Just a few short years ago, The Story Shop was nothing more than two guys in hats, chasing a dream of building a place where creativity flowed and Story reigned supreme. Along the way, we were joined by Phil Larson, music composer and all around great guy. It didn’t take long for a couple of more fellow travelers to join our rag-tag team of myth-makers. Yet, in the whirlwind of creation that is our day-to-day, not many have had the chance to meet the newest storytellers at The Story Shop. To remedy this, I sat down with Justine Scott and Jared Zook to take a peek inside the brains of two talented individuals we are glad to have on our team. Along with the great network of artists we work with daily, these two folks have helped build the dream of The Story Shop into a reality that none of us imagined – serving clients across the nation with great content.
So without further ado, here’s my (David) interview with Justine Scott (JS) and Jared Zook (JZ).
D: Tell me a little about yourself?
JS: Is that an existential question? (laughs) I am a deep thinker and an artist. I’m a deep feeler. I think I can best be described in song. Gangsta’s Paradise would be the song.
JZ: I’m from Ohio and went to Goshen College in Indiana. That’s how I got here. I love the Midwest and I decided to stay. Aside from that, I’m really motivated by creative ideas. I’m a big dreamer.
D: What do you do here at The Story Shop?
JS: I was told today that I’m traffic. (laughs) Mainly I manage all the stuff we make and then I also help make stuff. Does that make sense? I feel like I support the work going on here.
JZ: I make stuff. I do a lot of shooting and editing, video production. I also do design work and come up with ideas for content. It’s basically making things.
D: What do you love about working here?
JS: I love the authenticity here. We don’t pull punches but we’re kind too. That makes me feel at home.
JZ: I love the environment here. I can come down (Jared lives upstairs) and be relaxed and not have to put on a face. It makes it easier to be creative, to do the work that I want to do. The people make it easy.
D: What’s most challenging about working here?
JS: I don’t feel confident always, but I’m working on that. (laughs) This feels like a job interview.
JZ: I really like this job, but there are difficult projects sometimes and that’s challenging. Those projects that are difficult to present creatively. That’s hard.
D: What do you love about Story?
JS: I love that you can connect to it and feel deeply because of it. It creates this connection between humans and something outside of ourselves. I like that.
JZ: I love that something in the make believe world or something that isn’t exactly reality can affect you so much in the real world. That’s amazing.
D: What’s your favorite Story?
JS: Right now its The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It tells the tale of adventure and belonging and restlessness, which I feel like my generation is plagued with. Ah… but that sounds lame because everyone loves The Alchemist. Oh well.
JZ: I don’t know that I could pick. It’s hard. I don’t think I can narrow it down to a single tale. I just like stories that impact you.
D: What’s the most recent story that has affected you?
JS: The United States of Leland. It’s a story about a kid that just feels too much and he doesn’t know what to do with that. I like that perspective. It’s dark though.
JZ: The movie Everest that I just saw. It was a true story and it was really tragic but it made me think. It was well-told too. Well-produced, I mean. I really like true stories.
D: If you could hang out with any character from a movie or book, who would it be?
JS: I would hang out with either Jack Black or Ben Stiller from any of their movies. Maybe Jack Black from High Fidelity.
JZ: That’s tough… hmm… I would hang out with Gandalf. He’s a wizard. (laughs) He’s so full of wisdom. He would tell me everything I need to know. There would be this really big sense of security because he’s so powerful. It’s sort of cheating at life to have Gandalf as a friend.
D: Do you have a favorite storyteller?
JS: Right now, I would read anything by Brian Andreas. He writes these poems and does incredible artwork with them. They are so good.
JZ: I like the way the Christopher Nolan crafts his stories. I like the way he tells them. I just really like his movies.
D: What do you do when you aren’t working at The Story Shop?
JS: Shenanigans. (laughs) These are hard questions because I feel vague as a human being. (laughs) I love to cook. I help kids at a church. I love music. I’m taking drawing classes. I take photos. I love art. Mostly I feel like I meander through life and then come to work. (laughs)
JZ: I do a few of my own creative projects. I do relax a bit though, have people over to my apartment. I play video games a lot too. Oh, I travel on the weekends as well. I’ve done quite a few road trips.
D: What’s a big risk you’ve taken and did it pay off?
JS: I moved to Colorado with some friends and they ended up being sort of gross and dirty and it was disgusting. Then there was a flood and I took that as a Biblical sign and I left.
JZ: I don’t feel like I’ve had a risky life really. I don’t think I’ve done a lot of crazy things. I did spend time in LA working on film and video productions and I didn’t know what I was doing then, but I just went for it. It paid off and that felt risky for me because I was inexperienced. It was scary at least. It did work out well though.
D: What’s the best thing you cook?
JS: I make a really mean Greek turkey burger.
JZ: I make bread. It’s really good. I haven’t made it in a while though.
D: What’s your super power?
JS: I take good care of people. I’m very inviting and open to people.
JZ: I’m good at creating, especially video. I do that really well.
D: Hot Drinks or Cold Drinks?
JS: COLD DRINKS! Oh my gosh… Jared will say hot drinks but that’s ridiculous. I hate hot drinks. Cold drinks are way better.
JZ: I like hot drinks. Coffee is good. (turning to Justine) Cold drinks are definitely the lesser beverage.
(Interviewer Note: Justine has legitimate disdain for hot drinks. Passionate disdain in fact.)
D: What makes you laugh the hardest?
JS: Anyone who reminds me of myself. Does that sound bad? Maybe the unexpected too.
JZ: Absurd, clever and dry I think. I like it when people are doing really absurd characters but in real life and people don’t realize it. Like Sasha Baron Cohen. His movies are hilarious to me. I definitely think absurd stuff like that is funny.