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Interview With “Alien Territory” Director Jordan-Paige Sudduth

In March I did a review of the Student Fan Film “Alien Territory”, and a subsequent interview with actress Elena Goodrow.  The Director, Jordan-Paige Sudduth was impressed with both the Review and Interview, and I reached out to her for an interview, with the person behind the film, and she  agreed.  So, I present to the GeekyKool audience, Jordan-Paige Sudduth.

1.) Question: Tell us about yourself?

Answer: Hi! My name is Jordan-Paige Sudduth, I’m 18 years old, and I am originally from
Cumming, Georgia, but now reside with my family in Richmond, Texas. I am primarily a writer,
director, actor, and casting director. I began acting for stage around the age of 10 and acting
for film around the age of 12. During my freshman year of high school in the 2015-2016 school
year, I began writing my first film, CRACKED, which was filmed in the summer of 2016. I’ve
continued to write and create my own films ever since then, and will be attending Vancouver
Film School this August to study Writing for Film, Television, and Games.

2.) Question: Do you enjoy being behind the camera, or in front of it more?

Answer: To be quite honest, I like both of them for different reasons, so I really can’t decide
which one I enjoy more! I love being in front of the camera because acting is truly a passion of
mine, and I love being trusted to bring a character and/or a story to life. There’s just something
so special about being a part of something in that way. I also love being behind the camera,
because I love being the one to write the stories and create them in a different way as I watch
them come to life. The feeling of watching actors bring your characters and your story you’ve
written and seen in your head so many times to life is truly indescribable. All in all, I really can’t
choose, they’re both such special experiences.

3.) Question: What about the film industry attracted you to making your career choice?

Answer: As I mentioned before, acting was the first bit of the industry that I came across, and I
was hooked immediately. However, I had always loved writing since a young age, and reading
was another one of my favorite things; I just really had a love for literature. I remember in the
3rd grade we were split into groups and had to write a little play/performance based off of
something (I can’t remember what), and I adored that creative process so much that it’s a
project I’ll never forget, even after these years. I was the lead in my group’s little play, so the
next year when the school created a drama club, I was all in. I loved what acting was able to
bring and the experiences it gave me, but my love for writing never went away, and when I
came to the realization that there was nothing stopping me from writing my own film, a whole
new world opened up for me. So, I think what really attracted me to continue down this writing
pathway (I do plan on pursuing directing, casting, and acting as well) was the fact that anyone
could make a film. Anyone can write something, pick up their phone or a camera, shoot it, and
make art, no matter how good or how bad, and if they’re serious about it and continue along
that path, the industry is always there. The film industry is limitless, there are always new ideas
being thrown around and new storylines making their way to a television or movie screen, and
they’re all so different. It reminds me that the ideas I have had, do have, and will continue to
have, could have a place in the vast expanse of the industry.

4.) Question: You filmed “Alien Territory” at Ares Studios, how did you find out about using the
studio?

Answer: This is actually quite the interesting story, or, at least it is to me. Over 6 months before
I shot “Alien Territory” I was shooting a film called “One Shot” and the mom of one of my extras
worked in the school system. She told me about a high school that had a film class that was
shooting films on a spaceship set. I was completely blown away and had to learn more, so I
reached out to Mr. Souvorin, who teaches the class, and he added me into the group, where I
learned they were getting ready to shoot a film for a class project. Unfortunately, I was unable
to help with the project due to my schedule, but I stayed in the group and kept up with what
they were doing. In January of 2019, I began to develop this idea that would take place on the
set, so I went and asked Mr. Souvorin, if Ares Studios would let me use the set, I got
permission, Mr. Souvorin was there on set with us to let us in the studio and be a chaperone,
and that’s how the magic happened!

5.) Question: How much of a difference did filming on a professionally built set help your story
be told (from a writer and director stand point)?

Answer: Well as a writer, I don’t sit down and write out a script unless I’m pretty sure it can be
filmed. So when I got the okay to shoot at Ares Studios, that’s when “Alien Territory” was
written, because I knew I didn’t want to film a story that took place on a spaceship anywhere
but a spaceship. Being able to shoot on the Ares Studios set made everything so much more
realistic than it ever would have been if we hadn’t had the studio to use. From a directing
standpoint, it also made my actors feel more in the moment, I’d say, because we all were
standing ON a spaceship! Instead of me having to say “okay, now I want you to pretend you
see this,” I didn’t have to, because the walls, buttons, screens, etc. were all actually there,
which helped make everything feel much more real than it would have felt if we filmed
anywhere else. Overall, being able to film on the set made a world of a difference. I know the
film wouldn’t have come out how it did if we hadn’t been able to film on the set, so I am so
beyond grateful we were able to use such an incredible resource.

6. Question: Have you, or will you recommend Ares Studios to other Atlanta based (or
elsewhere) filmmakers?

Answer: YES, I absolutely plan on recommending the studio to other filmmakers. It’s such an
amazing set and wonderful resource, I would highly recommend it.

7.) Question: How do you pick your actors and actresses when casting roles?

Answer: I begin by writing out a casting call/breakdown and posting it on my social media, my
website, filmmaking and casting groups on Facebook, backstage.com, and I used to post the
breakdown on Actors Access (Breakdown Express, as it’s called on the casting side) as well,
but unfortunately the southeast region office doesn’t seem to want to post student casting
calls anymore unless the student is in college. Once the breakdown is posted, when someone
submits to me, I send them a set of sides I would like them to tape for me, and a deadline for
when I need the videos back. When I’m watching through self tapes to cast, I usually don’t
have what the characters look like in my head, so I keep an open mind. When I cast, I look for
someone who just IS the character, and this doesn’t happen every time. There are some
special moments when casting that I watch an audition and go “Them, that’s the character,
that’s who they are,” and it’s just this feeling that I can’t describe. As I said though, this doesn’t
happen with every project. Thankfully, Atlanta’s got some amazing talent, so I’d say about 50%
of the time, that feeling happens, and even when it doesn’t, there’s some incredible people with
amazing talent who are ready for the job. I look for an actor who embodies the character, but I
can also see who they really are in their slate. It’s great to work with a fantastic actor, but no
one wants to work with a great actor who’s a rude person in real life, so I try to choose people
who seem great and easy to work with as well.

8.) Question: What are your future plans to become a better actor, writer, and director?

Answer: I simply plan to continue creating. As mentioned previously, I’ll be going to school in
August to continue my education with writing, but I’ll be attempting to continue to create films
of my own to hone my directing skills as well. For acting, I try to get on set as much as
possible, even if it’s for background work, because every day on set is a blessing and a
learning opportunity. The writing program at Vancouver Film School I am going to be a part of
is a one year course, and I have tentative plans to continue my acting education by auditioning
for the school’s one year acting program after I complete the writing pathway in 2020.

9.) Question: What do you like to do outside of the film industry, any hobbies?

Answer: To be honest, I love staying busy, and to stay busy, I often try to create, which is a part
of the industry. But I do love to read and am keeping track of how many books I read this year,
just for fun, and I love to watch TV shows and movies, even though I often feel guilty for doing
so, because it feels like I’m not doing anything productive (and then the other side of my brain
argues that I’m studying the craft of acting, directing, casting, and writing all while watching
those shows, so I watch them anyway). I’m also a daily vlogger, so I upload those every day to
my NeverFearJordiIsHere YouTube channel, and music is also a big part of my life, so you’ll
often see me with earbuds in my ears and daydreaming about anything and everything.

10.) Question: I know you produce under the moniker “JayPay Productions” do you intend to
incorporate your company in the future?

Answer: JayPay Productions is actually my production company name, so it’s not actually a
name I personally use instead of my actual name. I haven’t gone through any legal actions to
get my production company to become an “actual” company since I still create small, unpaid,
independent films, but if it gets to the point where I am still creating films and can do so at a
higher lever, then yes, I will take the actions necessary to make JayPay Productions my official
company.

11.) Question: How can people contact you on social media?

Answer: Social media is a big thing for me, so I’m pretty much everywhere! My Instagram
primarily what I use, and my handle is @jordan.paige.s
I also have a Twitter which I don’t use much, but I’m trying to use more, and that is @jpsudduth
My Facebook page is my name, Jordan-Paige Sudduth. I have a personal facebook account
and my page, which are both named the same thing, but the page is my professional page.
I have two primary YouTube channels for two different types of content. My daily vlogs can be
found on my channel named NeverFearJordiIsHere, and my films and all blooper and behind
the scenes reels can be found the channel JayPay Productions.
I also have a LinkedIn, which is just my name, Jordan-Paige Sudduth.
I have my website, which is www.jordanpaigesudduth.wordpress.com
And lastly I have my email for primary contact, which is sudduthjordanpaige@gmail.com

Follow up – Since my interview and review of Alien Territory in March, the film has been nominated for The Circle City Film Festival in Indiana, and was selected for the  Direct Monthly Online Film Festival for the month of August 2019

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