We had the good fortune of connecting with Jesse Randall and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jesse, how does your business help the community?
I think creating content for LGBTQIA media helps the world by amplifying the voices of the queer community in a heteronormative world. I think a lot of LGBTQIA media either succumbs to the pressure of identity politics or trauma porn because Hollywood has historically either portrayed the queer community as either victims or the punchline of jokes. We’re finally starting to scratch the surface with of mainstream entertainment with nuanced stories thanks to shows like Pose (one of my personal favorites), but there’s still a lot of work to be done. I hope my work offers a fresh perspective on queer life and our struggles while still being entertaining.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a filmmaker, writer, & producer who focuses primarily on creating LGBTQIA content. My first digital series, The Safety Plan, along with the rest of my films, was acquired by Revry TV. Revry TV is the first global LGBTQIA streaming platform. I’m truly honored to have my work featured there, and it is my biggest accomplishment to date.
I was born and raised in Statesville, North Carolina. It’s not an easy place to grow up when you’re a member of the LGBTQIA community. I grew up far back in the woods away from our rural community, making me feel even further isolated from the world. Even from a young age, I knew I didn’t fit in. I wasn’t a country boy whatsoever. I dreamed of living in New York and working in media. My time in North Carolina seemed to drag on forever, but it helped me develop my imagination & creativity in ways that I don’t think I would have had I grown up elsewhere. Trying to get films made without having a college degree has also been very hard. I still managed to do so, and now I’m finally finishing my degree!
I think the biggest reason I’ve learned along the way is to trust your instincts and your journey. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s because something isn’t right. If you’ve lost interest in that screenplay you’ve been writing for three years, and you’re forcing yourself to finish because you don’t want your time to be “wasted”, you’ll end up wasting your time. If you’re bored writing it, the audience will be bored watching it. If that producer that’s interested in bringing your project to life seems like a creep, they’re probably a creep. When people show you their true colors, BELIEVE THEM! Also, don’t freak out if you haven’t “made it” yet. Your journey is your own. Trust it. If you want it for the right reasons, good things will happen. Don’t make desperate decisions to get your film made that you’ll wind up regretting later because you compromised your vision to get it made in hurry.
Also, make opportunities happen instead of waiting for them. There isn’t a dire need for filmmakers with the sense of urgency for teachers, doctors, nurses, etc. Keep creating stuff, even if you don’t have a budget. The only person putting a limit on your creativity is you. College is important, but you’re not going to become an established filmmaker because just because you have a degree. You have to keep developing your craft & working at it. Just because you love what you do, it doesn’t mean it isn’t work.
Ultimately, I hope what people will take away from my story and my work is that if you want things for the right reasons, you can get it if you really want. It will be hell on earth at times, but it will be worth it if your intentions are pure.
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.
I’m a big advocate for LGBTQIA spaces, especially since they’re struggling because of the pandemic. I would go for drinks at Akbar or The Eagle in Silverlake. Then I’d go for dinner at Gobi Mongolian Bbq House. I also love having drinks at Sunset Tower on the strip. I also love to be engaged with community activism across the city from Black Lives Matter rallies, helping our unhoused neighbors and getting communities involved in local politics.
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’d like to thank NewFilmmakers Los Angeles for helping me get my first distribution deal. Not only are they a great film festival to be a part of, but they’re incredibly nurturing and supportive. I could not have got my work licensed through Revry TV without their Executive Director & Co-founder, Larry Laboe. Even after my film played at the festival, they continued to be extremely helpful and helped my career.
Amari M. Dixon