Joston Ramon Theney, Screenwriter, Author, Director, Producer: The people who I’ve found that I worked with repeatedly are people who only want to see everyone around them succeed.
Film Courage: “The only person you should try to beat is the person you were yesterday.”
Film Courage: Is this something you believe?
Joston: Yeah, I believe that wholeheartedly. I don’t know where it comes from but there’s a sense of competition in the arts and everybody is looking at their peers, the person next to them and they’re trying to make sure they’re one-upping that person and trying to be better than that person and then they start following these weird trends. You find everybody doing the same thing and their only sense of growth is that their sense of growth is measured by how far they’ve distanced themselves from the next person. For me that’s just not the case. It makes it very tough to grow and I’m always trying to learn and grow in everything I do and the only way you can really measure that growth is if you look at the work that you’ve done before and how much more you’ve improved, how much closer are you to achieving whatever it is you see in your head because when I sit down and I write, I’ve seen the movie in my head. When I step on the set I’m ready to bring whatever’s in my head to the screen. The way I gauge my own success and the way I gauge my own growth is by how much closer have I gotten to that with each project? I feel like in the beginning (maybe one of the first films I did) I probably got five percent of what was in my head on the screen, because it’s all about learning how to communicate and work effectively with everyone on the set. It’s about the team where the teamwork makes a dream work, right? It’s about learning how to work with your team. How do you deliver the information that they need in a way that they can understand and execute effectively and with each project? I think you’re supposed to grow and get better at that communication and you can view the work to see your growth but if you’re constantly measuring yourself by what everybody else is doing, where is your real growth?
Film Courage: True. Let me just play the devil’s advocate for a second though because sometimes you can have a strong mindset like that but then you get individuals from the side and they want to rope you into their competition and it’s up to you to say Oh, I don’t think I’m playing today. But we’re human and we get…I mean look the movie Eighth Grade [writer/director Bo Burnham] for those of us who remember being a female in eighth grade it reminds me a lot of that and there’s still an aspect of that to adult life and especially in entertainment. How do you handle when you can tell you’re being challenged and roped into some kind of weird competitive thing and you’re saying No, this is my path, my lane is here. Your lane is there.
Joston: I think fortunately I haven’t been wrote in that I do know a filmmaker who I think they’re in competition with me but I think that that’s all in their head because in order for it to be a competition two people have to be playing but I don’t bother to participate because I know what it is that I’m trying to accomplish I know what my lane is and and the the kind of projects that I’m looking to create and how I’m looking to create them and realistically the only person in that lane is is me and even if there was another person who was doing this the same or something similar, I would give them whatever knowledge I have to help them succeed at whatever they’re trying to accomplish because that’s the way we all win is if we’re all helping each other…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
Screenwriter, author, producer, director Joston Ramon Theney grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. He is known for films such as Wanton Want (2021), Axeman at Cutters Creek (2020) and Jurassic Hunt (2021).
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