We had the good fortune of connecting with J. Kodros and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi J., what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
When I was younger, I would drag anybody and everybody within a 20 foot radius into whatever make-believe land I had conjured in my mind that day. My mom, most assuredly exhausted by my antics, threw me into drama class when I was four. My demise was sealed. If I wasn’t performing, I was writing. I can’t even tell you how many notebooks of stories I dreamed up in my little psycho mind exist. I obviously didn’t take money or stability into consideration at such a young age, I just went with my heart and it stuck. Several people tried to talk me out of it but it’s like trying to tell 13 year old lovebirds they probably aren’t going to end up together. And that’s the thing – I was in love. Then you tell me I can’t do something and I’m that much more motivated which is extremely helpful, if not crucial, in this industry. It’s not just what makes me feel alive, it’s what I’m good at. So in conclusion, because I’m a daydreamer and stubborn.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I was what some people might call a ‘handful’ growing up. God bless my mother because if I ever have a kid like me, hard pass. My head was constantly in Wonderland. It was make-believe all day, everyday. I was enamoured with entertaining people and I never shut up. So my mom put me into drama class when I was 4 and my doom was sealed at a very young age. I never had a backup plan. I never really had a plan in general, which I hear is recommended. I just knew I wanted to be in the entertainment world. I majored in theatre at Indiana University, went through the Second City Conservatory in Chicago and then moved to LA for the Groundlings. Life happened and I found myself with .17 cents in my bank account. So I honed in on writing since that was what I could afford. I was blogging, writing scripts and my novel all from an ipad…without a keyboard attachment. Super old school. Which now seems impossible and full on insane but that was my reality. So, no – ha – it has not been easy but I never expected it to be nor would I want it be. You have to fight for the things you love or you’ll take them for granted. I actually met my writing partner while working at a member’s club and I don’t want to say we were miserable (we were) but we definitely found each other in a hopeless place. We wrote a script together and applied for Imagine Entertainment’s Impact program. It should be said I’m cautiously optimistic. I’ve saved every ‘no’ I’ve ever received. It’s a VERY full and consistently fed folder. So when 5 o’clock rolled by the day we were supposed to hear if we got in and my phone never rang, I shrugged and jumped in the shower. That’s when I got the call. I now have a voicemail from Ron Howard that I will never delete because that might be as cool as I ever get. I’m kidding. I hope. This industry is so unpredictable and this town can be so vicious. One second, you’re winning and then the next you feel like you’ve lost everything. I do my best not to compare what I’ve got going on with anyone else. I applaud other people’s wins – even if I wish they were mine. I think what’s helped me the most is my perpetual search for laughter. I surround myself with people who ground me both professionally and personally. I don’t ever want to forget where I came from…and believe me, my family would never let me. I’ll pretty much write anything I feel inspired by. TV, film, novels, sketch comedy, poetry – I’m here for it. Comedy is my wheelhouse but I’m also writing a YA trilogy based on Greek mythology. I don’t like putting myself in a box or thinking I can only do THIS now. I don’t ever want to limit my creativity and I love when artists are able to surprise you. My writing partner and I typically move forward on projects when we feel it’s a story only we can tell. So they’re mostly about single women in their 30s. I’m kidding. Mostly. It’s always disheartening to write something and not get the reaction you’re looking for. I do my best to take rejection as redirection. Indiana was actually my last choice college. I applied pre-decision to Northwestern. That was my dream and my plan all through high school. When I didn’t get in, talk about a sucker punch. It was like my whole life exploded into tiny pieces of sad confetti. It was the worst letter I’ve ever opened – and I’ve received break-up letters. But I don’t know what my life would look like now if I had. The world is a wild place.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh man, I mean, sharing secrets so soon? We just met. This stuff is sacred! Huntington Library holds a huge place in my heart. I could spend days there on end. You always leave feeling like you’ve travelled the globe. I’m a huge hiker, so the Angeles National Forest is spectacular and has some of the best peaks in SoCal. Greystone Mansion is another place I adore and love taking people. It’s essentially a Pride and Prejudice set that was never taken down – stunning grounds. Magic Castle is always a good time – even though I find magic infuriating. I’m too nosy to enjoy it but a really unique experience if you can find your way in. I love the 20s vibe of the Culver City Hotel. El Matador Beach – if you know, you know. I tend to turn up places wine is present. That’s always a huge draw.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I suppose I should thank the pages of Nancy Drew’s The Hidden Staircase and my mother for throwing said book at me. (I deserved it) It was the first book I ever read and proof that books were not as dumb as I had originally decided. My brothers and sister AKA my idiots. My tribe of humans who have my back every step of the way, all hours of the day…even when I don’t deserve it. My writing partner who, bless her flannel jean wearing heart, puts up with the ridiculous that is me. And wine…HUGE SHOUT OUT to wine.
Other: Managed by D.C. Wade with Odenkirk Provissiero Entertainment