Featured PA Filmmaker - Jozef Jozefowski

Friday, November 15, 2019 11:00 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

 Written by: Maria Shamkalian
PAFIA Vice-Chair

Born and bred in Philly, Jozef Jozefowski never ventured far from Broad Street, whether going to Temple University or to the Mummers. For the past nine years he has been working as a grip in the film industry, cranking out commercials and the occasional feature. His biggest achievements are in the day to day trenches, teaching green technicians and helping build camaraderie among crew.

1) What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
My wife and I recently had an addition to our family. Now we have two kids!

2) How did you get started in the film industry?
I went to Temple University, and out of a long list of majors, I decided to go with Film and Media Arts. It wasn’t until my last semester, that I discovered grip and electric (G&E).

Working on a senior project, I was the only one who knew how to use power tools, so they made me the key grip. From there it was basically working for free or earning little pay as a production assistant (PA), but preferably a Grip PA. I would scour Craigslist or the film office job list, and eventually I started forming a small work circle. Things really took off two years into the trade, when I was taken in by a few great technicians and key grips. I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today without the knowledge and help of Nic Reader, Zac Rubino, Jimmy Madison, Francisco “Sonic” Kim, and Dave Greenplate. These guys took the time to teach me and they pushed me to become a better technician.

3) Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
Family and Philly

4)  What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
Philly of course! I especially enjoy tech scouts— it’s like going on a sightseeing tour of the city, visiting locations you have never been to or places you never thought you would gain access.

5) What do you love the most about your job?
I love explaining to non-industry folks what a “grip” is. All kidding aside, gripping is an excellent combination of both manual labor and creativity. It’s that combination that keeps me coming back for more!

6)  What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
All the jobs seem to run in together, with each awkward or funny story overriding the next. The most memorable moments come on the last day of working a feature. For me it’s always an overnight in the rain. But as the sun rises and they call, “that’s a wrap,” it is a truly fulfilling and magical moment. It lasts only a moment though, because then you have to start breaking down and loading the trucks.

7) Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
I never know when my next job is coming. It could be tomorrow or it could be next month. That’s why you gotta make sure your phone is on you when you get the call!

8)  PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
There are so many people who are a part of the creative economy. We have a thriving local film community that works together on both passion projects and paid projects. Tax credits help ensure that our community can grow and impact other industries. In the end everyone benefits from tax credits.


9) What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
If you want to get into G&E, go stop by a rental house. Ask them if you can sweep the floors for free, and while you’re there you can learn about the gear. Now, although I tried doing this same thing and was told, “no” at the first rental house, it didn’t stop me from going on to the next one, which is where I learned a lot.

9) What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
Network. You never know where your next break is going to happen. And while networking, treat everyone — I’m talking about every person from way below the line to the highest person above the line — with equal dignity and respect. People will notice, and they will want to work with you on the next job.

10) What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
Don’t get angry with the people who block the one door, or the one set of steps, or the only entrance onto set. They’re not intending to be rude, they’re focusing on their job. Understand that there are a whole lot of people and departments all working together to create one great movie, commercial, or late-night infomercial.

11) What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
I’m a fan of Silver Linings Playbook.

12) What is your favorite project that you worked on?
I really enjoyed working on the History Making Productions, “Philadelphia the Great Experiment” series. I love Philly and dig history, so it was a great experience bringing the history of our city to life.

13) What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
I’m content working as a key grip. I don’t need acclaim or awards— not that those are bad things, they are pretty good things! My focus is to work every job (whether big or small) to the best of my abilities, to make sure I can support my family, and to drive home safely at the end of a very long day.

15) What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
Well I just checked my calendar, I have no upcoming gigs. But if any body else does, feel free to reach out and email me at jozefowski.jozef@gmail.com and I will make sure you get a first class G&E crew.

Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)
461 Cochran Road, Box 246
Pittsburgh, PA 15228
(717) 833-4561  info@pafia.org

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