We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeff Brack and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeff, why did you pursue a creative career?
When you have creative tendencies, there’s nothing more satisfying than using those parts of you on a daily basis. When I first started college, I had come from growing up in small mining towns, and getting an engineering degree was the sensible choice. However, after three years of study, it became clear to me that storytelling was what I wanted to be doing. I come from a family of storytellers, whether it’s at the dinner table or holding court at the camp fire – all of us love telling a great story. Cinema is our ultimate form of storytelling. I switched to a film degree and never looked back.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m very excited about my current film project. I wrote the screenplay over the course of the past two years, received tons of constructive feedback from friends who are directors, producers, screenwriters, a novelist, a playwright, an actor, and many more. I’m incredibly grateful to have such talented people who give so generously of their time and creativity. It’s not an easy or fast process, but has been extremely gratifying. Getting anything produced in the film business has tremendous challenges, but what I’ve learned and am continuing to learn, is that you can only overcome them by steadily chipping away… moving the project forward an inch every day. My screenplay is currently a finalist in a high-profile competition – Final Draft’s Big Break Screenplay Competition – and I have several viable routes to production that are being explored. The goal is to shoot before the end of the year. An important part of my journey as an artist is a detour I took into the sports industry for about twenty years. Another passion of mine, tennis, became the center of my attention as Director of a major facility, a Teaching Pro, a Tournament Director, a Sports Marketer, and as a heavily involved member of the USTA (United States Tennis Association) at the national level. That experience was not only tremendously fulfilling, it also allowed me to parlay my marketing knowledge into a position as Creative Director at a new luxury dine-in movie theater company, RoadHouse Cinemas. Being back in the film industry inspired me to return to my first love and drove me back to my roots as a storyteller. The lesson to be learned is that it’s never too late to follow your passion. And, while filmmaking requires many collaborators and has many hurdles, no one can stop you from sitting down and writing. There is zero barrier for that. It’s also worth noting that I became a triathlete along the way and over the past nine years, I’ve competed in 50+ races, including 5 Ironman races on three continents. I also qualified and ran the Boston and New York City Marathons. I mention this, because nothing will teach you determination and perseverance like endurance training. It really puts challenges in perspective.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would certainly take them for an amazing dining journey through Tucson’s incredible restaurant scene. Eat: Charro Steak, Cup Café at Hotel Congress, LaCo (formerly La Cocina), La Placita Café, Union/Reforma/Proof at St. Philip’s Plaza with live music! Drink: Ten55 Brewing, Tap & Bottle, R Bar, Playground Visit: Sabino Canyon, Mt. Lemmon, movie at RoadHouse Cinemas, cycling on The Loop, hiking just about anywhere. Hangout: Downtown, particularly places with outdoor seating and live music! Weekend: Trip to Bisbee for great food at Santiago’s Cantina, a surreal magic show at the Séance Room (with Magic Kenny Bang Bang of Tucson), a ghost tour, and some late evening drinks and live music. Definitely with an obligatory stop in Tombstone.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Certainly my parents have been a huge influence. My Mom is a creative and always encouraged that part of me. And, my Dad is my biggest fan. All I have to do is tell my Dad what I’m up to and he knows how to make me feel like a million bucks for having done that thing. Currently, I have a film project in development and I have to give huge credit to my fiancée, Julie. She’s a creative and knows how to support and encourage other creatives. When I set off on writing a new screenplay, rather than putting up roadblocks and diversions, she helped me set progress deadlines and encouraged me on a weekly basis. I’ve never had that before and she’s a major reason why I crossed the finish line. Our three kids are also a constant source of humor, creativity, new daily perspective, and unconditional support.
Profile feature image (in blue blazer with arms crossed) and family photos by Randy Metcalf On set photo caption: Jeff Brack with film school buddy, Sean Olson, on the set of ‘Max Winslow and the House of Secrets.” Other photos are personal photos.