welcomes as our guest today Jamee Natella, founder and executive producer of Blueyed Pictures. Jamee attended the Chicago Academy for the Arts and eventually relocated to Los Angeles to follow her passion for the film business.  

After spending 9 years partnering with BBDO West in the U.S. to produce commercials for major brands both domestically and abroad, Jamee branched out to create a global production network to serve both advertising agencies and clients and launched the aptly named Blueyed Pictures with offices in Los Angeles, London and Tokyo.

Over the last 16 years Blueyed Pictures has produced an impressive body of award winning work across all media and Jamee has won recognition from the CLIO’s, Cannes Lions, FWA, Webby and the NY Festival’s International TV, Cinema & Radio Advertising Awards for work with agencies FCB, BBDO, JWT, Denzu/Japan and major clients Virgin Enterprises, Lexus, Toyota, Pepsi, L'Oréal, and Gerber to name a few. 

Currently Jamee is in the process of writing a  childrens 'book series' for young children regarding travel as well as being involved in a few projects in development with a director that are adaptations from books.

Norm: Good day Jamee and thanks for participating in our interview

How did you get started in the entertainment business? What keeps you going?

Jamee: I was a childhood actress and decided to make the transition to behind the camera. I realized my true passion was putting a production together.  

What keeps me going is the inspiration I gain from clever creatives in the industry and talented directors.  Their creativity gives me passion to execute and produce great work.

Norm:  What is a commercial executive producer and how did you learn your craft? 

Jamee:  An Executive Producer plays a very important role at a production company and on set.  However, producing for commercials is very different from an executive producer in the feature film world.

You start by working with sales reps daily to find creative story boards from ad agencies. Once we get the boards in, we then have to select which directors we are going to submit to the ad agency.  

After the director is selected from the ad agency, we then have to create a bid for the actual budget for the job! When the bid gets awarded, the executive producer works closely with the director each step of the way in the pre-production process. In the production stage and on set, the executive producer is the liaison between the ad agency and the production company to ensure the creative vision is being executed.

The executive producer is the first person the ad agency is in communication with and is the last person to ensure all deliverables arrive on time.

Norm: How do you keep yourself focused and what is the most difficult thing for you as an executive producer? 

Jamee: Time management and staying up to date on the latest creative trade magazines helps keep me focused on what's going on in our industry.   

The most difficult thing for an executive producer is how much time, energy and work gets put into bidding a job, which sometimes does not get awarded.   It is such a disappointment when the creators of an ad only choose the same A list directors over and over again, without giving other directors an opportunity. 

Norm: What is Blueyed Pictures and how did it start?  Why was it named Blueyed Pictures?

Jamee: Blueyed Pictures is an award winning commercial and corporate media production company.  It was founded in 1998. Currently we have offices in Tokyo, London and head quartered in Los Angeles. 

Blueyed (Blu)  is known for representing highly skilled emerging filmmakers, all of whose names appear on our roster (   Each director has been recognized in the industry for his or her outstanding award-winning work across different platforms -feature, short-film, music video, commercial and branded content.

Every one of these talented professionals is an emerging A-list director with a fantastic level of work that BLU has produced for brands such as Lexus, Scion, Under Armour , Pepsi, L'Oréal and Gerber, to name a few.

When Blueyed was conceived, I was living in Toyko.  I was known as the blue-eyed girl, which was very uncommon in Japan where most people have brown eyes.  It had become my nickname and carried over to the company name, Blueyed Pictures. 

Norm: You mentioned to me that you produced the "pick up footage" for the movie, Tekkan based off the video game. What is “pick up footage” and how did you produce it? 

Jamee: "Pick up footage" is footage you go back and film or "pick up" that was missed on the initial filming of the movie to make the finished film complete.  Most of the pick up footage was shot in a typical corporate office building in LA.  Yet, the finished product in the movie appears as a futuristic bar in Romania!

Norm: What books have most influenced your life and why? 

Jamee: I like biographies about influential people.  I get motivated by true stories and the struggles people have overcome.

Some of my favorite books are: Disney War by James B. Stewart; Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela; Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton; The Story of Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff: Steven Jobs, Walter Isaacson.

I am also big fan of the Brad Thor's novels too since we grew up together in Chicago.

Norm: I understand you are in the process of writing a children's book series. Why have you been drawn to writing children's books and what served as the primary inspiration for the books? Could you briefly tell us more about this project?  

Jamee: Yes,  I am in the process of becoming an author of a children's books series called, I am Sam in __________. The country names will be revealed when the series is published.  

I named the series after my six year old son Sam and our travels together.  I felt the need to write a book specifically for children that educates them about the cultural differences in various countries. There is nothing on the market for children that approaches culture in the way we are putting the books together.  The series will be targeted to children between the ages of 5-10 years old. 

Norm: Have you been able to transfer any of your skills as an executive producer to writing the children's books? If so, which ones? 

Jamee: When I approach a commercial production I have to look at all the pieces to put the puzzle together.  In writing this book series I need to think about the same factors.  From illustrators, to the type face appearance, to how I am going to execute the finished book, and so on and so forth.

The approaches are actually quite similar. The only difference is I am not on a set when writing the books. My strength comes from my team.  You have to develop a great team for any product.

Norm: What would you like to say to people who are reading this interview and wondering if they can keep creating, if they are good enough, if their voices and visions matter enough to share?

Jamee: If you are passionate about your idea and you have a vision- execute it. People perceive creativity in different ways and you never know what idea is going to appeal to the masses.  Never ever give up!  

Breathe, believe, receive, it's all happening.  

Norm: How can our readers find out more about you?

Jamee: Readers may learn more about Blueyed by visiting our Company Website, as well as various trade publications on line. The best way is Like me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. The power of social media.

Norm: What is next for Jamee Natella? 

Jamee: I am about to produce a new Toyota Scion commercial with Simon Needam and a Dove commercial with our director Don Broda .

The next big thing is launching Blueyed Pictures Feature Film division, slated to launch later this year. Stay tuned to learn what feature we will be announcing.  

Norm: In developing the book series what has been your biggest challenge?

Jamee: It is so important to ensure that what I am communicating makes sense to a 5-10 year old.  An adult's understanding is not the same as a young child's.  I read to my son, listen to his ideas and see what works.  If he doesn't understand, back to the drawing board.

I learn something new about myself everyday and find myself channeling my inner child.  Children are so curious about the world around them.  I think this series will teach children about other cultures, instill tolerance, understanding and acceptance. 

Thank you so much for having me!!

Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors