Christian Nolan Jones is the director of the SXSW 2022 award winning short film ‘Glitter Ain’t Gold’. While in Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest Festival, we met up with Christian to discuss his journey as a filmmaker from Atlanta and the inspiration behind the short film ‘Glitter Ain’t Gold’.
Claudia Giunta: So, do you want to tell us a little bit about your experience at SX so far?
Christian Nolan Jones: SX is crazy. Um, we’ve done a lot of partying, but also met a lot of great filmmakers. Um, and it’s great being here with them screening the film because I’ve never been around, I think this caliber of filmmaking. So that’s exciting to just be a part of the conversation. So yeah.
“I wrote the first draft in a couple of hours, came back with a few notes and then I made one more iteration and that one maybe took a couple of more hours to figure it out.” – Christian Nolan Jones
Claudia: What is your earliest memory of film?
Christian: My earliest memory of film actually pre me being a filmmaker is my mom trying to show me a bunch of black and white movies. And then after that, a lot of watching movies with family. Some of my greatest memories are watching things like ‘Friday’ or ‘Don’t be a Menace..’ at home with my family. So I don’t know if that started me on my filmmaking journey, but I can definitely say that filmmaking is something that I see as a possibility to create memories within the home. So, yeah,
Claudia: So what specifically got you into wanting to make film?
Christian: My friends in high school we’re filmmakers Darius and Russell. And I would you know, watch them make things. And I decided to team up with my friend Darius and write treatments. And just seeing, you know, him taking my words to, you know, being on at that time like a laptop screen or a desktop just seemed really cool. So when I went off to college, I decided to buy a camera and try to teach myself how to shoot. And by that time, I had begged Darius to teach me how to edit. So, me not knowing what I was doing shooting wise, just reading up on a lot of books, actually like photography books were what I was reading at the time and I didn’t even know it, but that turned into me making my first film. And I guess, you know, I didn’t look back after that.
Claudia: When you were making ‘Glitter Ain’t Gold’, did you have a favorite aspect or part of doing that?
Christian: I think my favorite part was probably being on set because it was just such a a family environment. It was, you know, pretty much like all of my friends on the crew. I was able to bring the production designer Vango Jones, down from New York and we’ve worked on every project together, that I’ve been out of school and Maia (Maia Miller) our producer, you know, same thing. We’ve worked on projects together. And then our cinematographer, Alvin McBean, I was trying to figure out what project I could work with with him on since I had met him so it was really cool to to be able to have this first collaboration down with him. And yeah, I just think being in that environment was very good for me. And just to see everybody sort of tap into the energy of the story and, you know, we got to be hyper intentional about what was being captured that was really exciting as well.
Claudia: And you wrote the film, correct?
Christian: Yes so this is the quickest I’ve wrote anything I wrote in like two days. I sent the script to my manager and he was like, so excited. And I told him I wanted to do it in two months and he was like, “No, you don’t have time to do that you’re crazy.” but it ended up working out that way. And I’m just happy that I was able to convince everybody to get behind it.
Claudia: So, you actually did it in two months?
Christian: Yeah, so we went from the first draft, I wrote the first draft in a couple of hours, came back with a few notes and then I made one more iteration and that one maybe took a couple of more hours to figure it out. And then after that the way that I convinced everybody was going to Common and telling him about the project, and asking him to get behind it. And you know, it’s kind of hard to deny when you have a project financed so I was able to go back to the producers and say, “Hey, look, he wants to help you guys. Do you guys want to do this with me. And everybody was like, “no, it’s still not in not enough time.” But I I sort of like just got us to just work on the beginning phases of pre-production. And then as we got closer to the date, everybody was like, OK, like, this is might work this might work. So I kind of tricked everybody, a part of the project. (laughs)