Female Filmmaker Friday with Production Manager Jackie Jones

by BlueSkyStudios

Hi Jackie! Thank you for joining us today! To kick things off, can you tell us about your role here at Blue Sky? What was the last film you worked on?

Hi! I am a member of the production management team here at Blue Sky and most recently served as the Production Manager on our latest feature "Spies in Disguise". I helped oversee the entire production schedule, balancing and prioritizing needs across all departments, ultimately helping ensure the movie delivered!

With that being said, congratulations on the film's release! Now that the movie has made its way into the world, and into people's homes on DVD, looking back, what are you most proud of?

The experience of working on "Spies in Disguise" is, hands down, the most fun I have ever had working on a project! The spirit, passion and energy of the team really comes through in the final product that you see on the screen. 

I am so proud of the vision that our amazing directors, Nick Bruno and Troy Quane, brought to the project creatively (it is full of their quirky humor), but also the passion and excitement that they brought to leading the crew. It was an exciting opportunity for me to amplify their message and to help the team connect with their mission. 

I couldn’t be prouder of our amazing crew for constantly raising the bar, collaborating in new ways and always giving 110% to make this movie both visually stunning and so much fun to watch!

When did you realize you wanted to become a filmmaker? What did your journey to Blue Sky look like?

I always knew I wanted to work in a creative field, but I struggled for a long time to figure out what that really meant to me. I had a passion for art and design, while also being a very analytical thinker. I completed an undergraduate degree in Fashion Design at The Fashion Institute of Technology before moving on to study Art History & Costume Design at SUNY Purchase. I was extremely fortunate to get my break into the film industry working as a wardrobe department intern on the film “The Night Listener” which led to a wardrobe production assistant gig on "Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus". 

While I loved the creative elements of costume design, I found myself truly excelling at the organizational and production management components of the job. In all honesty, the instability that live-action schedules & lifestyle can bring was also a big career consideration, and something that ultimately led me to animation and to Blue Sky. I joined Blue Sky as a production assistant in the Design Department on “Horton Hears a Who” back in 2006 and knew I had found my passion! In my thirteen years at the studio, I have been fortunate to move around departments and really learn the ins and outs of the animation pipeline. Getting that diversified experience and understanding both the nuance and speciality of each department and how they fit together really helped to prepare me for my role as Production Manager on "Spies in Disguise". 

Was there a specific obstacle you faced in your career or on a specific project that you can share that you were able to overcome? 

The biggest obstacle that I’ve faced in my career has definitely been the journey to find my voice. I’m an introvert by nature and I am very careful to think before I speak and to mean what I say. In a world where the loudest voices often get the most attention, I think my quieter nature was sometimes misconstrued for meekness (especially when I was just beginning my career and didn’t have the credibility of someone in a position of authority). 

I overcame some of that naturally, over time, as my hard work was able to speak for itself, but it wasn’t until I decided to go back to school (while working full-time at Blue Sky) that I truly found my voice. Seven years ago, I went back to school and completed my Master's in Strategic Communications at Columbia University. I was able to learn the foundations of organizational strategy, while taking a deep dive into the power of external and internal communications strategy to achieve business goals. Studying something that I was passionate and curious about outside of work helped me to develop a unique and informed voice. I found that, in applying what I was learning to my work, I gained a newfound confidence to suggest new ideas, see new areas for improvement at the company and speak with true confidence about things that I cared deeply about.

What advice do you have for young women coming up in the industry?

Be proactive in working towards finding your own voice! Coming up in any industry there is an expectation that you listen, follow direction and learn from those above you. That said, it is your personal passions and interests that will set you apart and make you unique. Keep exploring those passions outside of work and challenge yourself to bring that learning back and apply it to your everyday. Seek out mentorship and actively listen to different perspectives that can help you think outside the box and see your ability to contribute in new and different ways.

Thank you so much Jackie for joining us today! "Spies in Disguise" is now on Digital, Blu-ray & 4K Ultra HD! Get it now, here.

Be sure to follow @blueskystudios for more behind the scenes updates and for our next #FemaleFilmmakerFriday.