John Jencks

John Jencks headshot.jpg


What do you work as?

I am a film director, producer and financier. I’m also the CEO of The Electric Shadow Company


What does this involve?

I could write pages and pages on the roles and responsibilities of directors and producers, but when asked I’ve often said (with a slight tongue in cheek) that a director is responsible “what” a film is and that a producer is responsible “that” a film is. 

That being said I try to keep my producing roles to those where I manage the business structuring of a film. Which is to say, where the money comes from, how it goes into the film and how it comes out again, when the film has (hopefully) made some money.


How did you get into that type of work?

I must have done something terrible in a past life, which cursed me with a desire to tell stories on the silver screen. I started young, putting talcum powder in my sister’s hair and pretending that she was Ms. Marple, investigating the Murder’s of the Missing Hand. Got my first job in my early 20’s clearing daisies off a golf course and loved the camaraderie. From there I made sure I was always the first person on the set in the morning, last person to leave in the evening and always had a smile on my face. 


What is your relationship with musicians/music directors?  

I like to get composers on really early when I’m working as a director. With any creative relationship, you need time to learn each other’s language. This is especially true for me when working with a composer as I have no formal musical training.


In what way does music impact your work?


As a director I always flounder around with a script until I start finding the music that ties the emotions together. At the moment I’m listening to a lot of dark folktronic stuff for a psychosexual thriller I’m working on, which is really helpful in setting the tone and getting the brain in rhythm. 


How important is music for communicating emotion in film?

You know you’re in trouble when you’re in the edit and the emotions of a scene aren’t working and someone suggests “we’ll just fix it with music!” It is true that music can help a lot, but wall to wall music through out a film that tells you what to feel is one of my pet hates. It should be there to lift emotions and help make them more precise. 

How do you search out musicians or music directors to work with?

I talk to a lot of people and am constantly listening to different things. I’m not a Spotify person, but I get friends with very different musical tastes to send me albums (yes proper physical albums) to get an idea of the range a person works with.


What advice would you give yourself aged 16?

It’s not a sprint.

Samuel Sparrow