We had the good fortune of connecting with Jay Kaufman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jay, what do you attribute your success to?
Keep moving. It’s easy to look around and compare yourself to others, but it’s not going to do you any good in a creative business. Everyone moves at their own pace and just because you might not be on the same level as someone else doesn’t mean you’re not doing the right things. In the same way that you look at someone with envy, someone else is probably looking at you the same way. Make things you like, that you feel passionate about and stop trying to copy other people or look down on your own work because it’s not like someone else’s. Just keep moving forward, keep trying to develop your own style, keep pushing toward getting better and don’t worry about anyone else.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I don’t think anything is ever easy career wise, but I would definitely say film is one of the more challenging paths to get started in. It can definitely seem daunting, and I’d be lying if I said anyone can hop right in. That being said I think consistency and wanting it bad enough is what it takes. It can take a long time for things to catch on, and it’s easy to get down on yourself thinking it may never happen. I think one of the things I’m most proud of in my career is that I’ve learned not to dwell on failures. That realization didn’t come overnight, either. I’ve had tough times, everyone does, and I’ve compared myself to others to the point where I’ve wanted to quit. What good does that do? Realizing everyone is their own person, and everyone got to where they are from somewhere is one of the greatest strengths you can have in a creative business. Just keep absorbing and practicing.
Also I think learning to develop your own style based on what you like is important. Do it for yourself and figure out how to get paid for it. You can always learn and take techniques from people, but try to set yourself apart. That’s something that will never stop, you’ll always evolve as you learn. I’m saying this like I know, but I’m still learning that myself.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Man, LA really has so many different things to do and see, its hard to pick just one. I really love spending time in Santa Monica/Venice/Manhattan Beach, obviously the beach is beautiful. There’s also breweries all over like Angel City downtown or Ballast Point in Long Beach that are awesome for hanging out with friends.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
If I can think of one person who’s taught me a lot through all of this it would be my mentor/friend Nathan Haugaard. I’d definitely also shout out my Avatar family who taught me a lot about working on big shows as a team.