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And they said there’s no filmmaking in Jacksonville

Andy Leverett, with his tall, slender frame wipes the sweat dripping off his forehead as he arranges multiple cameras and lights meant to film this exclusive Spinnaker interview. It takes him over an hour to do this. He is persistent. One might ask, “Why is Andy filming his own interview?” The answer is simple: Andy films everything. He’s like Ricky Fitts in “American Beauty.” And he ain’t bad. An ordinary 20-year-old kid from Jacksonville, Andy always aspired to be a filmmaker. Even after he was denied from film school, he kept on. Now Andy has his own production company, Miranda, he’s won a sack full of awards, and he’s currently embarking on a media production endeavor—the likes of which Jacksonville has never seen before.

Q. Just who in the hell do you think you are?

A. My name is Andy Leverett, I’m a sophomore here at UNF, I’m a film minor and business management major. I hope to do film as a profession, so I’m getting all the business management skills that I need now.

Q. How is the film industry looking these days?

A. Hopeful. Everything has gone digital now, so I feel like it’s a whole new frontier. I feel like I’ve done a lot of work lately just to be broadcast on the Internet. I feel like the Internet is the new television. At first I was concerned about growing up and having to compete with everyone, but I feel like I got a good foot forward.

Q. Why is it that I’m interviewing you?

A. I won the St. Johns Riverkeeper PSA award, twice, in 2008 and 2010. Also, I won an award in Los Angeles: Most Promising Young Filmmaker in 2008. Some dated awards but some recent ones, too. I’ve also been in some film festivals for some short films.

Q. What about that St. Johns Riverkeeper Public Service Announcement contest?

A. I did a 30-second video with a friend of mine, Blair Richardson. Together we made this video. It was about protecting the river. What we did was we had a narration from an older man talking about his life growing up along the St. Johns River, reflecting on the good times. Then we added special effects to show the future of a very polluted river. The message was to protect against that.

Q. What are you working on now?

A. Right now, I have a TV show that I’m directing with a bunch of other talented people. It’s called Real Love, and it’s a TV sitcom. It’s supposedly the first TV sitcom to be filmed in Jacksonville. It was written by three people: SMJ, who’s an upcoming artist and singer—she wrote the script for it as well—and JR and King. It will be premiering this month.

Q. Where?

A. In a couple of places. We’re trying to televise it, and we’re hoping to do that through Fox 30—possibly the CW. However, there may be an Internet debut in the mean time. We plan on doing that immediately. If it isn’t on television in January, it will probably be on television within two months. Regionally.

Q. Have you ever done anything like a sitcom before ?

A. I’ve never done anything like this before. So far it’s been really working out. That has only slightly to do with me. The people that I’m working with, SMJ, JR and King, they’ve done a great job working with me. Not only do they write, they’ve done most of the producer work. We have an enormous crew that they’ve assembled, so I was lucky that they found me and they put me in charge of their project. It’s a very massive project.

Q. Why did you get into film? What’s this all about?

A. I got into film about eight years ago. I got my first digital camera, it cost $30, called the Intel Blue, and I just started to film everything. That just became something that I did. I got the clips onto a computer and learned how to edit. Most of what I’ve been doing is practicing, and after a long time, I have made it to this level. I’m continuing to practice the art and hopefully I will progress forward significantly over time.

Q. You told me earlier that you applied to film school but were rejected?

A. That’s true. I got rejected from FSU film. But that was their mistake.

Q. Here’s the hardest question I’m going to ask you: What’s your favorite movie?

A. I’m going to say Pulp Fiction.

Q. Are you looking for help from students? Any shoutouts at UNF?

A. I’m always looking for crew; I’m looking to expand my business. People who are interested in film, I’d love to get people involved. I think UNF is a great place to meet talented young people. I plan to get more involved within the UNF community.

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    LaRonda RobinsonAug 2, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Hello Andy! My name is LaRonda Robinson and Ive read up on everything surrounding your new show. I dream of becoming an actress and would love to try out for your new sitcom. I can be reached @ (678)763-6845 or on Facebook.com/1msronda also [email protected]