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Work 1-on-1 with Dane, host of You Booked It.
EP 160: Jessica Redish (autogenerated)
Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it. Episode 160. Okay, let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Jessica reddish, are you ready for this Jessica?
[00:00:15]Jessica Redish: [00:00:15] Oh, yes.
[00:00:16] Dane Reis: [00:00:16] All right, Jessica, uh,
uh, is it accomplished director writer and award winning choreographer? Her body of work ranges from recently contributing choreography to the smashing pumpkins international tour to having her short film, the last croissant which she wrote and directed currently featured on will Farrow’s funny or die.
[00:00:35] She is honored to have directed it for Elizabeth Banks is who hahaha platform and receive placement
in the, in the 20, 19 and 2020 women in film mentoring programs, she is the recipient of the Helen Hayes award for outstanding choreography for her work on silence, the musical at studio theater, Jessica, that is a quick intro of who you are and what you’ve done.
[00:01:01] But. Why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself, fill in the gaps and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.
[00:01:11]Jessica Redish: [00:01:11] sure, thanks so much for having me.
Well, my name is Jessica radish and I am a writer director, and award-winning choreographer. I am originally from Chicago and I live in Los Angeles. Uh, my work this year has gone from everything to, um, choreographing short films, um, to writing and directing comedy sketches for online content.
[00:01:30]Dane Reis: [00:01:30] brilliant. And let’s dive right into this first section here in Jessica. Look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone?
[00:01:43]Jessica Redish: [00:01:43] Humorous just truth only faster Gilda Radner.
[00:01:48] Dane Reis: [00:01:48] I’ve not heard that one before. That’s so good.
[00:01:51] Jessica Redish: [00:01:51] one. It’s a really good one. Yeah.
[00:01:53] Dane Reis: [00:01:53] And can you expand on that a bit on how you’ve worked that into your career?
[00:01:58] Jessica Redish: [00:01:58] Sure. It just really reminds me why I’m doing what I’m doing. I really think it’s galvanized me too. Just to tell the truth and about ridiculous scenarios and about the absurd. And it reminds me,
you know, when I’m writing, uh, a sketch, uh, uh, you know, I, I’m not just cracking jokes and make people laugh, which I love to do by the way, but I, but I’m telling, I’m telling the truth.
[00:02:16]Dane Reis: [00:02:16] Yeah, for sure. You know,
You know, for whatever reason, when you were saying that I had this image of watching bhorat right. And it’s something that I love. And also maybe it’s with the election and all this stuff kind kind of surrounding it. I love. The way comedy can address such pertinent and serious issues so directly, but in a way that’s so accessible
[00:02:40] Jessica Redish: [00:02:40] Yep.
[00:02:41]Dane Reis: [00:02:41] and it’s, I it’s so good.
[00:02:43] Jessica Redish: [00:02:43] it is.
I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s also relieving, right? Because just straight up facts can kind of get numbing, but, um,
[00:02:50]Dane Reis: [00:02:50] And a bit too serious sometimes.
[00:02:51] Jessica Redish: [00:02:51] serious. Yeah. And so like the entertainment factor.
Um, there’s a catharsis around it. I think, you know, about, uh, around, around laughter.
[00:02:58]Dane Reis: [00:02:58] Yeah, totally. A hundred percent. Great.
Well, let’s get into this next section here. And Jessica, of course you are an entertainment professional. I am an entertainment professional, and I think that you’d agree that this industry can be one of the most subject. Dude, brutally honest, personally, emotional industries in existence.
[00:03:18] And you know,
you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry, like your having now takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while yeah. There’s an outrageous amount of fun and excitement to doing what we do. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, and failures.
[00:03:38] We are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through. So tell us, what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it?
[00:03:51]Jessica Redish: [00:03:51] Sure. I think it’s a great question.
Uh, you know, I I’m in this moment of expanding my creative repertoire and I’m finding it. Just like a tad challenging to tell people who I am, and I’m still a work in choreographer and I love it. But, uh, I’m also doing these projects as a writer director, and I, I want people to think of me like that.
Um, I’m working these two lanes at the same time and I’m just. You know, for example, I’m spending my time working on my short film called love solutions, formerly titled cat, uh, planning for the next shoot and, and all these, this exciting comedy work I’m getting in. Um, and I’m still envisioning dances and I have a lot of choreography work on my plate.
[00:04:26] So I,
you know, it’s this, I want to make sure people don’t think I’ve, I’ve dropped one for the other, you know, you know, we, that we are given permission to be Renaissance people if we want to be. And I’m, I’m loving that I’m evolving as an artist and. I want to make sure that comes across, you know, uh, so just that I have more than one interest and I, I feel I do both equally well, and I think, um, you know, I’m really starting a new in this, in this comedy world and, you know, just going from someone who.
Um, who gagged on other other people’s projects, which I still love to do. And I it’s a big part of my life and it, it always will be to also believing that my voice was worth producing. Um, I think my work taps into the weirdo in all of us, um, I love writing stories about women, in strange situations who tend to learn from their mistakes sometimes.
Um, and, um, you know, um, you know, um, But the rules of the game I learned were, were very much like just work, work for the people work, you know, make it happen that way. And, and the real journey has been trusting my own voice. Um, and I, and I know that it’s worth listening to, you know, um, in terms of some of the other challenges, you know, I’ve been fortunate to just continue and if something doesn’t go my way, I, I know there’s another one coming down the, down the pike and that’s just been my experience.
[00:05:26] And so I,
you know, I try not to get, um, Too hung up on one opportunity or another, it, it, I just know something else is coming. It’s like buses.
[00:05:34]Dane Reis: [00:05:34] right, for sure. Good analogy.
We, we really do have more to offer. Then oftentimes I find then what an industry will pigeonhole us as, or they, everyone likes to put people in a little box that they can understand.
Right. And it just makes things easier, especially if you’re in casting and you’re looking at hundreds and hundreds of different people, it makes, it just makes sense to put people in boxes when you’re doing that. But it’s hard to get out of boxes sometimes, once you’ve been put in them and. I think finding your own voice is such a integral part of getting out of your box because yes, you can stay there.
[00:06:16] You can live in your lane and that’s totally cool. But if you feel like you have more, you’re the one that has to do it. You can know inside that. Like
Like yeah, I can do all these other things. People aren’t going to pull that out from you. For the most part. It has to be up to you to step over that precipice of maybe it’s fear.
[00:06:32] Maybe it’s just, I’m not sure
if I, if I’m worth. Being heard on whatever that might be another skill.
[00:06:41] Jessica Redish: [00:06:41] Yeah.
I mean, . I really moved from an interpretive artist to a generative artist and. You know, especially coming from musical theater where, you know, you’re handed an amazing script, um, and you’re, you’re interpreting it.
You know, I’ve done a lot of that work. I still do some of that work, um, with plays and musicals, um, and, and working on, you know, music videos and other short films. I love interpreting other people’s work, uh, and you know, finding space, especially when I moved out to Los Angeles, having some space and time to write and, and, uh, Then just it picking up steam kind of on its own.
Uh, but you know, I, I do think the digital age has been, uh, very democratizing for us. I mean, you’ve started this podcast. I started making short films, music, videos, um, it, it enables us to use our own voices in, in new ways. So we, we do have the tools in front of us. Um, it’s, it’s very, a challenging time right now, but. We have some exciting tools in front of us.
[00:07:26]Dane Reis: [00:07:26] . Uh,
Uh, greed and let’s move on to a time that I like to call your. Spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be in the entertainment industry for a living, or maybe it was, yes, this is what I need to be doing in this industry. Tell us about that.
[00:07:51]Jessica Redish: [00:07:51] Sure. I was in Joseph and the amazing Technicolor dream
[00:07:55] Dane Reis: [00:07:55] Love that show.
[00:07:57] Jessica Redish: [00:07:57] when I was 12 and I was at the kids’ choir. And when it was over, I was. Devastated. And I knew I had to be around this for the rest of my life. There was no choice. There was no other option for me.
like choreographed the student written and student run musical.
[00:08:23]And my acting teacher turns to me and he just at intermission and he said, This is what you need to be doing. So I think I was 17. So, you know,
you know, I learned early, I wanted to be around it professionally, all my life. And then that really set me on my path and I have not stepped off since.
[00:08:41]Dane Reis: [00:08:41] , very cool. You and my wife, I think would get along. She is a borderline obsessed. I’d say with Joseph, she loves the music. She knows every single line, every sing, everything,
you know, she’s done the show multiple times loves it. And, uh, multiple times a year, we always end up watching it for sure. But I love
[00:09:00] Jessica Redish: [00:09:00] the production. Yeah,
[00:09:01] Dane Reis: [00:09:01] so good.
[00:09:02] Jessica Redish: [00:09:02] Yep.
[00:09:03] Dane Reis: [00:09:03] Yes.
[00:09:04] Jessica Redish: [00:09:04] Yes. That’s the coat.
[00:09:05] Dane Reis: [00:09:05] That’s it. And you know what, and I love,
I love, I love the way they did the, the movie musical of that as
[00:09:11] Jessica Redish: [00:09:11] It was wild. It’s really wild.
[00:09:13] Dane Reis: [00:09:13] It’s so good.
[00:09:15] Jessica Redish: [00:09:15] A lot of my friends,
you know, uh, I think it was on this year because they had Lloyd Weber showed all his musicals online or on TV. I can’t remember, but a lot of my friends on Facebook who read the choirs, we tag each other because they’re showing it to their kids. And it was just really, it was just like full circle.
[00:09:30] Dane Reis: [00:09:30] yeah,
[00:09:33] for sure. We’ve already shown it to our three-year-old daughter. So
[00:09:36] start early. Boom.
[00:09:40] Jessica Redish: [00:09:40] joyous experience. And,
you know, I wasn’t, we did it in Chicago and Chicago loves that musical and is that Chicago theater and it’s just, it kept coming back. And, uh, I, I just, it was a really fun experience. It was a big, huge production and lots of rainbow sheep and just, it was wild.
[00:09:55] It was just very exciting as a young person to be around that level of professionalism. And I just thought, okay,
[00:10:02]Dane Reis: [00:10:02] , absolutely. And let’s piggyback on all of that real quick and talk about your number one, booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions and callbacks. If they happen to be a part of it, what was going on in your life? And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite? Booked it moment.
[00:10:23]Jessica Redish: [00:10:23] So all this stuff, trying not to wait for permission, just
kind of doing it my way. Not really waiting for any gatekeeper to call me. Uh, but I, I really knew I was doing something right when I got an email. From Billy Corgan of the smashing pumpkins asking me to contribute choreography to his tour. Um, I had just moved to LA and I was, I was a few months in and I just got the email, you know, and it was just really energizing.
Um, because I thought, you know, this is the work I want to be doing at this level. And, and he and I admitted a few years prior, you know, we would talk about musicals. We had started a working relationship. Um, I had commissioned his first short musical. Theater company. I had founded and ran and I choreographed it.
So, uh, we, we had begun working together and I had really put in my sweat equity, you know, building that theater and, and running in. So it just felt like a lot of things were coming together in this moment that a lot of things have paid off. and then I was going to be working in a way, um, and in the city, I, I want it to be,
[00:11:15]Dane Reis: [00:11:15] , very cool. I was interviewing someone the other day and they said success is success in this career in particular is cumulative.
[00:11:25] And I said, Oh, that’s so well said.
[00:11:28] Jessica Redish: [00:11:28] so true.
[00:11:29] Dane Reis: [00:11:29] it’s so true in your book. That story is exactly that isn’t
[00:11:33] Jessica Redish: [00:11:33] Yeah.
I mean, you know, the short answer is I got the email. Right. Right. But the longer answer is, you know, there’s, there’s work, that’s put in and it’s over time. It really, it really is a marathon of, you know, Uh, work and collaboration and, and relationships over time that that build and grow. Um, and, and I’m grateful to be out here now, uh, to have really built a team of, uh, mainly women on my crews, who helped me make my work now.
it’s, it’s just very exciting.
[00:11:55]Dane Reis: [00:11:55] I just think you said it right there. It’s the collaborations, the relationships and how important they are in there. It is. Once again, for everyone listening this idea of having. Relationships and cultivating these relationships and collaborating with people is hands down. One of the most important fundamentals of what is creating a successful entertainment career.
[00:12:16] We hear it from everyone in this industry, whether they’re an author, whether they’re a film actor, a stage actor, a musician, everyone, it all boils down to relationships.
[00:12:27]Jessica Redish: [00:12:27] It really does. And
you know, I have a lot of friends who say, Oh, I’m not good at networking and it’s not just networking. You know, it’s, it’s actually working with people and really collaborating with them. and getting a language together. And that’s how you build something truly great.
[00:12:46]Dane Reis: [00:12:46]
Hmm, for sure. And let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And it’s a weird time, right? We’re amidst this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:13:06]Jessica Redish: [00:13:06] I have a short film called love solutions, which is formerly titled cat, which was a recent semifinalist in women and media comradery initiative. Someone is, yeah, someone has just signed on to produce it. So I’m looking forward to getting that filmed next year. It’s a story of a woman who signs up for a dating coaching service in search of her soulmate only to end up marrying a cat. Another piece I did, uh,
uh, called the last croissant. It’s a short film, which was on funnier dye is making the festival rounds. It just played the Portland comedy film festival, which was a drive-in. And we’ll be playing the Atlanta comedy film festival, both live and online on December six. And it will be in the Holly short screening series.
[00:13:51] Next year, I’m going to release a SQL called airway, which is also a short film next year. So stay tuned for that.
[00:14:01] Dane Reis: [00:14:01] Very cool. I just watched
the, the last question. It’s so funny. I loved it.
[00:14:07] Jessica Redish: [00:14:07] Thank you. Thank you. Yes, I got the,
I got the, I got the feedback that it’s that’s very relatable. No, and I think like we were talking, we were talking, we were talking about that, you know, it just, uh, Early right.
[00:14:19]About how comedy can tell the truth.
So, yeah. And like you said, be relatable. So that is actually a lot of the feedback that I do get, and that
[00:14:26]Dane Reis: [00:14:26] for sure. We’ve all been there.
[00:14:28] Jessica Redish: [00:14:28] yeah, it makes me feel less weird,
[00:14:32] Dane Reis: [00:14:32] We all experience it every day.
[00:14:34] Jessica Redish: [00:14:34] I love it. I love it.
Uh, yeah, in terms of where I see the industry moving forward, you know, with a lot of masks, that’s, that’s how I feel now. But, uh, but I do feel, you know, this is a time to innovate and make it work. And I think for independent artists who have been, uh, scrappy and making it happen, especially independent filmmakers, this is our time to shine.
[00:14:51] I think we’re very flexible thinkers. So it’s our time to really
step, step forward and, and be safe while doing it. Of course.
[00:14:57] Dane Reis: [00:14:57] , . And it is time to move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightening round. I am going to ask you, we hand full of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another. Are you ready? All right. First question.
[00:15:17] What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career in the entertainment industry?
[00:15:23]Jessica Redish: [00:15:23] Really thinking I needed to live a nine to five life. And once I went back home and realized that it wasn’t me, then everything started to fall into place.
[00:15:29] Dane Reis: [00:15:29] beautiful. I also thought that, and I also realized I’m not very good at the nine to five thing. Done it. Not very good at it.
[00:15:38]Jessica Redish: [00:15:38] It’s
[00:15:39] Dane Reis: [00:15:39] And that’s okay. And the second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:15:47]Jessica Redish: [00:15:47] I heard a producer here in LA say, knows anything to listen to anybody. So the calendar of that is,
you know, go with your gut. You know, your, your gut has more serotonin in it than your brain. Someone wants to hold me. So, uh, Go go with what works trust yourself.
[00:16:05]Dane Reis: [00:16:05] there we go. Third question. What is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on? Pause
[00:16:16]Jessica Redish: [00:16:16] So short form video
is, is really working for me. I’m I very much embracing it online, getting tons of positive feedback for it. Uh, my goal is to make feature films, but right now it’s a very. Good time for a short form comedy video and I’m on it and getting a lot of work in that area. Um, you know, I think we to laugh at the moment and I’m, I’m very glad to be a part of that.
[00:16:35] I also gave myself something new once COVID hit, especially early on,
uh, it was hard to just kind of. Do anything. I just told myself, just do three things a day. Just let’s get three things done. And now that things are heating up again, I’m now limiting myself to three things a day. Just let’s do, let’s do three things and then it’s an accomplished day.
[00:16:55] Dane Reis: [00:16:55] There we go. And fourth question, what is your best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video, maybe a podcast or a piece of technology you found is helping your career right now.
[00:17:09]Jessica Redish: [00:17:09] So a couple of books push comes to shove by Twyla Tharp, the artist’s way and walking in this world both by Julia Cameron. And it’s probably isn’t,
uh, the moment to say this, but honestly, I’m, I’m, uh, I honestly booking a lot of, a lot of work from talking about my work on social media and, uh, to be honest, I’m from Chicago and we’re very humble and less than we do is talk about ourselves.
[00:17:30] So I had to
kind of get over that hump. And, uh, I did that for myself, um, by thinking that when I post, I know only promoting my own work, but then I’m hopefully inspiring others to be creative as well, which I think is so important.
[00:17:42] Dane Reis: [00:17:42] exactly right. It’s all about how you frame that as well. Isn’t
[00:17:45]Jessica Redish: [00:17:45]
exactly, exactly. But I’m very grateful.
It’s it’s, it’s booked me a lot of work to be able to what I’m doing.
[00:17:51] Dane Reis: [00:17:51] brilliant. And the fifth question, if you had to start your career from scratch, but you still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry, what would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?
[00:18:08]Jessica Redish: [00:18:08] No, I’ve learned a lot, but I feel like there isn’t much I would do differently because things happen at the time they’re really supposed to happen. It took me a long time to trust my voice, but I feel like I’m hitting my stride at just the right time.
[00:18:21]Dane Reis: [00:18:21] And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry that you’d like to leave with our listeners?
[00:18:31]Jessica Redish: [00:18:31] Trust yourself, go with your gut and your intuition is King.
[00:18:35]Dane Reis: [00:18:35] boom. And to wrap up this interview, Jessica, it is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?
[00:18:48]Jessica Redish: [00:18:48] I’d love for you to check out my website, Jessica reddish.com and I’m on Twitter and Instagram at Jessica reddish.
[00:18:57]Dane Reis: [00:18:57] Beautiful. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to everything. Jessica just said into the description of this episodes, you can easily connect with her and also be sure to share this podcast with your fellow entertainers, coaches, teachers, arts, and entertainment educators, and end the one, you know,
you know, aspiring to create a career in this.
[00:19:20] Industry you booked. It is the number one resource of expertise on how to actually create a successful entertainment career. It is integral to helping them succeed and helping you create a better, more fulfilling career in this wild and crazy industry. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure you hit that subscribe button so you don’t miss the next one, Jessica.
[00:19:42] It has been such a pleasure to have you on today. Thank you so much for being here.
[00:19:47]Jessica Redish: [00:19:47] so much.