Jimmy Conroy - Focus Factor
Even though Jimmy Conroy has never been on the director’s side of a camera lens, he has an eye for what makes a good story. At tragic or blissful moments in life, the camera is always rolling in his mind; it’s a way for him to step outside of himself and see how an audience would react to his situations – situations both loving and sad.
“I’ve always sort of seen life as a stage presentation; it’s kind of always been my coping mechanism,” says Conroy. “I kind of look at it as, this might be a bad thing that happened, but it is, in fact, a good twist for the story.”
After doing very well for himself right out of college at Miami University, a college friend in Los Angeles connected him to the world of film by asking him to invest in a promising short called “The Fast One”. The seven-minute feature was Conroy simply dipping his toes into a baby pool.
That success led him to a spot as an executive producer of No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos, a documentary on the lives of two legendary Hungarian filmmakers who escaped their home country amid a Soviet invasion.
“They used the only weapon they had at the time, their camera,” says Conroy. “They captured these atrocities and smuggled them out to show the world, then went on to live the ultimate American dream.”
The documentary features interviews with stars such as Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock and Sharon Stone, who help tell the filmmakers’ stories based on their time working with them. Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond worked on wellknown films such as “Easy Rider, Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and countless others. The film aired nationally on PBS and garnered an Emmy nomination. It was a huge success for Conroy, who never had any doubts about its inevitable success.
“We didn’t have to create their story,” says Conroy. “There was no fiction in their story; it’s as good as it could be. So, I just essentially looked at it as a no-brainer to sign on.”