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Conversations with Coy Jandreau

Today we’d like to introduce you to Coy Jandreau.

Hi Coy, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
In the beginning there was Zeal, and it was good. I learned how to read through comic books, so while most kids were learning their ABC’s I had POW’s, WHAM!’s, and SPLAT’s! Since before I’d turned three, my mind was inundated with frames of pure storytelling, blocks of extremely varied vocabulary and zany onomatopoeia. I grew up outside of Boston, doing stunts and making preposterous home movies for my family. Taking on every role from writer, director, and actor to cameraman and editor. When most kids crashed their tricycles they’d cry or give up, I’d ask “Did you get it?” and do another take as needed. I always knew I’d want to do something in front of and behind the camera. I was also that kid who spent countless hours cramming three movies onto a VHS tape and trying to pause to catch/record over the commercials. We were an ‘every Friday night was movie night’ family, and I have a sizable family. We’re talking mom, dad, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and all their friends; the works. How family dinner was portrayed in 80’s movies that was us with movie night. The experience of it was about the sharing and community as much as the movie itself.

We’d have dinner and talk for hours about this action scene or that crazy acting or why this director did that? Discussing art (well before I knew that’s what our family gatherings were) runs in my veins. It wasn’t until much later that I realized I could combine all of those passions into one thing and turn that into a career. Learning from and teaching people simultaneously is the dream. I’ve always loved the idiom that every person you’ll ever meet knows something that you don’t. Being able to do that on camera; sharing in the act of appreciating art, and helping curate and raise awareness of art to the masses and to individuals alike, all while learning from people, getting to know them better, and what drives them, means everything to me. It’s also invaluable having one of the most close-knit and supportive families a person could ask for. My mom and I still talk often and she’s beyond encouraging of my career and the off-the-beaten path I’ve chosen. My dad is the one who really got me into comics at such a young age so every major interview I do, or comic movie I see, turns into an hour upon hour conversation with him. My little brother and sister are also incredibly rad creatives, so it’s a rare gift that we all just understand each other. I love comic books, I love movies, I love TV and I love people. So it’s an honor to share those passions with others.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Most things in life worth doing don’t come easy. And if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Being a talkshow host is already a tall order, and that’s one of the things I love about it. It’s not something most people can do. There’s a reason there are only a few on-air at any given time (versus most careers; where hundreds or thousands of people are also in that field.) You need to be able to lead both on and off camera. You need to work with your writers and producers and the network shaping each and every show for hours prior right up until the minute you go live. You need to know the tone and balance of comedy and information. Once you’re on-air, you need to be able to have the presence and authority to open and close each show without making it the highlight of the entire experience. You should be able to hold the spotlight but not overshadow your guest, pivoting between topics and gleaning interesting new information about their experience and their art (usually while they’ve done a dozen other interviews about that very same project). It’s being able to think on your feet live while having the patience to prep for hours for each moment on the air. You have been comfortable being part jester, part conversationalist, part expert while maintaining your role as full-time enthusiast.

It’s an essential balance of Show and Business and it quiets my mind into a peaceful flow state of happiness and accomplishment. I’ve also seen the highs and lows of this town. I’ll always be a kid from Boston, but Los Angeles is now home. I’ve lived in a garage for a year (a non-insulated, flooding, rodent-infested, no kitchen, occasional internet, 170ish square foot garage), as well as my share of cockroach and bed bug-ridden apartments stacks of more roommates than rooms apartments. I’ve lived in all corners of this incredible city; the valley, the deep valley, the even deeper valley, far east past Pasadena, inland and everywhere in between. One day maybe I’ll even cross the 405. I’ve done my time as a server (tip your servers!), to a handyman building furniture, to writing listicles. But I always knew where I was going, so it only fueled me. I don’t regret a moment of it because it all led me right here. What I’m trying to create for myself doesn’t quite exist yet. I’m trying to be a talkshow host in a field that only just came to prominence in the last decade or so. Utilizing mediums that are relatively new and always evolving while also trying to legitimize a culture with a lot of negative stigma and pre-existing stereotypes. Genre content whether it’s Comic Book movies and shows, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, or anything else you might find on a convention floor have always had “it’s too childish” and “kid stuff” connotations thrown at it.

In reality, these genres vary from ‘all ages’ to about as adult as it gets. They also include some of the purest art out there. Take comic books for example, that medium allows for near infinite imagination. There’s no budget restraints on how much each frame will cost, no wage cap on the cast, no limit to the scope one story can tell. It’s also inherently more artistically pure than many mediums. There’s less cooks in the kitchen. A film or TV show has the writer’s vision, filtered through the director’s vision, filtered through each actor’s take on their character, filtered through the editor’s vision, filtered through the studios notes, filtered through the test audiences notes and so on. Comic Books are largely the writer and artist pouring their soul onto the page with an inker enhancing it and the publisher giving some notes. It’s a much more direct line from artist to consumer. From the artist’s mind to the reader’s hand. Any format has its high and lows, and there’s so much more to genre content than capes, elven ears, and phasers set to stun. These are stories with essential moral compasses, tales that come from and unleash boundless imagination, these are stories that inspire every race, orientation, and generation. There’s little out there more timeless or universal than genre content. My job is to help people to be open-minded in a way that opposes a lifetime of their own assumptions and negative connotations, which is not always easy but is always worth it.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I host a number of shows, live, pre-taped, and in-person (pre-covid) pertaining to genre content, with a specificity on comic books and film. I get to fly around the world filming on location as well as working conventions and junkets helping to promote both comic creators and filmmakers alike. I love long-form conversations with creators whether it’s a comic book artist, an actor, a publisher or a screenwriter. I love to dive into what the art means to them so the audience can get a different and deeper understanding of the experience. I have a very unique perspective, having spent as much time on film sets as I have at my local comic shop, so I like being a bridge not only between those two worlds but to the audience at home as well. I want to not only be the one stop shop for everyone from die-hards to brand new fans but also help the masses achieve a deeper dive into their favorite movie, comic, or show while also discovering new worlds. I’m particularly proud of my show ‘Comic Book Shopping’. I take a guest to a local comic shop for a one-on-one interview about their upcoming projects.

I’ve been lucky enough to host some remarkable artists from actors like Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul Mateen II, Seth Green, Alexandra Shipp and Blu Hunt to directors and showrunners like Kevin Smith and Damon Lindelof. As I’m interviewing them about their latest project, I try to gather from their responses what specific comics they might enjoy and pull ideas from my mental comic rolodex which is in the tens of thousands. Then I find copies in the shop and we discuss about a dozen carefully curated books specific to the person. I get to introduce creatives whose work I respect and admire to entirely new worlds specific to their sensibilities. All at the same time I’m raising awareness for three of my favorite things; comics, new film and television and how fascinating an artists’ relationship to the arts is. What I love about this format is the opportunity to individually connect with each guest. Exploring everything from what initially drew them to the project, through to how they grew from it and also introducing them to something new they’ll hopefully enjoy.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
Passion. Zeal. Passionate Zeal. I truly love what I do, so I do it ALL OF THE TIME. Every waking moment can turn into something that affects my next interview, show or podcast. Every movie I watch or book I read, every show I binge or podcast I hear, every emotion gleaned from a song heard while running the streets of this rad city, every painting, daydream, flavor, introspection and wandering notion changes who I am as a person. My job gets to be the butterfly effect in real-time. You stub a toe and are pissed because you’re limping and it hurts, but because of it, you run a little late that day and narrowly miss getting hit by a bus. Every single action, positive or negative, huge or seemingly innocuous, has consequences. Every piece of art (and emotion from it) and every single interaction I encounter presents those potential stakes, and I love that. Every interview I do shapes the next, every piece of art I consume shapes my experience of the artist and my world at large. It colors not just the interview itself but everything that happens next. It’s all a piece of me constantly evolving along with its ramifications. There’s also the stereotypical answer; hard work. Things worth having don’t come easy. I like that every moment counts. I like that existing is doing the work. It all becomes this incredible oroborous of learning and sharing and evolving, always. And hey, I can do this all day.

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Image Credits:

Amanda Peixoto Elkins Maggie Levin

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