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Conversations with Jack Green

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jack Green.

Hi Jack, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I am a Marin County native, which is also where I grew up. Now, I’m in my third year at LMU, studying Film/TV Production, with an emphasis in Creative Marketing through the M School.

I get incredibly ok grades and love what I am studying. I have been making movies since I was ten years old when a childhood friend and I would make short skits and upload them to youtube. We got into a game of one-upping each other, learning to edit, shoot, act, and new techniques and effects. That sparked my love of film, and I have been hooked since.

In high school, I continued my interest in film through Redwood TV, our weekly update show. What started as a small club with four other students, I helped to cultivate into a full class of 32 students that I taught my senior year of high school.

Since then, I have taken an interest in documentary production. I am currently in the midst of shooting two docs! It is a lot to juggle at once, but I love the subject and the process, so the work doesn’t feel like, well, work.

I have been a music lover all my life. My dad, an ex-punk drummer and bouncer who now has a soft spot for puppies and sheep, raised me on The Ramones, Black Flag, and The Clash. He also introduced me to artists like A Tribe Called Quest, J Dilla, The Pharcyde, and Naughty by Nature. I wouldn’t have guessed at age five that playing around on Garage Band making beats would lead to a passion for music production, and yet, here we are!

I have been making music on my laptop for years, sampling other songs, recording instruments, using synthesizers, and even composing scores for my friends’ short films. My favorite tracks to make are hip hop beats, trap, and electronic music, but I’d like to think my range extends beyond those. I also love collaborating, and whenever I find someone who can play an interesting instrument, I always want to see how I can use it in a fresh way. Although I haven’t hit my “big break”, I still love creating music and it is one of my main creative outputs.

Making electronic music has also lead me to DJing, and through LMU, I have had the privilege of opening for some of my favorite electronic artists like Whethan and Troyboi. When the world was open, I played LMU nights at Sharkeez, as well as sets at various events and parties. Do I get teased for being a DJ? Yes. Are DJs a group that deserves teasing? Yes. Do I still love doing it? Yes!

Other than film and music, I try to exercise my creativity as much as I can. I love DIYing my clothes and embroidering them. I draw and paint, even though I am pretty bad at it. Recently, I bought 500 pokemon cards and covered a whole table in them. Digital design is always a go-to as well, and I am currently learning how to model and animate in 3D to bring my ideas to life! I think always having some kind of creative output keeps my brain active and inspires my work in film and music.

Going forward, I am hoping to find work in creative marketing, as I have loved learning how not just to create effective art but how to leverage strategy behind it to reach consumers. It feels like a big puzzle with a creative element. I would also love to make music full time, but that is easier said than done. Also, something tells me it would be more fun to make music on my own time than to have to do it for a job.

I am having a great time living in Westchester, where I spend most of my time making music, taking classes, shooting my documentaries, or hanging out with my girlfriend and her corgi.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
So far, getting to where I am has been fairly smooth. Everything I have chosen to pursue or create, such as my films, music, or marketing, I have done because it is something I am passionate about. I have found so far that when I love making something, that joy is reflected in the work and makes it stronger. I won’t pretend that the content I create is the best or even good for that matter, but I can say with confidence that each time I finish a project, it fills me with a hunger to create again, to learn more, and to get better at what I do.

My main obstacle in pursuing my passions has been my mental health. I have always struggled with depression, as it runs in my family. Frequently, my depression creates a huge barrier between myself and being able to create. When it gets bad, I lose motivation, feel an overwhelming sense of nihilism or apathy, and tell myself that I am not going anywhere and that my work is meaningless. This is an easy trap to fall into, as it is much easier for me to sit on my butt and watch YouTube than it is to force myself to push through and make something. I definitely suffer from imposter syndrome, and quite frankly, haven’t found a perfect way to work past it. As a teenager it was especially bad and stopped me from doing the things I love to do.

However, I have taught myself to create something every day, even if it is a new set of chords on the piano or a doodle on a sticky note. This has helped me mitigate my depression, and even though my mental health is still a daily battle, I have learned how to push past it and find great satisfaction in my art. I am learning to accept that I am not the next Picasso, Skrillex, or Spielberg and that I can still make good art that I love, even if I am not the best.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
It is hard to determine which of my projects I am most proud of. I love my remixes just as much as I love my films, which I love just as much as the mural I have painted on the wall in my backyard (sorry, landlord!).

I am probably best known for my music. I post most of the songs I finish on SoundCloud, where I can see comments and who has been listening to my music. I love seeing people take my songs and use them in their own DJ sets or for their YouTube and Twitch channels. The social media aspect of SoundCloud is great because I have found lots of other artists my age who I can collaborate with and learn from.

I would love to be known for my films, and hopefully people will enjoy my upcoming docs! I plan on submitting them to festivals, which will be my first time putting something I’ve directed on the circuit. Keep an eye out for my name!

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
The most important thing I have learned is that you do not have to be the best to make good work. I used to compare myself to all of my favorite artists, which left me feeling inadequate and sucked out my motivation. I thought that because I wasn’t already famous for my work, there was no reason to keep creating. However, when I found satisfaction in the process of creating art, not just seeing the end result, it clicked for me that I can still be a creative without being the most popular one. Even if I am going to be the only one who sees something I make, or even if I don’t finish a piece, I can still feel fulfillment and excitement for having created something.

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Image Credits:

My girlfriend, Fran, and my friends Oddu and Cezanne took these pics.

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