For this week’s Fast Forward Friday, we interviewed my friend and colleague, Los Angeles based writer-director-performer and Renaissance man, Jeffrey Jackson. He is currently in post-production on a cutting edge, hybrid movie/online game experience titled Daemon 9, which he wrote and directed. For more about Jeff click here
Q: What are you currently working on? Tell us about it.
I’m currently launching a unique, self-produced project: I call it an “interactive thriller.” It’s a cross between a horror film and an online role-playing game. It’s titled Daemon 9 and begins with the story of a murder in a small college town. Slowly, the viewer gets drawn into the story until they are at the center of it. The characters speak to you and maybe even call you by name. They trade texts and emails with you. You have to unravel the mystery before you become the next victim. Creepy stuff.
Q: What was the inspiration and impetus for doing this project?
It’s an instance where the medium is the inspiration. I’ve done a little programming and it quickly occurred to me that the internet presented a unique opportunity to tell a story in an immersive way that could truly put the viewer inside the story.
Q: Who are your artistic heroes – who have had an impact on you and your work?
I’ve always admired the way Woody Allen seized and maintained full artistic control over his projects and has sustained it over decades.
Q: What keeps you motivated and inspired as an artist?
Seeing new, brilliant work, in any medium. It touches a competitive nerve in me that wants to do something worthy of that level.
Q: What other projects would you like to tell us about?
I’m laser-focused on this one right now. But my last play, Two Point Oh, about is getting a production in Lompoc, California early next year, so that’s nice. It’s about the widow of a Steve Jobs-ian software mogul who, three months after her husband’s sudden death, discovers that his last, greatest creation was a virtual-reality simulation of himself that lives on in the computers and screens of their high-tech mansion.
Q: What is one instance of knowing you are living in your vision?
Not sure how to answer this. I know that anytime I’m really in the thick of the “thing” that’s happening, I get to this place where I’m both euphoric and miserable at the same time. A totally amped up version of myself. It’s not always fun, but it’s exhilirating.
Q: If there were no barriers to entry, what is one thing you would be doing?
Making a feature film.
Q: What has been big your biggest obstacle in achieving your vision?
I don’t fit well into existing systems and structures. I’m always taking the detour route. Ultimately, if I succeed, that’ll be a badge of honor. But if I don’t, that may be the main reason.
Q: What do you do to stay connected to your creative self?
I always have a secondary creative outlet. If I get overwhelmed or blocked in my main focus, I’ll take a break and pick up a guitar and play for an hour. One can free the other.
Q: If you could let go of something that has held you back, what would it be?
Cynicism. For me, the arts are a second career, so I don’t have the same kind of wide-eyed optimism that a twenty-something has — that I once had — and I think you need a little of that in this business. Sometimes the wisdom that comes with years can actually be an impediment, albeit one that impedes you from wandering into traffic.
Q: What is your favorite piece of art?
Boueguereau’s Young Girl Defending Herself Against Eros. I could look at it all day. The Temptations’ Papa Was A Rolling Stone is up there, too. Masterpiece.
Q: What person do you most admire, living or dead?
Benjamin Franklin. Brilliant, creative, visionary, leader and a total wiseass.
Q: If you could be known and celebrated for one thing, what would it be?
A piece of work that really had an influence on someone’s worldview.
Q: If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?
A bunch of friends did this for me once. They decided the one word that described me was “cocksure.” I kinda like it.
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
Puzzles — Crossword, ken ken, sudoku, etc. Total addiction.
Q: If you could sit down with yourself 15 years ago, what would you say?
Don’t waste a single day. Think about everything you decide to invest time in and realize that you cannot invest that time in anything else. Time is binary — you can do this, or you can do that, but you can’t do both.
Q: Where would you most like to live?
I’m new to Los Angeles, so right now it’s here because I could’ve lived anywhere and I chose here. But London’s calling.
Q: What is your idea of success?
Having the freedom to create whatever I want to create without external obstacles or pressures.
Q: What is your idea of happiness?