HomeMovies'Clapboard Jungle' is an In-Depth and Personal Look into the Film Industry

‘Clapboard Jungle’ is an In-Depth and Personal Look into the Film Industry

Clapboard Jungle Poster
Photo Courtesy of ARROW.

Justin McConnell’s Clapboard Jungle should be required viewing for anyone considering going into the film industry. The documentary takes a candid look at McConnell’s experience over the course of a five-year period as he tries to get funding for his film projects and is filled with honest interviews and helpful tips from notable people all across the film industry but mainly within the horror genre.

At the start, McConnell has already been involved in filmmaking professionally, in one form or another. However, despite his previous minor success, we see the constant roller coaster of emotions McConnell and his co-writer, Serena Whitney, encounter over half a decade attempting to create a film version of one of their favorite scary books: Kane (movie title: Mark of Kane) and an original concept horror film, Lifechanger. Though, as we quickly learn, a good industry professional never only has one project they are working on, so we also get to see a few other smaller projects McConnell creates—specifically for use at festivals and as a way to showcase his style and his work.

For those who have never been on the industry side of movies, Clapboard Jungle offers a unique vantage point to see inside the process of how a movie gets made from conception to release. The film really digs deep to show the nitty-gritty nature of how one day, a movie can be financed and ready to go into pre-production and the next day, the bottom can fall out and the team is left with nothing, yet again. Many of the film’s interviewees also point out how there is, in fact, a formula to getting a movie made. And if you can figure out that formula and have a bit of luck on your side, you’ll do great. Unfortunately, no matter how much hard work, dedication and passion someone may put into their career and their craft, not everyone is able to figure out this career-changing formula. Even those who do still have to recreate the magic with every new project.

That said, all hope is not lost. As one of my favorite directors, Guillermo Del Toro, mentions in the film, “A lost cause is the only one worth fighting for.” That’s something we see McConnell do throughout this documentary. He has a dream of making these two films, and he knows he can do it well if financed properly. As time passes, we see the struggle of the “chicken or the egg” dilemma: in order to get his movie financed, McConnell has to show investors a product (a sample of the film), but in order to do the film or clips of the film at the true quality of his vision, he needs financing. Such is the predicament many filmmakers run into when trying to get their films off the ground.

Clapboard Jungle itself is filled with helpful musings from those who have experienced working in this tumultuous industry first hand, as well as a very honest look at an incredibly passionate director doing everything he possibly can to get his films made and learning some really great and incredibly tough lessons along the way. Most notably, the power of attending film festivals, having lookbooks for your project, staying true to your vision, and the magic of karaoke, which might be the true key to connecting with fellow industry professionals.

Clapboard Jungle is now streaming on ARROW.


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