If you’ve made a independent film in Chicago, it’s likely you’ve met Chris Johnson. Chris is the owner of Chicago-based Johnsonese Brokerage, which assists filmmakers across the country with that oh-so-glamourous line item of production insurance. Chris stopped by today for Five Questions with Screen…
SCREEN: What has been your favorite “stay-at-home” activity over these past few months?
CHRIS: I decided that I needed a hobby that didn’t involve screens and could be done at home. So I’ve been learning kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing pottery. The idea is that you make the repair beautiful using gold or silver, rather than trying to hide it. I’ve been breaking coffee mugs and repairing them with gold-colored glue as practice. Hopefully it’s making me a more patient person. And all of my friends will be receiving kintsugied mugs for the holidays!
SCREEN: Most famous person you’ve ever met?
CHRIS: That’s a tough one. I’m not good at recognizing celebrities. If I sat next to Tom Hanks on a plane, I would probably say something like, ‘So what do you do for a living?’
I did share an elevator once with Justin Kirk. I almost said, ‘Don’t I know you?’ But then I remembered him from ANGELS IN AMERICA and WEEDS and saved myself from that embarrassment. We didn’t talk at all, so I don’t know if that counts as “meeting.”
And I also stood next to David Schwimmer at Expo Chicago once. I said to my friend, “That guy looks like a young David Schwimmer.” My friend said, “He is David Schwimmer.”
SCREEN: What’s inspiring you today?
CHRIS: I’m trying to use the record Covid-19 infection numbers as inspiration to find new ways to grow my business remotely. We’re probably going to be socially distancing for a while.
SCREEN: Best summer vacation ever?
CHRIS: I could say Hawaii, but that’s a boring answer. I’ll say Columbus, Indiana because it’s a tiny town that has an amazing collection of modernist architecture. I’m a fan of architecture in general, and modernism specifically, so it was really a fun surprise to find in small town Indiana. Cummins Engines is based there and a former CEO of the company paid world famous architects to design buildings for the town.
SCREEN: What’s that TV show you’re a little embarrassed to admit you love to watch?
CHRIS: It’s a little old, but I binged watched the THE MIDDLE last winter. I’m from small town Ohio so I think I relate a little to growing up in the middle of the county. And I really appreciate that it’s a sitcom without a laugh track. I hate laugh tracks.
[Editor’s Note: Speaking of laughs, here are the funniest moments from the popular show]
SCREEN: Worst job ever?
In high school I was a clerk at a discount store called Rink’s Bargain City. Think Kmart, only not quite as fancy. It was an annoying job because the chain was failing so we were always out of stock. Customers would blame the poor clerks when we didn’t have the items in the weekly sales flyer. And we almost never had them.
SCREEN: What is your go-to karaoke song?
CHRIS: It depends. If I’m singing with someone, it’s “I’ve Got You Babe” because Sonny and Cher. If I’m singing alone, it’s anything from Depeche Mode because I’m still an angstful teen at heart.