We had the good fortune of connecting with Jen Prince and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jen, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
“Wherever you go, there you are.” So much about leading a creative life, parenting, being an involved, responsible citizen is out of your control. Regardless of success or failure, I have to be at peace with how I have conducted myself. I like this affirmation because it reminds me that no choice is worth sacrificing my integrity, my word is golden, and character is everything. When I crawl into bed or look in the mirror, I am the only one I have to answer to. I am constant and can be my own anchor, set my own rules for myself. Age is a number, the past is gone, the future is never – all I have is who I am today. I try to choose to be happy with each new day, what a gift to get to try again to be the best version of myself.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started in theatre and made my way into filmmaking via USC graduate school, a stint in reality TV, and ultimately pushing my way into making independent features – TRULY independently in terms of financing and support. I always wished for more mentorships, internships, apprenticeships, the magic lady who saw me and said GIVE THIS GIRL A JOB! Instead, I worked a low paying industry-adjacent job in my 20’s and couldn’t see how to keep making films – as many of us were trapped by the gap between the end of film and the emergence of digital filmmaking. It was my peers who eventually became my inspiration to find my own way. As I look back at the last decade or so, I’m probably most proud of integrating parenting and filmmaking, for finding my own way to do both. There’s a version of my life where I perhaps pursued my filmmaking ambitions in a different way that may have led to different credits or paychecks, but I may have missed a lot of the experiences with my kids that I treasure. I’ve learned to give myself permission to schedule things my way and to assert my commitment to family as an asset to my creative life, not something to be hidden or apologized for in work situations. I try to model the world I want to see in my own small corner. There are so many small corners of the filmmaking world with women who are trying to exercise their brilliance and skills and just need some resources, champions, (and sometimes childcare!) – I want to see more of them get opportunities, regardless of age or gaps in their working resumes. I want to see their stories on screen. I want to be a part of telling stories about the interesting, wildly diverse women working hard in their daily lives to be seen and understood. I approach my producing from a pretty human place – give people the fuel and space to do their best work, respect their boundaries, and recognize every creative opportunity is a privilege.
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.
If you’re in LA, you have to take a walk at the Pacific Ocean, and get your toes in the water to remark, “it’s so cold!” – I like the beach at Point Dume.
I always think what I’d miss the most if I ever left LA was the sushi restaurants. My favorites are Sushi Yuzu in Toluca Lake and Sushi Tanaka in Simi Valley – the latter is such a hidden gem that I am debating sharing it because it only has a few tables and I want them all for myself.
My husband and I are members of the Magic Castle in Hollywood, a club for magicians, which is a ‘must-do’ – part of what I love about it other than the unique artist community and rich history, is that you can spend a long, lingering evening with friends – take in multiple shows, a lovely dinner, and roam about the castle having late-night conversations after-ward without ever having to get back in your car. And you have to dress up!
What I miss most about Texas are the breakfast tacos, so I’d also recommend tacos or migas at Homestate, which makes me feel a sense of home within my home. You’ll always run into a fellow Texan there – we’re all very happy to be in LA, but this sweet spot helps with nostalgia.
The city can be overwhelming, but I always feel a sense of wonder and empowerment when I hike to the top of Griffith Park and can see out in both directions, the city stretching out below, nearly quiet. You can also do this in under an hour and still hit a bookstore or restaurant or movie in Los Feliz…
Speaking of Los Feliz, BIG shoutout to the mommy-and-me movies if you have babies at the Los Feliz theatre.
And if you are visiting me with your kids (likely) – LACMA, the Zoo, the tiny aquarium under the pier in Santa Monica are all worth it.
I still, even 20+ years later, get giddy about seeing movie studios and Mann’s Chinese (PCL? WHATEVER, it’s always Grauman’s to me) – we can get cynical about Hollywood, but there’s still so much magic here. I love showing people a location from their favorite picture.
What I’m looking forward to checking out in 2022: Angel City Football Club!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have had the privilege to work with some incredible women who have helped me carve out the opportunities to live a creative life. I always say Alyson Shelton turned me into a producer because it was her writing that inspired me to produce my first feature film and her trust in me that lit the belief in myself that I could do it. My current producing partner, Jhennifer Webberley of Metamorfic Productions, believed in my work as a writer/director in film school and stuck around a little longer just to produce my thesis way-back-when, opening my eyes to what a creative producer could be for a project and collaborators. She has always been incredibly generous with her knowledge and best practices and I continue to learn from her. She is a constant source of creative support, but most importantly, she is with me in the nitty-gritty unseen labor of producing, the hours and hours and hours (and years) of getting films made. Brooke Purdy and Colette Freedman (writers) changed my life by being creative partners in the grand experiment of family friendly indie filmmaking – often jumping on the train with me without knowing where we’d end up, but believing the journey itself together was worth it. And, of course, my incredible family, who reminds me daily of the point of it all.