Jared Cohn is a triple threat in the film industry born in New York City and has since spread his talents across the country. The writer/director/actor earned a B.F.A. degree in communications from New York Institute of Technology and has been creating films in the thriller/horror genre for over 10 years with such films titles attached to his name like: “Hold Your Breath,” “Little Dead Rotting Hood,””12/12/12,” “Jailbait,” and more.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Cohn and he discussed getting into the film industry, his experience directing his first film, the harsh realities of the industry, and more.
Like a true renaissance man, Cohn learned about the industry working the back-end until he became the foreman. “I started as an actor/writer, then after working in a slew of indie films and failing to succeed I started to do some crew work,” he recalled and that’s where his interest in directing sparked. After making some films, Cohn went ahead to film school and received his degree. While in school Traplight, Cohn’s media company, was born after learning the harsh realities of how the industry can screw you. He sold his first screenplay and the momentum picked up from there.
Along the way Cohn picked up valuable lessons while getting “beat up” directing his first film. “The most important thing I took away was to know how to do the jobs of everyone on the film set, otherwise they will use that against you,” he candidly shared also mentioning the amount of time he took self-training and teaching himself various aspects of his industry.
The studying helped Cohn establish his style as a filmmaker in which he describes as “prepared/improvisational.” Cohn said, “Know the story so well that you tell the story backwards, and not just tell shots or scene numbers. Yet, technically be so proficient that you can pick up the lights, light a scene and shoot the scene. Basically, if the crew walks off with all their gear, I can go to my car, pull out my camera and lighting kit and still make the day, download the footage, and be able to edit, color correct, adjust the sound, music and also do a slick motion graphic title sequence in after effects, export and deliver the movie and also encode and author DVDs if need be.” Clearly the man can do it all.
The man who “expect and plan for the worst” when it comes to creating films has noticed how his skills evolved over time. The “Wishing for a Dream”actor-director says that he “became sharper” and “more focused” when it comes to creating projects perfecting how to “operate at hyper speed.”
For all you aspiring filmmakers out there Jared Cohn encourages, “Learn everything. Pick up a camera, learn to shoot, write a script, learn about lenses, lighting, editing, coloring, sound, music, exporting, delivering, etc… you should own gear too. You should be able to make a movie start to finish single-handedly without having to pay anyone a nickel.” He also offer more frank advice about the industry in general.
“There’s sharks in the waters here. There are lions, tigers, demons and all sorts of nasty animals that will kill you if you let them. Learn to be one. It’s brutal here! At the same time there are kind people, find your kind/talented friends and stay with them for as long as you can. But at the same time watch out, cause kind people can sometimes turn evil and that is a hard pill to swallow,” he said.
Adding, “There are no rules here, if you want to succeed in the terrible business of entertainment then I sure hope you are 17 and absolutely beautiful and/or your parents are incredibly rich and well-connected, because if they are not then you better get your skin thick and grow some fangs and be prepared to stab and be stabbed. You will get knocked down, it’s not a matter of if it’s a matter of when. And all of this advice seems crazy, but it’s actually pretty light-hearted compared to the reality.”
Keep up with all the latest projects Jared Cohn has going on by visiting his website, JaredCohn.com, and following him on social media: @TrapLightMedia on Twitter and on Facebook at Facebook.com/jared.cohn.
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Photo: Photo: Jared Cohn/c2ctalent