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Filmmaker and skydiver EnglishJon recently took the time to answer a few question exclusively for ThreeSixFive.

For those that don’t know, who is EnglishJon?

Englishjon was actually a nickname given to me when I was shooting in the wake boarding industry. My actual name is Jonathan, but trying to say my name in an English accent in the US meant that i had to say my name a few times until anyone understood it. So the nickname became easier. But essentially, Englishjon is a 28yr old filmmaker from the UK. I have been filming full time for around 5yrs now, and have been lucky enough to shoot a wide range of things. From Reebok commercials at the top of the empire state building, to handing out of planes shooting red bull air race pilots and skydiving. It’s been the most amazing 5yrs…. I can be found at www.BackToAwake.com.

How long have you been making films and where did it all start?

It’s been a 5 year journey so far, but the real start of it was around my 7th birthday. I was bought a yellow plastic guitar, and have played ever since. My parents always had great music taste when i was growing up, so I learned the art of creative expression, musical feeling and just that way that music can put a sense of something in your head in an instant. I see cameras as the same type of tool as a musical instrument. With the right application and approach, you can take people places and make them feel things. Both are like a blank canvas when you hold an instrument in your hands, so it’s down to what’s inside of you to make them sing.

Your most recent video was called ‘Why We Jump’ which looked at why skydivers choose to jump out of planes. Why do you jump?

I started to jump for two main reasons. I had been working with Red Bull shooting some of their aerobatic air race planes. I was introduced to shooting planes by an amazing photographer, Mike Shore, and on my first flight with him we were wearing parachutes. I figured that the potential for things to go wrong when we were shooting was a serious thing to think about, and I wanted to go get certified to skydive just in case something bad ever happened. It wasn’t until a young guy from Australia came over to stay with me for wake boarding, that I finally got into a plane with the intention of jumping out of it. So myself and the aussie Bo, went to skydive Deland and without ever doing tandems, jumped our first jumps. From there it was a complete addiction. For someone who lives his visual life through different perspectives, you couldn’t wish for a better activity to really change how you see things. It’s a hard concept to get across, but the best way to describe it is to watch the video I put together. As much as its other people talking about it, the film also covers my own ideas too.

What has been your favourite project(s) to work on?

I really enjoyed a shoot for Reebok that was on the observation deck of the empire state building. It was a hard test of conditions as we were shooting in the middle of winter, and we were awake for a good 30hrs doing it all. Another shoot that stands out was a documentary piece on Mario Andretti, it was for the Formula 1 racing series, looking back at previous legends of the sport. I got to go to his house for the day and shoot all his old stories and hear the history, was a great experience. To be honest, there are so many shoots that were great experiences, from mountains to plane, lakes and celebrities…. they’re always fun jobs to shoot!

What is the main message you want to bring to your audience in your videos?

I wouldn’t say there is a message as such, not unless there is some sort of educational side of a video like the why we jump video. My own personal beliefs are that people are becoming less creative as a population. Before it was all about being seen and being told your work was good, that was what made people continue to search for the next level of things. I see a lot of people zoning out away from themselves on Facebook, YouTube and other things that are all about being noticed in an instant, and never truly knowing every side of someone. I think having a balanced view of the world makes for better results in people, but also creatively. If people were to put the same amount of time into learning something, shooting, playing an instrument or anything creative as they do with things like Facebook, well I think we would be happier as a whole. So if I ever had any message, it’s always about keeping things genuine and honest.

What would be your dream project?

I think music videos and commercials are where I see a lot of my dream projects. I would love to shoot a music video for Metallica, shoot a night time commercial for BMW or Mercedes. I’m a camera geek, and love my camera toys, so it’s always nice to be part of something that pushes your creative abilities and perspectives.

Generally how long does it take for you to edit a film?

Really depends on what it is and the deadline. I have edited 5 videos in 5 days at the end of last year, and the Why We Jump video was something that took 3months to come together. So it’s really depends.

What software do you use to edit your films?

I always cringe at this question, and it’s the one I get a lot of the time. It’s like asking what pen and paper the writer used, it is kind of an insignificant thing to focus on in terms of making the videos what they are. I generally use Premiere Pro CS6 at the moment, but for years used Final Cut Studio, Sony Vegas before that…

Are there any exciting projects you are working on at the moment?

There will be a series of videos like the why we jump video, and I am also hoping to shoot some great things with some Porsche race cars soon too. There are always 3 or 4 shoots on the books that I can’t wait to get stuck into. I also get to shoot the skydive world record attempt in August which will be amazing.

What don’t we know about you? What do you do when you’re not making films or skydiving?

I’m a little bit of a hermit really, when I’m not jumping or shooting, I like my quiet days at home or travelling somewhere. I still play music pretty much everyday, and I always have edit projects on the go. But I keep things as simple as I can really, not really much to tell I’m afraid…

What’s on your iPod at the moment?

Oh, lots! Main artists at the moment are Bon Iver, SOJA, 36 Crazyfists, Rod Stewart, The Faces, Deftones…. a huge diverse collection. Actually that’s something else I do when I am not shooting or jumping, look for new music!!!

What next for you?

Next… well I have taken a step forward with production in the last few weeks, rounded a corner if you will. I am now starting to put together my own focus pieces, some where I have to build studios and sets to get certain effects and shots. So that way of shooting, I guess for me the next stage of cinematography maturity, is becoming more and more my focus. Lots and lots of fun things though that’s for sure, my best work hasn’t left my camera yet…

Thanks to EnglishJon for taking the time to answer our quesions. You can view his latest release, ‘Why We Jump’ below, or check out his other work on vimeo at vimeo.com/englishjon.

Why We Jump from EnglishJon.com on Vimeo.


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