Jeremey Lavoi and Abby Berendt run Jaded Multimedia, a production company in San Francisco. Most of their work is short-form non-fiction branded content. They work with about a dozen freelancers so that when they have too much work, they know they can handle it — that’s a good problem to have.
Jeremey and Abby are documentary filmmakers — not a profession for the meek. In 2005 they did three documentaries for Current TV at Skatopia about a compound out in Apalachia, where every year there is a party for thousands of people — bands play, events form, structures are built, and everyone lives in anarchy for a while. “We were staying up on a hill above the madness, and one night I walked downhill to go shoot one of the parties,” Jeremey says. “It was total darkness and I was trying to navigate down the hill when someone threw dynamite into the hill — it blew up so close to me that I was thrown into the air, and I landed sliding down the muddy hill cradling my camera, getting hit by branches, and landed in a mud puddle. The light was destroyed and knocked off the camera, but the camera was okay, so I filmed the party anyway.”
They are currently working on a web series: “It’s a Rough Life.” It is a documentary about Roughneck Hardware and it’s hard-core founder, Johnny Roughneck. They wanted to show the strength of his personality and the characters that surround him. They are also producing coverage of the San Francisco International Film Festival.
What do they recommend for new filmmakers?
“Networking — that’s the most important thing. Always say yes. It’s better to say yes and work on a project than to let any internal questions about the project get in the way. If you’re starting out, just take the job — you’ll get a lot out of it no matter what.”