Backstory Pt. 1
I promised last Wednesday that we would be presenting several new video series on the blog. Here’s the first one, starting today. (There’s a transcript below the video, in case you’d rather read than watch.)
This series is me interviewing Jeff Simon, our blog’s 28-year-old tech guru, about the new web series he is developing called Camp Abercorn. I’ve been wanting to do this for years—sit down with the young millennial generation and ask about their creative process.
Do they think differently from Old School guys like me? How does their tech-savviness help them? What do they want? What are they thinking about? And what can we older guys and gals learn from them?
There’ll be eight videos in this series, each 5-8 minutes long. This first one is me asking Jeff how he got started, why he came to L.A., what exactly is a web series, and so on. It was an eye-opener for me, and I hope it will be for you when you watch this.
This video series will run Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next four weeks.
P.S. the photo above is of Jeff and his partners Meg and Matt pitching camp in a blizzard, getting set to film their first Camp Abercorn videos. The Millennials do do it differently!
Steve: Hi, it’s Steve Pressfield and I want to introduce you to somebody today. We’re going to try something a little different on the blog. This is Jeff Simon. Jeff, thanks for doing this here today.
Jeff: Of course.
S: Jeff is our tech and design guy for everything that’s on the site. Everything with Black Irish Books, everything with StevenPressfield.com, but that’s not what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about Jeff’s real love which is a project that he’s been working on called ‘Camp Abercorn.’ One of the reasons I want to do this, and why I think this is the kinda thing that’s going to be interesting, is that the stuff that Shawn and I write about, and that Callie writes about on the blog, is really sort of from another generation—or from two generations in our case—and we’re talking about books and publishing and that kinda stuff, old school stuff, where as Jeff and his generation and the twenty-somethings are doing whole new things that I’m completely clueless about- web series and Kickstarter and Indiegogo. When I was starting out in the movie business, which was like 1985, which was 30 years ago, anything you wanted to do had to go through the system. You had to have the studio and you need to have mega millions of dollars of financing to do anything because you couldn’t do it yourself. There was no way. But your generation, Jeff, can shoot video, shoot film, edit it, edit sound, edit music, light, direct. And between your team cast, fund, do all this kind of stuff. I’m really interested to ask you these questions today because I don’t know about it either, ya know? And I think that it will be interesting to our people on the blog what the twenty-something generation is doing. So that’s kinda my whole concept for why we’re doing this today. So before we start talking to Jeff about his background and stuff like that, I want to show you what ‘Camp Abercorn’, what his web series, is about. So, Jeff, why don’t you introduce it to the folks!
J: What you’re about to see is a trailer we put together. Here it is.
S: First of all, let me ask you Jeff, how old are you?
J: I’m 28.
S: 28 and you’re from Chicago…
S: And what’s your education?
J: I have a degree in production design for film (lies!), so I went to art school in Savannah, Georgia.
S: What was the school?
J: Savannah College of Art & Design
S: Uh huh.
J: And studied behind the scenes stuff- so scenery and costumes, that sort of thing.
S: You were an Assistant Production Designer on the Tom Cruise movie, Edge of Tomorrow?
S: I know you were in London for 18 months doing that, and so that’s sort of a day job for you in a sense or is it a bit of a career path as well?
J: Well it started out certainly as the career path. As I did it, I learned more and more about the filmmaking process and realized that being a production designer was only a stepping stone to really telling stories, and now I’m hoping to branch out into directing and writing and create my own show.
S: So here we are in L.A., we’re in Silverlake, we’re in your house, and uh…[let me ask you] when did you come out to LA?
J: I was 21, 22.
S: And right out of school?
J: I was right out of school, yeah.
S: And why did you come here? Did you think about going to New York or did you think about staying in Savannah?
J: For me, going to New York would be theater. I grew up in musical theater and I’ve done a lot of that in my life, and didn’t really see that as a career, partly because there’s no money in theater. You think struggling as a filmmaker you know you’re struggling, but you’re still getting a day rate. You could be painting things for free, doing things in New York for years before you get anywhere. And I decided, what do I do? And I drove West! Didn’t know anybody, didn’t have a place to stay…
S: You didn’t know anybody out here at all, huh?
S: Me too. I came out here in 1980, but you’re kinda a Hollywood starlet who arrives in town.
S: When you got here to L.A., what happened in the first year or so?
J: The first 8 months of me being out here I had no money. I think there are a lot of people that struggle with that. I think there’s no way not to go to L.A. in my mind.