Recognized for his ability to tease out natural performances in both actors and real people, especially kids, Jake manages to capture the subject’s most unique mannerisms and characteristics. These nuances of detail, and his relentless pursuit of authenticity, result in distinctively human on-camera moments that make his work stand out from the crowd.
PGA – Sketched on a Napkin
Backyard CMO Roy Skillicorn sums it up this way: “Jake knows that the simplest concepts can be the most powerful, if you tell it right. The richness of his aesthetically beautiful film blends perfectly with genuine performances, engaging the viewer, drawing them deeper into the message or storyline. He is on his way to being a superstar”
Lincoln – Rylie’s Wish
A college professor once told Jake, “Filmmaking is the most fun you can have with your clothes on…” Jake agreed and his work has since been featured in AdWeek, Splice Magazine, Billboard and the New York Times. His directing has taken him across Europe, Africa, and Asia — most recently to Vietnam to direct Nick Jonas for Malibu Rum. Recent clients include Lincoln Motors, the Human Impacts Institute, L’Oreal and Verizon.
Vice – Think Again
About joining Backyard, Jake relates, “The industry is constantly evolving, so one of the things that drew me to Backyard is that Roy and the team are forever reinventing themselves and the company. Backyard is a creative, collaborative, forward thinking entity that brings decades of experience to the table. They’re also a hell of a lot of fun to work with. I can’t wait to see what we build together.”
Roy Skillicorn is back leading Backyard Productions, the company he founded and guided for 20+ years, recently partnering with Kevin Allodi, President & CEO of Philo Media, which acquired Backyard in 2017. Allodi reached out to Skillicorn knowing that he ran Backyard during its most successful years, and also realized success as founder of the award winning Seed Media Arts, a non-DGA production model company.
“Roy is internationally known for his innovative, focused marketing strategies and unprecedented trendsetting business models, and has had an uncanny ability to remain highly relevant throughout a long and prosperous career. His track record for nurturing the development and growth of directors’ careers is unsurpassed; as Managing Director overseeing sales & marketing I see him as the perfect ‘Sherpa’ to lead Backyard and its directors to new heights,” says Kevin.
Skillicorn founded Backyard with Chicago photographer Tony D’Orio in 1988 while still a rep for PIXAR, Colossal Pictures and HKM Productions — all start-ups he recognized as future superstar companies. He found, promoted and secured for each of them their very first commercials, representing each company for over a decade. He also brought London-based Passion Pictures into the limelight in the US.
Under Skillicorn’s leadership and marketing savvy, Backyard became a $50M+/yr entity that was not only considered one of the top international production companies by the trades, but the only one to ever spring forth from a secondary market like Chicago. After relocating production headquarters to L.A in the mid-90’s, Roy continued to lead sales and marketing from Chicago, keeping the brand’s uniqueness guarded while maintaining its notable Midwestern, honest and diligent work ethic. Loyal clients refer to Backyard as “a Shangri-La of production”, delivering a thoroughly enjoyable experience, infused with engaging and dependable people with caring attitudes, while offering innovation and craftsmanship at the highest levels.
“I’m happily surprised to find myself back in the ‘Yard’ and I’m excited to work along side several more A list directors and incredibly strong EPs, like my long time friend, Kris Mathur, and Emily Malito. When I shared my vision of next steps for Backyard, I told Kevin, this “new Backyard won’t be fenced…it’s time to unleash the dogs”. No doubt the iconic hand puppet dog logo that Roy’s graphic designer wife crafted back in 1989 will soon return to Backyard as well.
We’re proud to report that our fab clients at Backyard, took part in this year’s Commercial Directors Diversity Program as a sponsor + mentor for a young director, Kryzz Gautier. On July 31, 2018 a showcase of this year’s graduating class was held at the Linwood Dunn Theater at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The CDDP is a program created by the AICP and the DGA as part of its contract negotiations. CDDP reflects the commitment of both organizations to effect change and increase the representation of women and other historically underrepresented groups of people in commercial directing.
Each director participant was tasked with writing and pitching their own :60 script and producing that script on a very limited budget. Backyard took them through a typical commercial pitch process and production, acting as a sounding board and mentor for their creative ideas and overall helping them to accomplish their ultimate goal of a solid :60.
BY EP Emily Malito affirms that, “Kryzz is a talented director whose own personal experiences as a woman of color and a member of the LGBTQ community influence her content and motivate her desire to be a strong voice in the film community. She’s an impressive creative force.”
This is her spot:
ABOUT KRYZZ GAUTIER
Kryzz was born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In 2009 she immigrated to Boston to attend Emerson College where she focused her studies in Directing Narrative Fiction, Photography, and Music Appreciation. Kryzz quickly became an award winning writer/director receiving multiple international accolades. To name a few: “Marasma” (2011) was in the running for the Region 2 Student Academy Awards finalists. “A Foolish Companion” (2012) was nominated for “Outstanding Cinematic Achievement” at the EVW Awards and went on to win, amongst other things, “Best Screenplay” and “Best Short Film” at the Women In Shorts Festival, the “Audience Award” at the National Broadcasting Society Festival, and was invited to screen at the Ibero-American Festival. ”All Lit Up” (2011) won an EVW Award for “Best Single Camera Direction”. “Not A Love Story” (2015) won “Best Short Film”, “Best Screenplay”, and “Best Editing” at across the festival circuit. In 2014 Kryzz was selected as one of NBC’s Top 100 for their Directing Fellowship. In 2015 Kryzz wrote and directed a pilot for Lifetime/A&E Studios. In 2017 Kryzz became one of the founders of Violeta, a production and distribution platform focused on creating better representation for LGBT women and being talked about as “the Netflix for queer women”.
EXCLUSIVE: Ashley Avis has been set to write and direct a modern reimagining of BLACK BEAUTY, the classic Anna Sewell novel. Bolt Pictures and Constantin are teaming to produce the pic, which will mirror the events of the original 1877 book while bringing them into a modern light.