Michael Jolls is Making Hollywood Great Again, One Project At a Time!

There's a healthy conversation to be had using films, and I hope that's what gets across to the readers by the end of the books.

The Sassy Writer had the opportunity to speak with Filmmaker and Author Michael Jolls, and we can confidently say that this interview will go down as one to remember! Jolls shares his favorite movie parody and just precisely how the interests of his 10-year-old self prepared the future him for a money-making opportunity.

Also, we touched base on his latest book release, Make Hollywood Great Again. It's written around a dialogue we may have not realized that needed to be had!

TSW: Adult Michael Jolls is pulled together well, making waves in the film industry and making strides as an author. We have often seen where individuals have offered their younger selves advice. We are going to reverse this role just a bit. If 10-year-old Michael Jolls played a prank on the current day Michael Jolls, what would it be?

MJ: Ha! I'm pretty sure he already did that. The 10-year-old me showed up two and a half years ago — I was looking for a simple part-time job to make a little extra cash, and there was this Asian shop that was hiring. They sold imports of plush dolls, purses, cute stationery, trinkets, squishes, etc. You know, novelty items. The owner was a lovely Chinese woman, and I eventually worked at one of her shops… but anyway, I digress...

The 10-year-old me was obsessed with Pokémon. One of the items that this store sold were plush Pokémon dolls. So when I first met her and her son, she pointed to a wall of these Pokémon dolls and asked if I knew who any of them were. I kinda laughed and said, "Dear Lord, I'm pretty sure they've invented hundreds of new ones since I was into this stuff, but, well okay, that one's obviously Pikachu, and that's Jigglypuff, and that's Psyduck, and that's Mewtwo….," and in rapid-fire succession, I named like twenty of them!! My brain did an instant recall – I was like, This is so embarrassing, to myself.

Well, it helped get me the job because the owner told me that some of the people she interviewed couldn't name any of them!

Anyway, I know the 10-year old me would have loved to know that his addiction to that stupid Game Boy would, in fact, make him money one day.

TSW: Ahh, Pokémon is like this timeless interest that could possibly never die. I remember it from younger years, like you. Then here, just in the last 5 years, it reemerged in a sweeping motion, you know. Getting everyone outside in the name of Pokémon Go! So, not only are you an author, but you are a filmmaker? I have to ask when did you pick up your first camera and why?

MJ: The very first time had to have been my Dad's home-movie camera. The kind that recorded to a mini-cassette 8mm tapes.

The first time I ever did anything with a camera with purpose was high school. I used a tiny little Gateway camcorder to make stop-motion "movies" for class with action figures. Typically for those ambitious book reports that teachers give you over a break.

TSW: Haha! Those definitely were not my favorite memories associated with books. I'm sure your teacher was quite impressed with the creative innovation. In fact, I think I read somewhere stating how your work significantly influenced the film program of your high school. That's major. A couple of your shorts, Sell Me this Pen, 6 Rules, and even your latest book release, Make Hollywood Great Again, are all titles that literally pull you in. Let us in a bit on your writing style. If it was a plate of food, what would it be?

MJ: A smorgasbord. A giant smorgasbord of everything! Just piled on there! A little of this and a little of that. BUT! But… eaten very carefully. One portion at a time.

Now, here's what I mean by that: I have no set style. Or rather, the "style" is random. Some books I got into a routine. Other books, half was written by hand, and the other half typed. I've written in very studious and sophisticated atmospheres like a library, or I'll play music to help fuel the moment. Then, other times I've written out full chapters in the margins while doing research. I'll write outside just to be in the sun. I've gone to quiet dive bars in the late evening and squirrel myself away in a corner. I've gone to loud restaurants and done writing that way. It really depends on whatever aspect of the book I'm tackling.

With that said, the assembly of a book is a detailed step-by-step process. So, as carefree as I might be in the extraction of raw sentences out of my head, the whole thing comes together in a strict order.

TSW: A smorgasbord – sweet, a vast array of flavors and delicacies, but if it is savored, it is beyond enjoyable. We can dig that. Speaking of "a little of this and a little of that," parody films encompass this well. How do you feel about parodies? Do you have a favorite?

MJ: Yikes, well, all of them are pretty bad. Actually, A Haunted House and A Haunted House 2 are outrageously funny! Very stupid, but they make me laugh. I'm a fan of Paranormal Activity – well, okay, the first three – and I thought the Haunted House perfectly mocked the horror genre.

TSW: I have never watched Paranormal Activity, because well, yea, it's about paranormal activity! I believe I would literally feel the need to sleep with a spotlight on in my home for at least 6 months. However – I love a great parody because they are terrible, yet typically hilarious. Getting on to your work. I know this is probably one of the hardest questions to answer during this entire interview, but we have to ask! What is your favorite project to date?

MJ: Oh! That's not a fair question! Ugh… well, since we're talking "favorite"… I know it's not my "best" work, but of all the projects, 6 Rules was the most "fun" to make. I'll privilege that one because it was the first time actually "doing it," you know?

Every production will give you heartache, and every production will have its tremendously fun moments. Now, since 6 Rules, I've certainly had better experiences on any number of film sets. Still, that first time you have a shoot where everything comes together, everyone's on mark, everyone's laughing, and the energy is palpable… oh, it's addicting. I'll answer in terms of a drug addict: I'm still chasing that first great "high."

TSW: Ahhh, yes, the first high, I love it! At this point, you are well into the film industry, and I am sure serving as an inspiration to others. However, Who in film has served as your biggest inspiration?

MJ: Everyone has influenced me over the years. Everyone.

On the one hand, there are those who've I've taken from — or, been "inspired by" — from the perspective of "showbiz." I took a little healthy cynicism from Fincher when I worked on David Fincher: Interviews. Certainly, the management and control of one's career via Clint Eastwood have been a major influence.

On the other hand, I've certainly taken "cinematically" from Sam Mendes, Terrence Malick, and Steven Spielberg.

But if I can only go with one, it would have to be Paul Greengrass. I've not done anything in the genre that he's dabbled in, but that's the direction I would love to go in. Additionally, his shooting and editing style is so tight and well balanced.

TSW: Nice, I can definitely understand how that answer could easily call for more than one person. Your collection of works is impressive, and we would like to see more. When can we expect to see your next release in either film or books?

MJ: In 2019, I wrote three books simultaneously: Rev. William Netstraeter and Make Hollywood Great Again, both of which are out and finished. The third book I wrote with my long-time friend, Bobby Watson, about his experiences in the death metal music industry, but that won't be coming out for a while. So I'm taking a break from writing and going back to filmmaking. We're doing some short political videos – trying to get people to look at heated issues with a little common sense. And, we have an "art" film called That Which Surrounds Us that we've been tinkering at for years.

I'm looking forward to finally getting that done.

TSW: Sounds like some pretty powerful pieces to be expected. We, at TSW, will be watching and waiting for the releases. We encourage our readers to do so as well. So, before you leave us, we have to do it! The TSW Power Round. If you could remake one movie, what would it be?

MJ: Hmmm… damn, you know, I've had answers to this question before, but I can't think of any right now. You need to give me a coffee-table book of old movies that I can look through to jog my memory.

TSW: Haha! No worries. Favorite Board Game?

MJ: Candy Land.

TSW: Skydiving or Mountain climbing?

MJ: Skydiving.

TSW: What is the primary message you aim to give your readers?

MJ: For all of the film books, it's the encouragement to take time and savor what you watch. We have a tendency to consume media like it's a meal we have to eat. Now, that's nothing new — it's been going on for at least the last two decades. I really believe it would be beneficial to society if we all took the time to reflect on the cinema we "download" into our brains.

Specifically, with Make Hollywood Great Again, these movies give some really profound commentary about life in the last three years. We might be looking through the vantage point of politics, but the issues like MeToo, identifying biased journalism, what's worthy news versus unimportant, etc.

Look at violence that erupted in late-May 2020. It's fueled by police misconduct, heated with rough political jargon, frustrations with inequality, racial tension, inaccurate news reports, and orchestrated chaos. Now, I only bring that up because had I delayed in releasing Make Hollywood Great Again by a single month… I could have easily made the book three or four pages longer using other films or expanding other chapters.

There's a healthy conversation to be had using films, and I hope that's what gets across to the readers by the end of the books.

TSW: Indeed. Tell us, how can the people connect?

MJ: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michaeljolls

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16018314.Michael_Jolls

IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm4380301/

Instagram: @michael_jolls

Twitter: @Michael_Jolls