( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) Urban Multicultural Romantic Comedy from Vision Films
ENSPIRE Contributor: Daniel Garritson
Pretty Crazy is an urban, multicultural Romantic Comedy filmed in Chicago that examines the challenges and hilarity of dating in America today. A successful, handsome, and eligible bachelor is ready to find “the one” and settle down to build a future with her – however, the current dating climate is overwhelming. In the wake of his last relationship, he meets and falls for the perfect girl, but will his past come back to ruin his chances of them building a life together? Dating as a millennial can be… Pretty Crazy!
Pretty Crazy, from director Maurice ‘Mo Jones, was co-written and produced by Jones with niece Leslie Jones (Chicago State University alumna) and daughter Mya Jones (Bradley University alumna), both entertainment, media & marketing professionals. ‘Mo, a veteran comedian known for producing successful comedy shows in the Chicago area for over 20 years, has worked with some of the best-known comedians from the city including Craig Robinson, Deon Cole, Lil’ Rel, Shawn Morgan, Leon Rogers, Damon Williams, Tony Sculfield, and many more.
With the support of many local Chicago talent and organizations, Pretty Crazy was filmed throughout the southside of Chicago at local hubs including Chicago State University, The Good Life Cafe, Kuk Sool of Chicago, KS Wholistic Training & Development Center, Funky Monkey Juice Bar, and with several costumes provided by a non-profit organization, IMPACT Family Center.
Did you ever find it overwhelming to balance the responsibilities of a writer, producer, and director?
Yes, balancing the responsibilities of all three has definitely been overwhelming, yet rewarding. There were many times that I would wear all three hats at one time. But once we started production, I realized that I didn’t have to wear them all at once. I just needed to have them with me in my back pocket and put each one on when a particular situation required it.
How vital to creating “Pretty Crazy” was the entertainment, media & marketing education of Leslie and Mya?
Leslie and Mya’s backgrounds and education were VERY VITAL to the entire
process! They both brought what they learned in the classroom & field (music
videos, short films, marketing agencies, fashion & entertainment industry, and
much more) to the pre-production, production, & post-production of Pretty Crazy. Mya was the AD (Assistant Director) along with several other duties. After many brainstorming sessions and wanting to ensure the overall inevitable success of the project, Mya actually devised the name, Pretty Crazy, with the thought that it would be more marketable across our target audience. Leslie also held many responsibilities, but her second-to-none ability to multitask and organizational skills kept us on track, from beginning to end.
What inspired you to enter the world of film after working in comedy shows for so long?
Prior to starting my comedy production company in 1995 with my younger
brother, Tracy, who was also a comedian, I attended the Players Workshop of
Second City and completed training at The Second City Training Center. While at Second City, I studied Improv Comedy and Writing. Shortly after my official
training, my brother & I founded JB Productions, a comedy production company
that helped many local comedians get their start. Our vision was to produce
comedy shows in our hometown and eventually branch off into filmmaking. My
brother passed away in 2006. Although it has taken me a while to get back into it, I’m finishing the vision my brother and I started.
Who are your filmmaking influencers?
Two people who influenced me are Robert Townsend and Mel Brooks. I
appreciate how Robert Townsend didn’t let a very low budget for his movie affect the continuation of his production… pretty much like me. Also, I love how Mel Brooks was not afraid to go right to the edge, and sometimes over the edge just a little, with the comedy in his movies.
Being a filmmaker needs a lot of expertise and patience because one has to handle everything all around, so what keeps you motivated?
Making people smile and laugh is what truly keeps me motivated! The best way
for me to do that is through telling funny stories that are all relatable. My other motivating factor is my wife, my children, nieces, and nephews, and now my
grandchildren can all say, “Wow, he did that! Comedy show producer, writer,
author, director, film producer, & filmmaker. Wow! Our family member did that!”
What advice would you give to someone starting a career in filmmaking?
My advice to anyone starting in filmmaking would be 4 principles:
1. If you have the PASSION for telling your story and you believe in it,
don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it!
2. Surround yourself with people who are going to SUPPORT you
throughout the process, because it’s going to be taxing!
3. Be prepared to MAKE MISTAKES and learn from them as you go.
4. Lastly, and honestly the most important is to enjoy what you do and