Mak­ing his dream come true in NYC

Hastings Leader - - News -

At the end of 2016, James John­son grad­u­ated with a screen pro­duc­tion diploma from EIT’s Ideaschool and a de­ter­mi­na­tion to go to New York to build his ca­reer. Now he’s liv­ing the dream.

He ar­rived know­ing no one ex­cept for a wo­man he met while she was vis­it­ing her sis­ter in Hawke’s Bay. She knew an art de­part­ment co­or­di­na­tor and while the rest isn’t his­tory yet, James has been PAing for tele­vi­sion shows ever since.

“It’s not my end game, but it’s a pretty good start for me,” James says. “My next move is out of the art de­part­ment and into cam­era some­how. I’m mak­ing some great con­nec­tions on the jobs I’ve been work­ing on so hope­fully I can make it hap­pen.”

Th­ese in­clude Ma­niac, star­ring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, and The Last O.G., star­ring Tracy Mor­gan. He’s also worked on an in­de­pen­dent film called Inside Game.

For the 30 year old, liv­ing in New York has its sur­real mo­ments.

“I’m work­ing right in Man­hat­tan, which is amaz­ing. So much stim­u­la­tion and in­spi­ra­tion right at my doorstep. I’m work­ing with truly in­spir­ing peo­ple.

“It’s such a big city that you can be pretty much be what­ever you want to be,” James says. “I’ve met so many peo­ple who have crazy sound­ing made-up creative roles.

“The sky’s the limit. There’s so much op­por­tu­nity here.

“I guess the big­gest draw­back for me is that my visa is only for a year and it typ­i­cally takes longer than that to move up in this in­dus­try.”

James is work­ing on get­ting his NYC driv­ers’ li­cence as driv­ing is a huge part of his PA role.

While he is still wait­ing with an­tic­i­pa­tion to ap­ply his screen pro­duc­tion learn­ings gained at EIT, James ac­knowl­edges that he un­der­stands his place in the chain of things.

“The in­dus­try tips we were taught are prov­ing very help­ful in mak­ing me a valu­able mem­ber of the team and get­ting me no­ticed.”

A Hawke’s Bay boy from Napier, James came across Ideaschool serendip­i­tously.

His part­ner met the then Head of De­part­ment, Claire McCormick, who told her about the screen pro­duc­tion course.

“With all the amaz­ing things that stu­dents were do­ing, it sounded like a bit of me.

“I re­ally liked how we learnt a bit of ev­ery­thing, from boom op­er­at­ing to video and sound edit­ing. I also ap­pre­ci­ated the free­dom we had to ex­plore our own ideas and bring them to life.”

Tessa Tylee, Ideaschool screen pro­duc­tion pro­gramme co­or­di­na­tor and tu­tor is de­lighted that James is fol­low­ing his dream.

“He was a good, clever, com­mit­ted stu­dent and a nice per­son to have around. I’m not at all sur­prised to see it work­ing out for him in New York.”

James John­son on the set of Amer­i­can com­edy tele­vi­sion se­ries,be­ing filmed in New York City.

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