We had the good fortune of connecting with Jianna Maarten Saada and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jianna, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
I think people still see Hollywood and moviemaking as glamorous but I’ve never seen it that way. It’s a lot of work and commitment. If you are writing you are spending hours upon hours alone in a chair in your head and when you are directing you are totally absorbed in the process and the shots and making your day, you barely have enough time to wash your hair. That’s why all the ladies on set wear hats – they probably don’t have time to wash their hair. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t totally love it. Many people move to L.A. for the glamour and maybe fame – I’m not sure. But the actual process has very little to do with either one of those things.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a writer | director I am a fan of research and will often travel to the site that the story takes place if possible. I’m also a big fan of world building and like applying nuanced storytelling/character development to genre frameworks. I enjoy playing around with linear structures to see how much I can get away with and tend to write ensemble pieces but not as a rule. I write every day and am constantly creating or working on projects, and spend most of my time immersed in some aspect of visual storytelling. Usually when I’m working on something I’ve got several books going at once that lend themselves to the topic. None of this is easy. I overcome challenges by returning to the work because at the end of the day, it’s the whole point. Storytelling for me, comes from living and observing and remembering so I try to pay attention because humanity can be really revealing and oftentimes the answers to story problems get resolved in the coolest of ways. It would be great if we all had a better work | life balance but for a long time I didn’t even know what that meant and I think with work like this it becomes such a huge part of your life. The work itself never feels like ‘work’ per say it’s more the hollywood side of things that feels like a chore. Getting things made, financing, etc. That is draining. So it’s important to refuel yourself however you can.

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 would definitely take them on a long hike in Griffith Park and hit the Observatory. There’s also the horseback riding trails through the Hollywood sign that can be fun. Get some yummy tacos or sushi for lunch and then oysters and Rose somewhere with a great outdoor vibe maybe Dama downtown in the summer or Ace downtown used to have happy hour oysters and the view on the roof is nice. I’d definitely do a speakeasy bar with good fresh cocktails and a pop up private dinner. I feel like the food in L.A. is some of the best I’ve ever had so it would probably be a lot of eating and then hikes and beach walks to walk it off. And if they wanted to shop I’d take ’em to all the dive thrift stores that hopefully haven’t been totally raided yet to see if we could score unusual threads.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family and my friends deserve all the shoutout really. My friends have done more for me than I can even comprehend, they’ve helped out on my sets, read my scripts, given me notes, fed me when I’m doing crazy long weeks, made sure I stayed sane. They are as much family to me as my own flesh and blood.

Website: https://jiannamaartensaada.com/

Instagram: @jiannamaartensaada

Other: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1586022/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

Image Credits
Elissa Rascon

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.