Monday, July 25, 2011

Is Jordan Comeman the next Speilberg?

Interview With Grant Winner/Filmmaker Jordan Coleman!
Payin' the Price

We were super lucky to have Jordan Coleman, 15-year-old filmmaker and 2009 Do Something Award finalist, stop by the office today to screen his new film "Payin' the Price." Before heading to Martha's Vineyard, where his film will be shown as part of their 2011 African American Film Festival, Jordan told us a little about how he got into the business of film making for good! When did you start making films?

Jordan Coleman: I started making films when I was 13 with my mom's help. There's no better team! I saw how a lot of African-American boys weren't focusing on their school work. They just wanted to get famous, so they focused on playing basketball or making up raps, or just trying to be cool. They weren't understanding that work is what got celebrities to where they are today.

DS: Why did you choose film as your approach to taking social action?

JC: I chose film because a lot of teens love movies. I thought that if I made a movie about teen issues, a lot of teens would see how important the issues really are. I felt like Superman almost—I wanted to use my powers for good. I've always really enjoyed giving back. My mom had a not-for-profit organization that would give away bookbags—it's in the blood.

DS: How did you make your first film?

JC: I used my money from my job with The Backyardigans (editor's note: Jordan was the voice of Tyrone the Moose on the show!) to hire a camera guy—that was the first step. I went around the street asking random people how they feel about education, but then I saw that the [the movie] got boring. I wanted to bring it to a different level, so I asked my mom how I could get celebrities to be in the film. She said I should contact their agents, so I did. They emailed back instantly saying their people would love to be in the film. We had Kobe Bryant, Reverend Al Sharpton, and Busta Rhymes.

DS: What do you want for the future?

JC: My dream is to become a successful filmmaker so that I can expand my audience so that it’s not just teens. I want to make films for everybody. I want to relate my films to my peers. My next film is about sexting.

DS: What about a bullying film?!

JC: My 10-year-old brother is writing a script about that right now!

DS: Uh-oh. Competition. What would you say to a teenager who wasn't on The Backyardigans and doesn't have the money to hire a camera guy?

JC: I'd say to save your babysitting money to buy a little flip camera. As long as you have a camera and an imagination, you can do it. As long as you have an imagination and you have hope, you can do anything. There were times that I didn’t think that my films would be successful, but I had hope and I prayed. I made them my priority—I put sports to the side; I put my friends to the side. Hard work pays off. If you're serious about something, you can get it done.

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