Jimmy Kelly is the CEO of award winning independent film company Fight On Entertainment.
Based on the East Coast of the United States, Jimmy talked to me about how he got started in the film industry, what advice he has for wannabe scriptwriters, and also his awards!
Thanks for your time today Jimmy, can you give us a one minute overview of Fight On Entertainment?
Sure, Matt. Fight On Entertainment is an independent film production company out of Long Island, New York dedicated to inspiring everyone to think creatively and join the new Golden Age of Entertainment. We continue to test the boundaries of storytelling, new technology, and social media. At Fight On Entertainment, we believe anyone can be artist, so we hope to help people discover that through our indie productions.
What sort of films does your company make?
We make all kinds – we actually just got done a mockumentary sci-fi short about a single mother who helps a documentary crew discover the truth about a UFO sighting (see RETURN TO SOUTH HAVIN on YouTube). We work in shorts, commercials, and feature films. Our first one, IN CRITICAL CONDITION about a mob on the verge of collapse desperately trying to stay alive, has garnered recognition from such festivals as New Filmmakers NY and Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards (where it won).
On the slate now is POLYBIUS a horror short about a mysterious game cabinet and the affects it has on a town. We are constantly writing so there are some other projects in early stages that I can’t talk about just yet. We’re also branching into a web-series to be coming soon.
You mentioned awards, what awards have you won?
Personally, I have won a few awards for my short animation script THE JOANS’ KILLER about a new action figure who’s threatened by a jealous toy in a toy shop. Recognition includes HollyShorts, Cinequest, and NYC Independent Film Festival. IN CRITICAL CONDITION has been selected to appear in multiple film festivals with accolades from Asheville Film Fest (Best Supporting Actor), and LAIFFA (First Time Filmmaker Award).
POLYBIUS, which me and my producing/writer partner Michael Tuite wrote, is two for two with a Best Unproduced Screenplay win from NYC Horror Film Festival as well as The Silver for Unproduced Screenplay at Los Angeles Horror Competition.
What is your favourite film of all time?
My favourite film of all time is THE LION KING. Granted, there are plenty of greats, but this one I remember seeing in Rockefeller Center when it first came out. No film works as an emotional roller coaster in my opinion. Others do a brilliant job, but THE LION KING does so with music and animals.
Who do you most look up to in the industry?
There are sooo many directors, producers, and writers to look up such as Spielberg and Hitchcock, but I have four main people that I look up to most. They are Christopher Nolan, Walt Disney, Joss Whedon, and James Cameron. I haven’t seen a Nolan movie I didn’t like. I think he really knows his stories and characters so well that he can pinpoint exactly what scenes need to happen as opposed to adding a layer of cheese or unnecessary back story. Plus his shot choices are amazing. Disney created the studio model that I would like.
Obviously, there are things I want to do differently, but I have always had a soft spot for Disney animations. Joss Whedon is the man to look at for dialogue. Everything I watch of his has the best dialogue I’ve ever heard. Then there’s James Cameron. The man who said screw it I’m going to do what I want and never looked back. Whether you like his movies or not, he puts up and everyone shuts up. He makes what he wants, with his own money, and makes more than everyone. He is an innovator in film technology AND he believes in his films. It’s a great way to be and a great goal to strive towards.
How did you get started out as a filmmaker?
I was always a lover of Disney animated flicks. I originally wanted to be an animator, but I can’t draw and am an impatient perfectionist! Then I saw LOTR RETURN OF THE KING win at the Academy Awards and it hit me! I want to be Peter Jackson.
I loved how it was his vision that people rallied behind and he was grateful to have had them and they made a killer film. So began my research into filmmaking which led me University of North Carolina School of the Arts where I graduated with a BFA and the idea for IN CRITICAL CONDITION and Fight On Entertainment.
Could you tell us about any projects you are working on at the moment?
Apart from the web-series and POLYBIUS, I am writing screenplays to sell while also working on more commercial work and developing a feature about guys on Long Island trying to live and discover what it means to adult. I also have a zombie screenplay I love, but that’s in early early stages of pre-production (it requires a good chunk of change).
What are your ambitions for Fight On Entertainment and yourself?
I’m the type of guy who always shoots for the stars. Even if you miss, you’ll land on the moon. I want Fight On Entertainment to be the next big studio to lead the new wave of film-making/art. I also want it to be known for helping young filmmakers and discovering new talent. Everyone deserves a shot at making movies if they’re willing to put in the work.
As for me, I set myself up with a goal years ago – go for the youngest Academy Award winner for Best Director. I know how crazy that is or can be, and how hard it is to get, but I feel like if I go for it, I’ll make movies people will watch in the process. And after all, isn’t that what we all want to do as filmmakers?
What advice do you have for someone who wants to get into filmmaking or
Just do it. There’s nothing stopping you but you. Watch movies. Make time to create. Write. Find a story, feel it in your heart, and let it guide you. You’ll feel the force of the story and will become the storyteller that become a filmmaker. Research and put in the work. The success will come with time, patience, and hard work.
Thanks for your time today Jimmy!
Thanks for having me, Matt!