained their own character and could hold up against another person’s actions. I also used my Dad’s recently sold elevator business to document the existence of a life long endeavor while allowing it to take on a life of it’s own in the film. This opened up the possibility to explore my relationship with my father in an unexpected way.

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These lines of thought lead me back some music I wrote. It was a song that told a story that turned into an instrumental that bounced back and forth between different configurations within the same chord structure. In sections it reminded me of an engine or even crying. This birthed the idea of the guitar creating the atmosphere and dialogue in the film. As it started to become a lead character in the film I wondered how it would fit into the final film. I knew I could borrow from Jim Jarmusch, especially since I am a fan of his film “Deadman”.

When I received the script perimeters I labored to write the script. I could see the film in my head, but putting it down on paper was forced and didn’t flow with the images I was seeing in my head. I turned to what was familiar, drawing. I storyboarded the whole film, which fleshed out the entire narrative sequence. Then the script basically wrote itself. This in turned was used informed the cast and crew. The storyboards were a perfect tool to use to direct, without having to be behind the camera.

I have always been the sole contributor in the video based projects I have created over the years. With the exception of using my brother or other friends as camerapersons, I have rarely depended anyone else. Jasper’s film editor Wade Sellers suggested that I talk to other artists/ filmmakers who deal with similar issues in their work and have the same taste in films. He connected me with local artist Alex Smith. This was a true turning point in the development of the project. I sent Alex the storyboards and a few notes on what I was thinking about in terms of direction. When we met to talk about what he thought. The discussion sparked a friendship and provided a fresh take on how I could realize the vision I had on paper. One of the conversations brought to mind Pink Floyd’s song “Wish You Were Here.” It begins and ends in an old radio broadcast while the clean song plays throughout the middle. I wanted to attempt to incorporate that approach somehow. Little did I know the basis for the narrative would revolve around that concept.

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Once the shooting began I captured as much footage as possible. Since I was accustomed to shooting live performances or approaching a video shoot as a live performance and in this process I was accumulating footage over several days was foreign. I was used to a one shot deal and using only what I had from that one take of the action. During this experience I could shoot, reshoot and if I thought of a new idea I could create a whole new scene right on the spot. As the footage was uploaded I broke up the scenes into sequences that represented each act and I started to “sculpt” the shots to reflect the narrative in the storyboards.

As the different section of the film became finalized I recorded the music. Most of those recordings simply got scrapped or didn’t work, but I eventually began to hear the sounds that would be part of the film. As the final version started to emerge, the ability to react organically to the project faded away, I found myself in an uncomfortable position of having to make editing decisions that only contributed to the strength of the film. I felt like a surgeon with a scalpel carefully slicing the ends of flesh or a butcher just hacking away whole sections of meat that might taste good but weren’t right for the meal I was serving.

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All of a sudden the deadline had arrived and the film was somehow finished. Hesitation and self-doubt crept in like a demon in the night. I reached out to friends and colleagues to help calm my nerves. I was scared to death. I wasn’t a filmmaker. I’m a sculptor. A performance artist.

The night of the screening arrived. I took a deep breath and walked in the door at Tapp’s.

The lights went down…..I started sweating profusely.

 

This changes everything……

 

You wanted something different.

 

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Kendall Jason or kendallprojects (Jason Kendall) depending on what artistic context you kendal5catch him in is a local artist creating multi-dimensional work (sculpture, performance, video installations and drawings) that rest on the conviction that art should generate an experience for the viewer which challenges them on a variety of sensory levels. His investigations are transformed into conflicts that engage the viewer on a visceral level. The encounters he creates exploit different stimuli to affect the viewer’s perceptions by using a combination of images, sound, smells or text to leave the viewers curious about what they are witnessing. In his first official endeavor into film making he attempted to balance his studio practice with the obstructions of creating a film.

 

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Visit us at www.JasperProject.org

Tamara Finkbeiner Takes 2nd Act Win for 2nd Year as SC Indie Film Community Grows

Painting by Cedric Umoja from which the 2016 2nd Act Film Festival poster was created Last night, the Jasper Project wrapped our third 2nd Act Film Festival, under the direction of Wade Sellers, to a sold-out crowd at the always hospitable arts refuge, Tapp's Arts Center. (It was an added bonus that the Tapp's walls were hung with art from another Jasper Project endeavor, Marked by the Water, commemorating the first anniversary of the 1000 year flood.)

This morning, we're seeing a Facebook full of  photos of filmmakers, most of whom didn't know each other before the project started. Some were first-timers and some were alums, appearing in groups of 2 and 3 and more, laughing with each other, mugging for the camera, embracing, being new friends and colleagues.

Being a community.

2nd Act Film Fest Audience Award Winner Tamara Finkbeiner with friend, colleague & fellow 2nd Act 2016 Filmmaker Tyler Matthews

2nd Act Film FEst 2016 Filmmakers Cory John, Tamara Finkbeiner, and Ebony Wilson mugging for the camera after the fest

The Jasper Project has a number of missions, but underlying everything is the fostering of an interdependent community of multidisciplinary artists and arts lovers who recognize and honor the implications of community -- simply said, it means having each others' backs.

The 2nd Act Film Festival exemplifies this goal. Filmmakers loan equipment, technicians, and advice. They encourage each other. They root for each other. This year, one filmmaker even sent a pizza to another filmmaker who was struggling with the kinds of obstacles only other filmmakers can understand.

The 2nd Act Film Festival Audience Award for 2016 went to Tamara Finkbeiner for her film, Bait. For the third year, Columbia-based sculptor Matthew Kramer created a one of a kind trophée de l'art, pictured below.

2016 2nd Act Film Festival Audience Award by Matthew Kramer

Congratulations to Tamara Finkbeiner and all the selected 2016 2nd Act Film Festival Filmmakers.

Finkbeiner with 2nd Act Film Festival director Wade Sellers

2nd Act Film Festival Audience Award Winner Tamara Finkbeiner

Wade Sellers interviews 2nd Act Film Fest Filmmakers 2016 during tallying of Audience Award ballots.

 

The 2nd Act Film Festival 2016 was sponsored in part by a grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission.

The 2nd Act Film Festival 2016 is an endeavor of the Jasper Project.  

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Meet the 2016 2nd Act Film Fest Filmmakers

2nd act 2016 Back for our 3rd year, the 2nd Act Film Festival, under the direction of Emmy-nominated filmmaker and Jasper film editor Wade Sellers, hits the screen Friday night at 7 pm at Tapp's Arts Center. Tickets are just $10 and are available by clicking here! Past festivals have sold out to SRO audiences and tickets are going far quicker online this year than in years past, so a word to the wise ...

But no need to wait until Friday night to meet this year's filmmakers. Here's a brief intro below to what you have in store on Friday night, October 14 at 7 pm.

 

MEET THE 2016 2ND ACT FILM FESTIVAL FILMMAKERS

Cory John

Cory John

Film: At Last

Columbia, SC actor, screenwriter, producer, and director Cory John began performing at his hometown high school Spring Valley. There he noticed and embraced his love for theater and acting. He later became part owner of Real Records LLC where he was a writer and director for their original film series, which included "Spare the Rod" and their feature film, "Addiction: What’s Yours?" He has since gone on to star in productions such as Yesterday Is Still Gone, Finding Hope in the Struggle, and Thee Final Destination 2 Love, to name a few. His recent endeavors include being director for the EmPOWERment Corp, and appearing as co-writer, co-producer, co-director, and lead in the Horror film Bag Lady set to premiere in October of 2016. Cory is also the director and founder of Cory John’s Murder Mystery Dinner Show, which will soon celebrate its one year anniversary of bringing fun, food, and horror to the Carolinas. Cory is a lover of the arts and credits his writing and directing of his latest short film "At Last" as his best work to date.

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Tamara Finkbeiner

Tamara Finkbeiner

Film: Bait

Originally from Barbados, Tamara is married to Janson Finkbeiner and a stay at home mom with my joys; King Kai, Big Jon and Benji. She graduated from Columbia College with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. She works in graphic design and is a co-founder with Josetra Robinson of our company One7evenOne Productions LLC.

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Collins White

Collins White

Film:

Collins Abbott White is a filmmaker born and raised in Greenville, SC. He directed his first film when he was a senior in high school, and went on to study film in college. Upon graduating, Collins founded Other Vision Studios, a film and video production company with the goal of producing feature films in Greenville and helping to establish an industry presence in the upstate. For the past 5 years, Collins has worked with upstate businesses to help them capture the essence of their brand in video while producing several short films and the pilot of a mini-series as well as several YouTube Channels. He is passionate about the art of filmmaking and is determined to push himself in terms of story and quality every chance he gets.

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David Holloway

David Holloway

Film: Botched

David Holloway is a freelance Cinematographer from Greenwood, South Carolina. He specializes in commercial and documentary projects. He is the owner operator of StoryReel Productions. He has a history degree from the University of Plymouth, UK. David is a self taught filmmaker, however, he has taken several workshops through Maine Media College. David is a passionate and dedicated film maker who is always looking to work with and learn from others.

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Chris White

Chris White

Film: All Seeing

Chris White is an Irmo High School grad who now resides with his family in Greenville. His first film, ED THE MOVIE, was shot thirty years ago with a camera he bought at the old K-Mart on Bush River Road. Chris' next film is a rock-n-roll road movie about a kid who becomes a roadie for his favorite Christian hair band during the summer of 1986.

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Kendall Jason

Kendall Jason -  kendallprojects

Film: Tonewood

Kendall (Jason) kendallprojects was born and raised in Columbia South Carolina. He briefly majored in Studio Art while participating in the football program at the University of South Carolina and North Greenville College. Leaving South Carolina he attended Art school at Ringling College of Art & Design in Florida where he received his BFA in sculpture. Upon graduating from Ringling he and his wife moved to New York where they lived in Brooklyn while working at Dia Center for the Arts (a nonprofit organization that initiates, supports, presents and preserves art projects “whose nature or scale” would preclude other funding sources). Also while in New York he received his MFA from New York University while teaching undergraduate classes in the fine art department. In 2009 Jason returned to South Carolina after his twin girls were born. Now back in Columbia Kendall works as an art teacher and spends most of his time in the studio developing new projects around ideas involving southern masculinity and blue-collar work ethic.

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Ebony Wilson

Ebony Wilson

Film: W H O R L

Ebony is a returning filmmaker to the 2nd Act Film Festival from the Columbia area. She currently owns and operates her own independent production company, Midnight Crow Productions, is the administrator of the Columbia Film Community networking group, and manages branding and online positioning for media, talent, and film professionals in the Film Community Directory. Her latest works include Divine Intervention (a 48 hour film project), Underground 13 (web-series), and Prelude to Infusco (feature length sci-fi drama).

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Michael Tolbert

Michael Tolbert

Film: Parental Guidance is Suggested

Michael Tolbert is an actor/director based out of Columbia, South Carolina. Over the course of four years he starred in Operation Adventure, hosting the documentary travel series. Most recently, Tolbert appeared in science fiction horror film Alienography and made his directing debut with the documentary film Wood: A Family Affair. Previously, Tolbert worked as a production assistant on films such as 50% and the short film Drifts. Both films have made their way across the nation screening at both Campus Movie Festival and Frameline Film Festival.

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Jennifer Baxley

Jennifer Baxley

Film: Reality Really Bites

Jennifer Baxley is an amateur filmmaker whose inaugural music video “Jenny Saves Trump’s Jewels” allowed her to meet Donald Trump during the auditions for the Apprentice. This launched her very fruitful but profitless filmmaking career.  She’s produced five music videos, won a Palmetto Pillar Award and performed assorted production tasks on a few awesome films.  In her other lives she is a software developer and adjunct instructor for Midlands Technical College.

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Tyler Matthews

Tyler Matthews

Film: Mr. Wonderful

Tyler Matthews is an equally adept filmmaker and music producer. After a four year stint in finance, he taught himself how to create video and music professionally. He's an artist on the Post-Echo Music label, an active member of two arts groups (Moas Collective and Scenario Collective), and a member of the SOCO Co-Work community. He produces two podcasts professionally and operates in the Vista under his business name Tyler Digital.

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The 2nd Act Film Festival is a production of The Jasper Project.

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The Jasper Project is a project-oriented, multidisciplinary arts facilitator serving the greater Columbia and South Carolina arts community by providing space, resources, and collaborative engineering for emerging artists and new projects by established artists. For more information go to www.JasperProject.org.