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Starving artists tap entrepreneurial spirit for studio

Published: Saturday, May 10, 2014 12:20 a.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, May 10, 2014 12:22 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
Crystal Lake native and co-founder of Joone Studios, Jayme Joyce, poses for a portrait in Chicago. Joyce was recently named "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" by the National Association of Women Business Owners.
Caption
(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
Crystal Lake native and co-founder of Joone Studios, Jayme Joyce, tries out a new piece of equipment in Chicago. Joyce was recently named "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" by the National Association of Women Business Owners.
Caption
(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
Co-founders of Joone Studios, Jayme Joyce (left) and Jessica Christopher try out a new piece of equipment they bought for their video company in Chicago.

CHICAGO – What started as a byproduct of her annual “creative pilgrimage” to the Sundance Film Festival has recently earned Crystal Lake native Jayme Joyce praise from a group of Chicago business women.

Now, Joyce, 29, and her business partner, Jessica Christopher, want to build off the momentum that has already earned them contracts with Microsoft, Kraft Foods and Samsung for their budding video production company – Joone Studios.

“We jumped all in with this business,” Joyce said. “We really did build ourselves up from nothing. The whole cliché of starving artists, that was us.”

During her annual trek in 2009 to the premier independent film festival in Park City, Utah, Joyce reconnected with Christopher, an old classmate from Columbia College in Chicago.

With a passion for filmmaking, the two talked about the difficulties of moving to Hollywood to try and find the money and investors to make it as independent film makers.

The conversation at Sundance spurred an idea. Working freelance jobs at the time, the two decided to build a production company in Chicago and develop their own equipment and crews to one day make feature films.

Joone Studios consequently opened in 2010 on Chicago’s North Side. It blended Joyce and Christopher’s creative talents for filmmaking while providing them practical ways to support a new business.

In the years since, the company has done market research videos for Microsoft and Samsung and online, branded commercial videos for Lens.com and Chicago beer distributor Louis Glunz Beer.

Joyce is especially proud of the Lens.com web series that featured plot lines and a cast of characters promoting the company’s Halloween-themed contact lens, designed to manipulate the look of the eye.

“We recognize that a lot of our dreams cost a lot of money. Being starving artists, we figured we could knock on investors’ doors, but it didn’t seem realistic at the time,” Joyce said. “We wanted to pull ourselves up by our own boot straps and pave our own way.”

The company has already made strides within the Chicago business community. Joyce last month received the “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” award from the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

The organization noted Joyce makes up the three percent of women filmmakers in the country and has successfully doubled Joone Studios’ revenue since the company started.

A graduate of Crystal Lake Central High School, Joyce said the entrepreneurial route still taps into her creative side and challenges her to grow a business from the ground up.

Access to capital has already been a main obstacle for the company, but with enough determination Joyce believes that Joone Studios will continue to thrive in the commercial branding business.

Continued success could ultimately lead to a feature film – a dream Joyce and Christopher have wanted to achieve since reconnecting at Sundance.

“We are definitely in it to win it,” Joyce said. “From the moment we started it, there was no turning back.”

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About Joone Studios

• Opened in 2010 by two Chicago area natives, Joone Studios is a video production company that specializes in online branded commercial videos for companies across the country.

• For information, contact owners Jayme Joyce and Jessica Christopher at jayme@joonestudios.com or jessica@joonestudios.com

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