Where did you grow up and go to school?
I grew up moving across the south and eventually landed in New Orleans, LA where I graduated high school before joining the Army. Later in life, I attended Holmes Community College in Ridgeland, Miss., where I earned my EMT and Paramedic certifications.
At what moment did you discover an interest in working in Film/ TV?
It was December 13, 2014, my first day on a film set of any kind. I was amazed, as I watched what went in to shooting a single scene. After that, I was hooked, it took me a few more years to decide to pursue a career in film production.
At what point did you realize you could take steps to pursue your dream from Mississippi?
I realized I could pursue it full time in March of 2018, because I had been busy with production work the nine months prior. At that point, I went part time at Pafford EMS (a company I still work for) and decided to chase the dream.
What type of training have you had and where?
I have been in Emergency Medical Sciences since August of 2005. I became an EMT in June of 2006, and a paramedic in February of 2011. I have worked with many different service providers in our state and have run nearly 4,000 emergency calls during that time.
What was your first Film/TV job?
I was a fill in set medic on “Life at These Speeds” which was renamed “One Mile to You” which filmed in central Mississippi in 2013.
Are you working on any current/recent projects?
Most recently, I worked as the traveling set medic on Gordon Ramsay’s “24 Hours to Hell” and wrapped on a feature titled, “Synchronic,” which shot in New Orleans. Right now, I am sitting on the set of “Be Our Chef” in Orlando, Fla., an original show coming soon to Disney’s new streaming service, Disney Plus.
What has been the most surprising thing about working in the film industry?
The amount of attention to detail that is required for a feature or scripted series. Is the straw in the right place? Do the wall and the watch match? Was the jacket slung over the left or the right shoulder? The saying “The devil is in the details” describes film and television production to a T.
Who has been an influence on your career and why?
Brian Seale. He was my partner and mentor on the ambulance when I was still an EMT. I learned from him how to treat patients, not only for their symptoms but also to help calm their fears. He was a set medic as well. He believed in me enough to allow me to fill in for him when he needed off. He encouraged me to pursue my dreams. While he is no longer in EMS or set medic on film productions, he is someone whose advice I still seek.
How does being a Mississippian help you stand out in our industry?
I travel the country and have filmed as far west as Kansas City, as far north as Minneapolis, as far east as Connecticut and as far south as Orlando. In each location, they are surprised to learn that someone from Mississippi works in the production field. At first this bugged me, but then I decided to use it as an opportunity to let them know that Mississippi has an incredible crew base. I do my best each day to highlight the people in our state, through word of mouth and from the Filming in Mississippi Facebook group that I created and manage.
If you could create a scene built around one location in Mississippi, where would that be and why?
I didn’t even have to think about this, NATCHEZ! I have told many people that a way to encourage film production in our state is to have a television series based out of Natchez. Not only is it a beautiful setting, it also has so much history that you could base a story around. Bring a series to a city, you bring jobs and attention to that city. You bring attention to that city, it brings tourists to that city, and tourists bring tax dollars.
Favorite moment on set or with a project?
A feature called “Blattodea” (renamed “Wounds”) starring Armie Hammer and Dakota Johnson which filmed in New Orleans. Not only was the crew incredible to work with, but Armie was a joy to work with.
What do you do when you’re not working on a film set (other jobs, hobbies, etc.)?
I work part time for Pafford EMS in the Jackson metro area as well with Rural Rapid Response EMS in Franklin county. It allows me to keep my skills sharp and to continue to help people.
What are your hopes for the film industry in MS?
Simple. For it to GROW!!! The locations, the people, the stories. There are few places better than this wonderful state to film.
What’s your advice for someone looking to break into the film business?
Make sure that the word NO is not in your vocabulary. If given a chance to work on a project, do it. Don’t be afraid of something that only offers food and credit. Learn what you can so down the road you will be in a position where you can say NO because you want to.
How can people find/reach you?
I can be reached via email at MagnoliaMovieMedics@Gmail.com.