Volume 1, Issue 5
Jason Sirotin
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Founder of ECG Productions and Filmmaker, Jason Sirotin
IAE:       Where are you from and what inspired you to pursue a career in film?
JS:        
I’m originally from Noblesville, Indiana. I started out as an actor, so I went out on tons of auditions and
it just wasn’t working out the way I had hoped. So I started to contemplate what else I could do in the industry
because I really wanted to be in this business. Luckily for me, at my high school, we had a communications
department. So I made my first film in 10th grade and learned to run all the equipment there. But this was back
during the VHS days, so it was not very technologically advanced [laughs].

IAE:        So when did you get introduced to the professional movie business?
JS:        
In college is when I got my professional introduction in college. For me school was more about the
people and less about the learning aspect. I ended up meeting some people who introduced me to some
people, and before I knew it I was working on “Dawson’s Creek,” and I worked with Fincannon and Associates
(casting directors). I also did some extras work and some film production.

After that I moved up to Boston because I wanted to make a movie. So I spent like $3,000 and bought a bunch
of film, got an operator and made a really crappy art film that nobody cared for.  That’s when I realized that if
you’re going to make “art” then you’re never going to make money.  You have to look at what’s making money
and understand that there’s a reason it’s making money.

After that I started working in news and I hated it because all they do is pinpoint the one or two bad things that
happened in the world and focus on that only. There’s so There are so many good things going on in the
world, but that never makes make the news.  But I got pulled in to run a television network, then I was the head
of Production and Programming, and from there it all took off for me.

IAE:      Once you got into the industry, how did you get a job working on the ‘Howard Stern Show’?
JS:        
I was running a TV company called XY.tv, which was in 90 markets in the US and Caribbean. The
network was growing exponentially and we were just about to sign a deal with Comcast, which would have put
us into 80 million homes. But the deal was taking too long and the investor was losing too much money, so we
got a call one day and were told that XY was going to have to shut down. During the time XY.tv was winding
down I heard that Howard Stern was having a film festival, and because I’m a Stern fan - I knew his audience
and every joke.  So I entered it and our project ended up being in the top 9 out of 2,650 entrants.

We went to NYC for the film festival and ended up getting 5th Place. Our project didn’t play well in the big
theatre, but it played well on the small screen. That was proof that some things play better intimately than in a
massive setting. Right after that was done, I went right up to the Executive Producer of Stern’s show and said,
“I want to work here. What do I have to do?” He completely ignored me. You know, I was already mad because
I didn’t win and I was all dressed up [laughs]. I left New York feeling completely defeated, but I refused to take
no for an answer. So when I got home I sent the top execs on the show these giant gift baskets with my
resume. Three weeks later I got a call from the Executive Producer saying that Howard (Stern) was looking for
someone to run some original programming and we’d like you to come to New York for an interview. After that, I
waited another month and I got a call that I got the job. They gave me 2 weeks to move there (NYC), so I got
there and had only one day to find an apartment. My wife and I got an apartment in Jersey City in a gross area
that we didn’t feel safe in. I ended up working 80-90 hours each week, but the first 2 months were amazing. But
after awhile I started to feel overworked and under paid. I was a producer, director, editor, and shooter, so I
was like a one man show when it came to that side of it. So I started looking around at all the people who
worked there for 15 years and realized that it wasn’t the path for me. It was then that I decided to end my
tenure there.

IAE:         How did you get involved with the guys here at ECG and how did they convince you to
move to Atlanta?
JS:
        We all worked with one another at XY.tv up in Boston. I met my wife at XY also. When you connect
with people and you’re able to get things done efficiently, those people tend to stay together and that’s really
what it was for us. So when my wife and I decided to join the guys at ECG here in Atlanta it was a very easy
decision to make. I know these guys are good at what they do and I trust them.

IAE:         What upcoming projects do you have in the pipeline?
JS:
        We just wrapped an amazing film called ‘Quarterlife Ben’. My good friend Savvy Lorestani was the
writer and director and shooting it was a magical experience. Every scene played so well and the acting was
amazing! At the end of June we are doing another film called ‘Panama City,’ which was written, and will be
directed, by Gregg Russell who is the former “big guy” at CNN. It’s going to be really good, and you can check
‘Panama City’ out on Facebook. We recently finished postprodution on ‘The Fat Boy Chronicles,’ which covers
the subject of obesity and bullying and is currently out for distribution.

IAE:         How do young acting talent find out about films you’re casting so they can submit
themselves for consideration?
JS:
        The best thing they can do is send us their headshot/picture and resume. Sometimes we do hire non-
actors for the sake of realism, so if they don’t have a resume they should still submit. If you submit, please don’
t send in your stuff more than once [laughs].

IAE:         If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be and why?
JS:
        I just hope that, as new distribution streams open up, there are companies ready to fill, create, and
accept content. Vuguru is an awesome example of that. Go check out
Vuguru.com because the founder of it,
Michael Eisner, is definitely staying ahead of the curve. But for me, as an indie filmmaker, distribution is
important. I’m ready for the next step in distribution streams.
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