Marquette Jones is from Youngstown, Ohio, not far from where I grew up. She’s an alumna of NYU’s graduate film program, but before becoming a filmmaker, Marquette was a public interest attorney in Oakland, California.
Her work includes her most recent film, Forgiving Chris Brown, along with Round on Both Sides, Tunk, Heroes Wanted and Streets 2 Suites. She has also produce many other projects from short films, to commercials and PSAs for the Women in Film program.
When she is not busy writing, producing, or directing, Marquette indulges her obsession with color through her ever-growing nail polish collection.
In this conversation we get into everything. When it comes to filmmaking, we learn her thoughts on grad school – the good and the bad, her strategy for submitting to film festivals – they are detailed, how she writes, directs and staffs up for her films, and some writing advice she received from Spike Lee himself.
We talk about her winding path from law degree to a creative career, her advocacy for women in film, and we even learn about her desire to read minds as a child. There is a ton valuable information and Marquette is a joy to listen to.
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6 Key Takeaways
1. At grad school take advantage of the community and the equipment. Don’t wait be assigned a project. Make as many things as you can.
2. When staffing up for a production, only hire people you don’t have to watch.
3. Your eyes should be on the thing after the thing. Always be prepared with your next project. You must be ready when opportunity strikes.
4. When writing ask yourself, “What would really happen in this situation?” Use music to put yourself into the mood of the characters. Write a draft from each characters perspective.
5. Movies made by women filmmakers make up a small percentage of what makes it to theaters. Support your women filmmakers. Listen to Marquette’s podcast Directing Magic.
6. The film festival circuit gives you something to talk about and promote on social media. Being accepted legitimizes your film, brings awareness and attracts potential support for future projects.
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Follow Marquette Jones
Marquette on IMDB
Directing Magic Podcast
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Show Notes (Ep 14)
The ins and outs of Directing the NYU thesis film, Round on Both Sides. [03:11]
How to handle the pressure while directing. [09:50]
Early days in Ohio, reading minds, and budding creativity. [19:29]
Law school to film school. The realization. [22:35]
What Marquette didn’t learn from NYU, but should have. [27:38]
Working with and learning from the legend, Spike Lee. [38:09]
Lessons learned from moving to Los Angeles. [45:58]
The roles of marketing and self-promotion in your success as a filmmaker. [53:15]
Experiencing the icky side of LA as a woman filmmaker. [59:27]
The making of Forgiving Chris Brown. [01:21:16]
Mastering the film festival circuit. [01:34:12]
Final questions, likes and advice for filmmakers. [01:48:54]
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