Ainsworth’s latest filming project “The Soul Graffiti”

Anyone prone to saying “They don’t make movies like they used to” should meet Jet Ainsworth.

We live in a moment where the industry’s middle class is shrinking, skewing more toward enveloping comic-book flicks or smaller, adventurous indies. What we tend to lose are feel-good movies, stories where misfits collide for a common cause and end up as chosen family. Note: Demon Slayer : Kimetsu no Yaiba Saison 2 Épisode 1 2021 Streaming

Ainsworth, a mid-Missouri filmmaker, loves to live in this space. His latest project, “The Soul Graffiti,” draws its heartbeat from a clear sense of community. That pulse worked itself out in a local shoot — which recently wrapped — and themes of shared purpose. Note: Spider-Man : Far From Home 2021 Streaming

“The Soul Graffiti” takes place in a small Missouri town, where residents have watched “corporate America really start to plant some flags,” Ainsworth said in a late-summer interview. In an all-too-common tale, mom-and-pop businesses have been lost to faceless franchises. Note: Julie (en 12 chapitres) 2021 Streaming

The community holds one more hope: its long-running radio station. When the station owner sells to a corporate Goliath — that plans to put a cellphone store in its place—a town full of unlikely Davids respond.

“It’s up to the community and it’s up to, especially, the DJs to find some way out of this mess and not only save the radio station — but, in their hearts, save the town,” Ainsworth said. Note: Freda 2021 Streaming VF

“The Soul Graffiti” is the fourth feature, and tenth project overall, from Ainsworth’s production company, Worthy Pictures. Ainsworth’s films often reflect his big heart and wide interests.

His previous feature, “Hope and Mike’s Open Mic,” revolved around a local music scene; it’s a world Ainsworth knows well, as a gigging musician. Many of the film’s stars were musicians first, actors second — the writer and director trusted that their instincts and lived-in experience would lend the movie a relatable feel and natural flow.

Ainsworth has also sounded out his voice on the airwaves, working in radio for years. Following his compass — and trusting his peers to follow theirs — he cast local radio personalities such as KPLA’s Hannah Heart, KBXR’s Mo Louis and Y107’s Cosmo. Note: Cruella 2021 Streaming VF

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The film’s genesis came as Ainsworth drew lines between phrases scrawled in a notebook brimming with partial ideas and flashes of inspiration. Point A was “radio station movie”; Point B was the film’s title. But first, Ainsworth had to define those three words for himself.

“It’s the decoration that other people leave on you — everyone in life,” he said of the the title phrase. “The negative experiences you have, the positive experiences. The things that just stick with you. We’re all blank canvases.”

Ainsworth’s creative process grows more open and organic from project to project. Originally conceived as a more conventional one-to-one romantic comedy, “The Soul Graffiti” became an ensemble piece, a space for characters and their stories to merge into something greater. Note: Conjuring 3 : Sous l’emprise du Diable 2021 Streaming

Working with a mix of seasoned and non-professional actors, he overlapped several production tracks. Moving around varied schedules, Ainsworth and Co. shot three or four scenes per week, then he edited rough cuts to show the cast the next time around. NoteFilm Review: ‘He’s All That’

These rhythms brought narrative consistency, and allowed actors to replicate the same energy, from shoot to shoot, he said.

Filming amid fluctuating pandemic protocols, Ainsworth tried to keep the set small and safe. Seizing the day’s location proved one of his greater challenges, as he filmed scenes in and around mid-Missouri businesses that were adapting too.

Attentive local viewers will recognize the record library at Columbia community radio station KOPN, the pub feel of J. Pfenny’s or the live-music haven that is The Mission — both in Jefferson City — as well as other area sites.

Every location and frame matters, but so does the story arc. And Ainsworth is learning this with every film. His “control freak” tendencies came through on earlier projects, he said — lines in the script were sacred, and every scene needed to be perfect. “I would leave the set disappointed almost every time, because I didn’t feel like I got it,” he said.

He learned to micro-manage less, ask for more help and assume mistakes would happen. Ainsworth “lowered the expectations, but raised the hope” on set, he said, ensuring his movies would leave audiences — and himself — feeling good by end credits.

And that, by his own standards, is how a more positive form of “soul graffiti” imprints itself.

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