oday we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Richmond.
Jessica Richmond (a.k.a. JRich) is a performer and producer from Los Angeles; born in Woodland Hills, raised in Agoura Hills and Sherman Oaks, studied at Boston University, and returned to the west coast to live in Studio City, Venice, West Hollywood, East Hollywood, DTLA, and NELA.
Please kick things off for us with some background on your story.
I began in the theater and today I like to both take the stage – and run the show.
My path as an artist and storyteller winds around live events, gaming, performance art, and media production. I am grateful for the opportunity to share stories that act as permission slips and instigators for personal growth – and I believe in the power of entertainment as a tool of expansion.
During summer days at a whimsical place called Stage Door Theater, I learned that theater is the basis for community catharsis. I have since performed on stages from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to Groundlings LA – and as an actor, I believe performing Shakespeare is a kind of physical magic.
Do you know that gif of the puppy being held (comfortably) out a car window?? The puppy’s wearing a cape and swimming in the air as the car drives. He must feel like he’s flying! That’s how it feels to work in a collaborative setting. Collaboration is the lifeblood of any project, and I am fortunate to have cultivated a community of working artists and producers that align with my creative process.
ATM, I am very excited about my next steps creatively – as a writer and showrunner.
Has it been a smooth road?
Hahahaha. No, of course not. What would be the fun in that?
I’m an empath – which in the HIGHLY energetic exchange of collaboration and production means I cry in bathrooms all the time.
Merging your thoughts ideas and solutions with others is about managing personal emotion and wellness as much as it is about dedicating study to the craft of your field. A solid portion of my career has been dedicated to healing. I recommend focusing on healing when the healing demands it and engulfing yourself in the company of people who also believe in personal healing as an ongoing practice.
Compassion is a key ingredient, compassion for others and compassion for self.
I think for some women this career seems challenging because this industry was built during misogynistic times. I will remind such women, including myself, that this is exactly why the industry needs you to train, try, fail, shift, and succeed.
Find the challenges that make you sit and stand taller and pursue tight-throat conversations. Your reward will be the ease of the advancing challenges, and that state of ease feels – truly divine.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I love to work with thought-leaders and vision-keepers as a collaborative strategist and content producer –
this means that I take creative concepts and coordinate the players and pieces needed to execute that concept.
I think about timelines and budgets to help build out non-traditional companies and projects while prioritizing a project’s mission and creative goal lines. There’s a real craft to tracking the temporal footprint of a project, and I’ve been studying that craft for the past 10 years.
My first logline: “closing the gap between concept and creation”
My most recent logline: “bring your vision to light”
I am always interested in the path forward for a project. Wayfinding, if you will.
My biggest contracts rn include work as a business strategist, creative producer, embedded gameplay designer, and immersive theater consultant.
But I identify as an existential detective. I started taking notes as a child and have not stopped, and I fell in love with mythology quite young. I took a script supervisor gig on a feature in 2014, studied script structure and dramaturgy, and over the past five years, I have worked on half a dozen screenplay adaptations of personal stories. I feel most in my own skin when playing with the existential benefits of narrative structure.
Most recently, I did this for my show @bakersdozenseries with my creative partner Gabby Kono (MARY BAKER). The series is about consent and connect in an age of digitalia. We completed the project (from development to distribution) in just over a year – it’s available now on Amazon Prime. (Check it out!)
I also identify as an activist – I think that entertainment is a tool for activating passion in individuals. I think passionate individuals create strong communities. And I think fostering strong communities is the best thing we as humans can do for our future.
There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that a lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
Pay attention to the people that champion you and find the people you’re drawn to champion.
The flow goes both ways.
Listen closely to what people are keyed into when you dialogue with them. Those are your common grounds on which to build a relationship. IME there’s no science to networking – and it would be a real drag if there was.
My mom taught me: you meet guides and you meet people you’re meant to guide. When the timing is right, you’ll meet folks where tandem-navigation and support are inevitable. Do everything you can to keep working with those people.
- Instagram: @jessicalaurenrichmond
- Facebook: @jrich818
- Twitter: @geniuspills
- Other: @bakersdozenseries
Portraits by Joshua Sterling Bragg