Meet the talented and lovely filmmaker, Jamie Lee Smith! In learning about her, I’ve fallen in love with her principles and work ethic. Also, she’s the sweetest and kindest! Her honesty sheds light on the truth about how Hollywood really works in a manner that not only encourages one to stand for what they believe in, but also to maintain one’s integrity. Learn more about the lovely Jamie as you follow our chat below!
Miranda ~ Hello Jamie! Wonderful to have you visit TBAP today! Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Jamie: Thank you! Very happy to have the opportunity to speak with you. I was born and raised in Colorado. Although both my degrees are in politics, I started my career in the music industry, and then transitioned into video production, working mostly on movies, and in more recent years, film. In addition, in the last four years, I have also been blessed to be able to work on three independent films. I also speak at events and teach seminars for women, students, and young filmmakers trying to break into the business.
Miranda ~ How did you become a Christian? What’s the story behind it?
Jamie: I was raised catholic and started going to Church with my aunt when I was in middle school. She is a Christian so, it naturally evolved from there. I developed my personal belief some time later.
Miranda ~ What led you into acting/filmmaking? As opposed to secular, why choose the Christian film industry?
Jamie: I was working in public relations for a Columbian newspaper/magazine when I was asked to work on a music video for a partner company. They were shorthanded on the back end. The director approached me afterwards to tell me that my talents were being wasted behind a desk and to come work for them. I ended up switching careers completely, and started my own company a year later. Since I had a musical background, I started out in music videos, commercials, and then progressed into film, and then later, TV. Mainstream movies and TV are what my company, Global Rockstar Productions, does. There is so much violence and garbage on TV and in films that I felt there was a need to do something more meaningful. I wanted to create family-friendly films that were wholesome, and that people could relate to. I teamed up with Doc Benson, and together we have made three indie-films. All of them are family-friendly, including the latest comedy thriller, Shadow of the Missing. I like to call it the “family-friendly horror!” There is no violence, no blood and guts… just a lot of suspense, leaving much to the imagination. It was an experimental project we did for young filmmakers and talented students trying to break into the business in Wales. So I guess you could say, on the personal side of things, I prefer to make content that is good for people and families…something wholesome, and that I can be proud of. By the way, I only act in our own independent films and, usually only small parts or simply come in as an appearance.
Miranda ~ How different do you believe the Christian film industry is from the secular? How can it be made better?
Jamie: 100% different! Everything is different from production to content. There are so many great Christian scripts out there, but sadly, they often don’t have the backing, budget or crew to make great films. Hollywood has finally taken notice in the last few years with a couple of great Christian blockbusters, but in order to make these films great, we will need great actors, great crew, and a budget to make something enjoyable to watch. To make Christian films better, I really think it comes with assembling a solid, knowledgeable team, and the funding to do so.
Miranda ~ Where do you see the Christian film industry in the next ten years?
Jamie: Wow! That’s a good question. Everything is heading towards streaming, so my guess is that there will be a platform for Christian films through streaming. I think that with the rate with which technology is changing, we will see a lot more Christian or family-friendly films available. The key is good content that everyone can enjoy.
Miranda ~ What lessons have you picked up along the way? How has your journey improved your relationship with God?
Jamie: I have learned a million lessons along the way, and I’m still learning every day. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t do everything yourself. It takes teamwork. Putting together a good team who work well together is key in this business. People don’t realize how much work goes into making films. Preproduction to post-production, to post-marketing, can take years, and so, will involve many people. The team is like a chain; if you lose a link, the chain is broken. You need really good people to be by your side who work well together.
This is not an easy industry to be in. You should never sacrifice yourself or your personal morals because someone says you have to. Sometimes this job is so hard, and so frustrating that you want to throw in the towel; but I know that nothing is thrown my way or given to me that I can’t handle. This has only strengthened my relationship with God.
Miranda ~ Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Jamie: No. I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am without everything that has happened in my life. There are no regrets, just lessons.
Miranda ~ Can you tell us the movies you’ve starred in, made, or have been a part of the production process?
Jamie: Jumper, Battle Los Angeles, 51, Up in the Air, Montana Sky, Pirates of the Caribbean, Mirror Mirror, Things we do for Love, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. TV series as The Philanthropist, CSI, and NCIS: New Orleans. On the Independent, more meaningful side: Seven Deadly Words, Losing Breen and Shadow of the Missing. All family-friendly!
Miranda ~ What other filmmakers/actors have you worked with in the past and, how has working with them made you a better filmmaker and person? Also, who do you hope to work with in the future?
Jamie: Too many to post! I will say I would love to work with Tyler Perry. Stephen Baldwin and Candice Cameron are two of my favorites! I would love them to act in one of my films.
Miranda ~ What are your principles behind choosing a story which you make into film and, what do you hope to pass across to the people who view your movies?
Jamie: When making independent films I work with Doc Benson. He writes great screenplays. In the latest film, Shadow of the Missing, we had the team, and so the story was built from there. I just want to make meaningful films that have a great message which both secular and non-secular people can watch and enjoy. Something for everything that will perhaps, bring back what was lost over the last few decades—moral turpitude.
Miranda ~ In your journey so far, can you say that the actual experience is different than what you initially imagined it to be? If yes, how so?
Jamie: Oh absolutely! I would have never guessed I would be where I am today doing what I am doing! Growing up, I thought I would be living in another country working for the Department of State or at least a lawyer, but I am exactly where I am meant to be, and I am very happy.
Miranda ~ In your opinion, what misconceptions do people have about the movie industry as a whole, especially in regards to money, hard work, and the road to fame?
Jamie: Everything people think about the movie industry is a misconception. They think that films are made quickly, it’s so glamorous, you get to meet all the famous stars, and it’s a cool or easy job. Nothing could be further from the truth! It really depends on the project. Movies take years from Pre-production to market. It is one of the hardest jobs in the world, and it certainly isn’t for everyone. The hours and schedule alone is tough. Call time is sometimes 2, 3 or 4 a.m. Schedules change with every set. I regularly work 100+ hours a week, but I run my company, which does regular films/TV, and makes Independent Films. I don’t have a family, so the schedule works for me. Not everyone in the industry works this much, but there are always deadlines, and you can never miss one. As for the road to fame, many people get lost along the way, but I think if you keep a strong level head, focus on your faith, keep you personal morals, and don’t let your head get in the clouds, you’ll stay grounded.
Miranda ~ What are you most grateful for—generally and at this time in your life?
Jamie: I am grateful that I am at a point in my life where I can help young ambitious women and filmmakers while doing what I love.
Miranda ~ You’ve been in the movie industry for a long time now; how do you balance this with family and still stay afloat? Is it harder being a woman?
Jamie: It is very difficult as a woman in this industry. Hollywood is very much still the “good ole’ boys’ club.” I’m not married and don’t have kids, but I’m very close to my family in Colorado. I always make time for them and for myself regardless of the hours and schedule.
Miranda ~ What word of advice would you give to anyone venturing into the acting/filmmaking business?
Jamie: If you have talent and drive, there is nothing you can’t do. You have to work harder and smarter than anyone else. When you walk into a room, you have to demand respect. Your attitude and demeanor says everything about you. Always walk with your head high, and don’t let anyone tell you that you are not good enough—it should go in one ear and out the other. Don’t lose yourself. Don’t ever sacrifice yourself or your personal morals because someone says you have to.
THIS or THAT (The Fun Questions!)
Coffee, Tea or Mocha? Coffee for sure, but tea in the afternoon!
Heels or Flats? Boots or Sandals? Definitely Heels or big boots/wedges when working!
Chocolate or Vanilla? Swirl!
Vegetables or Fruits? Fruits in the morning, veggies in the afternoon/evening! I love them both.
Juice or Smoothie? Freshly-squeezed juice
Rain or Snow? Rain
Spring or Fall? Spring! I love the sun!
Summer or Winter? Summer. I am not fond of cold weather, even though I am from Colorado!
Cooking or Cleaning? This one is easy! Cooking! Who likes to clean?
Breakfast or Dinner? Breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day.
Music or Books? Both! I love music and I love to read.
Dresses or Pants? Dresses. Classic 40s-60 styles.
Gym or Outdoor? For exercise the gym…. But there is nothing like spending time outdoors with the fresh air.
Leather Jacket or Blazer? Blazer
Thank you, Jamie, for visiting today!
About Jamie Lee Smith
Jamie Lee Smith (JStar), a native of Colorado, holds degrees in both Political Science & International Relations. Jamie Lee began her career in the music industry. Grateful for those opportunities, she would next utilize her experiences to transition into the development of a production company, Global Rockstar Productions, and found that she had a talent for film making.
She has grown Global Rockstar Productions into a reputable part of the film making community with contributions to films such as Jumper, Battle Los Angeles, 51, Up in the Air, Death House, Montana Sky, Pirates of the Caribbean, Mirror Mirror, Blood Out, Things we do for Love. Global Rockstar Productions has also been involved with such TV series as The Philanthropist, CSI, Real Housewives, various reality shows and NCIS: New Orleans.
Most recently, Jamie Lee has expended into independent film making as an Executive Producer, Producer and Assistant director. Her first independent film, Seven Deadly Words, has been highly awarded, winning more accolades than any other faith-based film. In 2015 she went onto make Losing Breen and is currently working on her third independent film while still running Global Rockstar Productions.
When not working on films, Jamie Lee travels the world speaking at conferences for women, entrepreneurs and young filmmakers.