Jim Wooden - Producer & Director
Filmmaker Jim Wooden lives a creative life. Jim has hopped freight trains, ran with the bulls, lived in a tipi and went to film school. Since he can remember he has loved the image. “Words seem to get in the way of a deeper reality. Film is such a wonderful art form, I tend to like it even more when it’s not wrapped too tightly with narrative.” There is something disingenuous about storytelling. Jim tends to favor the esoteric, magical and surreal realms.
At times, reflecting the angst of the contemplative tradition, his style never abandons his “urge to merge” with states outside everyday consciousness. Returning to the question “What’s behind it all?” His latest film, CRACKING YOUR CREATIVITY CODE is a treasure chest of creative insights; it is not only a resource, but also a guide to creative inspiration. Viewers find, “It’s a powerful experience that worked on me long after the viewing”
Jim at age 15, while in a Santa Monica middle school met a teacher and mentor, Len Wechsler. Together they made film; from body surfing and skateboarding to running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. (Where Lenny got to be the director/cameraman and Jim had to run.) It was a time of many laughs mixed with the joys of filmmaking.
Onto UCSB, Film Studies. In those days (1976) film students sat and watched movies (twice) and wrote lots of four page papers. Studying the likes of Ozu, Bergman, Fellini and master auteurs (as well as pop culture and documentary film.) It was a smorgasbord of lessons. The assignment of short form films every quarter produced several surreal themed pieces. Symbolism replaced words, while the mystical replaced straight narratives. Upon graduating with honors, he becomes floor director for the Santa Barbara evening news.
Jim loved being on a set. Ready for Hollywood, he took all his connections from being poolside bartender at the San Ysido Ranch in Montecito (during the writer’s strike) and ventured back to his home base in Santa Monica. Hollywood did not open their doors. After a despairing year, a UCSB buddy, Scott LeyVa got Jim a job at a small ad agency. There Jim produced promotional 16mm films. To get even more time behind the lens, he and Lois Radivoy started A Video Affair (1981) an event video company. Now 35 years Spelling, Streisand, Kudrow, Walters, Davis, Slaughter along with thousands of others have appreciated his style. After the ad agency, Jim teamed up with actor director Geoffrey Binney (and his wife Baiba) and thus started a 10-year collaboration making marketing and promotional videos. They traveled the world having a ball.
After marrying in 1991 and having 2 girls, Jim thought he better take another shot at Hollywood. He landed an assistant job on Birdcage (Mike Nichols). He loved returning to the set, but the 18 hour days made him look at the crew’s left ring finger. He returned to his family and the success of promotional and event videos and a number of short films.
In 2007 Jim began producing and directing short form documentaries on the artist’s process for high schools and colleges with the focus on “Creativity is the new Literacy.”
It was this experience with artists that inspired CRACKING YOUR CREATIVITY CODE. Over the next four years (woven with paying video gigs) Jim produced, directed and edited CRACKING YOUR CREATIVITY CODE. The result was a film that has more than just information, it has transformation imbedded throughout it. A COMPANION HANDBOOK was also written to guide the viewer with further exploration and assist them on their creative journey. Jim is currently developing a television series based on the film.
Jim and the GUIDES are available for post screening discussions.