Choose Positive Living with Sara Troy and her guests Nick Zafonte and Jacky “J.D.” Singer, on air from May 31st.
At any given moment as they collaborate on everything from successful indie films, music videos, and original web content to a young adult fiction trilogy and children’s picture books, the freewheeling chemistry between Nick Zafonte and Jacky “J.D.” Singer transcends genres and traditional media classifications that Nick has fondly taken to explaining their collective magic in offbeat mathematical terms: “One plus one equals three.”
Best friends since discovering a mutual passion for storytelling and philosophical conversations in college, the two all-around manic-expressives live and breathe their creativity in a safe space where ideas fly freely, random thoughts and notions are never judged (because any may spark their next big scene, chapter, or project) and they never limit themselves to single solutions that could stifle their vibrant exchanges. Nick’s the big picture/concept, three act structure guy who grooves on cool plot twists, flashbacks, and mindf***s of a premise. Jacky is the British comedy aficionado/chief character motivator whose intuitive understanding of psychology lends itself naturally to fleshing out characters and discovering their hidden truths.
While the two are highly successful in their chosen fields – Nick is Group Creative Director of Civic Entertainment Group (a Ryan Seacrest company) and Jacky is a Registered Senior Client Associate at a prominent Wall Street wealth management firm – each new project provides them an outlet for pure storytelling.
To date, the duo’s most impactful calling card has been the independent full length feature film “No Retreat,” which had its premiere at the Austin Film Festival before receiving acclaim on the indie festival circuit and scoring worldwide distribution on Amazon. Written, directed, and produced by Nick and Jacky, it tells the story of two old college friends, both “failed” artists, reconnecting for a weekend writer’s retreat. Their last attempt to do something meaningful and creative with their lives falls apart as old regrets, insecurity, and unfinished romantic business rear their ugly head.
We are on 5 sites and 16 audio and 2 video platforms as seen here.
|Audry||Radio Public.||FM Player|
NICHOLAS ZAFONTE, Creative Director/Filmmaker
Nick has produced award-winning ad campaigns for some of the world’s most famous brands, including Pepsi, Lincoln, LG, and Target. His Office Max “Elf Yourself” campaign had a record-breaking half a billion hits in less than five weeks. He’s directed commercials, music videos, web content, including a music video/trailer for Coldplay with Amex. His first feature film, No Retreat, made its premiere at the Austin Film Festival before getting worldwide distribution on Amazon. He’s currently a Group Creative Director, overseeing creative campaigns for some of the world’s top tech and entertainment brands.
J.D. SINGER, Filmmaker
Jaclyn started her creative career writing poetry, short stories, and fantasy novels before moving into screenwriting, editing, and producing. With a background in the financial world, working at one of the world’s largest wealth management firms, she combines her varied artistic talents with an extensive knowledge of business, finance, and contractual law.
Nick & Jacky have been best friends and collaborators since he helped edit her first book of poetry and she performed practically every job (except animal wrangler) on his first music videos. As an advertising Copywriter and Creative director, Nick has produced award-winning work for global brands including some you may know – ever “Elf Yourself”…? While Jacky rose up the ranks as a financial executive, managing the money of celebrity clients, yes, some you may have heard of – sorry, NDA binding. They have written short stories, novels, and together have produced films, commercials, and music videos, including the feature-film No Retreat, that made its debut at the Austin Film Fest. With an equal love for 3-Act Structure (Nick) and British comedy (Jacky), they are drawn to inspirational stories that explore true human psychology.
As they expand their creative and promotional team, Nick and Jacky have been developing a treasure trove of new concepts, with a number of dynamic projects currently “on the front burner” in the development stages. The first, tentatively titled “In The Shadows,” is a feature length horror/psychological thriller film that draws on Nick’s own traumatic experiences of sleep paralysis, a state between waking up or falling asleep in which a person is aware but unable to move or speak. It often involves frightening visual and auditory hallucinations. Beyond being a personal catharsis, the experiences of the protagonist – who returns to his family home after the death of his parents – is culturally relevant in that they connect deeply with those people in isolation felt (and still feel) during the pandemic lockdowns.
Nick and Jacky are also working on a young adult book series. It’s a futuristic trilogy about a man living a nomadic life in the desert during a time when humanity has fallen from its reign of scientific and technological mastery. In a story driven by curiosity and the need for connectivity, the protagonist is exposed to three unique scientific enclaves – pure biology, pure chemistry, pure physics – and contemplates how the human race arrived at this future state. Their interest in stories at all age levels has even led them to write a pair of children’s picture books.
“We have a large back catalog of ideas that interest us,” Nick says, “so when it’s time for a new project, we pull them out and talk about what interests us most at this stage of our lives, which ideas really call out to us and feel right. Sometimes it’s just personal, but often we consider what would fit well with culture right now. Just as we feel the characters we create often guide the next steps in the narrative, the stories we want to pursue feel more natural in one specific medium as opposed to another. Some simply lend themselves to a sprawling novel trilogy rather than a film or TV screenplay.”
According to IMDB, Nick and Jacky launched their unique partnership on the 2012 short film “The First Day.” Off the record and perhaps less glamorously, their creative exchange actually began when he helped edit her first book of poetry and she performed practically every job (except maybe animal wrangler, though you know how some actors can be), on his first music videos. As an advertising copywriter and creative director, he has produced award-winning work for numerous global brands (including Pepsi, Lincoln, LG, Target).
Originated in 2006, Nick’s Office Max “Elf Yourself” campaign had a record-breaking half a billion hits in less than five weeks. Now a perennial experience, it’s an interactive website where visitors upload faces of themselves or friends and have the option to post the creative video on social media. Globally, over two billion elves have been created to date. Starting his career as a copywriter, he soon moved into directing commercials, music videos, and web content, including a music video/trailer for Coldplay’s Unstaged performance with Amex. In his role as Group Creative Director at Civic Entertainment Group, he oversees creative campaigns for Amazon Fire TV, NBC Peacock, HBO Max, Instagram and Facebook (now Meta), and more.
They’re excited to take their next steps. Jacky says, “My favorite part is diving in and realizing that this is the direction we’re going to go in, starting with those random ideas and plot points and developing them in service of the narrative we’re creating. I love being enveloped in all these different worlds.” While Nick adds, “What I love is finishing one project we’ve been immersed in and leaving that topic behind so that we can explore the next character, story, or idea we’re passionate about. Like, we just made that indie rom com type thing, and now we want to do a horror film, or maybe a sci-fi novel.” And it’s that differing approach to storytelling that makes the sum of their partnership greater than the parts.
– No Retreat – Award-winning Feature Length Indie drama
– Coldplay – Trailer/Music Video for Amex Unstaged Live concert that I wrote/directed
– The First Day – Psychological Thriller (short)
All of our shows/interviews are done by donation, if you enjoyed this show please support us here with either a one-time donation or subscribe and support on Patreon.