Ian Jones is a Portland-based actor, aspiring filmmaker and self-described renaissance man. He has participated in Damnationland and the 48 Hour Film Festival, and is trying to make it big. In Jones’ words: “I am a cliched actor slash caterer, though I am trying to transition away from the caterer part.”
I asked Jones a few questions about what it’s like trying to kickstart a high profile acting career while based in Portland.
Can we start with a blunt question?
Go for it.
If you are interested in being a creative industry in these particular arts and media, why are you trying to do it in Portland, Maine?
I get asked that a lot. I feel like I have unfinished business here. I am a born and bred Southern Mainer and I wrote a feature film about myself and the state. I called it “ME,” which is obviously a play on those two things. It is about working in the grocery world. I worked at Hannaford for about ten years combined and I saw a lot of fun things while there. I felt that a grocery store movie hasn’t been done well. It’s scripted and storyboarded and the team is mostly in place. Now it’s waiting for funding.
I also just recently finished SMCC’s small acting program while finishing up an architectural degree and I’m transitioning to USM and the theater community there. I do know that work is out there but I want to do my Maine thing for now. I feel like I can’t leave and come back. After I make that movie, then maybe I’ll go to Chicago, New York or Los Angeles.
You were involved in Damnationland this year, which focuses specifically on horror. Did you grow up a horror fan?
Yeah, my mom was a Stephen King fan and so the books were around our house. I read those growing up. I also really liked a lot of the film adaptations of his work. I recently worked with Cory Norman, who is a film instructor at SMCC. His horror feature and shorts have been kicking butt on the horror festival circuit, and among those films is Suffer the Little Children, which is based on a King short story. I think that’s super cool.
What kind of work would you like to get that you haven’t yet been able to get?
Action. There is a lot of comedy in the area, which I love, and horror as well, but there aren’t a lot of opportunities to do action. I feel like if I made it in the industry, I’d be typecast as the young cop. I don’t get to kick a lot of butt day to day.
Not in catering.
Bartending maybe but no, definitely not in catering.
You have an agent in larger markets looking for roles for you. I am curious to know what that process is like for you as an actor.
It’s a very up and down thing. In that way it’s similar to catering. In some cases it is go, go, go and in others it is hurry up and wait. I use two casting agencies, one here in Maine and one in Boston, and they’re really great for covering a larger scale. On average, I am able to get a really good paying job monthly, and sometimes there are a few weeks at a time when I am shooting commercials or other video projects. Between this job and catering, it is a big balancing act. It’s fun, though. I am a creature of habit, but I also love variety.