By the time most of us are sophomores in college, we have not accomplished much.
Personally, I had written a few articles, messed around with editing video and had just started to figure out what I wanted to do once I got my degree. This was not the case for Jared Wilder.
As a freshman at Butler High School in Louisville, Kentucky, Wilder knew that he wanted to make films. “I had a science project about Newton’s Laws of Motion, so I made a video. I tried to make it as funny as possible, and when the class watched it they loved it,” Wilder says. “After that, I started writing and studying films, and then I wanted to make them.”
Now, as a sophomore in college, Wilder has started to make his high school dream come true with the creation of Spin Cycle Films. This film company helps to edit, produce and fund Wilder’s projects.
The company began as an idea during last year’s 48-hour Shootout. Ohio University hosts this competition, in which students work as a team to shoot, edit and produce a short in just 48 hours. After making their short, “Spin Cycle,” Wilder and his team members decided to embark on a much bigger project: building a film company.
“We had a big team for the 48-hour shootout, and we got 3rd place as freshmen. A few months later, we talked about starting a company that would make short films,” Wilder says as he strokes his coarse beard.
With silky smooth jet-black hair, Jared looks like the Fabio of film. His relaxed, slightly strange and often humorous personality is not only shown in conversation, but also in his work. In addition, some of these personality traits are reflected in the atmosphere on set. A therapy dog has been known to make appearances on his sets to help lighten the mood and Wilder can often be seen joking around on set and having fun with anyone on his team of nearly 18 people.
Perhaps, there isn’t anyone else who understands Wilder’s sense of humor like his business partner, the laid-back Logan Fouss.
“Jared is the one who gets everything in order and corrals us back on track, but basically he is a big bear. You can just easily approach him and mess around with him,” says Fouss.
“Yeah, but when mama bear is angry, mama bear is angry,” Wilder responds, chuckling.
The work itself is taken very seriously. However, Jared and Logan clearly have a lot of fun doing it. Whether it is referring to Spin Cycle’s aqua blue colored Chase Bank card as “the company card” or hearing them giggle talking about how they will have business cards soon, the pair are well- aware that owning an LLC is not typical for people their age.
What is also unique for 19-year-olds is having to figure out how to make a business profitable, along with funding the projects that they want to create.
“We have a big short coming up in January and we are spending around $4,000 on it,” Wilder states confidently. Wilder went on to say that $4,000 is the low budget, and that they would really like to have more money for the project.
The short film, which will aim for a run time of 15 minutes, is titled “One Stop Shop” and, as Jared puts it so eloquently, “it’s about a candy store and cocaine.”
The biggest concern at this point is not the script or the premise of the short. Logan and Wilder both feel confident in the work itself, completely in sync as they both vocalize their excitement. The bigger concern seems to be whether or not they will have the money to create “One Stop Shop.”
“Some of the money that we get is from paid opportunities, companies like Z Automation, a machine shop outside of Chicago. They have nine terabytes of film that they want broken up into a bunch of three minute videos,” Wilder says happily.
These freelance contracts certainly generate funding for actual projects that Spin Cycle wants to make; however, the grimmer aspect of Jared and Spin Cycle’s film-making is the fact that they will have to fund some of the project using their own money, as well as their parents’ money.
“We are also collecting funds by crowdfunding on Indiegogo, and we have raised about $1,110 so far, with 44 more days left in our fundraising campaign,” says Wilder. The money has come from a total of 38 backers so far, and the amount contributed as of today is $1,555.
With the ability to generate funding in several different ways, including applying for grants, Wilder feels confident that the short will be a reality. When it comes down to it, his love of film is what drives Jared, not monetary success.
“The stakes are pretty high because we are all so passionate about the company, but the whole reason we make movies is to give them to someone else. I talked to a girl I know who watched our short ‘Initiation’ with her 8th grade brother, and she said he thought it was the funniest thing in the world. To know that I made something that someone liked makes me so proud.”
Some of Wilder’s goals for the company include creating a “Batcave-like warehouse” in Cincinnati, where Spin Cycle shot a documentary called “Behind the Uniform: A Look Inside the Cincinnati Fire Department” about the city’s firefighters. Wilder and Fouss told me the story of how they looked out at the city at night and noticed a worn down warehouse. Together, they want to renovate one of these warehouses as a location to shoot and produce future projects.
In Wilder’s trademarked sense of humor, he also says that one of his big goals is to work with Ben Affleck, citing that “he has a chin that [he] wants on camera.” Wilder and Spin Cycle are driven. Yes, they are young, but they pursue their goals and dreams, regardless of how far off they might seem.