John Michael Zervoulei was the winner of "InnoCentive's Choice" for the InnoCentive 2008 Video Challenge.
I have been working in the film and video industry for the better part of 10 years. A native New Yorker, I was born and raised in the multicultural and artistic surroundings of Lower Manhattan. With 40 Acres & A Mule Prod. across the street from my Brooklyn high school, I landed my first job as a PA on the set of Spike Lee's Clockers when I was 16. It was a great introduction to the NYC film community that laid the foundation for an enduring relationship and the career that followed.
Relying on my skills as a writer, photographer, director, and editor, I try to make each piece an emotionally engaging experience for the viewer. There is always a beautiful story waiting to be unearthed whether one is selling a product or company, expressing a piece of music in the visual, or documenting a life. Thriving in collaborative environments, I make it a point to work closely with clients throughout the creative process in order to deliver the best work possible and achieve their goals beyond the utmost level of professionalism.
I discovered the InnoCentive Solver video Challenge while doing corporate video work for Spencer Trask & Co., a venture capital firm in NYC who helped in the raising of its start-up capital. During one of the investor update videos I produced for them I had the chance to meet with Dwayne Spradlin, Innocentive’s President & CEO. He mentioned the Solver Video Promo challenge and suggested I check it out. Thought it might be something right up my alley. My interests were peaked, but I ended up sitting on it for about a month. I wrestled with what I would do or whether I would do anything at all. I can be pretty tough on myself when it comes to creative work and originality is very important for me. I needed something that would stand out.
Then one day while riding home on the subway inspiration hit. The words started flowing through my head that would later become the voice over used in the spot. It was a perfect match for some stock video I’d been licensing and working with at the time to get that global, we-can-change-the-world feel. I recorded the music with an artist and composer friend, Norville Parchment, and had another, Ron Cole, lay the voice over. I almost didn’t make the deadline after all my initial hesitation, but, as fate would have it, something caused the boys at InnoCentive to push back the final entry date. Many late nights later I had it done and now, to my surprise and satisfaction, here we are.
It was a great experience and a fantastic addition to my reel that has impressed many a potential client and employer since. I’m forever grateful that a place like InnoCentive exists where creative minds can find the opportunity to roam free and make wonderful things happen.
If you’d like to learn more about me, see more samples of my work, or are looking for a talented individual to produce a great video for you, check out my website, www.jmzproductions.com.