Welcome to Turnip Films

I’m filmmaker Jim McQuaid. Turnip Films is the umbrella for all of my filmmaking work.

What does it mean to say that I’m a “filmmaker?” Of course, the overall idea is simply that I make films. But what does it really mean?

First, I am a screenwriter. That’s not the same as saying I’m a great screenwriter, an “award-winning” screenwriter or that I’ve sold a script. But I care about writing because no film is better than its script. This is why I help moderate a screenwriting group. Screenwriting is a unique, arcane practice and getting informed feedback requires a community.

Second, being a “filmmaker” at the low end of the indie scale means that I’m generally also the producer of my films. I support my filmmaking habit with commercial video projects and I work within my own resources as much as possible. This also means that I need the help of folks I cannot compensate as much as they deserve, so I also volunteer on other folks projects as much as schedule and sanity allows. And it means I try hard not to waste anybody's time on set.

Third, I love working with actors. Acting is a great mystery in my experience, a skill that I can intellectually understand, but in reality I find magically inexplicable. Directing therefore is always a learning experience, always a journey.

Fourth, I love the photographic image. I taught photography and I worked for years with a 4x5 View Camera (look it up) mastering the art of the silver print. I also worked in high tech and it turns out that digital video is a perfect storm of photographic concepts and computer technology. Here's an image from a film I'm DPing for filmmaker Kevin Richmond. I love how a common polarizing filter still feels like magic!

Community underlies most of this. I am always interested in meeting other filmmakers in the Triangle. I am always willing to read a script, give production advice, connect two people who might work together and come on set to shoot your film or help wrangle the schedule.

The Newsletter

A couple of times a year (four at most) I report on my film projects, writing, thinking and collaborations. Please sign up HERE.

  Commercial Work?

I also do a variety of commercial projects ranging from reality shows to simple interviews. That work is described on the Turnip Video web site, turnipvideo.com.