Photo by Mario Jackson

Introduction Hello, my name is Mario Concepcion Jackson and I was asked by owner and chief editor Deanne Williams to be a contributor to KDgospel Magazine. At first, I was a bit hesitant but as time passed, I realized what an amazing opportunity to share my experiences with the world. This section will focus on my journey as a filmmaker and provide up to date information with others working in the industry of television and film.

Back Story: As a child, I was always fascinated with stories. I remember sitting with my grandma and listening to her tell amazing tales of her life as a child. I was captivated by her voice and her use of literary rhetoric.  Eventually, I began to tell my own stories but instead of speaking them in public, I wrote them on paper. I was not shy as a kid but writing was a safety zone for me as an artist. Every week, I was writing a new story in a notebook and I soon realized that there are only so many notebooks.

My school had writing competitions and I would submit my writings to see how I would fair amongst other creative individuals. I won some awards and realized that I had a natural affinity for creative writing. During my high school years, I took video production as an elective. I made tons of films and had my first mentor in film, Mrs. Conner. Mrs. Conner would constantly critique my films and push me to be better with each new project. I can remember a time when Mrs. Conner asked me to shoot a 3 minute film. I was excited about this opportunity but had no idea what I was going to do. I eventually, decided to do a short film about an alligator in the Dismal Swamp. It was a great idea but there were two major problems. First, I had never seen an alligator in the swamp and I had no idea how to create one. Secondly, on the day of shooting, my dog, Six Feet, was running and knocked me and the camera into the swamp. The camera was ruined and so was my outfit. I ended up shooting another movie with my cousins and it turned out great.

Present: Currently, I am in post-production on my latest film, If Only. It was shot last August and I had a great time with the cast and crew. The film is about a guy who is madly in love with a beautiful woman but has never spoken a word to her. Metaphorical the film is a representation of how we pass up opportunities in life. Sometimes we do this because we are too afraid to seize the moment. However, we may go the rest of our lives wondering about the “Coulda, shoulda, woulda”.  Never forget to Carpe Diem.

Many of you may wonder why it has taken so long edit the film. The quick answer to that question is purpose. I want the purpose of the film to be understood. A true filmmaker understands that a film should have the correct timing and pacing. Without these two elements the film can be lost to your audience and you as the filmmaker.

During the film making process of this film, we faced many obstacles and challenges. On the first day of shooting our location was under construction. My producer Kevin Monroe immediately took action and found a location within one hour. After arriving at the new location, it began to rain and there was no ending in sight. As the director, I became very agitated and wondered if I would be able to complete the film. I started becoming frustrated because I wanted everything to go as planned but life and the man upstairs sometimes have different ideas. Nevertheless, my cast and crew were amazing and they weathered the storm. They had great chemistry and ideas and it will show in the finished product.

Whenever you are planning a project, be sure to hire people that you trust. Yes, they should also be talented, and have good attitudes but trust is the primary factor. As a director, I have to trust that my actors remembered their lines and that they are prepared for the day. As a director, I have to trust that my producers have my back and that they will be honest with me at all times. As a cinematographer, I have to trust that my crew can execute my ideas on how a set should look. As a man of God, I have to trust that he will provide my every need. If you don’t understand what I am trying to say, you have to TRUST not just yourself but others as a filmmaker.

Future: For the future, I have quite a few ideas and goals that I am aiming to achieve. One is to submit my short film “If Only”, into film festivals and see what kind attention it can garner. I also, would love to be a series director and cinematographer for a tv show. This is a tough goal but not impossible. I also, want to open a film studio with my best friend Lawrence Watford. With this studio, we could produce films and have a studio that we own. We no longer would need to rent out space; people would have to rent from us.  Lastly, I would love to be a college professor that teaches film and creative writing. I could mentor students and bring them on my productions to help them gain real world experience while they are in school.

Inspiring Word: One of the greatest quotes was by John Burroughs; Leap, and the net will appear. I have this on my mirror in the bathroom. Every time I wash my hands, or brush my teeth, I am reminded to let go. Sometimes we have all these goals and dreams but we never trust ourselves enough to go after them. We must realize that we only have one life and if we fail to go after what God has ordained for us then we will forever look down from atop the mountain without ever taking that leap. Trust God and trust your dreams. Please take the time to view my website