We had the good fortune of connecting with Vanessa Csordas-Jenkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vanessa, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think risk probably plays an inherent role in the way I approach my creative work, in the way that I always end up putting a lot of myself into it. This isn’t a groundbreaking revelation, but the more specific a piece of artwork is, the more it will connect with other people, in my opinion. And if you also write your own work, you naturally take inspiration from your own life and relationships, and revealing those things to other people can be scary. It can feel like there’s risk involved in being open about who you are and how you think and feel. It’s also occurring to me now that there’s obvious risk entailed by launching yourself into a field as crowded and competitive as the entertainment industry. In LA you can’t open your car door without hitting another film/tv person. In that way I’m kind of glad I didn’t think about the risk too hard before deciding to take out that federal loan to go to film school haha. Otherwise I doubt I’d be here right now.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Right now I’m really excited to be developing my first feature project. It’s a wild, emotional, comedic, queer adventure story of sorts. It was really fun to write. A friend recently told me it sounded “unhinged” when I described the plot to them, which was by far the best compliment I’ve received on it to date. I also just spent the month of June in LA directing and producing a fun, casual, unscripted project, which I’d never done before, so that was a great learning experience.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in New York City, so there are plenty of places I’d take a friend if they were visiting me at home. But if I were back in LA and showing someone around my favorite places there, we’d pretty much spend the whole time near my old neighborhood. I lived in Echo Park for a few years, and loved going on runs to the Silver Lake reservoir. There’s a little grassy lawn there that’s great for reading or picnicing. Picknicking? Piqueniquing? Unsure. But that became a favorite spot. I also loved going to the Los Feliz 3 theatre and the Vista. I miss going to movies so much! There’s a smoothie place around the corner from the Los Feliz theatre that has a smoothie named after Rita Hayworth. Highly recommend it.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There’s two (of many) people I want to mention who come to mind right away. First is Rachel Bickert, my film school best friend and talented DP who has shot quite a bit of my work. Both in terms of friendship and creativity, we were inseparable almost right away when we met. Our styles mesh well, visually and in the kinds of projects we’re drawn to making, so having her as kind of a creative partner over the years has been significant for my development as an artist. And she’s a very hard worker and cute and admirable in tons of other ways. I just love her. The other person I want to recognize is my manager, Andrew Neel. We only recently started working together, but he’s been amazingly supportive over the years I’ve known him. I often think he believes in me more than I believe in myself, which is pretty much ideal for someone helping me build my career.