Interview with Film Critic Wunderkind Lights Camera Jackson (LCJ)
If anything, Jackson Murphy shows us that whatever you put your mind to, you can achieve. Most people are figuring out what they want to do with their careers well into their 30’s, but he knew at a very young age that he was all about film. Jackson had the right inspirations, goals, and drive to push him to where he is today. He’s a busy guy, and he’s been kind (and patient) enough to spend some time with us talking about his career as a film critic.
CI: What inspired your love for cinema?
LCJ: It just happened. It must be something I was born with. I went to my first (indoor) movie (The Lizzie McGuire Movie) when I was five. My parents tell me that I stood through the entire film, my hands on the the seat-back in front of me, and didn’t take my eyes off the screen the entire time. They say they looked at each other at one point and realized that something amazing was going on. From that day on, I just loved going to movies and talking/sharing my opinions about them.
CI: What is your favorite film and why?
LCJ: An easy one: My all-time favorite film is Disney’s animated classic Beauty and the Beast. I think I’ve seen it (in all its variations) about a dozen times. It has everything: a compelling story, great music, laughs, drama, high emotion, amazing visuals, perfectly written characters, incredible voice work. It’s the complete cinematic experience.
CI: Who or what inspired you to become a film critic?
LCJ: When I was seven, I was asked by a local radio station to come on and talk about the new movies coming out. I knew all about them because, by then, this was already my passion. A short time later we decided maybe I could do reviews on the air. My biggest inspirations for deciding to be a critic and media personality, and make it a career are the late, great film critic Roger Ebert, and TV host and icon Regis Philbin. I started following both of them when I was very young and, fortunately, I am proud to say that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know each of them personally and can call them friends. They both continue to inspire me today.
CI: Can you explain how you became an Emmy winning film critic? Did you network did you go to school for journalism? I’m just curious to know what the road to success looked like for you.
LCJ: (Back to the previous answer) After I got on the radio and started writing reviews we started a website and then began producing video reviews. Once they got out on the internet, I was lucky enough for producers of some national/international shows to see me and invite me to appear. This helped me get more exposure and a larger following. I then was offered a job at a local (Albany, NY) TV station, doing movies reviews every Saturday morning. That first year I submitted some of my reviews as an entry for the Emmy competition, I was nominated as a finalist and even more shocked, a few months later, when I won. It was an incredible night.
CI: Which award shows have you attended? Which is your favorite and why?
LCJ: As a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, I get to attended the Critics Choice Awards in L.A. each year. This past Jan. was my fourth CCAs. It is an amazing event because we critics get to meet and mingle with the nominees and celebs. Since I was very young, I’ve enjoyed talking with celebrities, and many of them end up asking me questions about my career and how I got to be a critic at such a young age. It’s always a great time – and it’s always fun to spend four days in Santa Monica in the middle of the winter.
I’ve never attended the Oscars, though I have been in Hollywood a few times on Oscar Sunday. I have witnessed the limo arrivals and utter chaos around the Dolby Theater. Also, I have not yet been to The Globes. I’d really love to attended the BAFTAs someday as well.
CI: Describe your favorite celebrity encounter.
LCJ: I’ve been meeting celebs since I was 6. The first time I met Regis, after a episode of Live in NYC, was amazing. He took me up to his office and we talked TV – his career, my career, – for an hour. I interviewed him for my school TV station, and he gave me the tie he wore on the air that day, and autographed it. That was pretty cool. And also meeting Roger Ebert in Chicago was incredible.
Two others really standout: The first time I met Tom Hanks, backstage at the Broadway show Lucky Guy. He couldn’t have been nicer. And, at my first Critics Choice Awards, I got to sing for and with Hugh Jackman (part of the soliloquy from Les Miserables). He had the flu and still sung. I still call this the greatest 20-seconds of my career.
CI: I know you had quite the run in with actress Amy Schumer–What was it like going through that fiasco?
LCJ: I’m a big fan of Amy Schumer and she couldn’t have been nicer when we met at the Critics Choice Awards. I tweeted a joke to her that I thought she’d like. When she tweeted back that she didn’t, I immediately apologized. Then she immediately accepted my apology. The rest was just Twitter doing what Twitter does, and nothing I worried about.
CI: What advice do you have for people who are looking to make a film critiquing a career?
LCJ: My advice, no matter what you want to do as a career, is to start doing it. It doesn’t matter what age you are, where you live, or if anybody else thinks you’re ready. Find what you’re passionate about and jump in. If it’s film/media-related start producing content – now. The internet is the perfect place to show your work. Come up with ideas – and then try them out. Don’t worry about what other people think. And whatever area it is that you want to do, learn everything you can about it. Become an expert. The combination of knowledge, passion, talent and desire will make you a success.
CI: What can people expect from you in the future?
LCJ: I plan to continue as a movie critic/entertainment reporter/analyst but I also really enjoy hosting. I’d like to have my own talk show at some point and have always loved game shows, so that’s on my list of career goals as well. The last 10 years have been a wild ride, so it’ll be fun to see what the next 10 bring.
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