–Who is Jordan Mears?
I am a filmmaker living in Little Rock, Arkansas. I was born and raised in the small town of Russellville, which is about an hour and fifteen minutes outside of Little Rock. I graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Filmmaking. For the last six years I have been working in the commercial world as a videographer and editor. Before that, I worked in production on numerous feature films across the state and in Los Angeles.
But to really answer the question “who am I?” – I think I’m still figuring that out, and will be for the rest of my life – as will we all. Simply, I’m a film geek who loves everything about movies – the history, the technical aspects, the philosophies and theories. I’ve been obsessed with movies since I was a kid. Outside of filmmaking, I like long walks on the beach, deep, meaningful conversat – oh wait, this isn’t a dating profile. Hahaha. Joking aside, I’m just a guy who likes to have fun in all aspects of his life. I like to travel and go on adventures, see and try new things. The older I get, the more monotonous things seem to get – as we all fall into the routines of daily life. So I like to do anything I can to shake it up and make things interesting. And I have seen how this also bleeds into the films I make. It’s so easy to make a movie these days – and most stories being told are just ones being recycled over and over again – so to me, with my approach, it’s about giving the audience something unique, fun, and interesting that they hopefully haven’t seen before. That excites me and drives me, and hopefully the audience shares in that excitement, too.
-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
Ghostbusters, Terminator 2, Wayne’s World, Jurassic Park, Tales From The Crypt. All of these came out when I was a kid, and all of them impacted me a great deal. When I was about 4 years old there was just something about movies that drew me to them. I don’t think I found them, I think they found me. I would watch everything I could – for hours and hours and hours. And then I would mimic the actors and actions that I saw. I would dress up like a Ghostbuster and pretend I was catching ghosts around the neighborhood, or I would dress up like Ash from Evil Dead and act like I was vanquishing demons. One time I even ran around pretending to be Nicolas Cage in Con Air while Phil Collins’ song In The Air Tonight played on repeat. From then on, I was just obsessed with movies. My parents and grandparents would take me to our local video stores (RIP) every weekend and let me roam around for indefinite amounts of time. I would look at all of the VHS boxes and study the artwork, who acted in the films, who produced and directed and distributed them, when they were made, so on. As I got older, I realized “Whoa! You can actually do this for a living!” So around the age of 13 my parents gave me my first camera (complete with editing software). I would roam my suburban neighborhood filming anything and everything. My buddies and I would make crappy little movies that were spun off of well known films – like Blair Witch Project. This all allowed me to learn the fundamentals of filmmaking early on – the ins and outs, if you will. So, to wrap back around to the actual question, I was inspired to make movies because creating stories and garnering reactions are fun. It’s what drives me. Everything I watched growing up had an impact on me and garnered a reaction from me. It was fun to get lost in the worlds that these filmmakers created – so much so that I wished they were real and tried to act like I was a part of them. I have just been trying to replicate those feelings and experiences for others with the works that I now make.
–Do you think cinema can bring a change in society?
Answer: I do think that cinema can bring a change in society. We’ve seen it happen before and it will continue to happen. Filmmakers, since the beginning, have used the medium to tell stories to bring to light injustices in the world. Get Out, Schindler’s List, Do The Right Thing, Boy Erased, Dog Day Afternoon, etc… The list goes on and on. These films spark a conversation that can then spark action and change – even if it’s someone just looking deeper inside themselves and reflecting on who they are or wish to be. Films can spread awareness on issues and problems that are hindering and impacting us all, whether we realize them or not. Let me put it this way – it all starts with one person and one film. One person can see a film and it can inspire them to lead a movement that then changes the world. Nelsen Mandela is a perfect example of this. While in prison, he would watch In The Heat of the Night and was confused when the film randomly and abruptly cut in the middle of one scene to that of another. The scene in question was when Sidney Poitier’s character Virgil Tibbs slaps a white man after being insulted by him. The slap had been edited out. So, when Mandela found out what exactly was missing, it lit a fire under him and helped him keep going during his prison sentence. Mandela then went on to end apartheid in Africa. Cinema and art has the power to change things.
-What would you change in the world?
I would change inequality. It’s 2022 and racism and sexism are still running rampant. It shouldn’t be that way. We’re all just people. We all live, we all die. No one is more special than the other. And so it really steams me to see marginalized groups of people continue to be abused by the systems of government and by people in general. Look, there’s no way we can ever eradicate racism or sexism. As long as there’s good, there will be bad. But I wish we lived in a more tolerant world, and we’re inching towards one. But it seems like every time progress is made, something happens that then sets it back two steps. Women shouldn’t be told what they can and can’t do with their bodies, it’s no one’s business but their own. And if a kid is gay, or trans or anything other than what they were born – then let them be. If it makes them happy and it’s not harming anyone else, then it shouldn’t matter. We all just want to be happy and live our lives the best ways we can. Our time here is limited, so I think it’s all on us to do and be what makes us happy.
-Where do you see cinema going in the next 100 years?
Oh, man – 100 years from now, there’s no telling. The earth may have melted by then. I’m kidding (kind of). But really, just in the last 15 years alone we have seen a major shift in what we thought cinema was and could be. Netflix went from mailing out DVD’s to streaming all of their content, which then led to others doing the same. Now mid-budget films that we would have had in the 1990’s (like Good Will Hunting) are being made specifically for these services while theaters are reserved for $150,000,000+ budgeted comic book and action films. A lot of people are even watching movies on their phones or iPad’s now. It’s crazy. We also had the big 3D fad that came roaring back from the 80’s with Avatar. And now we can even bring the dead back to life to act in our movies or make older actors look young again (looking at you Star Wars). I think the technology will continue to improve and get better and better, of course. I think that most movie theaters in the next 10 years will just offer spectacle films – whether it be a big budget Marvel film or a low budget horror film (those make the big bucks). I hate to say it, but it feels like most things will be on streaming services. Which is sad. A lot of them look at entertainment these days as “content” which I don’t agree with at all. By calling it content, companies are devaluing the artistry. Content feels very throw away – something you easily digest and then move onto the next thing. That’s how a lot of great things become forgettable or even lost in the mix. On the flip side though, services like Netflix are giving world renowned filmmakers their chances to make some o their films. No one would have given Scorsese his $150,000,000 budget to make The Irishman other than Netflix, because a studio would be worried about eating the loss of that cost – understandably. Honestly, I wish things were still like how they were in the 90’s (the early Sundance days) – low to mid-budget films could be picked up at a festival that would launch a career and end up in theaters making a ton of money. Now the only low budget films in the theaters that turn that kind of profit are horror films or Oscar bate. All that said, I’m hopeful. It’s never been easier for someone to make a film and get it out into the world – the only catch with that is that the market is so saturated you need to find a way to stand out. With James Cameron getting ready to release his new Avatar films, I wouldn’t be surprised if we watched films via hologram in the next few years because of the tech he has been creating. I guess we’ll see, though!