By high School James Storm formed "J. S. Co. Productions Digital Video Studios" and he has produced over 60 independent films, documentaries and music videos and have only just begun to break into the creative stratosphere.
Q. Hello James, it's a pleasure to have you with us for this interview. Congratulations on your fourteen awards (including ‘Best Feature’, ‘Best Producer’ and ‘Best Director’) at last November's edition of the “Rome International Movie Awards” (click HERE).
Your new movie is “Meet My Pet Monster”: in a few words, what is it about?
A. Thank you "RIMA" for having me. Our film "Meet My Pet Monster" is a fan film based on the classic 80’s franchise. It’s the story about a young man that befriends a small blue furry monster and what happens when he takes the monster home and attempts to domesticate him. Ultimately it’s a story about friendship, sacrifice and learning to look deeper below the surface of one’s appearance.
Q. What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere? Was it difficult to find the right collaborators and, above all, a cast who could translate your cinematographic vision into acting and images?
A. Finding the right lead actors was a challenge. It is so very important in a film like this to have the right actors, we cast Raven LaFey as our lead actress. She had leading roles in several of our previous projects and she’s a natural born star. We knew she was going to do great and I was thrilled when she agreed to play the part. Michael Owens, our lead actor, had never starred in a feature film before. Following his screen test, we knew we had discovered an incredible actor. We finally felt like we had a cast with perfect chemistry. And we were right! The atmosphere of the set was a lot of fun with a lot of laughing, how could it not be? Everyone was so enthusiastic about the movie that the energy was always high. Having a cast and crew like this was a dream come true. They all brought so much to the table.
A. I started making backyard movies as a little kid. By the time I graduated high school not only had I several indie feature films in my portfolio, I had already read all of the collage level text books on filmmaking. My story telling ability was a natural gift from God and I was mostly self-taught by experience. So, I didn’t want to go to a big fancy film school. Rather, I wanted to learn the most cutting edge technology in digital filmmaking. I knew this would help my video production business and make me a better filmmaker and it was much more affordable. So I did eventually get certifications in Digital Filmmaking, Digital Media, Audio Visuals, Legal Video productions etc. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Q. What can you tell us about your film work prior to “Meet My Pet Monster”?
A. One of my most popular projects was a short film I had made right before MMPM. It’s titled "Captain Fantastic and the Magic Piano". It is a psychedelic rock, fantasy film about the great musician, Elton John. This fan film centred around a magic “light-up” piano on stage at a fictional concert in a day in the life of a 1970’s Elton John. Although this was a short film, it took eight months to build the props and another three months to shoot it. It was a challenge for the crew, but it definitely got them prepared for the massive production of "Meet My pet Monster", which we started next.
Q. Any future projects you’d like to share?
A. Right now the crew and I are several years deep into a multi faceted project that will include a novel, feature film and more. It’s called "Where the Dragons Sleep" (2024) and it’s essentially a semi autobiographical adventure/mystery story about the crew and I as we struggle to produce our indie films in the world of what we like to call dark Hollywood.
Q. How would you describe yourself as a director?
A. First and foremost, I’m an artist. And, I really enjoy collaborating with other artists and I really try not to take myself too seriously. I already know how to get what I want out of a production, but I also want to see what my crew can bring to the table. So, at the end of the day, it’s my duty to provide the cast and crew with all that they need in order give us the best possible performance. There is no point for a director to behave like a diva. The director truly needs to be the most selfless, most sacrificing and most hard-working person on the set. That’s how you get the best out of your cast and crew. The sign of a good director is one who can inspire your cast and crew to give their very best.
A. I don’t have an artsy answer for this one. I really enjoy the traditional masters that know how to tell a great adventure story. Directors like Steven Spielberg, George Lucas or Robert Zemeckis. I love the classic blockbuster adventure serials format and these directors were really the best at making these kinds of films. There are not many directors today with that kind of talent, but they are out there.
Q. Your favourite movies? And of course, films you really deplore?
A. As I mentioned I love Spielberg type movies, of course, who doesn’t? That’s the style I try to emulate in my films. I love the idea of thrilling movies that everyone can enjoy. It’s just pure magic in my eyes. In complete contrast to that I think I deplore this recent trend of let’s call it “super hero movies”. It’s an endless barrage of bad writing, cartoon SFX and cheap thrill cinema. When I was a kid, comic books were considered garbage literature that would rot your mind. Now, every movie in existence is based on said garbage literature. I think that sums up the state of modern popular cinema. With that said, I’m very optimistic that technology will allow the independent artist to rise up and save movies as we know it.
A. You can find information about all of our projects on our company websites (HERE and HERE).
Q. Thank you for this very inspiring interview, James. Here at the “Rome International Movie Awards” we look forward to seeing and appreciating your new film productions!
A. Thank you again for having me. It’s been an exceptional experience giving this interview and being a part of your wonderful film festival. We are honoured and humbled that you enjoyed our film.We are pleased to have entertained you and we can’t wait to come back.