From Diploma Student to Film Producer: A Career in The Making


18 Jan 2017




From Diploma Student to Film Producer: A Career in The Making

18 Jan 2017

Producing and directing films has always been a passion for SAE Melbourne graduate Jarrod Theodore, who was motivated to follow his dreams of making films, and enrolled in a Diploma of Film at SAE Melbourne.  

With four films under his belt, Jarrod has moved into a Producer role at DPI (Digital Photography In-house), a company in Melbourne that acts like an agency and production company all in one, and specialises in developing online brand awareness video and photography content for clients.

In 2013 Jarrod set out to make his debut feature film, REVERSE RUNNER.  Taking on the roles of writer, director and producer with friend Lachlan Ryan, the film was executively produced by noted Hollywood director Stephen Herek (THE MIGHTY DUCKS, 101 DALMATIANS). The family comedy connected with regional audiences and screened across nine cinemas around Australia.

Most recently Jarrod has produced two short films BIG CITY, and NOT REAL, that have been listed on the official selection in a range of international film festivals which are currently screening around the world. The short film BIG CITY, made through Open Channel’s Raw Nerve Initiative, had its world premiere at Melbourne International Film Festival as part of the Accelerator Program, and both films had their North American premier at the Austin Film Festival in Texas.

We caught up with Jarrod before the holidays to hear about his experience studying at SAE and how this has led him to a successful career in his dream industry…

What inspired you to enter into the career you're in?
My interests, skills and curiosity lies in Film.  I’m a really curious person, I find that making films requires you to have a lot of patience and passion to commit to a project and see through an idea, for a very long time, plus a bit more.

What are your fondest memories of your time at SAE?
It was probably forging relationships with my lecturers, Matt, Adam and Dave. I still keep in touch with them and send them my projects to get their feedback! They’re great guys who took me under their wing and had me on their film sets, introducing me to people in the industry etc.

SAE film alumni Jarrod Theodore

Are you able to shed some light on how studying at SAE lead you to where you are now?

SAE gives you access to some great camera equipment and a crew.  It's a period of time where you should be making as much as possible, cutting your teeth, so to say. The class hours may not be huge, but it gives you heaps of time to get out there and shoot!  This then leads to paid work using the skills you learnt at SAE.

What are your career highlights?

Producing a feature film, getting a short film into the well-respected MIFF (Melbourne International Film Festival), attending the Austin Film Festival in the states and hearing from people at the top of their game like Craig Mazin, Frank Marshall, Nancy Myers and Shane Black.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I’m busy developing concepts for my second feature film.

What advice would you give to students aspiring to become successful in their field?

Success is different for everyone, it depends on what your goals are. If you're like me and want to produce great stories, I think it’s important to take your time. We live in a world saturated by content, so I don't see any point in just adding more stuff to the pile. My advice is to find a great story that you need to share with the world. Spend the time on it, develop the story to the best of your ability, and then you know you’ve given it the best chance to cut through the pile.

Who inspires your work? 

I love going to filmmaker exhibitions. I recently went to the Stanley Kubrick exhibition, which was just so incredibly inspiring.

Jarrod Theodore

What do you enjoy most about working in your industry?

Every day is different – just the work itself can be so inspiring.

What did you love most about studying at SAE?

We had lecturers who weren’t teachers, they were filmmakers. I remember in one of our first classes our lecturer (Dave), told us quite matter-of-factly how the industry works and the reality out there working in the industry.

What's one project are you most proud of, and what was your role in this project?

Reverse Runner, the debut feature film. While it wasn’t a 'perfect' film, the experience of making it was very rewarding. In fact, it's still paying dividends, not the monetary kind, but something even more valuable, opportunity. It's how I landed my job today as producer at my current production company.

Who do you follow on social media? 

I find podcasts are a really useful tool. We’ve got access to such a huge range of uber talented people delivering hours of insight, it's pretty much audio gold. I also think it’s going to speed things up in the creative field. I remember reading the transcripts from the story meetings between Spielberg, Lucas, and Kasdan, when they were fleshing out the character of Indiana Jones. It's like being in the room with them!


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