CJ Colando graduated with a film degree from Penn State University in 2014 and has since worked behind the scenes on large scale productions such as the films of Woody Allen, Comedy Central’s INSIDE AMY SCHUMER and Amazon’s MOZART IN THE JUNGLE.
Let’s be honest. Far too often, reading a director’s statement for a short film is an exercise in tolerating unhealthy levels of self-indulgence from undeserving filmmakers. Perhaps I’m one of them. I actually yelled “Yuck!” out loud, several times, while writing the first pass at this. But if you’re still reading this far, I appreciate you sticking it out. I promise I’ll be quick.
The screenplay for JAKE & JULIA was written quite spontaneously as an exercise in short, comedic narrative writing. Eventually, enough successful industry professionals, whose opinions I considered to be more than worthy, suggested it be made into a short.
I knew actors Swann Gruen (Jake) and Booker Garrett (Chelsea the bartender) through my tenure in the AD department on Comedy Central’s INSIDE AMY SCHUMER, and once they had expressed their enthusiasm after reading the script, I conceded that this film should probably come to life. Actress Sarah Pribis (Julia), of the viral “Shiney Hiney” fame, became the last piece of the puzzle after throwing her into a successful blind rehearsal with Swann and Booker. Together, they made the characters into what I perceived them to be on paper: ones that skate the line of tired cliche, but just miss. Jake is almost the stupid pervy boyfriend archetype, but never fully goes into paint chips territory. Likewise, Julia just narrowly avoids being the stereotypical annoying, nagging, fun-hating girlfriend.
What some may hopefully find refreshing, and others will find juvenile, is the semi-superficiality of JAKE & JULIA. There is no existential theme, no social commentary, but rather has the single goal of being entertaining to an audience. Every stand-up comedian I have ever gotten to know has emitted an attractive, irrefutable desire to become a pleasant distraction from the stresses and horrors of real life. In many ways, we can argue this is the goal of JAKE & JULIA. If you can forget about real life for 12 minutes, we’ve done our job. If you find it funny, that’s just a bonus.
(So that wasn’t too bad, huh? I admit it got a little douchey by the last paragraph. I apologize.)