Filmmaker Feature: Jack Coleman

What came first for you, photography or video? How did you get started in both?

Photography came first. Started getting really interested in photo while living and traveled through parts of Europe for about 2 years. That is when I started taking pictures of friends and got really interested in the process of photographer and subject. Then moved back to California and started really pursuing portraits when I was 22 years old. Took me about 2 years to really know how to load the camera and expose the film properly. Shot for about 8 years and was starting to make a living at it, then went back to school specifically for photography. Never film. Film came into the picture as I progressed later into my art education.

Do you find yourself enjoying one more than the other?

I’ve been enjoying making the films over the past year, but there is still something about a great photograph that drives me. Never will I abandon the medium of still photography. It is what made me love life.

How would you describe your photographic style?

To me, it’s just senseless conceptualism.

You have a very unique look to your films, giving them a retro or experimental (for lack of a better work) feel. Why do you choose to use film (8mm and 16mm)? What is the draw to that old looking feel for you?

Growing up we had family home films. The whole deal: project it in the living room with popcorn and family members. The sound of the projector, the nostalgia of that moment captured always fascinated me. I want people to see the work and feel what i felt as a young child. It’s engraved deep in my head and was one of my favorite things about growing up and watching those films with my family.

What kind of equipment do you use most often for both photo and video?

For photo, I do all formats except for medium format: digital, 35mm, polaroids, and 4×5. For film, I use Super 8 because of its affordability and convenience. I also use 16mm when I feel like getting frustrated because my 16mm camera currently has a mind of its own. Don’t do video too much, only if necessary for a particular job or project. Actually I have started to dislike the look of digital HD, all the after effects used to try and make video look like film drives me crazy. All the iPhone applications have really taken the fun out of the process of real film. But film will never die. It is to valuable a forum to discard.

Where do you get your creative inspirations?

Inspiration is everywhere. Everything being online and at our fingertips makes for huge consumption of imagery, with that comes inspiration for me. Usually images get to me somehow, from that image inspiration comes in many forms – books, videos, films, light. I also have a folder of ideas and pictures that I could reference and pull ideas from literally for the rest of my life if I wanted. But I’m always scanning for new ideas every second I’m breathing. It has literally engulfed me, inspiration is what drives our lives.

You’ve got some great tunes for you flicks. How do you choose your music?

Still haven’t gotten into the dialogue for film thing yet, so music is essential to the success of each piece. Pretty much my whole childhood and adult life I’ve made mixed tapes and CD’s for my friends, so its critical how you position each song on a compilation. I’ve been aware of my taste and stuck to a flow that fits my life. Same as inspiration, it sometimes just comes to me somehow… new artists or older songs from obscure bands that I’m turned onto, usually by music intellectuals I know. I’m really fortunate to have people out there with a deep musical duffle bag. Most people do not have the opportunity to hear these artists because music isn’t as important to them as it is to me.

What’s next for Jack Coleman?

Working on 2 conceptual surf films, and an actual full length surf film starring Alex Knost I’m almost half way finished with – ALL real film – no digital or digital effects. Got 6 New music videos and docu-videos that are currently in the pipe, 3 of which are almost done. Using 3D for first time, as well as VHS video exploration with analog effects. So a bunch of new stuff coming out in next 3 months. Also want to make my 3rd photography book – “minimal into.” Oh yeah, be as close to the ocean as I can at all times. That is what makes me happiest at the moment.

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