For filmmaking partners Joshua and Rebecca Tickell, also a married couple, their first encounter with business entrepreneur and philanthropist John Paul DeJoria began after the production of their previous project, a documentary entitled Fuel. “We met JP in 2008 at the Sundance Film Festival,” Rebecca said of their festival circuit tour of Fuel, an award-winning project concerning American’s dependence on oil. “He stood up in the audience and said, ‘Everyone in the world needs to see this film.’ We agreed.”
After meeting DeJoria, the Tickells were able to get Fuel to film schools and broadly distributed with DeJoria’s assistance. “He helps films get the attention that they need and the funding that they need,” said Rebecca. “We became really impressed with his philanthropy philosophy. The best way to spread that ideology is to make a film about him. It’s the quintessential story of the American dream. He’s trying to make the world a better place.”
When the Tickells asked DeJoria if they could make a movie about him, he noted, “‘I’ve always said no,’” Rebecca remembered, “but since he knew us and trusted us, he gave us free reign in telling his life story.”
Conscious capitalism is how the world might see John Paul DeJoria – a very successful businessman who has given back enormous sums of money and time to worthwhile individuals and progressive causes. To begin their documentary, eventually called Good Fortune, the Tickells knew that they would need to acquire a long interview with DeJoria. “[It] is unheard of for him to do anything for three-and-a-half hours,” Joshua stated of their key interview. “He outlined his life story. From there, we asked him for a list of everybody he knew—we reached out to them.”
Unquestionably, DeJoria’s tale is incredibly rich and endearing while remaining steadfastly unique. “We got different perspectives,” Joshua stated about DeJoria, who was an impoverished in his rearing years and in gangs in his youth. He went on to strike it rich twice – first, as a co-founder of the Paul Mitchell line of hair products, and then The Patrón Spirits Company. “Examples of this are not abundant. We see a lot of greedy people who have inherited wealth or use it for ego and power. Once we had that distinct flavor of his life, we outlined moments in a narrative that will highlight these turning points. As a viewer, [you will] have a similar realization that he did — I can make a difference in the world. It doesn’t matter where you start out, race, gender; it is literally about a commitment to make the world a better place.”
Surely, that commitment on the part of DeJoria is the cornerstone of Good Fortune. “We could have taken the approach that this is an expose, tell-all,” said Joshua Tickell. “It would have been a much shorter film. He admits that he’s had some regrettable moments… the real power is to focus on what distinguishes this life. What’s the meaning of this life? The fact that there even is a meaning to this human being is fantastic. JP is an exceptionally positive human being.”
Of course, the Tickells knew that Good Fortune would also have to serve as a piece of standalone entertainment. “We’ve known him for 10 years, and the film really does embody his personality,” Rebecca Tickell conveyed. “He’s all about peace, love and happiness. By far, he has been such a pleasure to work with.”
In addition to the interviews that the Tickells conducted with various subjects, they had full access to DeJoria’s personal footage, plus archival tapes about DeJoria from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, for a total of 300 hours of material from which they crafted an 86-minute final product. It took the couple three-and-a-half years to complete Good Fortune.
One message delivered by the film concerns populations becoming more connected due to the internet and portable media devices, said Joshua Tickell, noting DeJoria’s example set forth in Good Fortune. “New generations are in touch with each other more than ever before, creating new paradigms for how we incorporate profits, benefiting others’ lives,” he said. “That’s the bigger conversation. You watch Good Fortune, and you’re inspired. At the end of the film, you say, ‘What am I going to do?’”
Rebecca Tickell added that she hopes audiences consider both local and global impacts of their individual efforts after watching Good Fortune. “We want people to measure their success: what will make them happy, are they taking care of the people in their life — and taking care of the planet?” she related. “He definitely does. Happiness is contagious. People, planet, and then profit. We want to see more of that possible; make money and make a difference at the same time. I think JP’s attitude will make the world a better place. Hopefully, the world will spread that message.”
Good Fortune has completed its 10-city theatrical release and is now available on Amazon, Hulu, iTunes and on DVD. On Amazon, it reaches 87 countries in 20 separate languages.