Many of us have reached that point in our lives: the moment where we are so fed up with not doing what we want, that we have to break free and make things happen for ourselves. In the film industry, this often means leaving the security of a traditional (maybe unfulfilling) job in the pursuit of a less tangible, volatile career in movies.
No matter what you do for a living, it’s difficult not be inspired by individuals who take such risks. Jacob Sullivan is one of these brave souls. Leaving behind the retail world, he is now the founder of Main Attraction Pictures, which is just wrapping up their first short: “They Call Me Sunshine.” Sullivan wrote and produced the film, and is ready to tackle more filmic challenges to come.
Read on for the interview with Sullivan, as he reveals what inspired him to make the valiant jump into the uncertain world of filmmaking.
The Blood Sprayer (TBS): What’s your story? How did you get involved in filmmaking?
Jacob Sullivan (JS): I had been working a lot of different jobs in retail and I was a manager of a furniture store. I was never really happy and always had a film career on my mind, but never completely went for it. Then, in 2004 I got very ill and was unable to work. Writing and film was my passion. I looked at the time not working as a chance to finally start writing more. I wrote a screenplay and proved to myself that I could really do what I always wanted to. I just kept writing more and more, shorts and features. I completely fell in love with screenwriting, filmmaking — the entire process, and the business itself.
(TBS): Describe the process of making your first film/home movie.
(JS): Me and a friend of mine came up with an idea and wrote a short. We didn’t have a lot of equipment and just shot it on a little Sony handheld. It wasn’t the greatest. We made our own blood and did the effects ourselves. We actually used bubble gum for our slices and dices, but we had a blast doing it and it was a lot of fun.
(TBS): What made you decide to form Main Attraction Pictures?
(JS): This question is very near and dear to my heart. My dad was diagnosed with cancer and I decided to move in with him to give him 24-hour care. He was a retired teacher and had a passion for filmmaking. He also taught film classes when he was still teaching. I was writing more than ever while staying with my dad. I was really trying everything to get one of my screenplays produced. I had some interest, but nothing ever came through. I talked with my dad about everything that was going on and the words he said shook me to the core and stuck with me. He said to stop waiting around and hoping someone else makes one of your movies. He felt very strongly and continued, saying to go out there and do it yourself. Go for it. Put yourself on the line and make your dream a reality. You hold your destiny in your own hands.
He passed away in May of 2010 and when I was ready, his words stuck with me and I formed Main Attraction Pictures. After I did that, things started happening very quickly and within months we started filming “They Call Me Sunshine.” I truly feel my dad was blessing me from heaven. The film is also dedicated to him. The support of my mom was also a tremendous impact on me when I started to have the slightest doubt about myself being able to do this. I took control of my life and went after my dream and it became a reality.
(TBS): Tell me about your short film, “They Call Me Sunshine”? Where did the inspiration come from?
(JS): Our first film, “They Call Me Sunshine,” is a very different and original film. It’s a suspense/thriller with a twist of the supernatural. It really will mess with your mind and it never lets up, from the very first second until the credits roll. The inspiration came from exploring the innocence of a child and how easily that innocence can be lost. That’s something I know about personally. I also wanted something that would keep people guessing throughout the entire film, which I really feel we accomplished.
(TBS): What was it like to have Daniel D. Smith visualize your words?
(JS): I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have Daniel direct this film. Besides being an amazing filmmaker, he is also an amazing human being who took a shot on me and we ended up with an amazing film. He was also very generous on set, letting me learn as much as possible from him. People ask me if I went to film school and I say, “No, I went to films.” On the set of “They Call Me Sunshine,” I felt that was my schooling because I learned so much. I really can’t say enough about how great Daniel D. Smith, Nicole Truett, and Poison Apple Entertainment are. It was the greatest working environment I could ever ask for.
(TBS): Do you have any amusing stories from the writing process or production?
(JS): When it came to the writing process, I just basically locked myself in a room and wrote it after having this premise on my mind that just would not leave. I thought it would be an excellent short. On set, our lead actress Gail Hodson had a very funny blooper that made a 25 person crew erupt in laughter. I think it was a great ice breaker for everyone and we became more comfortable. You will be able to see the blooper on the DVD.
(TBS): How closely have you been involved in the post-production process?
(JS): Poison Apple Entertainment are just the greatest group of people and some of the most talented around. I have been very closely involved in just about every aspect of post. Daniel always runs things by me and we tend to be on the same brain wave for this film. I have total trust in everyone and we all seem to be going in the same direction.
(TBS): What are your plans for the future of Main Attraction Pictures?
(JS): After “They Call Me Sunshine,” we are doing another short titled, “Through The Light” with Gail Hodson attached to star. It is a very dark drama that explores loss, pain, abuse, and one woman’s journey battling personal demons and trying to get out of the darkness she now lives in. We really wanna’ move into doing features after one more short. I definitely don’t want Main Attraction Pictures to get labeled as a company that is stuck into one type of genre.
We want to bring completely original and different films, unlike anything else out there. Main Attraction Pictures will have films for everyone and will keep people guessing and never knowing what to expect, while keeping our fans and audiences entertained for years to come. We have no plans of slowing down and wanna’ make one film after another. We just wanna’ give people something never seen before that will make them laugh, cry, think, and scare the hell out of them. Main Attraction Pictures just keeps growing and growing and I personally will never let up. I continue to work myself to death to bring audiences amazing moviegoer experiences. I have been blessed to actually be living my dreams and finally fulfilled my destiny.
Check out the teaser trailer for “They Call Me Sunshine” below!