Continuing with our look back at the 24 Hour Video Race‘s first decade, here is the seventh best video as chosen by the race’s organizers: 2 Tight Entertainment’s “Easy Money.” After the jump, an interview with 2 Tight’s KJ King.
To view all the videos in the countdown, go here.
FrontRow: Where are you now?
KJ King: I currently live in Long Beach, CA/Los Angeles County where I am a Web Developer/Producer. I have spent every year since leaving the Video Race producing music, film, web development, and commercials on both sides of the camera. One of my recent projects is finishing and getting publishing for my poetry book entitled, “Poetry for Life” inspirational poetry that touches lives. I recently left Dallas a year ago, where I was hosting one of the top internet radio shows across the world. We topped #1 several weeks. I still strive on accomplishing more and more goals in film, music and web development. I will be joining a talent agency this summer to begin acting in film and commercials again after my 4 year break, while producing music.
FR: Is filmmaker still part of your life?
KK: Absolutely, I have been blessed enough to learn all areas of the film, commercial, and video industry. I have produced music for several years, and the Monday after the video race in Dallas I was driving to Los Angeles, CA where I begin working on the set of major commercials, some being National Car Rental, appeared in an XBOX 360 Japan commercial, as well as a NBC Monday Night Football commercial with Hank Williams Jr. I played a small part in the movie with Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet, entitled “A Lot Like Love” I was in the New Years Eve scene. It was a memorable experience. Filmmaking will always be apart of my life.
FR: How did the idea for your movie emerge during the 24 hours you spent making it?
KK: Well I have to say that we had no clue what we were going to have to produce. It was a definite challenge trying to create anything, but our goal was to create something that the people would remember since there were so many competing.
So we got the idea and we went back to the studio and on the way back to the studio there was a park…lol. It was about 12:30 a.m. I thought WOW that is the ladder we can use; which was one of the requirements of short. Then I thought, most people are scared of ladders…at least I know I’m not comfortable on them. Next was how can we implement this ladder with fear? Money…was it. So we wanted to take something really simple and create magic from it by choosing the fears of ladders and the ambition to get money. Finally coming to the idea that this could have a double meaning: How high will you climb for money/success? And the other being so simple as to – “Dude just climb the ladder!” Then changing it to “Wait a minute; It can’t be that easy, what if it explodes or something?” because the theme was “Easy Money” –
So the idea emerged that we would use three (3) desperate guys looking for work and one of the guy’s friend had a job offer for them. All we had to do was get up early in the morning and meet him at the park. Why the park? Simple – because there was a ladder. But the thought of having a playground, the ladder, and the money kind of gives it; “The world is a playground, reach to higher goals and achieve success beyond your fears.” After that it just made since and was worth a shot. And we would then NOT go for the happy ending it was better to just leave people wondering why we didn’t just go up the ladder and open the case. The question to what was in it or did we ever go up the ladder was left for the imagination. Perfect idea for something that required little time and it worked.
FR: What was the most frustrating part about filmmaking under the race’s conditions/ What were the most freeing aspects?
KK: Well I love creating, being involved in projects, and filming anything. The most frustrating part of the Video Race was waiting to hear our names called during the award ceremony LOL. Especially since when they called our names we didn’t know it was us, because we had forgotten our group name; so we set there for a minute before realizing it was us…LOL! Good Times. However I must add that it can be frustrated trying to accomplish any film or short within 24 hours, also adding that we could not go over 5 minutes. The pressure kind of took over frustration; we didn’t have time to be frustrated long.
The most freeing aspects of it, was actually finishing the project, it was like amazing to know that we could actually do it. The freeing thought to me was; “If I can do that? I can do anything regardless of pressure, time, and lack of resources if we just stay focused on the endpoint and goal.”
FR: Why did you originally enter the race – how did you put together your team?
KK: Haha, I have to laugh at this one. Well, Brent and I were still in college trying to get our degree. We had a professor that told everyone about the video race and this was recently after Brent and I did this amazing 20 minute short with Special Effects, Music Everything, jumping cars all of that. Well the professor mentioned that there were different divisions based on students, teachers, gorillas etc, can’t remember exactly. However he told us that we could enter any that we wanted and that he was entering the Gorilla’s where the big boys are and we might not want to enter that one; because it would be too tough for us. Brent and I took that as a challenge, he more than welcomed the challenge with trash talk up until the day we showed up in Dallas for the Award ceremony. I can actually say that he motivated us, we lost one of our crew members to his team, because they wanted to learn more and be with a winning team. We congratulated the professor and his team for making the TOP 10, the rest of the story is already written. However I would not be answering these questions if it were not for our professor that challenged our creativity to make us better filmmakers.
FR: Looking back at your movie, do you have any reaction to it/thoughts/things you would do differently?
KK: Absolutely NOT! Even if we had not won the Grand Prize – I would have been so proud that we accomplished such a thing in that little bit of time. The Video Race has impacted my life so much that changing anything would have changed my ambitions. The race motivated me to want to do more. If they had started another competition the week after we would have entered again. On the other hand, I can sit and dissect the film now and think we could have did this or did that, but I can’t because my ideas now would have taken longer. Excellent Video Competition and I recommend it to all film students, journalist, anyone in the field. Something’s aren’t learned in school, they are learned in situations. And this put us in a situation to be the best we can be, beyond any obstacles.
FR: Has the race had any lasting impact on how you view movies/moviemaking?
KK: Absolutely, soon after leaving the competition it motivated me to relocate to California and at least work at being in the industry. I love every aspect of video, audio, and producing. I still work as a producer of music and looking to do way more film, whether it’s acting, directing, editing, etc it doesn’t matter. I made video and music my life.
The race taught me to be more disciplined about making movies. Even though we had a time limit we could not be rushed. I think that’s the common mistake in anything that we do. Life is about meeting deadlines and time is always an issue. Even at your wedding, show up late and not dressed – you will have one angry future wife. LOL! So I accept deadlines no matter what the timeframe is because, and I quote this; “If we can do that in 24 hours; the sky is the limit for a lifetime.” My appreciation goes out to the staff and council of the 24 Hour Video Race and I would be honor to be involved in any upcoming event that is held.