Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer West.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Jennifer. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My path has been a wild one. I’ve always been an artist at heart and that’s manifested itself in multiple ways over the years. As I child and teenager I expressed myself through fine art – drawing, painting, and creating tangible things. In college, I studied graphic design as I was told that the life of a painter would be too difficult. Ha.
To summarize the next ten years, I’d become a professional designer, wedding videographer, and writer. I launched a blog called The Jen West Quest that had a pretty large following complete with an in-person interview on The Rachael Ray Show. It was also in my 20’s that I discovered independent film. It was a revelation, as I knew it was my destiny the second I learned about it. I started off working on other people’s projects in all sorts of positions – art department, production office, producing – on short and feature films alike. I also took a stab at writing and directing my first short film at 26, called PIECE OF CAKE, which starred Mo Rocca (who I had a massive crush on at the time). It was an ambitious all-around. Some parts of it succeeded, some could have been better.
The realities of the chances for success in this space were eye-opening, to say the least during that process. Independent film is an intimidating breeding ground as there are multitudes of incredible talents all vying for very few slots to advance in the industry. I kind of caved to the pressure for a few years before making my next short film, of which I co-directed and co-wrote called CRUSH. The story was relevant to my life at the time as I was going through a divorce and felt so incredibly alone. That launched me on a creative roll in the next decade where I wrote and directed the short films BUBBLE, LITTLE CABBAGE, and the music video CALL ME for St. Paul and the Broken Bones (which has over 1M views online). I also produced quite a few successful projects, two of which were accepted into the Emerging Filmmakers Showcase as part of the Cannes Film Festival in the same year.
Then I got the bug to make a feature. In-brand with other efforts, these concepts would prove to be very ambitious. First of which is ELECTRIC BLEAU, which has been in what some call development hell for about five years. A lot of exciting things have and continue to happen around that project. I hold out hope that it gets to see the light of day in the way it deserves. While I’ve been pushing that baby out, I’ve written two other features, a pilot, and the first draft of a YA fantasy novel. I’ve also tried my hand at live cinema recently as the invite-only alumni filmmaker to create the Cucalorus Film Festival’s annual Bus to Lumberton installation, which I based on a collaborative script called FALLING HOME about two long-time friends who get stuck inside of the vortex of a tornado. I pride myself on being able to flex with the present situation, always making and creating in whatever capacities are available to me.
A fun, but relevant, side detail about my life is that I’m a professional intuitive tarot reader. In the last year alone I’ve done over 700 readings both in Modern Mystic, a popular mystic shop in Atlanta, and on my own. I took this on because I love it, but it also serves as research for some of my projects mentioned above. Most of my work is based on magical realism world-building with heavy occult influences.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The most challenging aspect for me right now is moving my projects out of development and into production. It’s hard to be so close when all you really need is that one break-through win like financing or the attachment of a big name. Those are big obstacles. It can be frustrating to hear that Atlanta needs to have more content creators, when I know of so many who are already here with amazing projects ready to go. Literally, ask me and I will tell you who they are. One of the things that we need is more proper representation of writers and directors from the south who can put their work in front of the right people. The answer can’t always be moving to LA, we’ve got to figure out a better system.
Please tell us about Four x Productions.
Four x Productions was created as a vehicle for the projects that James Martin and I take on. The four x’s form a W, for West, and an M, for Martin, when the letters are laid on top of each other.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck is the side-winding little critter that you never know will be on your side or against it. You certainly need to have what it takes to make it as a filmmaker both in talent and skill, but luck is also required. The stars truly have to align sometimes. As someone once said, any completed film is nothing short of a miracle.
- Website: fourxproductions.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The image with the American Flag in the background was taken by Wes Frazer.