M&J created the short film, MENTAL, an official selection of the Danforth Short Film Festival, the Philip K. Dick Film Festival, the WIFTV Festival, and the Short Circuit: Pacific Rim Film Festival where it won for cinematography, editing and, lead performance. MENTAL screened at the Covellite International Film Festival where it won ‘Achievement in Filmmaking Best Short Form’ and the Vancouver Short Film Festival where it won Raindance Vancouver’s ‘Underdog Award.’ The film won the One-Reeler Short Film Competition ‘Award of Excellence’ and is nominated for five Leo Awards. M&J have been hired to write features, shorts, treatments, and have several projects at various stages of development. Their series, HEARTMATTER is in development with Random Bench Productions. Their feature script LIVING WILLS is a ScreenCraft Film Fund quarterfinalist. Both served on the board and are members of WIFTV Vancouver and run 'Creative Services' for Jeb Beach & Associates.
How did you get into the industry?
We both have a performance background which includes: music, dance and acting in our youth. From there both of us transitioned to working behind the camera and subsequently partnering as writers/content creators.
Any emerging industry trends?
One of the main things we are seeing is the need for new and original content growing at an increasing pace. We anticipate critical mass will be hit and the demands will lessen but in the meantime are hopeful about what this means both for ourselves and our peers regarding work opportunities.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
Our answer is the same for both:
a. More opportunities are opening up for women through programs.
b. However, it is still challenging to get work in the film & TV industry behind the camera as women, and once we do get jobs, the workplace can be a toxic environment for our gender.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
We created the M&J partnership to raise each other up and achieve our goals more quickly as a team (with the side benefit of less loneliness). In addition to this, we are interested in supporting homegrown talent in Vancouver through consulting and creative investment.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
The way we see it, more and more streaming means creatives don’t have to appeal to the masses anymore, and that means more opportunity for content to target niche audiences - this excites us because of the increased opportunity for unique voices (including our own).
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
We are working with several female writers on their passion projects with the aim to strengthen their grant proposals by having M&J attached in some capacity (leveraging the success of our short film MENTAL having garnered grant funding, a festival run, and multiple awards). We are also active story consultants in the community, helping others to hone their pitch materials and overall craft by relaying what we have learned thus far as writers.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
The benefit of our partnership is that we experience highs and lows together. At times we are pulled in different directions by the various hats we wear, which can prove challenging. We have learned how to navigate competing priorities as a team.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
With our writing consults, we discuss our client’s story and explore with them how their log-line, treatment, synopsis and/or screenplay, can be strengthened. We highlight specific areas with tips, tricks, and suggestions.
We can also do this remotely, without our clients present, and send an evaluation of their projects with bullet-point recommendations and feedback. In this way, we can accommodate the tight timelines/turn around times, which the industry often demands of writers.
How do you motivate others?
When we work with our consulting clients, we help them with how to break down their blocks around writing. If someone wants to get hired to write, they must first put content on the page. Everyone’s got a great idea. It’s all about execution. That’s where we come in.
We also work hard to help hone their voice and vision. When writing solo, it can be easy to stop at a perceived roadblock. Our clients come to us for help with busting through those plot points, which we do, while keeping the integrity of their voice intact.
Career advice to those in your industry?
When you find an opportunity, be generous and share it. Connect people even if there is no immediate benefit to you.
Take a grant application or contest submission and schedule your workflow backward from its deadline.
Seek out an accountability partner, team or service (classes, workshops, and mentors can be great for this).
M&J will also be publishing an E-book soon with further screenwriting tips & tricks.