Featured Member: Jason Winn

August 12, 2016
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I just woke up one day and decided to become a filmmaker. It wasn't really a choice, it was more of an awakening.

How did you get your first break in the industry?

I was catering at Disney in Florida on a production and my writing partner and I were riffing on a horror film idea and some producers over heard us. They started to ask questions about the story and this eventually led to a meeting where they gave us a check to make a teaser for the film.  It was my first real directing Job…I was 30.

Did you go to school for film?

Mostly I come from the school of hard knocks.  I have a bachelors degree in Mass Communication and a Minor in English Literature.  My school did not have a film program, but they did have Super VHS camcorders and a small group of us started making stuff: Short Films, Sketch Comedy Shows.  I learned to produce and direct by producing and directing and making tons of mistakes.

On the set of "The Assault"

What first made you want to become a director?

I was a wild child and my mother would take me to the movies all the time.  In the summer mostly.  This was during the hey day of Steven Spielberg, John Hughes, Robert Zemeckis. At that time they were telling originally stories tailored to general audiences.  Also, at that time they were making movies in Ga.  So I got to visit some sets.

What inspires you to tell stories visually?

I just woke up one day and decided to become a filmmaker. It wasn't really a choice, it was more of an awakening. I like film because it's the only medium that tells stories by mimicking real life. and it infuses all other artistic mediums in doing so, which is also how real life works. I'd say that being able to create and suck audiences into the world of the story is a big driving force for me.

On the set of "Shifting Gears"

Awesome. Have you thought about the kind of storyteller you'd like to be in the future?

I would just like to have another forty years of telling stories in this medium, no matter where it goes and no matter where I go. If that means I'm telling stories on an iPhone, so be it. Being able to tell stories is the goal. Everything else is just gravy.

What has been your proudest moment in your line of work thus far?

I know that a couple of the movies that I have made have helped people. It’s very humbling to receive an email from someone you don't know that thanks you for making a film that helped them deal with whatever was going on in their life at the time. It makes you realize and understand how powerful the medium is… Your voice is heard for better or worse.

On the set of "The Assault"

Do you view yourself as a genre filmmaker?

No, which is probably a detriment to me [laughs]. I just want to make movies that connect to me. So far, I've made two family films, a horror, and an arthouse film. Telling stories is what turns me on, not necessarily genre.

What directors inspire you the most?

I grew up watching tons of movies.  My dad would bring home movies every weekend from the video store. I loved the classics and modern films.  As far as artists go: Present Day I would say Pete Berg, JJ Abrams, Richard Linklater, David Gordon Green, Jeff Nichols.  Classic:  Kubrick, Spielberg, Lucas, Peter Bogdonovich, Malick.  These are all very accomplished story tellers with different visual styles.

Any advice for aspiring directors?

Showing up is half the battle.  Control the things you can control and roll with the rest. NEVER GIVE UP! KEEP FIGHTING!

Giving direction on "Shifting Gears"

What's your favorite camera to use?

I’m a BIG fan of the RED family of cameras. I think some of the gimbals like the Ronin and the Movi are very cool tools that open up the creative canvas for some interesting shots.

Any other interests or hobbies outside of what you do?

I love to play guitar and I’m constantly jamming with friends.

Why did you join ShareGrid?

I joined ShareGrid to make some of my equipment available for filmmakers for affordable prices and to network online with local filmmakers.

What draws you, personally and professionally, to Atlanta?

I grew up in Atlanta traveled the world and decided to come back and work and live here.

 

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Brent L Zaffino

I am a filmmaker out of Atlanta, Georgia currently working as a freelance director and videographer for music videos, short films, and corporate videos.

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