Director’s Spotlight: Jeremy Snead

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Jeremy Snead

Name: Jeremy Snead

Title: President and Creative Director, Mediajuice Films

Age: 32

Years in industry: 8

Current Projects: Hollywood, TX, Springheel Jack, Dreamboy

Personal Ventures: Mediajuice Films

THEMOVIEPOOL: Thank you Jeremy for taking the time to sit down and share with us some of your experiences and successes.  Now, a career in the entertainment industry, especially filmmaking is considered by some to be one of the hardest to pursue, but also one of the most rewarding if you can, of course, avoid the pitfalls.  When did you decide to make this your career path?  Was there a specific moment?

Jeremy Snead: Man, getting deep on me (laughs).  I’ve always been a “creative type” since I was a kid.  I just loved cartoons and watched a lot more TV and movies than my siblings did.  I think, as far as my first interest, it’s probably when I started working at Funimation in 2002. I started working there as a licensing manager which is very much a business side of entertainment.  I learned the business side of it which was actually a great sort of backdoor to seeing the front side of it.  I learned about intellectual properties, branding and what goes on behind the scenes.  Then, through that, I think, the creative side of me was always there, it sort of bubbled to the top and I decided, okay, I know the business side so I wanted to really venture out start doing some of my own projects.  That started with the first short film I did, then I founded Mediajuice, and been doing it ever since.

TMP: When it comes to education, anything you can put into it to further it is always a step in the right direction, but there is no discounting the power of learning-whilst-doing.  How would you say your formal education has stood up to your “behind-the-wheel” education?

JS: Well, first of all, I don’t want to knock formal education of any kind.  I think it really depends on the person.  Some people need that formal education, whether it’s going to film school or even a regular college.  The structure and discipline to figure out what they want to do.  So some people think that that is very necessary, in order to really mold and put some reigns on that creativity, show them how to focus and work hard.  For me, I’ve always been an entrepreneur and my work ethic, either from my dad or my granddad, is always something that has been a big part of who I am.  Any and all opportunities that I’ve had, for example, when I started working at Funimation, I really worked hard at it, learned how to make the best of it and learned as much as I could.  So, to answer your question, I think formal education up through high school is vitally important, just to get you prepared and out in the world.  For me, after that, just working hard and looking for opportunities where I could.

TMP: Mediajuice Films.  It just tastes refreshing saying it.  Definitely an evocative name.  Where’d you come up with it?

JS: When we were starting Mediajuice Films, we were thinking of different names that embody the work we do, mainly TV, videos, web and commercial content.  We also knew that we didn’t want to limit ourselves, because there are so many new platforms coming around.  Media and advertising just seems like it’s always changing, especially in the last five years.  So I definitely wanted the word media and the juice part just seemed to fit in with pop culture, you know, that some people either have the juice or they don’t (laughs), so from that came Mediajuice.

TMP: As the President and Creative Director of Mediajuice Films, your personal vision no doubt comprises the primary direction of the company.  What is that vision, in your words, that is the guiding star for Mediajuice Films?

JS:  My vision for Mediajuice Films has really been to express myself as a filmmaker and to express our company’s production capabilities.  I don’t think that’s too dissimilar than most filmmakers or aspiring filmmakers. It was to be able to tell the stories that I want to tell and, on the client side, to be able to produce projects, whether it be TV commercials, documentaries or anything we’re working on, that we enable us to put our unique style and talents into.   We truly feel like we do a good job and the work usually speaks for itself.

TMP: This one is for me, primarily. I am, and no doubt many of our readers are as well, MVC2 fans, (Marvel Vs. Capcom 2).  Many of my friends are desperately awaiting its arrival on either XBOX Live or the Playstation Network and it’s probably, in my opinion, the greatest fighting video game ever made.  What brought you to the creative decision to bring MVC2 to the spotlight by producing the “VS. Vignettes” for Capcom that are up on your site?

JS: That was really a cooperative decision between us, Mediajuice and Capcom.  We’ve done a lot of great work with Capcom over the years and this was such a unique title that it called for something a little bit more special than just an “official carryover” or the game play videos.  So we had a series of talks, before their marketing campaign launched, to address that.  We asked, “what can we do that really captures the spirit and essence of Marvel Vs. Capcom 2?” We thought it was definitely identifying with the uber-fan, the uber-Marvel  and uber-Capcom fan, so we decided that, for the demographic , it would be neat to create a kind of a virtual world inside of a digital comic where the game play would come to life.   Then the series part, the six-series, was really a logistics decision.   There are so many characters, we decided to look at the most popular matchups, like Iron Man versus Mega Man or Spiderman versus Strider.  We wanted to focus on key matchups that we knew were the most popular and that ended up, equally, to be six total episodes, bringing these battles to a really unique life.

TMP: Is there anywhere else we can locate those collected pieces?

JS: Those are online with all the usual suspects.  They’re on gametrailers.com,  Capcom’s official website and they’re also on the Playstation Network and XBOX Live Arcade.  If you go to each one of the dashboards and search for Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, you can look up all the individual downloads there.

TMP: Every individual who has been in this industry long enough has deep-seated opinions regarding the state of the media, or the state of Hollywood, or even the state of filmmaking as a whole.  We are, of course, intensely opinionated individuals.  Where do you see the future of the independent industry heading from your perspective, having found your successes within it?

JS: I think the word “convergence” comes to mind because the landscape used to be so separate.  You have TV and the way it works, you have feature films and the way they work, and you had, when home video came along, the way it worked.  Now it’s the web and web series and it’s showcasing the way marketing has really become desegregated. I really think the sky’s the limit and I really don’t have an opinion, in terms of, this is the way to go.  If you’re a filmmaker then you really need to pursue making a feature and getting it up on the screen and working it that way.  Or you can do it all on the web or do it all on TV.  Even if it’s all original stories, branded entertainment or if you have an intellectual property or existing work.  To quote the playwright Terence, “Fortune favors the bold”.  You just have to be bold and if you truly believe in something, whether it’s your own story or a licensed property, then go for it.  I think with tenacity and hard work, those two things combined, you can never go wrong.

TMP: You have several projects in the pipeline, notably Dreamboy, a take on the life and successes of legendary director Steven Spielberg.  Any insights or expectations on this or any other future projects you can share?

JS: The ones that are on the sight are the ones that really opened up total worlds for me.  Now some people have asked, why market them on the site, because you’re basically giving your ideas away.  I’ve always been of the opinion that the people who are talented enough and savvy enough to get projects produced and actually greenlit, they’re not going to copy or steal, because they’re interested in their own work.  So those are the ideas that are specifically designed to carry us forward.  They are basically high-concepts like my own take on the life of Steven Spielberg.  It’s something that I put out there because he’s a director that I’ve truly admired.  Not only is he a talented artist but he’s been able to combine that with a real commercial sixth-sense, all the while, fearlessly changing the whole landscape of movies.  I really admire that because I aspire to more than just an artist, but to try to make a living, to try to be successful in the long term.  I’ve shopped it around to a few people but there haven’t been any real bites on it and that’s to be expected.  Between me and you, I think it’ll probably be another ten years before any studio or even Spielberg himself would really entertain that, but who knows.  It’s really a passion project for me that I’d love to do if we could get the rights or even a nod from Spielberg’s people.

TMP: THEMOVIEPOOL.com is spreading its name as the central information hub for independent filmmakers from all walks of life.  Bringing these creative individuals together not only increases resources, knowledge, and experience but also give opportunities for brainstorming, idea pitching, and other forms of promotion.  Are there any bits of advice you can give to our readers that you found exceedingly helpful or even invaluable whilst pursuing your dream?

JS: I think it’s a two-way road.  You hear people say it’s all about who you know and I think part of that’s true.  It’s very important to have good contacts and to work those contacts in the appropriate way.  I think it’s also, like I said before, hard work and stick-to-itiveness.  If you have a project that you want to get produced or get funding for, working the contacts that you have to expand your network and your creative directory is a great resource.  Using it in the right way, not being a pest, and knowing the right people to call, when to call, and what to send them, those are all things that can’t hurt you.

TMP: Now, because we at THEMOVIEPOOL.com often have our own brand of humor, I’ve put together a quick list of questions I’d like to ask called the QUICK 7, to really give us a better understanding of the mind behind the success.

1) Could Strider Hiryu really defeat Spiderman? I don’t think so, unless it was an alternate universe

2) Romantic Comedy or Horror Comedy? Romantic Comedy

3) Il Buen, Il Mal, or Il Tuco? Il Tuco

4) Mussels from Brussels or The Governator? The Governator

5) Brussel Sprouts or Asparagus? Asparagus

6) Na’vi or Prawn? Na’vi

7) What is the name of the game? Mediajuice!

Be sure to check out Jeremy’s work with game developer Capcom, his short film “Forgotten Frames”, and other future projects at:

http://www.mediajuicefilms.com

or you can keep up with him on his blog at:

http://www.jeremysneadblog.blogspot.com/