We had the good fortune of connecting with JD Karpicke and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi JD, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My background is in music, learning the violin in a family of musicians from the age of 4. I didn’t have many other options, so film was a hobby and creative outlet for my true passion. I got through college studying music performance, and traveled the world continuing my studies, but something was always missing. I decided in 2011 that I needed to pursue film more directly, and that is when I took up acting. My musical background definitely aided me in this journey towards filmmaking. The medium serves as an outlet to highlight a multitude of arts, and I think that might be my favorite part. It was more of a calling than a career.
Throughout my acting career, I was fortunate enough to make contacts with many talented people in filmmaking. I’ve always had a passion for the medium and for the first time saw an opportunity to produce films in that vision. Most people know that acting can be a frustrating career especially in the indie film market, so when I got the chance to pursue producing, I called on the crew members and colleagues that I worked with in the past, and we got to work.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art has always been about collaboration. Though I’ve been confident in my ideas, I also saw that my vision was not something I could achieve on my own. I found early on that to conquer this powerful vision, I needed to build a crew so we could all shine brighter together. Picking a great team has been the single most important decision I’ve ever made. There are filmmakers that can “do it all”, but I’ve also seen films that suffer from lack of outside input. I feel that if someone is there for you and shares your passion, you should give them a key to it so you can enjoy the collective outcome. I’m not interested in telling one story, one script, one visual; rather committed to find the way our team can grow together over a multitude of projects.
Passion is a great start, but the business side has never been easy. I always thought “make great work, and the world will see it!”. That’s cute, but the reality is very different. I love the work we’ve done, but I began to understand that this wasn’t a ‘regular job’ very quickly when business came into the picture. I have a lot of experience working for entrepreneurs, yet due to the multifaceted nature of filmmaking, I continue to struggle with focus. Sometimes you feel like you’re painting yourself into a corner, but it’s important to take every small victory as progress. Taking time to breathe is important. There are so many things you can’t control, and sometimes you just have to take the hit and move on to the next task.
In the grand scheme of my career I would like to achieve a level of success where I can not only work with filmmakers I admire, but also open up opportunities for up and coming filmmakers in the Houston area, whether financially or through service. I’m not looking for my name on a bench when I die, I look forward to having a body of work that represents me well and a reputation for helping others.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are some great spots in our city. I’m a bit of an introvert, but here we go.
The Secret Group is the best comedy club in town. They have great open mics, DJ events, live comedy shows that remind me of the alt scene in LA. Many of my comic friends started there and have gone on to write for television and tour with some of the biggest names in comedy. Its the place for emerging talent coming out of Houston.
Neil’s Bahr is a great chill spot to have a drink. The owner really put his heart into this place. Its a themed bar with so much nostalgia built in, seeming to grow on the walls like it has a life of its own. Its right by Secret Group and Warehouse Live, so you can hop over after a show.
Avant Garden is also a must for any artist. This is where I met many of my music friends and colleagues. I actually got most of my practice improvising with different musicians at their Tuesday night open mic. It’s such an inspiring and supportive environment to be surrounded by people at different levels of their artistic journey.
And I love restaurants BUT here are the taco trucks you need to try:
El Taconazo off Fulton St is super clutch, and if you can make it out to Highway-6 and Cairnway, you should stop by Taqueria El Rey Azteca. Tacos Pacos is another great spot with three locations, family owned and operated. Great people and amazing food.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate this to Adam Castillo (80C Productions). I’ve worked with him numerous times and he is the reason I saw an outlet for our storytelling. He has taught me so much about filmmaking through following a story and nothing else. He has singlehandedly guided my career by placing all emphasis on story. Though film can be full of magic, no cinematic technique can stand alone without a captivating narrative driving it.
Instagram: @row7films and @bowlcutsroast
Facebook: Row 7 Films
Other: We also produce a live comedy show once a month at Wolves Den called BOWL CUTS.
Vince Rockwell Isaac Yowman