We had the good fortune of connecting with Jon Bass and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jon, why did you pursue a creative career?
Way back when, I had to choose between becoming an English teacher or pursuing the vague beast of the “film world” and whatever that meant. I broke it down to pros and cons but that didn’t exactly lead to a decision – what actually led to diving in deep was realizing the way that I was talking; literally the language of the words on the paper of “pros vs. cons” between the two were drastically different. It’s as if my tone in writing changed, in thinking of them; both good & bad. I could see that although vague, unclear, and broad -> I viewed pursuing a creative career as the adventure before me and my life. I eventually equated it with my first “rising action” decision that sets a character on their journey in the dramatic structure of stories.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’d describe my work as evolving. I’m still discovering my taste and my style in cinematography and images and I predict that journey will last my whole career. I’m most proud of the actual execution of ideas coming to life. Recently I began practicing some “pre-visualization” software, where I can now build sets, locations, lighting in a 3D virtual world with a virtual camera and take shots, and nearly edit an entire sequence before I even show up on set. I know there’s a decent number of cinematographers who prep this way, so I’m not totally unique in that approach, but I’m definitely proud of how I learned how to utilize the program and implement it in the following project to help secure the pitch, as well as execute the creative vision. In some ways, it is easy and it isn’t. Based on your background and resources, the introduction to getting here was not a clear straight line and it won’t be the same for everyone so I don’t really advise trying to duplicate anyone’s path professionally – because you’re not them and they aren’t you. I overcame the challenges of putting myself out there the more I realized that no one else has any clue what they’re doing either. So the narrative in your overthinking head can quiet down finally. There’s a lot of lessons I’ve learned along the way; I’ll share a few. Learn to say “No:”; to your clients, to your friends, to anyone. Constantly Re-evaluate and re-assess, so don’t be too stuck or too set in your ways. What worked last year, might not work 5yrs down the road. No one else will stick up for you because it’s not their job too, it’s your job to stick up for yourself. Remember, a career is a long game. Money is beneficial for the tools but please don’t focus on the money all the time – there’s a line between surviving/grinding/thriving. I’d want the world to know that my only actual mission is to be as authentic yet vulnerable and accessible as possible, that my definition of success is not the fame, clout or material success. I view things through an eternal lens as a follower of the Jesus & I seek to represent him well. Loving people in my field and in life in general – that at the end of the day, I’d rather have 5 great close friends than 5 oscars. I’ve got a long way to go, and I don’t think God’s finished with me yet, I know there’s more life ahead and more adventures beyond today that I have a purpose.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’d take my best friend on a little outdoors action – First off, to get coffee, at The Coffee Bean – one of my fav’s. Then up to Eaton Canyon Falls to the waterfall – then drive down through Pasadena and walk around the downtown area. Following that up with some time at the beach – likely Newport, Manhattan or Santa Monica Pier – Then track backwards and stop at a park on the way to wait out some traffic. I’d bring a blanket, some good books, and probably a 2nd round of coffee or asmall portable tree hammock / cocoon. Then arrive at Griffith Park to hike around the trails and get up high in altitude to watch the sunset.
For dinner I’d take them to “Foxy’s Restaurant” in Glendale and finish off walking around the Americana and just people watch – and then get some rolled ice cream at the “Rolling Factory” in the outdoor mall – it’s so good.
On a weekend night I’d definitely try to get them to go to “No Vacancy” in Hollywood – the entrance is so unique and fun – it’s a very unique vibe that you kind of just have to go there to check it out – Then we’d probably bar hop somewhere else before it gets too rowdy and the performers get started – just my personal preference. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d definitely want to dedicate a shoutout to my friends and Parents, & my brother Tim for supporting me even in long distance. Some mentors I’d like to shoutout would be Ben Drickey, Craig Ludwig, Brennan Burling, Nathaniel Regier, Adam Turner, & All the clients that gave me a chance to shoot and work with them like Jessica Hottman, NXXXA Ace, Bespoke Works