We had the good fortune of connecting with Jason Stafford and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jason, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind my success is staying fluid and flexible. Advertising is always changing and flows with the markets. Changes can come in last minute and always when you least expect it. In fact, the only thing you can expect is the unexpected. My way of dealing with these uncertainties is to treat every project like its own Jackson Pollock painting. The process may seem chaotic but the result is always beautiful. Artists are human and binging a group of artists together can only highlight their humanity. This is what makes our job so amazing. I can’t control people, nor do I want to. I prefer to provide them with paint brushes and their own area on the canvas. This way they can thrive and compliment each other as they come together. Throughout the project, teams move around the canvas making impressions, like an amoeba and the result is a gratifying piece of art. There are so may variables in our business and by being flexible and flowing with the changes, everything ultimately goes smoothly.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The most important thing Ive learned in this business is that it takes a village to achieve our goals. I can’t say my path has been easy. I’ve been hired and fired throughout my life. Plotting forward, taking everything in stride, realizing that hard way that nothing great has ever been achieved without struggle. Over the years, Ive been lucky to have worked in almost every position touched throughout the creative process. I started this life journey on the talent side, early on, as a not so successful Model/Actor. Then using that knowledge to enjoy a successful career as an Agent, Talent Scout, and Casting Director. Then working for a studio, I worked my way on set as a Production Assistant, Art Department, Location Scout, Photo Assistant and even a Photographer. Along with a stint on the the client side as an Art Buyer, Art Directer and eventually, Senior Photo/Video Producer. Ive even done several of these things in multiple countries. This gives me a very well rounded appreciation of what it takes from creative inception to final deliverable. I love the entire creative process and the vast amount of people it takes to succeed. This knowledge and perspective helps me circumvent all the obvious challenges before they become an issue. Im not afraid, and even enjoy, jumping into any department in order to help the whole process run seamlessly. That being said, everyone is human and no one is perfect, especially me. Sometimes the only answer is to step back and laugh, realizing that it’s only by pure luck that the preverbal giraffe is standing impossibly still, calmly floating in the rowboat, in the exact center of the pond. Making the final shot a perfect success.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When friends come to visit I proudly wear the tourist hat. I try to stack everything together almost overwhelming my guest with the obviously attractions like The Hollywood Sign, etc but usually it starts with the Ocean. As an avid surfer, I drag them out on a board because nothing starts the day better than a morning surf. Keeping sun and fun on the itinerary we usually will grab breakfast at Cafe Milan in Marina Del Rey. Later on we can enjoy mid city along “LaBrea South”, visiting my friends shop General Quarters, forcing my guest to purchase a t-shirt in support. Besides the obvious tour along Sunset Strip and Hollywood Blvd, I like to hangout in the Art District downtown and even peal away from the city and venture down the PCH to the Topanga State Park hiking to Skull Rock continuing tour down the PCH to Charmlee Wilderness Park in Malibu. It impossible to list everything I love in this town. Even my culinary tour is all over the map. Blossom Vietnamese, Downtown, Sycamore Kitchen off LaBrea, and Gjelina in Venice. Favorite Sushi on the planet is Matsumoto on Beverly and Orlando and Ill argue opinion to my grave. There’s so much more I could list but we would be here all day. One things for sure, there is so much to do in this town that its impossible to get bored.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are many people and things that have contributed to my success over the years. From Hermann Hesse’s book, Siddartha to all the bosses that Ive worked for and learned from throughout life. The ultimate and most important shout out goes to all the artists and pros that I work with on each project that make my job so successful. The Production Assistants, Make Up Artists, Wardrobe Stylists, Photographers, Grips, Caterers, Directors, Cinematographers, Editors and Location Reps that keep the engine running by staying positive and energized throughout our long days on set. The passion behind all these people keep me strong and help me stay on track. These are the people that make me look good and help my business thrive.