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SPOTLIGHT

Promise Me This

CSN Productions Never Stops

By Robert Jeffrey II

As more filmmakers discover that independent filmmaking provides an ever-flowing river of opportunities, Victor Jones, CEO of Atlanta-based Can't Stop Now (CSN) Productions, has dipped his hands into this reservoir.

With aspirations of becoming an entertainer since childhood, Jones' primary focus had always been acting, not producing.

"I thought it was amazing how people like Sammy Davis, Jr., Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, etc., could sing, dance, and act…how they weren't confined to just doing one thing," said Jones.

With dreams of becoming a multi-faceted entertainer, Jones spent years honing his craft as an actor, appearing in theater productions, television programs, and films. It was only after a meeting with famed director and actor Bill Duke that the seeds of creating his own production company took root.

"As an actor, I had no desire to start a production company. I loved acting, and that was all I wanted to do," Jones said. "However, after having the opportunity to meet, study, and learn from Bill Duke, he suggested the idea of writing my own scripts and starting my own production company."

Jones didn't immediately follow this path, but began writing a screenplay for a short film. Once he completed the script, he decided to create a production company with the goal of making his award-winning film, Promise Me This.

Jones expressed that one of the reasons he founded his organization lies within the title of his company, Can't Stop Now Productions. He says he created a company that seeks to make films and also assist other aspiring filmmakers.

"Though the name was shortened to the acronym, the philosophies and the attitude behind it remain the same," Jones explained. "Plain and simple, I know that there are obstacles, hazards, rejections, and a host of other things out there to get in my way as I strive to reach my goals. But for me, a decision has been made. I've been doing this too long and I know too much -- and even though things will come up to stand in my way, nothing stops CSN other than me."

CSN Productions has made impressive strides in the four years since its inception. The first feature film completed by the company, Promise Me This, tells the tale of a married couple (starring Jones and Arianne C. Price) who are asked to make a life-altering decision. Submitted in 2005 to the Atlanta Urban Media Makers Film Festival, the film received the festival's Audience Award, and was nominated for Best Feature Film.

Riding on the heels of this successful film Jones changed gears and penned a script for a suspense drama, entitled 5, which tells the story of Atlanta detective, Russell Harris (played by Jones), who leads a career-making bust against one of the East Coast's largest drug suppliers.

"5 is just pure entertainment. Come in, sit back, and just enjoy the film," Jones said." The film had a theatrical premiere where nearly 400 people came out to watch and afterwards raved about it."

The director expounded more on what he seeks to bring to the filmmaking experience and what he seeks to offer to audiences.

"Generally speaking, some people will go see a film because an actor or actress they like is in the film. My goal is to get audiences to the point that when they see CSN Productions attached to the film, they know that they are going to see a film that is well written, well produced, and will feature some of the most talented actors and actresses available."

"When I have an idea for a script, I immediately start thinking about the audience and asking myself, why anyone would want to see this story? The other thing that happens as I'm writing is that I want to make sure I am truly entertaining and engaging the audience with the events or the lives of the characters they are watching."

Within his capacity as CEO of CSN Productions, Jones joins the company of many African American entrepreneurs in the film industry. Acknowledging that African American film production ownership is on the rise, Jones believes that people in positions such as his have a responsibility of sorts.

"With ownership comes responsibility and accountability," Jones said. "What I mean by that is, what difference does it make if an African American owns a record label or a production company if the company continues to perpetuate negative lyrics or images about African Americans?"

"This is not an attempt to censor or make judgment against what might be considered negative lyrics or images or those who use them, but instead to encourage artists of all types to keep in mind that the images that they put out are often viewed as how African Americans really are."

Hoping to continue to make his mark as a filmmaker and CEO, Jones has plans for continued growth.

"Right now we are in the process of self-distributing Promise Me This and 5," Jones said. "As for 2008, my goal is to produce two feature films, one in early 2008 and one in late 2008."

In addition to producing their own films, CSN Productions has expanded into a full-service video production company, offering services that include marketing DVD, commercial, and music video production.

For more information, go to www.csnfilms.com.