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Meet Jack Pochop of Cartridge Thunder

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jack Pochop.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jack. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I had a gaming blog called, “8-bit foundation” in college. That’s probably the starting point for my semi-professional obsession with pop culture. Myself and a team of 5 or 6 other writers from Indiana University were writing weekly articles about games we were playing, interviewing the creators of games on Kickstarter, taking photos and video of our reviews and podcasts, and reviewing both new releases and old games from the 90s. Basically I just got really excited about making content and putting it out there for people to consume.

After two years of that, I convinced myself overnight that I no longer wanted to run the website and pretty much dove down a rabbit hole of designing posters, websites, icons, stuff like that. I was a “graphic designer.” I tried to launch a store called Me and Rob with my friend Rob (I was “Me”) but I think both of us were too busy to really get it off the ground. At the time, I don’t think either of us was super well-versed in online marketing which, outside of virality or a write-up of some kind, is really the only way anyone is going to see your shit. That was while I was still in Indiana, and before I graduated from Indiana University.

Pretty much immediately after graduating I moved to Chicago, and was freelancing for a short amount of time. That’s really about the time I came up with the name “Cartridge Thunder,” even though the actual purpose of the brand has changed since then. For the next two years I was using the name to sell posters online.

During that time, I was also working for Gramovox, the creators of the Bluetooth Gramophone and Floating Record Vertical Turntable. I was hired on there as a Graphic Designer in 2014, though my role eventually began to include all aspects of the creative process — photography, video production, marketing, all that stuff. I met so many of my good friends and creative partners there, and also so many other people who I had been wanting to meet since writing blogs in college: creators of media, owners of labels, artists.

Eventually Gramovox just sort of changed and our core team, including myself, was gone. Myself and my partner at the time, Daniel An took our newfound freedom and made a film called Journey to Burger Town. That was really the beginning of Cartridge Thunder. Unbridled awesomeness and total devotion to filmmaking and producing content. It was incredibly liberating and can only be described as a creative power-up.

We spent an incredible amount of money and time on that film and am very happy we did.

Ultimately, we didn’t get funding for a feature film but it was recognized by several sought-after publications and we met some of the most creative people in Chicago through that production so it was, in hindsight, really the best path forward and a solid foundation for what would eventually become this production company.

Since then, we have been operating as an advertising and production company, in the pursuit of making theatrical content full-time. While we do create very straightforward advertising—on-white images, lifestyle photography, video—I think our goal would be to make advertisements in the spirit of Joe Sedelmaier (of “Where’s the Beef” fame). I’d prefer not to be just someone else with equipment, but a group of individuals with unique ideas who cannot only create content, but make it better than what you have or different from what someone else will do.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Starting a production company is no easy task and it presents obstacles I’ve begun to see as familiar and be comfortable with. If I were looking for something without challenge, I’d still be applying for desk jobs or something similar. I enjoy the autonomy of my own small business, and obstacles are simply just part of the process.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Cartridge Thunder – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Cartridge Thunder LTD. is a production entity operating in the subjectively entertaining, theatrical, and fast-paced world of narrative production. We are a small but formidable band of creative individuals interested in producing original content that promotes the general welfare of its subjects and encourages the creative drive of both its cast and crew.

We want to specialize in theatrical content. There’s enough straightforward, vanilla advertising on Facebook—you see it every day. I’m proud that our past collaborators have enjoyed working with us, and that we can go for drinks and reminisce about how challenging a particular shoot was and what we should make next.

What sets us apart…well, I guess what you see is what you get. We’re straightforward and aren’t huge fans of conference calls where we talk for 15 minutes straight or just pumping out a video because it makes us money. Anything with our name on it will have taken time and be something we want to show to others. Also, we actively pursue partners who enjoy the same interests as ourselves: music, vinyl, games, and film.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
The plan for now is to keep seeking collaborators and creators in the spaces we enjoy—music, games, and film. I am personally looking forward to working with companies and creators I respect.

Myself and two of my creative partners, Lewis McKinney and Daniel An, just shot a project in LA that we are looking forward to releasing as well. It’s titled, “Crate Digging”—it’s a show that takes you behind the scenes of “your favorite record labels.”

That’s really a pretty good example of where I think we are headed, and where I’d like to go. I think the three of us really respect that label, iam8bit, and were stoked to shoot a project for and with them.

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