Movie Industry in 3D by Maxxyustas© Is Featured Courtesy Of The Black Jaguar Music Company.

• Vital Vision Productions, 1985:

Vital Vision Productions was founded by Joseph Strickland in 1985 in Chicago, IL. It is a film and video production company. Joseph Strickland is the executive producer and director of this entity - which focuses on acquiring scripts and developing projects in-house.

 The Epidemic (Original Screenplay), 1985:

The Epidemic was an original screenplay written by Joseph Strickland in response to the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. It was originally commissioned to be produced as a feature film.

 Innovative Music, 1987-1989:

Innovative Music was a music video/cable TV program founded by Joseph Strickland in 1987. He produced and directed all of the concert videos which featured well-known and up-and-coming musical acts. The music genres spanned from R&B and Jazz to Rock and Pop.

 Chicago Access Network (CAN-TV), 1987-1989:

Joseph Strickland began his entry into television by producing and directing music videos, as well as live events that were featured on Chicago Access Network.

 Daily Mass (Short Film), 1989:

Joseph Strickland co-wrote and co-directed this short film with a local independent filmmaker named Tim O'Neill. The project was showcased in the 24th Chicago International Film Festival, receiving praise from legendary film critic, Roger Ebert, who commented that the student film showed 'Promising talent.' Both Strickland and O'Neill met while they were students attending Columbia College of Chicago.

 First Asian Human Services Festival, 1989:

Joseph Strickland produced the First Asian Festival in 1989 for CAN-TV, Ch. 19. The special television program splendidly captured the cuisine, dances, songs, and culture of Asia's vast contribution held in the Chicago event, which included over 30 countries from arounf the world.

 Jade Monkey King (Theater Production), 1994:

Joseph Strickland worked as the lighting designer for the theatrical production of the famed story of Jade Monkey King. The production co-starred actress, model, and Miss Illinois 1994, Chuti Tiu, marking her entry into the entertainment industry. The stage production was presented at Chicago's Roosevelt University.

 Simon Public Relations, 1996:

 Section completion pending

• The prosecutor came to the conclusion that he had an abnormal childhood. Sort of the 'Silence of the Lambs' theory.

-Joseph Strickland on the Jeffrey Dahmer trial

 SCREEN Magazine interview, 06 December 1993

• When I speak of directors, I speak of the legendary ones. Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick are just two of my greatest influences as a filmmaker.

-Joseph Strickland on his favorite directors

Chicago Defender interview, 03 October 1996

• I am impressed by the work and influence of Spike Lee on the film industry, as well as I am by that of Carl Franklin who is a significant individual and very unique.

-Joseph Strickland on Spike Lee and Carl Franklin

Chicago Defender interview, 09 October 1996

• The Style is quite surrealistic. It reminds me of books by Maurice Sendak, but the symbolism is Japanese.

-Joseph Strickland, Chair of the Features Jury at the 15th Annual Chicago International Children's Film Festival on the Japanese animated film, "Bavel's Book," directed by Kōji Yamamura

Chicago Tribune interview, 09, October 1998

I met Joe in the summer of 1992 while we were both working for a marketing research firm on Chicago's Gold Coast. It had been a year since I'd returned to my native Chi after having lived in Saint PaulMinnesota for eight years prior, and I was still in the process of getting settled in.

Our new friendship had been an instant one, and it blossomed the more so throughout the remainder of 1992. But in 1993, I left the firm to take another job (with higher pay) in the Chicago's North Side. As a result, Strickland and I would lose contact, and it wouldn't be until the summer of 1993 that I saw him again.

On one fateful day, while I was seated on the CTA Red Line El heading home to the South Side from work, I spotted Strickland on the platform at the Berwyn stop and quickly got off the train to call out to him, 'Strickland? Joe Strickland!' Yes, it was him all right, wearing a black Dracula t-shirt and a pair of faded jeans. Bram Stoker's Dracula had already been released, and Strickland had been showing his support to the feature ... as well as to Francis Ford Coppola, the film's director and one of Strickland's favorite filmmakers, respectively. It was on that lovely day that the man and I reunited, and, of course, exchanged phone numbers. With that, out history together began to come into being.

Over the next week we spoke often by phone, just getting caught up and getting to know one another more on a personal level. And it had been during one of our conversations that Strickland and I shared both our passion for the Arts, the artistic gifts that had been implanted within us individually, and our dreams of one day succeeding in our respective creative contributions. During that conversation, I learned that he was an aspiring filmmaker with the first draft to an original screeplay under his belt, and he, in turn, learned of my aspiration to become a published songwriter, author, and film industry worker. This only drew us closer, what the fact that we were both artists. Struggling dreamers.

Our first date was made as we neared the end of that phone call only two weeks earlier. And I now sat in his comfy studio apartment on the North Side, in Chicago's Edgewater, preparing to read the first draft of his script titled Dual Mania. He, on the other hand, prepared to get us some groovy grub goin' in the kitchen. And in a matter of three weeks I would have read the script twice, no, thrice, that's just how great I thought it was. And I told Strickland as much. 'You can write'cho ass off,' I'd said to him. 'Joe, you need to start gettin' that script cast,' I'd urged him. After informing me that he was already pulling a team together to get the film made, I'd told him right then and there: 'I want in.'

As the days passed into weeks, the weeks into months, and the months into our first full year together as a bonded unit, Strickland and I were all over our city of Chicago: lakefront walks, art gallery dates, museum dates, bi-weekly pig outs at one of our favorite restaurants in all of Chicago (Tedino's on NSheridan Rd. at The Breakers), weekly pig outs at Cheng's on N. Bryn Mawr Ave. under the Red Line El, Leona'sEdwardo's on Printer's Row, long walks up and down my beloved Wabash Ave., treks up and down State Street, that great street, strolls along Marine Drive, and so on. We ate and drank our asses off and practically lived at Buckingham Fountain during the summer season.

There hadn't been too many of Chicago's finest eateries and various establishments that we didn't often frequent. And when we didn't feel up to going out, we simply ordered in.

As time progressed, Strickland had began to take me to some of our city's most well-known movie theaters, where he knew nearly every employee in them. He introduced me to everyone he knew, including a bunch of theater owners. And I must honestly say that there was never a time, except once, where we walked into a movie theater in Chicago and had to pay for anything. Strickland's money was never any good in those movie houses because the majority of theater owners knew him. We'd show up at the box office, and the ticket agents would just wave us in. We'd help ourselves to the concessions too, free of charge. We never had to pay for anything in those select theaters. Nachos, popcorn, juice, Dots, Raisinettes, you name it, all on the movie theaters.

I had been in complete awe of Strickland's influence in the Chicago film community in those days. I mean, I knew that he'd written another script, The Epidemic (it never got made, by the way), and that he'd co-written (yeah, he co-wrote), and co-produced the student film Daily Mass, which had premiered at the 24th Chicago International Film Festival and received a famed "thumbs-up" vote from the great Roger Ebert, but this movie theater pull had yours truly in complete awe. On the night he took me to the Burnham Theater to see The Client, I couldn't believe my eyes when Joe went behind the concession counter, grabbed the largest popcorn bucket they had, filled it up with freshly popped popcorn, buttered and salted it, and then handed it to me. I was too damn through. I swear I was; I was laughing my ass off. By the time we sat down in our theater seats, I was still laughing. In fact, I'm chuckling right not - just at the memory of it. 

There were even times when he'd taken me out to see a movie, that we'd been permitted to watch the films from the projectionist's booth, as had been the case with Bitter Moon at the Bucktown Theater. Yeah, I know. Normally, it is not permissible for anyone, save the projectionist, to be present in the projectionist's booth, but Strickland had been. Me? Well, I was just along for the ride. I didn't have that kinda sauce, baby. But it was a groovy experience, I tell ya. A very groovy experience. Together, we cruised on through 1993.

As 1993 shuffled along on its merry way, Strickland and I were toiling day in and day out to get Dual Mania made. Strickland rented an office on Wacker Drive that he and his original executive casting director, Cheryl Gordon, had used to hold the first stage of auditions. Eventually, Strickland and Gordon would part ways, and I'd be left to handle the casting duties alone. The office was useful in more ways than one, however. Strickland also used the space to host members of the media who conducted interviews with him concerning the feature film, including Barry Rice from SCREEN Magazine. We were dealing with camera rentals, other equipment rentals, Astro Labs, filming locations, and etc. We were pulling it together, but we faced many, many trials and a variety of persecutions. If there is one American city that is fanatically obsessed with power, it's the city of Chicago; for there were many who didn't wish to see our baby, Dual Mania, come into being. Ever. And the same were those who put in much overtime to prevent it. 'Where's mine?' Remember, that's Chicago's legendary motto.

Indeed, it was coming together, bit by bit, one obstacle after another. Neither one of us, Strickland or myself, intended to sleep a full 8-hour night until Dual Mania was in the can. And we were willing to kick many an ass and cuss out many a muthafucka to get it there.

We wore all black on our wedding day when Strickland took me to wife on New Year's Eve day, 1994, in a City Hall union. We were happy newlyweds but we'd taken a pass on a honeymoon, and our wedding cake was a store bought Pepperidge Farm Vanilla Three-Layer. We didn't have any fairy tale wedding, fancy honeymoon, or tiered cake money. Every discretionary dollar that we had went towards getting Dual Mania made. Our joint adage was, 'We can go on a ritzy honeymoon after we have this baby.'

Battling our way through a ton of resistance in the nappy roots of Chicago, we kept the faith (and our joy) through constant prayer, snapping jokes, and going to the movies. Out on a date night in the summer of 1995, Strickland had taken me to the beautiful Lincolnwood Theater where yet another one of his dearest friends, the lovely Maggie Santiago, held down the fort of authority. We were there, at the theater, to see Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. And very similar to times past, we were granted free access to the premises, and our concessions were on the house.

These fun activities kept us busy in our spare time while we worked and saved to make Dual Mania happen. And it would be four more years before we finally completed principal photography.

To wrap it up (pun intended), I was learning about a whole new world that I'd previously not known the mechanism of. But in the years that I worked alongside of Strickland to transform our baby, Dual Mania, from the script into an actual feature film, I learned quite a bit. I began to work on some of the music for the soindtrack, matching lyrics and melodies to the mood of the psychological thriller and its characters, and then running it all by Strickland for feedback. His passion for film had become my passion for film, and we were going to fulfill it together. And although I'm a music woman first and foremost, filmmaking is the fiercest emotion of the man I married. Because of Joseph Strickland, film has become a vital part of my creative DNA. I have learned to admire it, to respect it, and to truly love it. And I am honored to be a member of its professional culture and community.

Joseph Strickland, thank you, baby, for the fun-filled experience. I swear, I'd do it all over again, so long as I was doing it all over again at your right side. Let's go get 'em.

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