Filmmaker Feature: Jenna D’Angelo
Social Media Links: IG @jennamdangelo
–I started out in the industry as an actor in NYC and pretty quickly became a producer as well when I started my own theatre company. I always loved to write, and as I continued to work in Film and TV as an actor, I co-produced, wrote for and starred in a webseries called Bar Crossed Lovers with my (now) husband. Over the last few years I’ve started to write, produce, and direct my own short films, most recently my little weirdo baby Park Day. Currently I have a new short film in pre-production, I’m wrapping up writing a feature film and I’m outlining for a new rom com that I’ve been kicking around in my brain for the last few years .
What sort of stories are you drawn to telling? Do you have a genre of choice? Why?
–Comedy has always been something that has come to be pretty naturally as a storyteller and I’d say every time I sit down to write I always end up veering into something kinda dark and comedic, but hopefully grounded. I feel like if I can play with toeing the line, like the Duplass brothers do so well, then I’ve succeeded. I also love when movies make us wrestle with hard truths, but if they can make you laugh a bit while you explore the hard stuff, that’s even better. And I’ve also been working on pushing myself into genres that don’t come as naturally to me–I wrote a short thriller during the pandemic that I’m pretty proud of and would love to make.
How are you approaching forging a path for yourself in this industry?
–My goal is to try and make things run as smoothly as possible, to not waste anyone’s time and to make sure that everyone has a voice on set. We’re all there trying to make magic happen and I think it’s really important to remember how crucial each member of the team is. On set I try to communicate clearly, to be honest with everyone and try to have some fun in the process.
What’s the first thing you do when you get a script?
–Read it! haha But really, I love to read scripts, I love dramaturgy. I’m always curious about how we can make something even better, are there any little tweaks we can make for clarity or anywhere we can dig in more. I identify scenes or moments that I’m excited about, that I already see really clearly in my head, and also pinpoint the places that are trickier for me, that I know I’m gunna need to put in some extra elbow grease to understand. And then I start to imagine my Dream Team.
What’s one lesson you learned working on your last film?
–Just do the damn thing! I wrote Park Day when I woke up at 4am and just had to get an idea out of my brain. A few days later I sent it to my friend Travis and he was like “don’t wait around, just go make this”–so I did. I think so often we are waiting for the right moment or for something to be perfect before we start, but perfection doesn’t exist. So assemble the best people you can (bonus points if they’re your friends) and Just Do It (sponsor me, Nike!)!
Any other practical tips for producing or for indie filmmaking in general? (Ex. tips on budgeting,
marketing, hiring a crew – you can put as many as you want in a bullet point list!)