From Lawyer To Full-Time Filmmaker: Brent Jaimes

His favorite part of filmmaking, however, is the editing process.

 

A surprising number of my most vivid childhood memories involve movies. At age seven, there was Six Pack, which I watched over and over during my parents’ dinner parties; at age ten, my grandfather and I couldn’t stop laughing at Tim Curry’s silly antics during Clue; then, the following year, I was blown away by Stand by Me, which I saw with my sister over Labor Day, the same weekend the film’s events take place.

Although my cinematic tastes may have changed, I still love movies as much as ever and, like many film enthusiasts, have always secretly dreamed of creating my own masterpiece. It can’t be that hard, I think, envisioning which glamorous outfit I’ll wear on the night I gracefully accept my first Academy Award…

Time for a reality check. For me, that was a real-life conversation with local filmmaker Brent Jaimes, who set me straight about a number of things, especially the not-so-glamorous aspects of filmmaking. He described it as a “tough business,” and said that once most people realize how difficult it really is, they never try again. In terms of offering advice for aspiring filmmakers, he simply said, “It’s just hard to find work and keep working. And it’s like anything else: if you don’t do it, it’s hard to stay sharp.”

But before all you wanna-be directors out there get discouraged, it is important to remember that Jaimes himself ignored his own advice when, in 1998, he traded in his labor law practice for a full-time filmmaking career. “I’d always been interested in film and video,” he said, “and I thought [making documentaries] might be a better way to reach more people.”

Since the creation of Storyville Pictures, LLC six years ago, Jaimes has made a diverse range of films, many of them focusing on social issues—such as “Smith Hardware,” about the decline of a beloved family-run business, and “Truancy Court,” which explores the St. Louis public school district’s attendance problems.

He also recently completed “More Than a Game,” a documentary about the U.S. soccer team’s glorious upset over England in 1950. Unlike the feature film The Game of Their Lives, which dramatizes the same story, “More Than a Game,” is a firsthand retelling that relies on a series of interviews with five of the original players—three of whom grew up on the Hill in St. Louis. “It was an interesting story,” Jaimes said. “It was one that hadn’t gotten a lot of exposure; it was really centered around St. Louis, and it was fun to look into.”

Jaimes was also confident he could find a way to fund the project—his greatest challenge as a filmmaker. In the case of “More Than a Game,” he received a grant last summer from the University City–based Committee for Access and Local Origination Programming (CALOP), an organization that helps to fund documentaries with a regional perspective. Jaimes also contacted Crusader Entertainment about including his documentary with the DVD version of the feature film; Crusader has expressed interest in the project and requested to see a final version of the movie. The film will screen in St. Louis on July 14 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the 4th Annual St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase at the Tivoli.

“Kick”—which Jaimes described as one of his most experimental movies—will also be shown at the upcoming showcase. At the beginning, the audience sees outside the film as the documentary team sets up, and continues to watch as the movie is filmed. “It’s basically interviews with three people in various stages of addiction, recovery, relapse, and it’s talking about their own little personal stories,” he said.

Jaimes is most animated when talking about the specifics of his movies. In terms of “Kick,” Jaimes said he read a first-hand account of abuse, recovery, relapse, and ultimate recovery in The Riverfront Times years ago. “I thought his story was really interesting, and I knew some people who lived parts of that story,” he said.

“Rodeo Junkies,” another one of Jaimes’ films, looks at the life of the modern rodeo cowboy. “I don’t really know what sparked that, but it just seemed like it would be interesting to follow these guys for part of a season. And it was. It was a lot of fun. These guys live a real different life than most people.”
What’s challenging, of course, is when interviews don’t quite go as planned. For example, while making “Truancy Court,” Jaimes had a hard time tracking down the kids, mostly because their families were so dysfunctional. “It was hard to get them to a particular spot and be able to interview them, and then they really didn’t want to talk a lot about how bad they were doing in school or how bad their family life was,” he said.

His favorite part of filmmaking, however, is the editing process. “With documentaries,” he said, “that’s really where you put the story together, more so than with a narrative film, where you have a script to follow, and you know what’s supposed to come next.” He also said that, in editing, you may find the real story is a lot different than what you originally started out to tell.

Jaimes’ other advice for new filmmakers is simply preparation and planning. “There’s a real tendency to go, ‘Well, I know I could ask people who know what they’re doing, but they might tell me stuff that would make me go back three or four steps in the process and redo some things, and I’d rather just make the film,’” he said. In his experience, people sometimes think it’s easier to make a bad film than it is to go back and rewrite the script or reorganize the shooting, the scheduling, and the planning—and that never works. Jaimes said a movie will never be better than the script, and in the documentary world, a movie will never be better than the program description: what you’ve planned to do and who you plan to interview.

Some of his own influences include Michael Apted (creator of the 7 Up series), D.A. Pennebaker (Don’t Look Back and Startup.com), and Barbara Koppel, whom he admires for her nice mix of documentary and dramatic work. In the future, Jaimes simply plans to keep on doing his own good work and hopes to have it seen by more and more people. It might not be “glamorous,” but his career so far sure sounds pretty impressive to me.

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From Lawyer To Full-Time Filmmaker: Brent Jaimes

A surprising number of my most vivid childhood memories involve movies. At age seven, there was Six Pack, which I watched over and over during my parents’ dinner parties; at age ten, my grandfather and I couldn’t stop laughing at Tim Curry’s silly antics during Clue; then, the following year, I was blown away by Stand by Me, which I saw with my sister over Labor Day, the same weekend the film’s events take place.

Although my cinematic tastes may have changed, I still love movies as much as ever and, like many film enthusiasts, have always secretly dreamed of creating my own masterpiece. It can’t be that hard, I think, envisioning which glamorous outfit I’ll wear on the night I gracefully accept my first Academy Award…

Time for a reality check. For me, that was a real-life conversation with local filmmaker Brent Jaimes, who set me straight about a number of things, especially the not-so-glamorous aspects of filmmaking. He described it as a “tough business,” and said that once most people realize how difficult it really is, they never try again. In terms of offering advice for aspiring filmmakers, he simply said, “It’s just hard to find work and keep working. And it’s like anything else: if you don’t do it, it’s hard to stay sharp.”

But before all you wanna-be directors out there get discouraged, it is important to remember that Jaimes himself ignored his own advice when, in 1998, he traded in his labor law practice for a full-time filmmaking career. “I’d always been interested in film and video,” he said, “and I thought [making documentaries] might be a better way to reach more people.”

Since the creation of Storyville Pictures, LLC six years ago, Jaimes has made a diverse range of films, many of them focusing on social issues—such as “Smith Hardware,” about the decline of a beloved family-run business, and “Truancy Court,” which explores the St. Louis public school district’s attendance problems.

He also recently completed “More Than a Game,” a documentary about the U.S. soccer team’s glorious upset over England in 1950. Unlike the feature film The Game of Their Lives, which dramatizes the same story, “More Than a Game,” is a firsthand retelling that relies on a series of interviews with five of the original players—three of whom grew up on the Hill in St. Louis. “It was an interesting story,” Jaimes said. “It was one that hadn’t gotten a lot of exposure; it was really centered around St. Louis, and it was fun to look into.”

Jaimes was also confident he could find a way to fund the project—his greatest challenge as a filmmaker. In the case of “More Than a Game,” he received a grant last summer from the University City–based Committee for Access and Local Origination Programming (CALOP), an organization that helps to fund documentaries with a regional perspective. Jaimes also contacted Crusader Entertainment about including his documentary with the DVD version of the feature film; Crusader has expressed interest in the project and requested to see a final version of the movie. The film will screen in St. Louis on July 14 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the 4th Annual St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase at the Tivoli.

“Kick”—which Jaimes described as one of his most experimental movies—will also be shown at the upcoming showcase. At the beginning, the audience sees outside the film as the documentary team sets up, and continues to watch as the movie is filmed. “It’s basically interviews with three people in various stages of addiction, recovery, relapse, and it’s talking about their own little personal stories,” he said.

Jaimes is most animated when talking about the specifics of his movies. In terms of “Kick,” Jaimes said he read a first-hand account of abuse, recovery, relapse, and ultimate recovery in The Riverfront Times years ago. “I thought his story was really interesting, and I knew some people who lived parts of that story,” he said.

“Rodeo Junkies,” another one of Jaimes’ films, looks at the life of the modern rodeo cowboy. “I don’t really know what sparked that, but it just seemed like it would be interesting to follow these guys for part of a season. And it was. It was a lot of fun. These guys live a real different life than most people.”
What’s challenging, of course, is when interviews don’t quite go as planned. For example, while making “Truancy Court,” Jaimes had a hard time tracking down the kids, mostly because their families were so dysfunctional. “It was hard to get them to a particular spot and be able to interview them, and then they really didn’t want to talk a lot about how bad they were doing in school or how bad their family life was,” he said.

His favorite part of filmmaking, however, is the editing process. “With documentaries,” he said, “that’s really where you put the story together, more so than with a narrative film, where you have a script to follow, and you know what’s supposed to come next.” He also said that, in editing, you may find the real story is a lot different than what you originally started out to tell.

Jaimes’ other advice for new filmmakers is simply preparation and planning. “There’s a real tendency to go, ‘Well, I know I could ask people who know what they’re doing, but they might tell me stuff that would make me go back three or four steps in the process and redo some things, and I’d rather just make the film,’” he said. In his experience, people sometimes think it’s easier to make a bad film than it is to go back and rewrite the script or reorganize the shooting, the scheduling, and the planning—and that never works. Jaimes said a movie will never be better than the script, and in the documentary world, a movie will never be better than the program description: what you’ve planned to do and who you plan to interview.

Some of his own influences include Michael Apted (creator of the 7 Up series), D.A. Pennebaker (Don’t Look Back and Startup.com), and Barbara Koppel, whom he admires for her nice mix of documentary and dramatic work. In the future, Jaimes simply plans to keep on doing his own good work and hopes to have it seen by more and more people. It might not be “glamorous,” but his career so far sure sounds pretty impressive to me.

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Leave a Reply

From Lawyer To Full-Time Filmmaker: Brent Jaimes

A surprising number of my most vivid childhood memories involve movies. At age seven, there was Six Pack, which I watched over and over during my parents’ dinner parties; at age ten, my grandfather and I couldn’t stop laughing at Tim Curry’s silly antics during Clue; then, the following year, I was blown away by Stand by Me, which I saw with my sister over Labor Day, the same weekend the film’s events take place.

Although my cinematic tastes may have changed, I still love movies as much as ever and, like many film enthusiasts, have always secretly dreamed of creating my own masterpiece. It can’t be that hard, I think, envisioning which glamorous outfit I’ll wear on the night I gracefully accept my first Academy Award…

Time for a reality check. For me, that was a real-life conversation with local filmmaker Brent Jaimes, who set me straight about a number of things, especially the not-so-glamorous aspects of filmmaking. He described it as a “tough business,” and said that once most people realize how difficult it really is, they never try again. In terms of offering advice for aspiring filmmakers, he simply said, “It’s just hard to find work and keep working. And it’s like anything else: if you don’t do it, it’s hard to stay sharp.”

But before all you wanna-be directors out there get discouraged, it is important to remember that Jaimes himself ignored his own advice when, in 1998, he traded in his labor law practice for a full-time filmmaking career. “I’d always been interested in film and video,” he said, “and I thought [making documentaries] might be a better way to reach more people.”

Since the creation of Storyville Pictures, LLC six years ago, Jaimes has made a diverse range of films, many of them focusing on social issues—such as “Smith Hardware,” about the decline of a beloved family-run business, and “Truancy Court,” which explores the St. Louis public school district’s attendance problems.

He also recently completed “More Than a Game,” a documentary about the U.S. soccer team’s glorious upset over England in 1950. Unlike the feature film The Game of Their Lives, which dramatizes the same story, “More Than a Game,” is a firsthand retelling that relies on a series of interviews with five of the original players—three of whom grew up on the Hill in St. Louis. “It was an interesting story,” Jaimes said. “It was one that hadn’t gotten a lot of exposure; it was really centered around St. Louis, and it was fun to look into.”

Jaimes was also confident he could find a way to fund the project—his greatest challenge as a filmmaker. In the case of “More Than a Game,” he received a grant last summer from the University City–based Committee for Access and Local Origination Programming (CALOP), an organization that helps to fund documentaries with a regional perspective. Jaimes also contacted Crusader Entertainment about including his documentary with the DVD version of the feature film; Crusader has expressed interest in the project and requested to see a final version of the movie. The film will screen in St. Louis on July 14 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the 4th Annual St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase at the Tivoli.

“Kick”—which Jaimes described as one of his most experimental movies—will also be shown at the upcoming showcase. At the beginning, the audience sees outside the film as the documentary team sets up, and continues to watch as the movie is filmed. “It’s basically interviews with three people in various stages of addiction, recovery, relapse, and it’s talking about their own little personal stories,” he said.

Jaimes is most animated when talking about the specifics of his movies. In terms of “Kick,” Jaimes said he read a first-hand account of abuse, recovery, relapse, and ultimate recovery in The Riverfront Times years ago. “I thought his story was really interesting, and I knew some people who lived parts of that story,” he said.

“Rodeo Junkies,” another one of Jaimes’ films, looks at the life of the modern rodeo cowboy. “I don’t really know what sparked that, but it just seemed like it would be interesting to follow these guys for part of a season. And it was. It was a lot of fun. These guys live a real different life than most people.”
What’s challenging, of course, is when interviews don’t quite go as planned. For example, while making “Truancy Court,” Jaimes had a hard time tracking down the kids, mostly because their families were so dysfunctional. “It was hard to get them to a particular spot and be able to interview them, and then they really didn’t want to talk a lot about how bad they were doing in school or how bad their family life was,” he said.

His favorite part of filmmaking, however, is the editing process. “With documentaries,” he said, “that’s really where you put the story together, more so than with a narrative film, where you have a script to follow, and you know what’s supposed to come next.” He also said that, in editing, you may find the real story is a lot different than what you originally started out to tell.

Jaimes’ other advice for new filmmakers is simply preparation and planning. “There’s a real tendency to go, ‘Well, I know I could ask people who know what they’re doing, but they might tell me stuff that would make me go back three or four steps in the process and redo some things, and I’d rather just make the film,’” he said. In his experience, people sometimes think it’s easier to make a bad film than it is to go back and rewrite the script or reorganize the shooting, the scheduling, and the planning—and that never works. Jaimes said a movie will never be better than the script, and in the documentary world, a movie will never be better than the program description: what you’ve planned to do and who you plan to interview.

Some of his own influences include Michael Apted (creator of the 7 Up series), D.A. Pennebaker (Don’t Look Back and Startup.com), and Barbara Koppel, whom he admires for her nice mix of documentary and dramatic work. In the future, Jaimes simply plans to keep on doing his own good work and hopes to have it seen by more and more people. It might not be “glamorous,” but his career so far sure sounds pretty impressive to me.

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