In January of 2012, I had only two years of experience with making homemade shorts. At this point in time, none of what I was making had much going for them. I had made 'Avatar' and 'Star Wars' sequels, and other ideas on the whim. No scripts; just a kid with a camera. Then came the idea for 'HERO UNKNOWN' (2012), launching JN Films into the next fray. It took 6 months until that idea was a finished film; that process included multiple re-castings and sick days.
Revisiting 'HERO UNKNOWN' (2012) now as it approaches 7 years in age, I am reminded of the inspiration behind why I began making movies, and the amount I had yet to learn.
At the time of filming back in May of 2012, I was close to finishing my first year at Dallas High School. In a way, that year was an opportunity to location scout for 8-9 months*. Knowing all of the locations, I was able to write to a place that existed and adapt/swap locations when I needed to. Having this familiarity allowed for me to be inspired and to tell a story. Telling stories, and telling Peter's story, was one of the main contributing components to why I began making movies.
As said previously, 'HERO UNKNOWN' (2012) is close to being a 7 year-old. Not unlike a cranky adolescent**, age hasn't treated the film well. When I made the movie, I had confidence and a story I wanted to tell. Truthfully, that's pretty much it. I didn't know how to create naturalistic dialogue. I didn't know why I needed to use certain shots for various moments. I didn't know how to direct actors. I was a full-on newbie, and it shows.
Going back to the high school today to look at some of the locations used in the film, I am reminded by how things can stay the same but develop over time. My inspiration is still there, but my craft has (fortunately) developed. If the opportunity never came around to make this film, and for Paul Disney to punch Jackson Geiger in the face, who knows where JN Films would be today.
*Don't worry, I attended my classes and did my homework.
**Been there, done that.