A look into the lens of talented filmmaker Jen Matichuk
Please introduce yourself to the readers:
My name is Jen Matichuk. I graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies in May 2013. At Yale I focused on film production and screenwriting, culminating my college career with a feature-length screenplay. I also played on the Yale varsity women’s ice hockey team. Currently I am working at Rhett & Link, Inc., a production company focusing on original YouTube content in Los Angeles. I act as the Social Media Manager, curating content and acting as the online voice through video, photo, and text. I also work in various roles on the production team. Outside of my Rhett & Link commitments, I am also involved with numerous Los Angeles based productions - from set assisting on horror shorts to editing sports films to assistant directing and assistant camera for music videos.
When did you first get into film production?
During my second year of college, I was exposed to theater production through building sets. I moved into set design and then was eventually brought into the film world by helping with production design. I immediately realized that film was the place I needed to be, whether it was through a short, a feature, a music video, a commercial, anything. The process of making the film with everyone working together and then seeing the final product is perfect. I transitioned into videography and then into shooting my own shorts and music videos in college. I also edit and write when I can. My exposure to theater influenced my decision to pursue filmmaking as a career, so I will always have a soft spot for theater.
Who were your influences in this industry?
I love independent comedies and people who take a small amount of money and create something with a huge takeaway and emotional pull, all while having a sense of humor. Mark Duplass does an incredible job of this with his ‘mumblecore’ genre. Lena Dunham is also a big influence because right out of college she wrote, directed, and starred in an independent film, which is something I am working towards. Growing up and in college my influences have been Pedro Almodóvar, Darren Aronofsky, Quentin Tarantino, Scott Neustadter, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey, to name a few. It’s a very diverse list but if you look at each person’s body of work, they are all original and pushing the limits – whether it is through comedic performances, content, color, writing – anything. I appreciate the risks each of them take in their work.
What inspired you to get into this type of work?
I love that film can provide an escape to every day life. Growing up I constantly escaped to the world of Disney and as I grew older I realized how much storytelling had become part of my life. I gravitated to camera work in college because I believe the moving visual side of film is the most powerful and what makes it so unique and different from the other art and media forms. I love that I have the ability to tell a story and have an effect on someone’s life through the content and the way I portray the human condition. I’m excited to keep growing and learning from other professionals in the field and see just how far these stories can reach.
What kind of training have you done?
At Yale I studied under several names in the industry including Marc Lapadula, J.D. Connor, Ron Gregg, and Michael Roemer. All have been involved in prominent film productions from directing to writing. I took 3 years of screenwriting; Close Analysis of Film; Music, Multimedia Art and Technology; Language of FilmWorkshop; Contemporary Hollywood; Films of Alfred Hitchcock; Theory of Media; Intro to Film Studies; Digital Video. In Los Angeles I have worked under Rhett & Link, who have won numerous awards, including Webby, IAWTV, Streamy, and others. Most recently I have been working under Christopher Ripley on camera as he navigates the storytelling music video and film world.
What kind of projects are you working on right now?
Right now I am focusing on the current season of Good Mythical Morning with Rhett & Link. We’re on season five. I’m also focusing on developing innovative Social Media strategies for entertainment companies to best market individuals and projects.After/during that I am working on a Superhero webseries called Superfluous about a world filled with superheroes but focusing on the ones who don’t quite fit in. After that I have a photography project to expand into a short film, potentially shooting at the beginning of August.
What would be your ideal project to work on?
My ideal project is one of complete collaboration with all the artistic minds involved. I believe that my work only gets stronger with the input and advice from the brilliant minds that surround me. I learn something new every single day from the people I work with and I like to believe that I’m teaching them things as well. I like working closely with directors and also making sure the crew knows our artistic vision and feels as much of the process as the rest. I would love to eventually work on a big budget film to see what it is like. But, for now, I love small comedies and things that are heavily improvised.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with the up and coming female comedy writers& performers – Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Kate Mckinnon, Amy Schumer – any of them. The comedy scene would be so fun to become more involved in. I already love working with Rhett & Link because their comedy videos and music videos are so much fun, while still being high production value and professional. Any of those ladies would be incredible to work with.
What would your advice be to aspiring cinematographers?
My advice is to always keep creating and always have another project ready to start developing. Get to know other people who want to create cool things and make art and collaborate with them. I’ve learned that the more you work on projects with other people, the more you will learn and progress in your craft. I always jump at the chance to help a friend on his/her project because I know something is bound to happen that I haven’t dealt with before so I will need to come up with a new solution.