Sean Jordan: Former local wins an Emmy
Corbett Jones was among those honored at the 69th Los Angeles area Emmy Awards in July for his work as a producer on the project “Third L.A.”
Jones is an accomplished director, producer, and filmmaker, working with the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Chevy, and on a project with Sir Paul McCartney.
He’s also from Nevada County.
Jones spent the first five to six years of his life in the Grass Valley area. His father picked up an overseas job doing international administration for schools, which led Jones to go to school in Mexico, Israel and Poland until high school, when his family landed in San Francisco.
His interest in film was sparked in the seventh grade but the fire burned brighter in his sophomore year of high school. He spurred college, noting greats like Spielberg went without.
“Most parents want their kids to be doctors or lawyers, but mine were very supportive of my film career choice,” said Jones.
Not listening to naysayers online, Jones attended Emerson College in Boston. While learning theories and the analytical side of film he also helped the older students with projects, which gave him hands on experience.
After finishing college in three years, Jones completed an internship in L.A. with a commercial production company. That’s when he learned everything he had been told about a film career was a lie. Jobs were not limited.
He found multiple avenues in the film industry that no one seemed to talk about in school. From location scouting to being a camera assistant, he saw all the possibilities.
Living in L.A. he started working with the more hands-on and technical aspects, like camera assisting, which led to making music videos with friends.
“Music videos is kind of where you start in L.A. it seems, because there is no money in them,” Jones said with a laugh. “There is less risk involved and people will say ‘Hey here’s $5,000. Go see if you can make us a viral video,’ and every once in awhile it clicks.”
Having some success with music videos, Jones and his wife, who worked together in college, created their own production company in 2013 called “The Range.” The two have also been signed as a directing duo for a commercial production company.
“Third L.A.” is the film documentary Jones produced that won him the Emmy.
“Winning an Emmy was surreal. It’s reassuring as a filmmaker as it acknowledges your effort to tell a story,” he said.
The film is about architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne’s concept of the three stages L.A. has gone through over the years.
Hawthorne describes the process and evolutionary changes the city has gone through since the inception of L.A.
From the early pioneer days of people moving West, to the rapid expansion of the city, and where the city is headed into the future, “Third L.A.” gives viewers insight to the evolution of the city.
The project was done through local network KCET, formerly an affiliate of PBS, and took three weeks to complete.
Jones was the on-the-ground producer and his friend who started the project, Stephen Pagano, directed the film.
Jones was living in Austin, Texas, when the project started. He found out the budget was tight and decided to cut down costs and live in a tent in the front yard at his friend’s house in L.A. for two weeks.
“I got the best sleep I ever had sleeping in that front yard,” said Jones with a chuckle. “It was surprisingly peaceful.”
After winning the Emmy, Jones has been across the country showing his new film, “All We Need Is Another Chance,” at film festivals. The film premiered at the Montclair Film Festival in New Jersey in April and will continue on the Film Festival tour to Newark and Cleveland through September.
“All We Need Is Another Chance” is the story of the inmate soul singing group, The Escorts. They released two albums in the 70s’ while the members were incarcerated. The film offers more than just the music, it follows the men involved, and the correctional system.
Jones is quite proud of this documentary as he has been working on it since 2012.
Jones says that 80 percent of the work he does is in the documentary genre, even in his commercials.
“My friends and I have latched onto a term, “Cinematic Non-Fiction,” and we all strive to make films and commercials true to that,” said Jones. “I remember being a fifth grader and having to watch these really boring, slow moving, still frame picture documentaries. We want to stray away from that and tell really compelling true stories.”
Jones hopes that through his work he inspires others to follow their dreams and pursue what makes them happy.
“I want people to know, especially kids who are interested in film, that there are so many ways that you can get into the film industry. Don’t let the negativity out there deter you. With hard work and determination, you never know what will happen.”
Features Editor Sean Jordan can be reached at 530-477-4219 and email@example.com
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