Interview: Getting to Know Jared Cohn
Alongside being the director of Atlantic Rim, Jared Cohn is an actor, writer, producer, photographer, cinematographer and editor. Clever chap. Somethingyousaid.com caught up with him to find out more:
I am a dreamer. I am a hustler, I am an artist and I am a maniac. Really just a kid from Long Island, NY. I was always a little weird when I was a kid, I marched to my own beat. My mom is a painter, my dad is a lawyer so I have an artistic side and a business side. I have a fire that burns so hot it drives me to the point of mania almost daily. It’s a competitive drive that competes with itself. I sometimes go on writing binges where I will write for 30+ hours, until my eyes and head feel like they are burnt. I write screenplays, but sometimes write random letters to imaginary people. I really wish one day I will wake up with superpower, something cool. I’m just like every other artist in that regard, I sometimes feel I am a “grounded” megalomaniacal person. My motivation is twisted, it changes, one day it’s for truth, the next day; revenge. I wasn’t my decision to be put here on this planet and in this body, to have a brain that can’t turn off – so I just decided to go wherever the insanity takes me. Which has so far been to places that have been insane. Colorful, yet sometimes weird. But, that’s life in LA.
I’m currently working on a gang of different things. Someone once told me in this biz that if you don’t have eight things going on, then you have nothing. Which is solid advice, more like if you don’t have 12 things going on, you got nothing. I have multiple pans brewing, it’s a matter of when, why, and contingency. It’s a game of chess, patience, opportunity. I have been blessed by meeting some great people along the way that have given me chances and insight, I also have been blessed by failure. Failure is something I dance with often, success is fleeting, but failure is a beautiful lesson – I ask “why did this not work out?” What can I learn from this experience, how can I improve? Was it my fault? At the end of the day, being yourself and being grateful and positive is all you can hope for. Again, it was not my choice to be here, so I might as well try to succeed within the parameters surrounding me. It is either suicide or success. Middle ground is the hardest terrain to traverse, for most of the time it doesn’t exist.
Atlantic Rim is a blessing given to me by a mega successful operation known as The Asylum. The folks there have been a major part of my journey. I have been fortunate to be a part of about 10 of their movies, as an actor, writer, director and more. Besides it being a “mockbuster” and besides what most people think of movies, as a director, to be a part of something so deep is a part of life. I was in Florida for a month, it was a great experience. I met great people and was able to direct a movie, and get paid for it. Each movie is an experience, an art project where people collaborate and it’s a myriad of adventures. Directing a movie is a very exciting job, each movie I do, I learn something new. You create a world and tell a story, and this is something that lives on long after the production experience. Atlantic Rim is a chapter in my life.
I get inspiration from music, from people, from stories from seemingly random things. There are positive inspirations and negative ones. Sometimes I want to destroy things, kill things, these are negative inspirations that I recognize as such. Serial killers act upon them, whereas in my mind it usually ends up a dark fantasy in my mind. I’m not sure we as humans were meant or designed to be where we are as a whole. Perhaps this world is a giant mistake. Nobody really knows. What inspires me are stories of people who succeeded against great odds, at great cost. I knew one person when I moved to LA years ago, now I know many. Friends and foes, all amongst me. Each a colorful spirit that I can interact with. I like smart people, usually those people that are successful are really smart and hard working. I constantly analyze things, to the point where sometimes its a detriment. But I like smart people, and funny people. My family and my girlfriend and animals inspire me, so does nature.
I worry too much. I am better now than I was, but I worried myself to the point of panic. For a period of time I was unable to sleep, I stayed up and just worried. Horrible feeling, again… it has to do with us a species living in civilization – we are not meant to think, we are meant to hunt and gather and reproduce, not sit in traffic and decide what to buy at the supermarket, what clothes to wear, what to study. Part of me wishes I was a cave-man, living off instinct, adrenaline – without thought, thought is malicious most of the time. Thinking can kill you. Statistically you are more likely to kill yourself then to be killed by someone else, either intentionally or unintentionally. Being your own worst enemy is inevitable, however thought is the fuel for everything. The concept of thinking and not acting just off of instinctual motives has been the greatest and most dangerous introduction to the world as we know it.
I like a wide variety of movies. Hard for me to remember which ones were my favorite because one that was my favorite changes, depending on my mood. The Matrix, 300, Social Network, Tombstone, Fight Club, World War Z – these are my go-to favs, but there are so many documentaries I watch on Netflix late at night, that I love. I like good TV, House of Cards, Californication, Entourage, Oz, there have been some good stuff being made lately. Of course, my real fave movies are ones I made! Well, favorite in a different way, but you know what I mean! Movies are hard to make and when one comes that sticks in your head it’s really nice. Natural Born Killers was a great movie, so was Bloodsport and Lawnmover Man… I can list off so many movies I like… Training Day, The Hitcher, Casino, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, Contact, Belly, Predator 2, Dark Knight, White Noise, Flight, etc… I watch probably one movie a day. So, there are a lot!
It might surprise people to learn that I have a black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate, I played professional paintball, I am a certified scuba diver, I’ve shot and edited over 30 music videos, am pretty good with After Effects, can build websites, am an accomplished photographer, I am obsessed with cracking joints, I hate onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumbers, bean sprouts and probably a few other vegetables. I know a lot about video in general, in terms of camera, lenses, sensors, codecs, lighting… I graduated from New York Institute of Technology with a BFA, specializing in TV, FILM and post-production, they drilled a lot into my mind there. I also have acted in over 50 productions, on IMDB my acting credits are a lot more than anything else. I have a hairless guinea pig that I love. I love animals and dogs and weird animals I find cute too. Also, when I was a kid I had salmonella and almost died.
In the future I want to be alive and happy! I want to be on my deathbed with a smile on my face listening to The End by The Doors, with my loved ones around me and an animal and I want to drift off and die and I want the crazy thoughts to stop and just be peaceful and content and in a happy place with all my old pets and my family and friends. I want to play tetherball and ping-pong and just chill, watch the waves, and not have any worries. However, before I do I would like to be able to give back to some people and good causes.