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21 Questions: Jack Messitt [Director]

Jack Messitt
Director/ Writer/Producer of
Midnight Movie: The Killer Cut

A longtime Director of Photography, Jack Messitt made his feature film directorial debut with Midnight Movie – the Best Feature Film at the Chicago Horror Film Festival.

Messitt’s screenplay Trust was produced by TF1 International. The thriller starring Jamie Luner recently debuted in the US on Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network and has aired on the numerous TF1 networks throughout international markets.

Jack has a library of completed original screenplays and recently finished the script Kaloyev, a drama for Bigfoot Entertainment based on the actual events surrounding the 2001 Uberlingen airline disaster. He also served as Story Consultant on Bigfoot’s feature film Irreversi, which filmed in Hong Kong and is in the final stages of post-production.

Jack’s visual flair and vast production experience comes from his background as a Director of Photography and Camera Operator. He has shot projects in Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Belgium, Canada, Philippines and throughout the United States, including the feature films Irreversi, Girl With No Number and The Curiosity of Chance. Jack was also the 2nd Unit Director on Irreversi and Girl With No Number.

His television work includes Fox’s Bones, Glee and American Idol, NBC’s The Event, Sons of Anarchy for FX, DirecTV’s CD-USA, Comedy Central’s Strip Mall and Oxygen Network’s Campus Ladies. Jack earned a B.A. in Journalism from Indiana University and a B.F.A. in Cinematography from The American Film Institute. Messitt is a former 1st Vice President of the Society of Camera Operators and editor of Camera Operator magazine.

-Tell us about your career and what you are currently working on or involved with?
I have been a cameraman for almost 20 years – I have worked mainly in TV on shows like Fox’s Bones, Glee, Sons of Anarchy and American Idol, NBC's The Event, Comedy Central’s Strip Mall, DirecTV’s live music show CD-USA and Oxygen Network’s Campus Ladies. My feature film credits include Irreversi (coming out this fall), Girl With No Number (also expected in the fall) and The Curiosity of Chance (out on DVD). Midnight Movie was my directing debut.

-Is this what you thought you would be doing with your life, what was your first passion?
Honestly, making movies was always my passion – but I first went to college as a pre-med major… It wasn’t a good fit and happily my passion won out.

-To whom do you credit your success to, who gives or gave you the most support?
Success in the entertainment industry is always a combination of factors: Luck, timing, relationships and perseverance. My career is no exception. Being at the right place at the right time with the right idea… I have a lot of people to thank for where my career has gone – too many to name here.

-If you could meet or work with [living or dead], who would that be and why?
Having been in the industry for a while now, I have actually been lucky enough to meet a lot of the people that were previously on this list: Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Luc Besson, Jim Cameron and others… So I’ll go with someone that is impossible to meet today: George M. Cohan – He was a Broadway song and dance man back in the 20s and 30. An amazing storyteller in his day!

-What would you like to be remembered for 100 years from now?
For being a good father…

-Who inspires you?
I try to pull inspiration from as many people as possible. The more you can get inspired, the better both your work and life will be.

-How are things different today, than the same day 1 year ago?
A year ago, I was sitting in a dark little room re-editing Midnight Movie.  Midnight Movie: The Killer Cut is finally out on DVD, so I am really excited to finally show off all the hard work from the past year.

-What is the last song you bought or listened to in your musical device?
The place I listen to music is in my car. My favorite station is XM Radio’s Cinemagic. It is nothing but film scores. A good film score can really spark the imagination, so I actually get some of my best ideas while driving.

-Last good film you had seen, and the best movie you would recommend to someone asking?

Limitless is on my recommended list. I didn’t think that it was a perfect movie, but it was extremely well directed. In lesser hands, this might have been a train-wreck. But I was very entertained.

-What is the single greatest moment in your life?
The birth of my son… It a cliché, I know, but it’s true.

-Favorite Horror Film?
The Shining… It sets such a great mood and has so many iconic images. Kubrick knew what he was doing!

-Favorite Book?
My favorite books are by Michael Connelly. He can definitely tell a story. He writes rich characters and put them in situations that keep the pages turning. I always buy his latest!

-Favorite Song?
This changes too often to answer.

-Favorite Film Character?
Rick Blaine from Casablanca. Bogart really had it going!

-Favorite Film Composer?
Because XM Radio’s Cinemagic is always on in my car, I listen to a lot of film music. It is tough to nail down a favorite. My top 5 would have to be:

Danny Elfman –For a big bold comic book score, there are few better (Batman, The Flash, Dick Tracy), but I love his quieter scores too. Edward Scissorhands is awesome!

Howard Shore – Lord of the Rings is a masterpiece. How can you compose Big and then that? That’s what I call range!

James Horner – Yes, there’s Titanic, but what about Apollo 13, The Perfect Storm, Glory, The Rocketeer – too many to name!

Jerry Goldsmith – Poltergeist, Rudy, Alien, Patton - Another one with far too many movies to list. I was lucky enough to sit in on a recording session for Star Trek: Nemesis. Listening to his amazing score with him conducting… A memory for a lifetime.

John Williams - He can write it big (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark) or small (Schindler’s List, Memoirs of a Geisha) – but it’s always the right music for the story.

-Favorite Thing In Your Home?
I have a huge photo of a white rowboat on a foggy lake… It’s inspiring to get lost in it.

-Favorite First Pet?
We had a family dog growing up, but my own first pet was a cockatiel named Snickers. He was a great friend, sitting on my shoulder while I did homework. But boy, was he a slob.

-Favorite Coffee Or Tea?
Coffee. Pete’s Major Dickenson’s Blend is a must every morning!

-Favorite Phrase?

-Favorite Hiding Place [Not that we are looking]?
The Griffith Park Observatory. It’s a great spot to get lost in a crowd and think.

-If you could tell someone something someone told you, "words to live by" what would that be?
John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles – “Go with the flow. Like a twig in a mighty stream.”

1 comment:

youngelfman said...

To use his favorite phrase - Cheers! to Jack Messitt for a magnificent director's edit with MIDNIGHT MOVIE The Killer Cut. The re-edit, new and extended scenes, and enhanced vfx are fantastic / The new intro is also tremendously effective & cool the way the painting is used.