Hello everyone and welcome to Heart and Fire Productions! I started my acting career in 2004 when I was watching the news and noticed a film coming to Colorado called "The Surfer King" that was being filmed at Water World here in Colorado. The production was holding auditions for speaking parts and extras. I auditioned late in the process and was able to land a role as an extra in the movie. Filming began in August '04 and I remember long tedious waiting periods before they needed extras for scenes but little did I know a seed was being planted as I observed the crew making a film right before my eyes. When the movie wrapped the following month, I knew I wanted to pursue a career as an actor but also took with me the burning question where does it all start to make a movie? I did some research and found that a movie comes to life with a script and without it there is no movie. Thus began my screenwriting career in late 2004. After my experience on The Surfer King I became fascinated with wanting to make a movie someday so I purchased a screenwriting workshop DVD by famed screenwriting teacher Syd Field to learn the process of writing a script. I began writing a feature length screenplay and with the dream of becoming a more solid actor, I wanted to learn the craft so I looked into acting classes.
I enrolled at the Arvada Center for a 10 week acting course under Reece Livingstone, after that, I ended the year 2004 by enrolling at AEC Studios under acting coaches Brian McCulley and John Crockett. I learned a lot of valuable acting techniques and what to expect when auditioning. I began applying my skills in 2005 by looking for student films and other acting gigs. Two years later I was seeking representation and was signed on with Big Fish Talent where I was sent out on a lot of auditions for commercial work; this never worked to well being that I have the presence of a film actor. As they say in acting don't quite your day job, that being said it became difficult balancing my 44+ hour full time job and being ready spur of the moment for an audition. Due to scheduling conflicts with the talent agency and not getting auditions that were right for me, I found the importance of getting out there on your own to make it happen.
This also allowed me to work my acting around my work schedule. I had acted in several student films over the years through Craig's List, Denver Art Institute, Colorado Film School and more. Through these student films it became an excellent opportunity to start getting hands on experience so I would offer to help behind the camera as well as in front. I was a PA on one production in early 2007 and also played the lead character called "Mr. Black" in a series called "Shades" directed by the very talented Patrick W. who was a student at the Colorado Film school. Shades won twice in a national contest taking 1st and 2nd place. The follow up, Shades II: Black and Blue took 1st place in the same contest.
Another film I worked on called Awaken directed by Ford North gave me tons of production experience. I learned a lot from this gentleman: from pre-production to assistant directing to being a producer. This experience as well as a personal story I had in mind for a script (Betrayed Heart) gave me the confidence to to truly break out on my own to start my filmmaking career, applying everything I learned over the years thanks to all the knowledge gained being a Production Assistant, Assistant Director and Producer on other very talented filmmaker's projects especially working with Ford North.
I established Heart and Fire Productions in July 2007 with the intent to produce and make films with a message or moral of some sort but it is also my vision to make films from every genre. I began pre-production that same month for my first 30 min. short film called Betrayed Heart which was a true story based off a personal experience of mine. The story was about Love, Betrayal and Redemption. I began production the following month in August as writer, director, producer as well as the lead character, I hired a DP and the movie was shot in three days! It's ironic because you would think on your first film you would have so many problems and issues but it turns out that Betrayed Heart was the smoothest experience I have had so far making a film, meaning that more things have went wrong on the set of all my other films. But it has been a wonderful learning experience and I continue to learn more and become more sharp with every production.
Shortly after Betrayed Heart was finished, I took a break from acting classes in November of 2007. Ever since I have applied everything I learned from acting classes and realized that sometimes you finally find your process as an actor to go out there and apply yourself with confidence and a dedication to find the work. Back in 2008, I was a lead in a short film titled Silent Scars. I played Travis, an Iraq war veteran who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. The film won a festival award and gave me one of my IMDB credits http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1526750/ To this day I still love to act whether it be for student films or in my own movies, I will always continue to push and challenge myself as an actor/filmmaker while staying humble.
A huge influence in my life has always been the Rocky movies starring Sylvester Stallone, I can't tell you enough how many times these movies have pulled me up and made me believe in myself. These movies have given me the courage to go out their and go for it! I highly recommend this amazing saga to everyone especially filmmakers. Rocky is the symbol for the underdogs of the world and proves if you got the heart and fire and go for your dreams no matter what, you will always be a winner. I had the amazing honor of meeting Mr. Stallone (my hero Rocky), back in December of 2006 when they where showing an advanced screening of Rocky Balboa and let me tell you, it really changed my life for the better. I was filled with inspiration after talking with him and seeing the movie. I still can't believe I got to meet him.
One of my goals with Heart and Fire Productions is to make the movies I want without pulling any punches and without letting money be a crutch. My philosophy is this, if your passionate about films go out their and make films, don't let anyone stand in your way or tell you you can't do it. I mean if you have the money or can get it, awesome! But don't let the fear of not having any money stop you from something your passionate about (In fact, grab a hold of the family camcorder if you have to and go start making movies right now!) I Have always loved this saying "You can go far beyond what people think you can do, if you believe in it and yourself." I'm a firm believer in treating my cast and crew with respect and everyone having a great experience doing what we are passionate about, making movies. Being an actor myself, I also want my films to really push fellow actors and their performances so they can really show their stuff and true talent. If it is one thing I hope people gain from working with me and my films, is that they had a great learning experience, a fun time, enjoyed themselves and know that their hard work is very much appreciated.
Thanks for stopping by my site and supporting Heart and Fire Productions.
Never give up and never stop believing.
Jimmy Lee Combs- Heart and Fire Productions- Writer, Director, Producer, Actor