Jon Michael Kondrath started ReKon Productions in 2009 in order to tell stories and help other creatives in the entertainment industry tell their stories. Jon blends logistical expertise with creative talent to bring stories to life and share those stories with audiences.
How did you get started in the film business? What are some projects you’ve worked on?
From the youngest age I can remember, I’ve always had a passion for creating and telling stories. As a kid, my family and I would write screen plays, short stories, and puppet plays – the medium didn’t matter, it was just a vehicle for our creativity. I funneled this passion into film while attending USC.
Coincidentally, two of the recent projects I worked on also used our studio. The Other Note was a PSA for the National Veterans Foundation with a great message behind it. It was also exciting to work with Martin Sheen and to blow things up in our studio and record it in slow motion. Do No Harm is a short film directed by one of my friends Marielle Woods, who’s very talented and I hope to get more projects to work with her on. The film is a powerful story dealing with the horrors of war and they built a Middle Eastern apartment room in our studio.
What inspired the ReKon Productions name? What inspired the creation of space to shoot and to host other shooters as well?
The name was inspired using a portion of my last name, but without naming the company after myself. I have never been a fan of the companies named after the people that started them, I feel like being in a creative industry, a creative name is necessary. The name ReKon to me also exemplifies our commitment to logistics and planning that comes with producing, which is how we are able to tell stories. This naturally led us to want a separate and contained space which could be used to create content by our team and by other filmmakers. All of our resources at ReKon are in service to helping us and others tell stories.
What has been the oddest shoot you’ve hosted so far? What’s been your most popular location?
We were once asked if we could fit an elephant into our studio. Unfortunately, that one didn’t work out. We had a bus shoot in our parking lot once and use the studio as a support space. Another shoot used the space to recreate a middle eastern apartment, which was to me an impressive use of the space. Currently, I think our most popular look is the brick wall in the Studio. I think finding natural brick walls in a sound-proofed environment is actually hard to find in LA.
What’s your ideal producing/directing project for you personally?
Personally, I am drawn to stories that both entertain but also inspire. I believe stories can, and should, get people to think and see the world a different way, to invoke discussion among friends, and to hopefully influence positive change on a personal level for individuals or grander social change. While the genre is less a factor for me, I do love fantasy and adventure stories because they usually tell stories of the impossible and situations that could never happen, but still relate thematically to the real world. And recently, I have also been drawn to realistic dramas with fascinating characters such as House of Cards and 13 Reasons Why. I would love to work on a Netflix show.
What’s next for you?
Along with my business partner, I’ve been really focused on developing ReKon internally and shifting some of our energy into developing more of our own stories and scripts. We are starting to establish some great partnerships in the industry with such companies as Pathbender and New Form. Hopefully, with them and with some others we are talking to, we can produce stories that we have written and developed. And, fingers crossed, I can direct more.
What was your worst location horror story on a past production?
As a tech scout, two days before filming at a house location, we found out that several of the rooms we wanted to film in were not available due to them being rented out to AirBnb customers. While houses aren’t necessarily hard to find, we had very specific looks we needed, and a place that could double as three locations. We luckily found a location that I think worked out better.
What do you like the most about Wrapal?
Wrapal is simple to search through, with a large database of locations. It also allows for easy communication between filmmakers and locations, which can sometimes be clunky.
What was it like running Trojan Vision at USC; have there been any similarities between that and running your own shop now?
I loved running Trojan Vision, and it was such a unique and rewarding experience to have at a young age. To my knowledge, most undergrad students don’t get the chance to run a functional television studio with 25 full-time employees, 75 part timers, and hundreds of volunteers to generate over a hundred hours of content every semester. Besides producing television content that was aired internally on campus, Trojan Vision also had a sales team and external production team that worked a lot like how our production services at ReKon works. Meeting with clients and discussing what they want to accomplish, bidding out projects, producing the project, and then billing. I’m also amazed how some of the organizational systems I developed back then are still usable now.
I hear you play a lot of team sports; what does your dream team look like?
I do play a lot of team sports – specifically volleyball, soccer, and football. It’s a great way for me to get a mental break and get a little work out (I have no will power to go to the gym and run on a treadmill). I would love to get players from the US Women’s National Soccer team, I am a huge fan of that squad and the players. They are tremendous athletes and have gone through so much to advance female athletes. I also have several friends who played volleyball at USC, and I have been trying to convince them to play on my rec teams. We are also developing a docu-series about female athletes that I would love to see air in the near future.
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