Less than a year ago, Jacob Ward graduated from Indian Hill High School, excited about attending Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in the fall. Today, after just a few short months at the University, he is producing a short film in Cincinnati as part of his major in film production with a concentration in directing and acting.
The film, under the production title of Listed, follows the relationship between two brothers when their father disappears. While Jacob is just a freshman at Loyola Marymount, his project has been in the works for three years. “There have been many revisions of the script, the story, etc. throughout these three years to better the story and turn it into a more relationship-focused drama rather than a cliché action short film,” he says. “Co-executive producer Zach Burkhart and I have been interested in film throughout our entire high school careers. We have worked on various projects together under the production label Janked Studios – these works were mostly experimental and were improvisational works rather than scripted films.”
When Jacob and Zach began writing the screenplay for Listed, they were looking to do something more (as Jacob laughs, “for lack of a better word”) serious, something that could be submitted to film festivals. However, at 15 and 16 years old – and with no equipment or means of financing the film – they were limited in what they could write about, to ensure they could produce what they wrote. Hence, the two main characters became teenage boys. The story, however, has developed far beyond what they would have been capable of doing then. Though the two boys remain the protagonists, there have been a number of revisions which were able to be made once Jacob landed at Loyola Marymount.
“Thus far, I have built relationships with filmmakers and actors that are more than willing to assist me on the project,” Jacob explains. “I have a friend who is an accounting major who will be flying out to deal with paperwork and help on set, and I have other friends who have also reviewed the script and have offered their assistance. I have gained a lot of insight regarding how to produce a film of a higher caliber both through my work on campus and in a professional environment, when I worked as a production assistant this past summer in New York. I now have the connections and the experience necessary to produce this film the way Zach and I had envisioned it.”
In addition to helping Jacob experience working as a director and actor on a professional film set, the project means a lot to him personally: “This script is very important to the two of us. We both have been raised in the midst of familial issues, issues which have influenced the way which we interact and socialize with people. We built the characters in our own images, and the father's disappearance is the image of our familial issues. The film, beyond the logline, is about the way that certain people band together and certain people push one another away from each other during troubling times. We are firm believers in the idea that film-making is an art form more than an entertainment medium, and we strive to make our projects meaningful beyond the screen.”
As they prepare for the next step in this film’s development process, Jacob and Zach are looking for funding. If you would like to be part of this exciting project – perhaps even receiving the title of Associate Producer – visit their Indiegogo page. “Any contribution is helpful and appreciated!” says Jacob.