PRODUCER, AUTHOR and ENTREPRENEUR
MAGIC IMAGE HOLLYWOOD MAGAZINE Had the opportunity of interviewing producer, author and entrepreneur Jamee Natella, she opened her heart to us and talked about her career and projects; let’s see what she is all about…
Over the last two decades, Jamee Natella’s experience as a producer in the entertainment industry has taken her across the globe and fostered strong relationships in the entertainment sector. She has produced for television, feature films, commercials, digital branded content, corporate films and multi-media.
Natella’s success with clients such as Virgin America, Mitsubishi, Pepsi and other AAA brands laid the groundwork to create a global service production company to serve both advertising agencies and clients direct. In 1998, she founded Blueyed Pictures with offices in Los Angeles, Tokyo and London. With Natella at the helm as Executive Producer, Blueyed specializes in producing award winning commercials, digital branded content, corporate films and multi-media entertainment around the world.
Blueyed has amassed a growing and prestigious list of clients since its inception, including advertising agencies FCB, BBDO, AKQA, JWT, Dentzu/Japan and Fortune 500 brands Virgin Enterprises, Lexus, Toyota, SC Johnson, Under Armour, Procter & Gamble, Pepsi, Olay, Phillips, Pioneer and California Advisory Board’s “Got Milk?” to name a few.
Blueyed and Jamee Natella’s work has consistently been recognized as an industry leader earning prestigious accolades across numerous categories and media platforms. Over the last 18 years, Blueyed has garnered an impressive array of distinctions from the Cannes Lions, Webby’s, Telly’s and the NY Festival’s International TV, Cinema & Radio Advertising Awards.
Ms. Natella is currently in production on a feature for Crystal Sky and is set to produce features with ReelFx, eOne Entertainment and Paramount 100 in 2017.
MIHM: Tell us a little bit about you, where are you from and what inspired you to pursue a career in acting and then transitioning to producing behind the camera.
I grew up in Chicago. I was a child actor. I had an acting agent at an early age, so I was always auditioning and performing. I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t on a movie set, or in a movie theatre watching films, and attending classes. My passion for producing films evolved from my curiosity about how movies are made. As an actress I read the pages, understood the story, and the development of the characters, but I found that between takes—instead of retreating to my dressing room waiting to be called for my next scene—I was more interested in what was going on behind the camera. The entire filmmaking process intrigued me, and I knew my sweet spot in the entertainment industry would be as a film producer.
At 17, I moved out to Los Angeles determined to make my living as an actor just long enough for me to network my way into seeking work at production companies and film studios. I learned the business from the ground up working with seasoned commercial and film producers like Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel, the founders of MJZ. I worked at GMS, Warner Brothers, Alpine Pictures and Touchstone Pictures. With each position I learned everything I could, and made myself an asset to the studio heads. I gained their trust through my work, and I was allowed opportunities to contribute more, as my responsibilities for my roles in the productions increased over time. Looking back, it happened much more quickly than I could have ever imagined. I carefully planned each move, as I cultivated and nurtured these industry relationships. I always knew I had the desire and the talent, but I needed to earn the confidence of the people hiring me that I could be a valuable asset on many different levels, with a willingness to be helpful, and keep my ego in check. This is not a one size shoe fits all business, and it is not an exact science. Diversity, versatility and flexibility continue to be my strong suits today. I’m a team player.
MIHM: Tell us about your production company Blueyed that opened in 1998 in Japan and now also you have offices in Los Angeles, London and Tokyo.
Television executives for the Tokyo Broadcasting System hired me to be the lead producer for “Teatime” a popular Japanese talk show. It was to Asia audiences, what “The View” is to the United States today. It was a hugely popular show with high ratings.
My years of working and living in Asia provided me with a thorough understanding of the Japanese commercial markets. I saw the need for more western production knowledge and I saw opportunities for employing bilingual crews. I continued to keep my ears tuned to what was happening in the major metropolitan cities in the U.S., specifically Los Angeles and New York during this time. I recognized a window for a fusion of these three markets into a global company for producing commercials and films. That’s how Blueyed Pictures was conceived. I opened my first office in Japan in 1998. My first commercial was for Mark Yamomoto and Richard Branson for Virgin Cinema. We grew fairly quickly that first year, allowing me to create a headquarters in London in 1999, and then I established my primary base in Los Angeles in 2001.
MIHM: Tell us some of the movies you have produced and witch one is the most especial for you.
JL Family Ranch, a modern day western—a family drama, aired on the Hallmark Channel this summer. It was such a stellar cast: Melanie Griffith, Jon Voight, James Caan, Teri Polo, Steven Bauer. I enjoyed working with each and everyone of them. I am being brought back as Executive Producer for the sequel next year. Last year A Christmas Eve Miracle debuted. Others include Love is the Drug and Opposite Day. I produced the tv series Between Jupiter and Mars in 2013.
I would cite the film, Beyond, which I co-produced that was released in 2012 as my favorite to date. It’s a suspense thriller about a detective who teams up with a psychic to track down a missing child.
MIHM: Define what success means to you?
Continuous improvement as a person and a professional. I see myself as a lifelong student. Bringing people along with me on the ride to advancing our knowledge, skills and expertise in life and work. That’s what it’s all about. If everyone around me is thriving, growing and prospering, then I know I’ve done something right – that will live on.
MIHM: Who have been your biggest mentors or role models which have influenced your career?
Kathryn Bigelow, Sheryl Sandberg, Richard Branson, Elon Musk,
Melinda Gates, Hilary Clinton, J.K. Rowling. These are dynamic and empowering people, with such integrity, who have inspired and paved the way for me to follow my dreams.
MIHM: You have a new children book series “I Am Sam”, tell us about it.
My 8-year old son and I are co-authors of the I Am Sam book series for Penguin Young Readers. The book collection has recently been greenlit as a television project for a major cable network. My son and I share creator credits and I will Executive Produce the television adaptions. It’s based on my son’s travels with me across Asia and Europe. It’s storytelling about cultural differences for children from ages 8 to 13. While it’s intended for kids, many adults can learn about embracing contrasting lifestyles, practices and preferences.
MIHM: You have been recognized and received several awards for your commercial and advertising work , right?
It takes a village, so I share all of ‘our’ awards with my incredible Blueyed team. We have been honored for excellence and outstanding flawless production with awards from CLIO, Telly, FWA, Webby, Cannes Lions and The NY Festival’s International TV and Cinema & Radio Advertising Awards. I’m blessed to have maintained relationships with superior advertising agencies such as BBDO, FCB, ATTIK, JWT and Denzu Japan. The people behind these companies have resulted in work for major clients which include Toyota/Scion/Nexus, Mitsubishi, Visa, Pepsi, Nestle, Frito Lay, Olay, Procter and Gamble and Virgin Enterprises.
MIHM: What other projects are you working on right now?
I am currently the Executive Producer on two other films which are being released next year for SP Distribution.
MIHM: What would you be doing if you weren’t involved in show business?
I would be an inventor, coming up with sustainable solutions for saving our planet and make our world better for our overall health and well being. I also have a patent pending on a fresh water product that’s going to revolutionize our tap water, eliminating the costly and wasteful use of bottled water.