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Jonathan Moore/director Producer
This article first appeared in issue 18, and was written by Ed Waggener.
Brilliant, introspective Adair Countian, overcame obstacles to gain coveted seat in UCLA graduate film program
Jonathan Moore is a remarkable man.
He's a big man. Blessed with a 7'1" frame, his coach father Nelson Moore had hopes that he would be an All-American basketball player, maybe even a power in the NBA. Nelson Moore was a Lindsey Wilson star in the late 1950's. He was an assistant coach at Adair County High for a time, later coach of Lincoln County High, and until this season, he was an assistant coach and scout for Campbellsville University.
Jonathan Moore was outstanding in basketball. He rated a scholarship to Chicago Loyola. He played there for one year, then transferred to Kentucky Wesleyan, and was on the team through graduation there. "Loyola was a terrific school, but I transferred to Wesleyan because my playing future looked better at Wesleyan.
"Basketball was good to me," he says, "it gave me a college education free. But it wasn't my ultimate dream. Very early I knew was a good writer. People expected me to be a writer, and I knew all along that writing would one day be my vocation.
"But there was another aspect that people didn't expect of me. Every time I read a book, or saw a scene in life, I was always thinking about it in terms of a movie. And that is what made becoming a film director/producer so important to me.
"You see, if I write a story and sell it to a film company, it's like I've sold my pickup truck. I no longer have any control over it. But if I'm directing it, producing it, then the finished product will be done to my standards, and that's what I really want."
Today, Jonathan Moore is finishing his first semester at UCLA in the prestigious school's Film and Television Directing/Production program. He's one of only 21 admitted to the class, out of an initial pool of 500+ applicants.
A great interview got him in, he thinks. And that wasn't easy. Interviews had always been his most difficult experiences.
He had applied to several schools. "Maybe five," he says, "and I got turned down. I'm not ashamed to say. Some of the schools were not nearly so good as UCLA."
It was a grueling experience. The deadline for the application was November 1, 1996. "When I got it all together, I took it to the post office. I knew it was going to be so competitive. I compared it to be given a tryout with the Chicago Bulls. Sure, I'll try it, but that's all there will be to it. Nothing will come of it.
"Then I got the letter saying that over 500 people had applied for positions and they had gotten down to 60 finalists and I was included. I was elated."
Still, he had reservations. "I didn't think I'd get in. But I thought, this will be a practice run, I'll get in next year."
Los Angeles wasn't a totally foreign land to Moore. While attending high school in Stanford, the assistant principal was a Mr. Hatter. Mr. Hatter's wife was Moore's English teacher. About 2-3 years ago, Moore remembers, he recalled that the Hatters had a crazy son in L.A. working in the film industry. "That got my interest, and I called David up. I invited myself out-which is very rude-but I did it anyway and David Hatter agreed to a visit. Dad and I went to California and met David Hatter. We saw what the area was like. I asked David about helping on some of his film projects, and that paid off."
David Hatter is a full-time artist/medical illustrator with the Shriner's Hospital in Los Angelos. In off-hours, he produced videos for the hospital industry. Twice Hatter has called on Jonathan to help with the production. One of the videos was called "Outpatient Clinic," and was produced on a contract with the Shriner's Hospital.
Hatter was supportive and he was Moore's link to the film industry. He had another tremendous influence on his career, a teacher back at Kentucky Wesleyan. During the process of applying and getting rejected for film school, Pam Gray, the director of the communications department at the school, would never let Moore get down. "She's one of the most influential people on my life. When I wanted to give up, she'd laugh it up and say, 'There's always next year'."
This year was next year for Jonathan. Since graduating from Wesleyan the 28-year-old has held two jobs. One was in Hazard, with a start-up television station. The other was with Goodwill Industries, as their media specialist. Goodwill likes to have people with disabilities in their company, Moore says. "All things being equal, they hire the person with a disability. I got the job, helping to promote the company I represent to newspapers, radio stations, and newspapers. It was fun. I got to travel as much a 600 miles a day, and that gave me time to think about what I love best, making films."
Unless you're with Jonathan Moore long enough for him to discuss it, you would never know that he has any handicap. Extremely bright, likeable, and articulate, you'd have to see the extremely powerful Swedish made hearing aid to know that he is nearly deaf, and has been since birth. All his life his parents have sought the best medical services for Jonathan, but it was not until his junior year in high school that they learned that his hearing could be improved with this special hearing aid.
The remarkable thing is that they never considered sending him to a school for the hearing impaired. Instead, they made a habit of speaking directly to him. He could see the shapes their lips were making and emulate them, to form perfect speech patterns. And with this learned ability, Jonathan was able to function perfectly in a traditional school setting.
The hearing aid helped. He can actually hear sounds much the same as other people do now. But wearing the hearing aid presented another psychological obstacle. For the most part, interviews never went as well as he hoped they would. The interviewers were polite, but they didn't seem to be really connecting with him.
This story was posted on 1997-12-24 12:01:01
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