JAY CURLEE :: History


Born in California in 1951. Grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona from 1960-1972. Draft lottery number #14, I lost my student deferment because I was "distracted" by college life. Enlisted for language school to avoid a rice paddy. After graduating from Defense Language Institute, I was sent to Hawaii to be an interrogator and SERE trainer. A year after discharge, I became a cameraman on the newscast and remote crew of KGMB-TV (CBS). Two years later, I was promoted to commercial director. I made nearly 2000 commercials in the next 7 years. In 1983, I moved to KHNL-TV. There I made lots of other commercials and started doing more documentary and testimonial work. I also directed live sports and music broadcasts. In 1992, I completed the national PBS series, "Growing Old in a New Age." This series and college telecourse was funded by the Annenberg/CPB Project. It is still in use today, some 20+ years after completion. I treasure all of these experiences. Later in 1992, I ventured out on my own with the support of my partner in life, Susan James. We moved to Austin, Texas, in 2014. We still serve our Hawaii clients.

What Now?

Currently our primary focus is legal video and public service advocacy. I still do commercials and a fair amount of work promoting music appreciation (see References and Examples). Almost 20 years ago, a longtime friend and client came to me with a special project. He was attorney, Ian L. Mattoch. He wanted me to do a "Day in the Life" for a family who had lost a son in a gun accident. (I had made a successful series of commercials for Ian). Getting into the middle of real life stories with people has been very gratifying work. 250+ Settlement Documentaries later, I have not only made a living, but also helped improve the lives of people who were victims of a catastrophe. If I have a special niche, it is testimonial video. People feel comfortable talking to me on camera. I have participated in successful resolutions with an aggregate value of more than $150M. Fair compensation in the form of policy limits is the goal.


Law firms call me when they think the liability issues are very favorable and there is significant insurance coverage. I get to know the victim, the family, and friends, and free them to paint the picture of a life before and after the event. I often interview medical experts, economists, life care planners, and others as needed to describe the loss and needs. 40 years in broadcast production have prepared me to weave peoples' stories into an effective narrative. My rates are $200/hr or $1500/day for shooting, including camera and sound. Editing is $150/hr. Travel expenses and additional crew are billed as needed. I feel very good about the value I deliver to clients. Most of our cases now achieve $1M+ insurance funded settlements.

I am the Past President and Past Foundation Chair of the Rotary Club of Hilo Bay. I do pro bono work for non profits. In 2006, I made "Rocking the Boat: A Musical Conversation and Journey," a music documentary feature about Texas R&B legend, Delbert McClinton.

If you or your clients have a story that needs telling, call me. 808 640 4211

Best, Jay

Jay Curlee

8904 Texas Sun Drive
Austin, TX 78748

808 640 4211