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Jon and Geoff started Graven Image Films, an underground filmed art distribution company, in 2002.
Jon, a DJ, poet, inventor, performer, gamer, teacher, emcee, musician, composer and filmmaker, grew up in Watts and rural Alabama.
Geoff, a writer, cartoonist, animator, graphic designer, and filmmaker, with extensive experience in payroll, finance, databases and records management from suburban Connecticut (though not the rich part).
They met in Los Angeles in 1993.
Neither one is called President (or Emperor, for that matter)--they are merely Co-Managers, Entrepreneurs and Marketers.
Their film philosophy is more about innovation and diversity then creating titles for themselves.
A "Graven Image" is a false idol like Money, Fame, Gold Statuary or anything upon which someone may fixate as opposed to something really worthy of devotion like Love, Art and Community.
Graven Image Films seeks to deconstruct the notion that film is merely for entertainment and promote the view that movies can enrich the human experience.
This means that there is a diversity in casting, hiring and of stories told. This means there is an eye kept on innovation of technique and subject in order to further film and humanity.
Yeah, pretty big plans, I know, but why bother otherwise? I'm just saying.
So if we make a horror film it's going to be a diverse and innovative horror film. If we make a comedy--again, diverse, innovative. If we make--well, you get the idea.
We still love movies of all kinds, but we just want them to be better. We want ourselves to be better, but we ain't snobby or nothing. We're still gonna make some regular fare, just better, ya dig?
As an early writer he had his first work published in 2nd grade at Moffitt Elementary in Norwalk, CA. In the early 80's, getting Word from Afrika Bambaata, he became a young bboy, learning dance, rap, and getting together to dance and DJ with people in the name of art.
In mid 80's he moved to a small town in Alabama, where very few black people lived, and had to learn about a different type of living, but as always, he adapted and thrived.
Later in the 90's, after returning to LA, he was reeducated in the Arts once again by Shake City Productions/Zulu Nation and the Black Rock Coalition. Since then he has not only appeared in music videos, movies such as Made of Honor (2008) and The People Under The Stairs (1991), and commercials, but has also has earned credits working behind the scenes on projects ranging from Madonna to Jack in the Box as well as building stages with the teams that worked with Cirque de Soleil as well as the West Hollywood Halloween Festival.
As a composer, he's written music for shows such as PGA Golf.
As a poet, he's performed at Lalapalooza, Las Vegas Poetry Jams, trained with poetry legend Jack Grapes and been published in Spillway poetry journal. One of his poems became the subject for the award-winning animated short, The Last Bullet (2022).
As a journalist, he's written articles on music and music history for Wav and Jointz magazines.
As an educator, he's spoken about business incubators at Loyola Marymount University, and taught Virtual- and Augmented Reality in after-school programs in South L.A., including Leimert Park and Crenshaw, sponsored by Sony. He's also taught spoken word poetry and Rap to kids from all around L.A.
As a DJ, he's had Sunset Strip residencies at The Viper Room and The House of Blues as well as many of the coolest underground clubs in L.A. from Venice to Los Feliz. He's performed at patient healing parties for L.A. Mental Health, as well as at events he helped produce with visionary artist, author and teacher, Alex Grey.
As an Emcee, he's hosted long-running open mic nights (House of Green and Venice Mozaic) featuring spoken word poets and singer-songwriters.
As a photographer, he's had his photos in art gallery exhibitions all over the world.
As an avid gamer, he's listed in the Guinness Book of World Records* and even has a video game character based on him**.
*Longest Mobile Gaming Marathon on a Tablet, 2012, only 26 gamers lasted the entire 26 hours and 2 seconds.
**M.C. "J" in J-Break, flash game.
Geoffrey Bennett Ulrich
Described by his New England grade school teachers as having an overactive imagination he was always daydreaming and making up stories. This frustrated his teachers who tried to get him to be more serious and made him a target of bullies who didn't like his creative antics.
In junior high, he took an acting class, to overcome stage fright and make it harder for bullies to keep him quiet, but he took to it quickly.
In high school, he worked behind the scenes doing everything from stage managing and set building to running sound, and lights, which lead to seasonal work with professional theater companies. It wasn’t until he took a playwriting class, however, that he finally saw the career potential.
In college, he wrote and performed comedy on the radio and in coffee houses, published humor and poetry in the literary magazine and the school paper and convinced his advisers to let him write a play for his senior thesis. He graduated with distinction with a degree in Creative Writing and was inducted into the English Honor Society.
After graduation he wrote, directed, starred in and edited comedy skits on public access TV, while saving up money to move to Los Angeles, where he knew he’d be able to find a lot more actors and crew to put into his projects, which is where he met Jon.
As a podcaster, he's had a long-running, weekly show called "Inherently Happy" that deals with mood management and outlook improvement, through the use of humor and wit, since education always goes better with entertainment.
As a spoken word poet, he's performed at Jon's open mic nights, and been a guest judge at Slam poetry events in L.A.
As a graphic designer, he created posters for the Venice MoZaic monthly showcase of spoken word poets and singer-songwriters in Venice Beach.
As a cartoonist, he's created several comic strips from topics as diverse as justice, the afterlife, Shakespeare, timekeeping and snowmen.
As an animator (as GBU), he created an award-winner short called The Last Bullet (2022) based on a poem by Jon (as DJ Noj).
He's also an emcee, a performer, a film editor and a cameraman.
He has worked in video stores, offices, as a film and TV extra on shoestring- as well as big-budget films, he's been a script reader, taken classes in novel writing and line producing, but he learned the most by actually going out and making shorts, music videos and feature length films.
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