I have had the pleasure of working with Jenny now several times. She is epically talented and a bundle of laughs. I feel so lucky to have snuck a few minutes into her busy schedule to sit down and chat. (By the way, we were snacking on pretzels from Spero, some of the best food in Charleston, FYI.)
Jenny is a former theatre kid turned director. After an explosive bee sting in the grass of CU Boulder, Jenny knew that behind the camera was where she was called to be. She got her start as an intern at The Director’s Bureau and has worked on some amazing projects including Dig South, two music videos for Rachel Kate and Hey Rocco (currently on a European tour), and created the catchy campaign for Aleysa Bags (talk about a boss lady!!).
Job Title: Director/Producer/Storyteller. My passion, through and through, is directing. The fully creative part of me wants to direct every day of the week, but the logical part of me became a producer out of necessity. A lot of the independent work we do requires me to step up and be a producer in order to actually get the jobs done. As a producer, I have to figure out how to do what the creative part of me wants to do within time limits, budget, and the scope of what the client wants and needs. There’s a bit of a dance between those things all day long, but it’s a great way to learn and see a project from both sides.
How did you get your start? I grew up going to theater since the time I was 4 or 5 years old. My senior year, a teacher suggested I go to CU Boulder, because they had a great theatre program. Really quickly, I decided I did not like it. After using up all my excused absences in the first two weeks, I went out to our main lawn to call my Dad and it was then that I was stung by a bee. I hobbled my way to the health center where I discovered I had a huge allergic reaction and was bedridden for four days. After four days laying in bed watching the classics, I knew it was time to change my major. Luckily, CU has an experimental film program with alternative training where I was able to explore the medium. I went to LA after college, and it swiftly kicked my ass.
I was an intern at The Directors Bureau where I worked 7 days a week, 18 hours a day, and finally a producer was like, it’s time for you to do you. I was devastated. So I spent 6 months traveling in my car, never spending more than 5 days in the same place. It sounds like “On the Road” but really, I was lost. I collapsed in Charleston because I was too tired to keep driving and I just stayed. Being in Charleston, it’s like Charleston chose me. I knew I was coming home.
Best Piece of Advice: Service is the price you pay for the space you occupy—from my Great Grandma.
Also, my Mom realized when I was in elementary school at Porter Gaud that I kept getting in trouble for not having my shirt tucked in and silly things like that. Nothing I could do would be in their box, and so my Mom put me in School of the Arts. Both of my parents are supportive of my creative career. My family has always helped me get to where I am now. I feel really lucky in that respect. That’s not really advice, but it really allowed me to determine who “me” was.
Moment of panic when you decide you didn’t want to be what you always thought you wanted to be: I have a moment of panic once a year. I continually make this shit up as I go along. Learn really fast, make up the steps as you go. I screw up all the time, but I learn really fast not to do it again. I knew what I wanted to do, not what I wanted to be. I’m in my twenties, it’s the first time to think for yourself, make mistakes, learn what you don’t want to do, and what you do want comes along later.
I come from a long line of powerful, rebellious women who made changes in their communities. My grandmother walked with Martin Luther King, and my mom chained herself to the health center at Tulane during a protest. I’ve grown up with a family that was supportive and full of women who remind me to push myself everyday.
What has been your greatest professional hurdle? My first film collective in LA failed. I had no faith in my art or self, and I didn’t think I could do it alone. I thought I needed the collective of five other people. They were all amazing, but in general, the idea didn’t work. I realized I need to be by myself. It never occurred to me to go it alone because I am such a people person, but ultimately, I was bringing people in because I wasn’t confident I could stand on my own two feet. I was just too scared to be by myself or try alone.
Tell me about The Royal Wild: It’s a collaboration – a total collaborative effort. Landon and I had been working together for a while right after we met, and our collaborations were growing stronger and my work was becoming intermingled with his and vice versa. So when we were approached by Kayla and Haley, we knew it was perfect. It gives us all time to do what we are good at doing. For me it means less time working on business and being a producer. Landon and I are both learning how to give other people the reins. Delegating is just as important as being a Boss Lady. It wasn’t easy by any means, you know, I had a crisis of person. I was handing what I considered to be "my baby" to three other people. I am by nature a control freak and it would be a lie to say it’s all me. We are a team and that’s what makes this work. Building a brand and company is really about learning to share.
Charleston Fan Girl: Teri Henning, she has 50 vintage cars and motorcycles, totally free spirited wild woman. I really want to meet this badass. She’s my secret girl crush.
What’s your spirit animal: Penguin.
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