As many of you know, Boston is turning into a hotspot of movie making. From financially and critically acclaimed movies to huge success stories like Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg, the Bay State is cranking out its share of pop culture phenomenon. This new series of articles will focus on the up and coming talent from New England who you might not know yet, but will soon in the future.
The first in this series is J.P. Ouellette (IMDB http://tinyurl.com/85n5sgp). If you’ve worked on a film in Massachusetts in the past 5 years, you’ve ran into J.P. on set. Although he is now living in California, J.P. is proud of his Boston roots, J.P., “I learned this work ethic in the film business in Boston. Although I am in Hollywood now, my heart is still back where I learned the trade. The film industry back home is the best! It's like a family, and it was a great place for me to learn the skills it takes to succeed in this unique business. Many great people took me under their wings, and I am so grateful for the lessons learned and the opportunities given.
“I was fortunate enough to become the assistant to writer/director Richard Kelly, when his film The Box shot in Boston. As an aspiring writer, this was the jumpstart to my creative career. Sitting in on casting sessions, creative meetings, and looking over his shoulder on set was a dream come true. His film Donnie Darko was the reason I went to film school, and there I was, working side by side with one of my favorite filmmakers. Another great experience was working as an on-set production assistant on director Ben Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone and The Town. As a filmmaker that grew up near Boston, this is the number one situation you want to be in! On set with an Oscar winning writer, who grew up only 10 miles from you. It is inspiring. At one point on Gone Baby Gone, I fell at the Quincy Quarry, breaking my elbow and hitting my head. After about a 20 second blackout I awoke to Ben looking down at me, making sure I was okay. That is the kind of guy he is. That is the kind of filmmakers that come out of Boston. I actually had to leave the production of The Town early to produce my first feature film, Sweet Lorraine, Staring Tatum O'Neal and Steven Bauer. It was hard to leave that set and Boston, but the risk has been worth it so far! And I’ve always been a believer in taking risks. You never know the outcome until you try, so I went and made a movie. I produced Sweet Lorraine alongside the Oscar Nominated producer Fred Zollo, and two other producers that got their start in Boston as well, John West and Michael Reilly.”
J.P.’s resume is already quite impressive and growing, J.P., “The list of films I have been involved in is extensive. My experiences in the last seven years have been a film-nerd’s dream. As an on-set PA, I have worked with Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and most recently Christopher Nolan on The Dark Knight Rises. Working on set, watching these masters work, is better than any graduate school. Learning on set is an important aspect to the filmmaking process, and I am proud to have started at the bottom and worked my way up to writer/producer. It was a long road to my ultimate goal, but the relationships you make while working 60+ hours a week are lasting ones. The people I learned from are now the people I work with on my own projects. It is very important to be surrounded by people I have "fought a war" with as I venture into battle myself. Trust, during the execution of “creative manual labor,” is the key to this business.”
Knowing J.P. and the actress in Captured, I’ve been looking forward to his latest film. About his new film, J.P., “My new film Captured just wrapped last week and has been in the works for a long time. Two years ago, producer Dylan Matlock (who is LA based, but we met while he was on a shoot in Boston) brought me this script by Joe Arias as a possible producing follow up to Sweet Lorraine. The story is a twist on the found-footage horror genre that documents a rock band as they shoot a music video. But the fun really starts when the band members get killed off one-by-one. My creative juices started flowing immediately after I read the script. Classic slasher films like Halloween and Friday the 13th, Part II are a couple of my favorite movies of all time. Instantly, Joe and I started tossing around ideas, and we got to work rewriting the script together. It was a longer than expected process. Between my PA & AD gigs, we would get together and write as much as we could. Everyone we knew read the script and gave their opinions. At some points we just wanted to scream. It is near impossible to write a great script that people love and want to invest their money into, but we did it... and it only took 13 (lucky) drafts.
“The 3 week shoot went off without a hitch. Our cast, lead by the soon to be Scream Queen, Brittany Curran, was amazing! The blend of creativity between Director Joe Arias and Cinematographer Jim Orr brought this film to the next level. The footage is mind blowing, just amazing. As we watch in the editing bay, it is great to see that each scene is perfect, the story is intriguing, and the gore will more than satisfy the avid horror fan. This is also the only independent film I have been involved with that already has buzz from distributors before we have finished the edit. It is a great feeling, and we hope to hear from even more distributors when the project is finished and is out to a few premier film festivals.”
And don’t expect J.P. to sit around waiting. He started his own production company and has some potential leads coming his way. J.P., “The future of my production company, Circa 1888, Inc., looks bright. Dylan Matlock and I have already raised a portion of the budget for our next film that begins production in early 2013. We have partnered with writer/producer Ryan Toyama for his horror film Do Not Watch. The plot is being kept under wraps, but it is a uniquely Hollywood based horror story that will leave you with goosebumps. It is one of the scariest scripts I have ever read, and it reminds me a lot of the Paranormal Activity franchise. We’re currently going out to directors and other production companies to complete the partnership it takes to get a great movie made.”
And the boy won‘t ever forget Boston, J.P., “Although my first few films have been filmed in NY and LA, it is my goal to bring a project of mine back home. There are many great people there that I want to work with again. I am proactively trying to make this dream a reality, and just optioned the rights to the Boston based autobiography "Hot Shots and Heavy Hits: Tales of an Undercover Drug Agent" by Paul E. Doyle.
“Doyle is a television series that follows an undercover DEA Agent though the infamous "Combat Zone" in 1970's Boston. There is interest from actor Kenny Wormald to play the lead role, and several A-List directors are reviewing the material before we bring it to premium cable outlets for pilot season. I hope to be shooting in January of 2013 since season one of the series takes place in the snow covered Hub we have all grown to love. So as I always do, against my mother’s wishes, I will be praying for snow.”
Some people think going on reality TV is the way to go, but J.P. shows hard work can pay off. He is one of many of us living the dream and I only expect more success to come his way. He recently joined Twitter so make sure you follow him below and “like” Captured’s Facebook page to learn more about the film.
Follow J.P. at www.Twitter.com/circa1888
and of course me at www.Twitter.com/Murraymaker