[KM Exclusive] The world of Timothy Jason Carr, an American visual producer living in Kuwait
Published on June 7th, 2012 | by Caesar (Kuwait Music)
For those of you who have had a chance to watch his videos and experience his creativity, TJC Films needs no introduction. A creative to the core, Timothy Jason Carr runs his own service because of his passion for visual arts. Learn more about his life, his inspirations and the secrets behind what makes him so good, in this exclusive interview with Kuwait Music.
Photos are courtesy of Nermeen Photography
Tell us about TJC Films. What do you do and why do you do it?
I actually am just a huge art lover at heart. I am known for my movies but I am also a published photographer, graphic designer and writer. I can do any of those things for potential clients who usually end up becoming friends as well. The main reason I make movies is for the love of it. The entire process from pre-production, to filming, editing and marketing it is just a blast. I choose to work with people who like the same things I do, are passionate about what they want or are just really fun and I vibe with. I have had a lot of offers to do different kinds of videos but wasn’t feeling the topic or the client themselves so I just said I appreciate the offer but I will pass. If you are going to create something with someone it should be something you enjoy and with people you dig working with. It just makes the shoots go smoother and lot more fun. I get a lot of questions about my name and logo. The reasoning behind the name TJC Films is pretty simple. These are my movies and I take personal pride in them. It is just the initials of my name Timothy Jason Carr as opposed to some uber clever title. Most every video starts with my logo animation which is an X-ray of a human head followed by a gunshot that blows its brains out and freeze frames with the name TJC Films appearing on the brain. That animation actually started out as a desktop wall paper I did for the ZombiesandToys.com website. I am a big Zombie nerd and loved the look of it so when I did my first non paintball movie here in Kuwait with the PK Jaguars we made a zombie parkour film. So I took the wall paper design I had created and animated the layers and added the gun shot sound and Viola TJC Films “Blowing Minds Since 2009!”
How and when did you get into film and creative production?
Well I went to school for Visual Communications in 2006 which is a combination of all the different forms of media. Most design firms and multimedia studios now look for someone who is good at more than one thing. Out of all the classes I participated in Graphic Design, Photography, Cinematography and Video Editing were my favorite. So naturally I gravitated towards them. I have always been an artist since I was a kid and won a lot of competitions for my work. Seeing people’s reactions when they looked at my art was amazing so I knew that is what I wanted to do. I was a Fire Fighter and Rescue Technician in the Air Force so when I got out I used my school money right away and pursued that dream. Funnily enough my video classes in school were pretty minimal. There were only three. Cinematography, Editing and Optimization for different platforms were the classes. I just studied my butt off by reading books and watching tutorials during and after getting my BS in Visual Communications. So like my company my movies were built from the ground up and refined over time. Though I like to keep it gritty I can do corporate and soft stuff too. I got started making movies here in 2009 when I joined the Infinite Delusion Paintball team and myself and my friend Carl Johnson formed the Kuwait Paintball League. One day on my way to film a paintball video I ran into the PK Jaguars. Everyone I have worked with since is a result of that chance meeting. Each artist introduces me to someone else or a video I made with them catches the eye of another artist and they contact me. I love filming new things and love working with new people.
How you do direct artists?
When I work with Artists be they Dub Step Dancers like the 965 Crew, BBoys like Can’t Stop Us, Traceurs like the PK Jaguars, Painters like Bruha Eve or Rappers like Gran Milli we just sit and talk about what they are wanting and what my ideas are. It is the same way on the set. I tell people what I want and how I want to do it but I also get their input and we just do it. I have yet to have a boring shoot because we keep it light and informal. Of course all involved still take it serious. I usually just say here is your area. As long as you stay in frame we are good so just do what you do and I will make it look pretty in post production.
What is your typical production process from concept to completion?
Normally we meet in the middle with a concept or they dig what I am thinking and we move on from there. I can do story boards and test animations and all that but I tend not to. I know what shots I want and shoot for those and maybe throw a couple extra in on the set that I or the people I work with think of. That keeps the shoots short as possible and enjoyable for all involved. It is also important to keep them brief as most everyone I work with is physically exerting themselves with dancing, running, performing or painting. Then I go home sit down and edit away.
Kuwait is not exactly a hub for film, photography and music. How do you keep yourself motivated?
It was hard for a while because I had to search events or people out to film. It is a lot better now that I am meeting others through my work. Another obstacle which you are familiar with is getting those in charge to see that this stuff isn’t going to corrupt the youth or whatever the reasoning behind their decision to block or deny events is or was. What is funny are some of the comments I see on my page or on the blogs my videos get posted on talk about the people doing the performing losing their identity or going against their culture. If anything they are forming or already have their identity and are trying to expand their cultures mindset. That is why I shoot what I shoot here. I want the world to see that Kuwait, the Middle East, Muslims, people of Arab descent and Expats are not this preconceived notion outsiders have.
You currently run TJC Films as a freelance contributor. Do you have plans to make it a full time business?
Right now TJC Films is just me. I work full time on Arifjan making posters and movies for the United States Army Safety section. I will keep making my own movies and growing in scope on the side but I don’t think the industry is strong enough for that here. Anything bigger in scope would probably go to another production house that has the crazy expensive gear though the results are often the same.
Who have been your creative inspirations and why?
David Carson is a graphic designer who has always done his own thing and went against the grain. He is one of my biggest influences. He broke all the rules with typography and design. When he worked at Raygun Magazine he published an interview with a musician in the font dingbats because he felt the interview was boring. Kim Ji-Woon a South Korean film director and writer who has made horror, western, gangster, drama, action and thriller films and all have been masterpieces. He always pushes the envelope and tries new things. His movie “I Saw The Devil” is a flawless twisted revenge film that every filmmaker should watch. Spike Jonze is another because he still films his stuff in his own style in a fun loose way with his cast. He started out making ads and music videos too. Now makes amazing films in both short and long format. His short film “I’m Here” is a love story about robots that are used as cheap labor and treated like crap by society. Every time I watch it I am wrecked. It is happy and sad all at once and about the kind of love I always hoped I would and have found.
Watch a TJC Films production:
If you weren’t making films, music or photos, what would you be doing?
Hell I don’t even want to think about that I can’t picture doing anything else. I have to create or else the things in my head would drive me insane. A creative outlet is super important! I love making music, snapping photos, creating graphics and filming and editing movies. But before this I was fire fighter, network & telecommunications technician, and a precision driving and safety instructor. But more than likely I would do something that helps people. I’ve always had that need I guess because people helped me growing up mostly on my own. So I have volunteered at shelters, soup kitchens and the Special Olympics. That is why I want to make this documentary with Paws, Kpath and individuals combating animal cruelty in Kuwait. I also want to shed more light on the dog poisonings that are happening all over the country.
You have done work with some popular names and organizations in Kuwait. Has that helped in taking your brand further?
Working with well known or interesting people in Kuwait has been advantageous to me in so many ways. The most obvious benefit being that their fans or friends took an interest in my work and shared it with others which got my name out there quickly because word of mouth always travels fast. It also helped me learn the culture and meet so many friends here that I still hang out with and make movies with. It even opened my mind to other things and led me to convert to Islam even though I was a hardcore atheist before. The friends and people here in general are pretty happy and fun to interact with…Other than driving of course! Now that I have worked with so many great people I keep getting introduced to others and that has helped get me on blogs and TV too.
What kind of software and hardware do you use? Why have you chosen to use them?
For making my films or shooting pictures I use my fantastic Panasonic Lumix GH2 DSLR. I love the 20mm 1.2 pancake lens I got for it. The camera films 60 FPS at 1080 and records data at a rate or 45MB a second. It can take pictures while filming video as well. It is just a beast. I use a Mac Book Pro with 16 GB of Ram and the entire Adobe Creative Suite to edit pictures and video. I also use Final Cut Pro X to edit video and find it to be faster and more user friendly than Premiere Pro though a bit more restrictive.
Where do you see TJC Films a year from today?
A year from today I will be in Kuwait or Dubai working on larger scale projects with more equipment to take my films to the next level. I want to do more corporate stuff and make some short fiction and non fiction films.
How you can connect with TJC Films:
Some of Tim’s work: