Black Pearl Pictures

Reaching for the Stars in the film industry

When Jon Doddemeade tells you about the interesting things he’s done in his life, you expect him to be much older than 25, but this multi-media producer and director is the epitome of the Gen Y small business owner.

After working with his filmmaking family in advertising and fashion photography in South East Asia, Jon returned to Western Australia to finish his studies at the WA Screen Academy in Mt Lawley and established his own production company in Fremantle.

Black Pearl Pictures is an audio/visual production house, specialising in multiple areas of creative design, and producing feature films, television dramas, documentaries, lifestyle/magazine programs and screen commercials.

“I started the company in partnership with some friends in a studio in Subiaco, but I found out the hard way that unless you share the same goals, have similar work ethics and want the same future for your business, partnerships can be really difficult,” Jon said.

“In the end, I decided to run my own business from a home base, and hire the expertise I needed through outside contractors.”

Jon says time management is one of his biggest challenges.

“In film-making you need around 220 hours of footage for a two hour film, so it’s a lengthy process, that you need to keep control of,” Jon said.

“It means being dedicated to your work and making sacrifices where sometimes, even friendships can be strained.”

Black Pearl Pictures has received great accolades in recent years. The documentary “A Fish Tale”, about the exploitation of Rottnest Island’s natural resources won the Best Overall Film Award at the Stocker Preston Margaret River Film Festival in 2007 and Best Short Film in the Hawaii Film Festival, marine research section. It was also screened at the finals of the Los Angeles Short Film Festival, the “Get Reel” Film Festival in New York and the ‘Show me your shots’ Film Festival in New Zealand.

Jon’s current project ‘Space Cowboy’ is a documentary on astronomy, demystifying science with easily understood explanations and rare film footage of incredible galactic events.

“This has been a great opportunity to work with some really special people and it has opened my eyes to a science I knew little about,” Jon said.

“Working with keen astronomer Ray Palmer has been incredible and we’re hoping the film will be ready for release soon.”

When he’s not directing and producing films and documentaries, Jon is involved in the production of commercials for cinema and television and other areas of creative design.

“Multi-skilling is a good way of value-adding to your core business,” Jon said.

“My clients are often looking for a total package including web design and advertising, so it makes good sense to hone a range of complementary skills,” Jon said.

“There is also quite a bit of down-time in my line of work, so it’s important to have other irons in the fire for when the film-making business goes quiet.”

Jon also finds time in his busy schedule to ‘give back’ to the community and spoke at the SBDC Networking event on 2 April.

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