Jackson Murphy Interview
(Lights Camera Jackson)
He started his career as a Movie Critic in January 2006 at the age of 7 1/2 on Radio Disney station WDDY in Albany, N.Y.
These days his reviews are seen each week in over a million homes on Time-Warner’s YNN (Your News Now) Network in Central New York.
He also writes a weekend Reviews Column for The Record newspaper out of Troy, N.Y.
He’s appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”, “Today”, “Live With Regis And Kelly”, and Fox And Friends to name just a few.
He’s a four time New York Emmy nominee and in 2010 he became the youngest person ever to win a New York Emmy Award for his movie reviews on YNN.
We are talking about the “Kid Critic”, “Lights Camera Jackson” – Jackson Murphy.
Q – Jackson, I’ve been watching you on YNN since you were a little kid.
A – Thank-you.
Q – And you’re still a little kid. You’re just a bigger kid!
A – Right.
Q – How old are you?
A – I’m 13.
Q – I know you love the movies, but, when did you start looking at the movies in a way that most people do not. When did you notice that maybe the director could have done things in another way or the actress was just reading her lines? When did that all happen?
A – I guess I started watching Ebert And Roeper and several review shows like that and networks like the Reelz Channel and all those entertainment shows and I just enjoyed watching people give their opinions on those movies and so I think before I’d gotten started doing movie reviews I had started to look at movies a little bit different way than just sitting at the movies enjoying it. I guess I looked at it a little bit differently than normal and I guess that’s how I got even more interested in doing the job.
Q – What age were you when you started looking at movies like that?
A – I was probably 6 or 7, and I started reviewing movies when I was 7 ½ , so right around then when I thought this could really be fun doing this and looking and talking about movies in this certain way.
Q – Let’s say you’re watching a movie that Clint Eastwood directed and you have to criticize his directing. In order to do that, what do you have to do? Do you have to go back and watch every movie that Clint Eastwood has directed?
A – No, I don’t. I basically look at the movie and see the style of direction that Clint Eastwood did and look at it for what it is. I judge each movie and review them individually. I don’t go back and watch every other film. I just judge it this time. I like certain directors movies but sometimes I like one movie from them and the next movie is kind of disappointing. So I judge each one individually.
Q – Where do you watch the movies you review?
A – Mostly I see the movies I review at local theatres. Sometimes I see them when I’m travelling such as when I’m in New York City.
Q – Are movies ever sent to your house?
A – I don’t get screeners at my home. It’s much more fun going to the theatres.
Q – Do you ever go to screenings where other critics are in the audience?
A – I do get to go to screenings, sometimes critic screenings where there will only be a few of us. Other times, preview screenings include regular movie goers.
Q – How did you get that weekly gig on YNN?
A – I’d been doing movie reviews for a local radio station for a few years and then started the website. (www.lights-camera-jackson.com). We got the idea that YNN, then Capital News 9 in Albany (New York), might be interested in having me on. I went in and did a demo for them and the News Director offered me a regular weekly segment. This was back in 2008.
Q – Do you have an agent?
A – I have several people, both in L.A. and New York who are helping me with my career.
Q – Didn’t you go to the Academy Awards?
A – I did some stuff in Hollywood the week before the Academy Awards this past year (2011).
Q – Alright. What exactly did you do?
A – I did not exactly go on the Red Carpet per se, but, the week of I went to the Razzy Awards which was a lot of fun, went on The Tonight Show. That was great, Fox And Friends, Fox News Network. So, I did a lot of cool things out in Hollywood.
Q – I watched you on Jay Leno.
A – Thank-you.
Q – You were great! The actress whose name I can’t recall agreed with your criticisms.
A – Thank-you. Yes. That was really a wonderful experience. Everyone there was so nice. Jay came in beforehand and we were talking about movies and cars ‘cause he loves Cars. Emily Blount was very sweet as well and so was Rickey Minor.
Q – Do you go to a public school?
A – I go to a school; it’s not a public school.
Q – That’s what I thought.
A – It’s a private school. But, I do go to normal school, and it’s tough to balance everything out. We try to get it done and still do homework which is very tough some nights, but, I enjoy it.
Q – Even being in a private school, you come back home from being on The Tonight Show, and people must say ‘Saw you on Jay Leno’. Let’s face it, you’re a star!
A – Well, thank-you very much. I’m surrounded by a great group of kids and they enjoy what I do. We have lots of conversations and actually the studios send me stuff in the mail to give out to them – posters, and t-shirts and bookmarks and they really appreciate that.
Q – How about your teachers, what do they say?
A – They enjoy it too! Sometimes I have things for the teachers as well. We chat about movies often. They really do like what I do.
Q – Jackson, I guess you’ve found your calling in life haven’t you? You’re going to be a film critic.
A – Well, I’ve enjoyed doing movie reviews and I love doing them, but, I’m still going to keep the rest of my life wide open. I love this job but maybe I can branch out into doing other stuff. I love game shows. I love talk shows. So, I love interviewing people as well. I’ve interviewed a lot of celebrities I’ve gotten pictures with and autographs back from. I really like to talk to people and listen to what they have to say. I love doing this job I don’t know if it’s going to be the rest of my life. I don’t know quite yet. I’m still keeping my mind wide open.
Q – Jackson, a lot of today’s movies depend on special effects. Do you go back and watch movies from the past? Have you seen “Cleopatra”, “Ben-Hur”, “Sound of Music”? I’m talking classic films.
A – I’ve seen several older films like ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ and ‘Sound of Music’ and all of those. They’re very enjoyable, very entertaining and great movies. I try to watch as many older movies as I can. Very often I’m seeing most of the new movies that are in theatres, but I try to squeeze in as many of the older ones as I can.
Q – I feel that when you see a good movie, you have the greatest job around. But, when you see a bad movie, and you have to sit through it, you must have the worst job in the world.
A – Well, I actually feel like its fun to write bad reviews. It’s kind of easy. But, I try not to really blast something really hard. I try to really take my time still and write a review for a bad movie. But, sometimes either the trailers before hand are just coming out of it and talking on camera or to people about a bad movie can also be very fun.
Q – Do you have any brothers or sisters who are as interested in movies as you are?
A – I am an only child actually.
Q – And movies are your best friends!
A – (Laughs). Yes – along with my family.
© Gary James All Rights Reserved