Above the Influence's "Who Controls You" (PSA)

Maris Jones

Adolescent

1) How did you get into directing? 
Like any film school graduate, I was searching for a way to share my vision with the world. I started creating short format videos on the app “Vine” and was contacted by the production agency Adolescent Content after one of my videos went viral. Since then, the agency has provided me with work and acted as valuable mentors through this exciting experience.

2) What is your most recent project? 
I am currently creating mixed video content for Microsoft’s Hololens, a product that blends holograms into your real world. I am specifically promoting the app Actiongram.

3) What is the best part of being a director? 
The best part about directing is being able to share my vision with others. I am so fortunate to be given the opportunity to create and collaborate with so many incredible and talented minds through the process. It’s an amazing feeling to witness what was once a single idea in my head, become a reality.

4) What is the worst part of being a director? 
The worst part is the fact that you can’t possibly sift through everything in your head. There is so much beauty and fascinating things that you acquire during your lifetime. It’s impossible to express it all!

5) What is your current career focus: commercials & branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
Currently I am enjoying making short and long-form content that is creative. I love the different challenges various client driven projects present. Commercials really make you think about how to mash together entertainment and product. For me this is outside the box and I enjoy that aspect of it. In the future, I would love to work on bigger commercials and long-form content.

6) Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you?
Adolescent Content’s creative director Ramaa Mosley and executive producer Hope Farley have served as strong mentors to me for the past year and a half. I feel extremely fortunate to have figures in my life that have helped me adjust and find my voice with filmmaking. They have been an integral part in helping me get my feet off the ground. They have always supported when I have felt confused or lost. I think it’s incredibly important and fortunate to have a strong support system early in both your career and life. I know I wouldn’t be in this position now if it wasn’t for their guidance.

7) Who is your favorite director and why? 
While there are many directors that have shaped who I am as a filmmaker, I would have to say Spike Lee’s works have always played a substantial inspirational role. He captures emotion in such a unique way, between the structure of the story to the stylized and colorful visuals. His ability to create beauty while tackling current issues in society is something I strive to achieve one day. When I saw “Do the Right Thing” for the first time, it gave me goose bumps. I think that’s what cinema should truly be about, a visceral reaction and human connection.

9) Tell us about your background (i.e. where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. My parents, who are both artists, always encouraged me to explore my creativity. I have been shooting videos for as long as I can remember (I broke their JVC VHS camcorder when I was five. They may have regretted showing me how to operate that type of equipment at such a young age). I graduated Ithaca College with a degree in cinema production in the spring of 2014. After school, I started to make content on social media and in less than a year I was given the opportunity to direct the Above the Influence spot. Although I have not had many life experiences yet, I have found that all these opportunities are truly shaping me as filmmaker and can’t wait to see what lies ahead.