Meet Cameron Thrower + See the Winning Jameson First Shot Shorts
by Alex Billington
August 16, 2016
Take a look at the three winning short films from this year's Jameson First Shot international short film competition supported by Jameson Irish Whiskey, Kevin Spacey and Trigger Street Productions. This is the fifth year of the Jameson First Shot contest, and three filmmakers were chosen from around the world to make short films starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and produced by Trigger Street. A few weeks back we wrote about the winners and who they were, now we finally get to see the short films they made. These were first premiered at an event in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, now they can be seen online in full. In addition, we had the chance to ask one of them, Cameron Thrower, a few questions about breaking into the industry.
The three First Shot winners for 2016 are: Cameron Thrower (from the US), Kat Wood (from the UK), and Jason Perini (from Australia). After submitting their original scripts (no more than 7 pages in length), these three filmmakers were given a chance to actually produce and film their short films - which you can now watch. Each one is different, and each one has something to say. It's always refreshing and exciting to see young filmmakers given the chance to actually make something, to get dirty, to gain some experience, and dive right in. To challenge themselves to prove they have it in them to tell stories. From here, the sky's the limit. It's great that Jameson continues to offer this opportunity to people year after year. Cheers to them.
Winners of the Jameson First Shot contest had to submit a script or screenplay of at least 5 pages but no more than 7 pages in length. Other specifics for entries were: "The script should include a key role that is appropriate for Maggie Gyllenhaal to perform and a maximum of 7 cast. The script should not include any character who is under the age of 25. Final films must be approximately 5 minutes in duration. Your story should be around the great and/or unexpected things that can happen when you fear less and invite life in." If you want to enter next year, bookmark the website: jamesonfirstshot.com. Below you can watch this year's three unique short films starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, made by three talented up-and-coming filmmakers.
Here's the Jameson First Shot winning short film Beauty Mark, directed by Cameron Thrower:
Here's the Jameson First Shot winning short film Home, directed by Kat Wood:
Here's the Jameson First Shot winning short film The New Empress, directed by Jason Perini:
The key theme for this year's Jameson First Shot competition is "Sine Metu", which means "Without Fear". It's a call to be brave, to live courageously, to take leaps and achieve whatever you can, to live freely. The winner from the US, Cameron Thrower, grew up in the town of Summerville, South Carolina and was introduced to the theatre, acting, and directing at the age of 9 by his small community theatre. In 2002, he went to work for the AmeriCorps stationed in San Jose and it's there where he realized he needed to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in filmmaking and storytelling. Cameron made a giant leap to becoming a filmmaker by relocating to Los Angeles, something that takes great courage, and hopefully his choices (and those of the other winners) will inspire others to live without fear as well. A brief interview with Cameron:
When did you know you wanted to be a filmmaker? What makes you feel confident in your storytelling abilities?
Cameron: I wanted to go into filmmaking before I even knew what a filmmaker did. I would always use my dad's old VHS camcorder to make little short films with my sister and brother when I was about 9 years old. I later found out you could make this into a career. During film school in South Carolina, I wanted to be on a film set so bad to see what it was like. So I got cast as a featured extra in this little film called The Notebook. Later on it would become the biggest blockbuster of the summer in 2004. I was in the carnival scene sitting on the Ferris wheel for three days straight. Being there, and watching Nick Cassavetes direct Ryan Gosling & Rachel McAdams up close, I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. You could tell all three of them did their homework and the prep work spoke for itself. One day I hope to either work with Ryan or Rachel so I can tell them they were one of my biggest influences to become a film director.
Being confident in my storytelling abilities comes down to the people I surround myself with. Your cast and crew are also storytellers and they have the ability to make yours better. Over the years you start to develop a style through mistakes and trails. I think that's where a little of the confidence stems from, not being afraid to let things on set happen organically.
What other filmmakers have inspired you the most?
Cameron: I'm inspired by so many filmmakers. One of my favorites would have to John Hughes. The stories he tells are his stories, you can tell there is a little piece of him in every single movie he has made. The comedy, the drama, the insecurities. Also after almost 30 years, his films are still relevant and people can't help but watch them when they are on TV. A couple of other favorites are Spike Jonze, Robert Zemeckis, & Nicolas Winding Refn.
How much have you learned from the Jameson First Shot experience?
Cameron: Where do I begin?!? I've learned so much in these past 4 months. I think the biggest thing I've learned is to listen to that little voice inside you telling you to move forward and "You can do this!". I showed up to shoot my Jameson First Shot film and was surrounded by about 45 people needing their question answered very fast. When directing my other films, the crew was about 1/2 that size. So the biggest thing I've learned about myself is that I can work with the smallest & the biggest crews.
What were the biggest takeaways from working on your short, Beauty Mark, with First Shot?
Cameron: There are so many things and so many amazing emotions I went through; from actually winning Jameson First Shot on Hollywood Blvd., working with Maggie, to collaborating with Trigger Street and the entire cast and crew. I think the biggest takeaway is the finished film, Beauty Mark. I literally couldn't be prouder of the film. It's exactly the movie I wanted to make, and Jameson First Shot allowed that. The film itself, I hope, inspires people to chase their dream, be comfortable in your own skin, and go out into the world, kick some ass and take no names!
What kind of films do you want to be making and what steps are you taking to get there?
Cameron: The films I want to make are the ones that are character driven, inspiring, and connects to all types of audiences. These are the films I've been telling in short form over the past 10 years. As of now, I'm developing/writing a feature film that will be made in the next couple years. I'm very excited about that!!!
What other advice or suggestions do you have for other filmmakers looking to break in?
Cameron: For me, it's not about making tons of money, it's about learning to make a living telling stories that can inspire others. I've met so many people out in Los Angeles that are all about making money first, when they should be about the characters, story, and developing their craft. I think that's why so many people have given up on this industry because you can go broke real quick. I've been there… so many times and I plan on being there again. As long as I feel I've gotten that movie out of my system and it's reached an audience and impacted just one person, I can go to bed and wake up wanting to do it all over again.
So my biggest advice is to follow your own path and don't give up half way through. Some people go to film school, some work on movie sets, and some work in restaurants living off tips making short films. As long as you have that passion for filmmaking for the right reasons, then you are sure to succeed at one point or another. We all have stories within us waiting to be told and we all express them differently; through dance, painting, filmmaking, writing, or singing. I just happen to have a 1000 movies within me, and if I don't get some of them out, I will go crazy. My last piece of advice is enter the Jameson First Shot contest! You have nothing to lose except an opportunity of a life time!
This is a sponsored post in partnership with the Jameson First Shot contest. For more, visit their website.
Very cool. I think the concept of a central actor in different visions is neat.
DAVIDPD on Aug 16, 2016
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