Shooting a movie out of St. Louis about a local legend using an iPhone. Now that might sound like a high school project for some, but when you add in to the mix a passionate young man who dreams, breathes, lives and swears by movie production, you get a kickass movie concept and trailer that makes a buzz on Horror Society’s website!
We had the chance to interview Jeff Thompson about his work, background and plans for the future, and the result is a delightful insight on the mind of an hustling entrepreneur!
Who is Jeff in his own words?
A man simply doing things he loves. Jeff has passion, ambition, and a crazy work ethic. I have lived in 6 countries, visited over 25 others, and lived in 20 plus homes. My entire life, personal and professional, has been an entrepreneurial journey of adventure: constant discovery, learning, and adaptation. I am working on raising seed funding for a video game start up and a feature horror film.
Did you always feel inclined to become an entrepreneur?
I never really could fathom working a 9-5 my whole life and taking orders from someone else. I always loved taking a chance and exploring the unknown with the dream of being able to live how I wanted to live on my own terms instead of what society deemed acceptable.
How did the idea of launching yourself into movie/game production come about?
As a kid I always loved games/films, I consider myself to be a game/film buff. Then I began to study and read anything game/film theory related, from there I learned the technicality of it. Then I began making little short films with friends. That was my “film school”, it gave me confidence on the way and I learned so much with trial by fire. I applied much of the same process to games and I am teaching myself the programming languages on some specific game engines. Right now, I design the games, but programming them is the next step.
How was the process? Difficulties faced and successes achieved along the way?
The process was difficult because it requires much patience. When you try to get people behind you that are in your social group, but yet they do not understand the process of what you are trying to do, that can be frustrating. When I say, “Social group.” I am speaking of family, friends, girlfriend, etc. It took me some time to learn this but, patience is truly a virtue. I have learned to make patience and persistence my ally.
How do you see your work develop over the medium and long term?
My work has truly grown, when I first started out I was truly winging it and did not know the process of things or specific terminologies. But by reading books, contacting respective gamers/filmmakers and seeking advice, that changed. Now I am confident enough to go out and do my first feature film. We shot a concept trailer on an iPhone and became the NUMBER 1 TRAILER 4 days in a row on the HORROR SOCIETY website. This is with NO marketing, not a full crew or cast. I am even more motivated to see what we can do with a full cast, crew, marketing, and budget behind us. Our first game has done good and got noticed by a guy working on the star wars movie. We were pleasantly surprised when he offered his services and joined our team recently. His name is Jonathan Caustrita.
What advice do you have to fellow entrepreneurs?
First thing is never stop learning, ambition is a tunnel that NEVER ends. Your passion is what keeps you up late, scheduling meetings, going to conferences, sending emails, networking, setting up Skype calls, messaging leaders in their respective fields on Facebook or twitter. Build a solid team and get them to believe in the vision; for years that was tough for me to acquire a good team. Motivate them, treat them with respect and it will show with your MVP coming out amazing in the process.