Rising Star Jessica Brandt: “Let’s focus on the movement to improve our school systems and provide more support for teachers”

Yitzi Weiner
Aug 18, 2019 · 10 min read
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Education is very important and I think we can always improve school systems. Teachers are the ones who essentially raise and teach the new generations. Their roles in kid’s lives, not only in school, but also in general matter so much. Teachers are very inspiring and deserve so much appreciation. Many teachers have to buy school supplies for students with money out of their own pockets, and I definitely think that needs to change. Teaching is such an important career and I feel like we tend to take them for granted. I would love to see more support for teachers and everything they do to mold the younger generations.

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Thank you so much for joining us Jessica! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank you for having me! And yes, though it seems like a rather ordinary story to me. When I was ten years old I knew that I wanted to be an actress. I honestly don’t remember what exactly inspired me to feel that way, I just remember feeling it. It could have been from watching Disney Channel and imagining how much fun it would have been to play a wizard, or pop star. I felt the urge to be a performer and act. I started taking classes when I was about eleven and my love for it only grew. Since then I haven’t stopped acting. As I have grown into my late teens I’ve realized that there is nothing I would rather do than act and focus my energy on that type of career. Imagining being an actress and being a performer for the rest of my life brings me joy.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Honestly, I have learned so, so much since I began this journey and that is what I find the most interesting. I know so much more now than I did even a year ago. When I was starting out I really had no clue what this business was like and I was just kind of going with the flow of things, hanging onto information as it came to me. It is so much more than you expect and all the technicalities really interest me. It has been such a learning experience and it will always continue to be. I will also mention that I attended the OIF (Orlando Independent Filmmakers) LOL premiere for their comedy challenge, and I had a blast. It was set up with a red carpet and everything, it was so cool and a lot of fun to be there. Our film did really great with the awards which was the icing on top of an already exciting day. I was just so grateful to be there with my parents. I also met a lot of people who attended that premiere and I am still in contact with them.

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Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I began, I made the mistake of sending in awful self-tapes. I did not have a solid background to stand in front of and I had no tri-pod to hold my phone/ camera to record. I would literally stack items up on my bed frame post to form a makeshift tri-pod and just hope that it wouldn’t all come tumbling down in the middle of a scene. I would have the busiest background and it was just so bad. Watching those auditions now makes me cringe so much, but I had just started and I was unexperienced in filming auditions. I know now that the quality of a self-tape audition really matters. Make sure you use a solid background and make sure the sound and lighting are both of good quality. I suggest investing in a tri-pod because I have found that it really helps a lot.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Quite a few! I have been working on a pilot for the past few months that I am really excited about. It is futuristic but also has a feel of “The Hunger Games.” It is going to be epic. Additionally, I am getting ready to shoot a short film for a horror challenge (OIF Edge) for the Orlando Independent Filmmakers. This will be my first horror film, so I am really looking forward to it! One last one that I’ll mention is that I’m playing a mean girl in a film and there’s going to be a pool party. It’s going to be fun!

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

I love working with other actors who are my age, because there is so much I can learn from them and the way they work. It is also easy for me to get along with teenagers; we just get to hang out on set and become friends. I was in a short film about a group of teenage girls and I met so many amazing people on that film from the director, to the actors, to the makeup artist. All of us girls in the film got along really well, so we just became instant friends. We even made a group chat and still talk to this day, even though we only knew each other for two days while we were filming. It’s the connections like that that really matter, you make lifelong friends! Also, networking! This business is mostly about who you know. Especially in our age of social media and its prominence in our lives, it is really easy to stay connected with people that you meet while working on films. Everyone helps each other out.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I would say to try and change up the type of films that you participate in. Maybe do a comedy, then drama, then horror. I am still early in my career, so I am still learning a lot. If you don’t get excited about the things that you are doing, maybe you should reconsider. Also I would say to never take any opportunity for granted. I genuinely get excited about every audition that I receive. As I mentioned before, I am still learning a lot so I could definitely use some advice myself!

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You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Education is very important and I think we can always improve school systems. Teachers are the ones who essentially raise and teach the new generations. Their roles in kid’s lives, not only in school, but also in general matter so much. Teachers are very inspiring and deserve so much appreciation. Many teachers have to buy school supplies for students with money out of their own pockets, and I definitely think that needs to change. Teaching is such an important career and I feel like we tend to take them for granted. I would love to see more support for teachers and everything they do to mold the younger generations.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. Don’t take yourself too seriously. If you make a mistake, laugh it off! We are all in the same boat and we are all learning. Laughter is the best medicine and makes life more enjoyable. Just have fun!

2. It’s not a race. I always want to get things done quickly, but sometimes I have to slow myself down and remind myself that it is not all about speed. Quality is much more important than getting things done quickly. Take your time and produce your best quality work.

3. Things will happen when they’re meant to. If things are not going the way you hoped or planned at a specific time, don’t get discouraged or upset. Your time will come when its meant to be, even if it takes a few years. Don’t give up! Continue to work hard and opportunities will head your way.

4. Make connections. The more connections you have with people, the more people you will reach, which will lead to more opportunities. No matter where you go, talk to people! You never know who is listening.

5. You can only go up. As they say in “Mary Poppins Returns”, “There’s nowhere to go but up!” Every step you take when you’re starting out will lead you somewhere greater. You’ll be ahead of where you were the day before, which means you’re growing and learning. Every day is a chance to improve.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

One of my favorite quotes is “The main thing you can change is how you perceive yourself. Stop looking in the mirror and realize that you’re living for yourself, not other people.” — Amanda Seyfried. I was always very concerned with what other people thought about me rather than just doing what made me happy. I have just recently been better about just doing what I want for me. You can’t live your life based on what other people might think or say, it can became a bit frustrating and depressing. You have to live for you and do what makes you happy. It is a very freeing feeling not caring that others think about you.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Absolutely. My parents have been my biggest supporters in my efforts to act. They paid for my acting classes when I was younger and allowed me to do what made me happy. I did theatre in high school, and my parents attended every one of my shows and let me know how proud they were of me. Up until I was about fifteen or sixteen I was very shy. I truly believe that theatre helped me break out of my shell and gain confidence to be myself. My parents were with me every step of the way and they still are! They help me film auditions all the time and go with me to auditions and film shoots when they are far away. I am so grateful for the help and encouragement my mom and dad have given me to live out my dreams. Here’s a little story: I once had a shoot that was far and I didn’t want to leave my new puppy home alone, so my mom came with me and was kind enough to watch my puppy while I filmed. It was actually funny because this was when my puppy was about 4 months old and wasn’t potty trained yet, so she actually ended up peeing in my mom’s car. Oops! It was funny to me when she told me, but she was a good sport about it.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)

Yes! Of course! I am a HUGE fan of Kristen Bell and have been for years! I admire how relatable she is and how she is not afraid to speak her truth. She has shared personal stories about her life that I have related to very much, and she gave me the confidence to embrace who I am. She seems like such a fun person to be around and she’s really hilarious. Not to mention that she’s an outstanding actress and singer as well. Her show, “Veronica Mars” is my favorite TV show of all time, and they recently made a new season on Hulu! You will not believe how excited I was when I found out that was happening. It was really awesome to watch a show about such a strong seventeen year old girl while I was also seventeen years old myself. I literally grew up into my later teens and went to college with Veronica and was able to have a comfort there. I have literally seen all of her movies and interviews and I would absolutely love to meet her one day! I love her so much. She truly is a wonderful and inspiring human being, I could go on giving her compliments for days!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Yes! I have Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. My Instagram handle is @jessicahaleybrandt (just my full name), my Twitter is @jessicahbrandt, and my Facebook is @JessicaBrandtActress. Follow me! I would love to connect with more people.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!

Thank you so much for having me! It was a pleasure.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film…

Yitzi Weiner

Written by

A “Positive” Influencer, Founder & Editor of Authority Magazine, CEO of Thought Leader Incubator

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Yitzi Weiner

Written by

A “Positive” Influencer, Founder & Editor of Authority Magazine, CEO of Thought Leader Incubator

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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