Good afternoon, YouthMundees!
Our team at IVA is committed to achieving equity, inclusion and to ensuring that underrepresented voices are seen and amplified across the board. IVA stands in solidarity with Black communities across the globe, and we will not stop taking action until full freedom, respect, justice and social and human rights have been achieved. It’s only by learning, listening, improving, working and standing together that we can realize the positive change that we so desperately need to see in our country and the rest of the world.
At YouthMundus, we aim to not only be a platform for music, film and global change, but for the artists and global changemakers who create them. Our Artist Spotlight series aims to create a space for discovery of new, budding global talent, while simultaneously offering you an exclusive glimpse into their creative process. In this week’s edition, we’re extremely excited to feature the endlessly ambitious, Jeron Jordan, an aspiring independent TV & Film writer and writer based out of New York City!
Born in New York, the youngest son of Guyanese immigrants, Jeron Jordan lived in Far Rockaway, Queens until the age of 7. However, Jeron’s family traded the city for sunshine in their relocation to Florida, a necessary move that Jeron explains “provided [him] with an adolescence and education that the streets of Far Rockaway could not.”
After a period of acclimation, that Jeron jokingly summarized in one sentence: “I was briefly an outcast, I was a city boy in the suburbs after all”; Jeron found himself developing a genuine interest in the arts:
Jeron not only used art as his outlet, but as the overarching glue that helped him forge connections to his peers: “I found through creating art, whether that be in writing short stories, drawing sketches or even putting on theater shows using my stuffed animals, I had an outlet for expression that didn’t feel so lonely. People were drawn to me because of my art. Entertaining people through art became my personal niche. I vowed from a young age that I would always aspire to inspire people, and took that creed well into young adulthood.”
By high school, Jeron’s passion for art, particularly filmmaking, had manifested itself in the form of “Always Sophomore”, a Youtube channel developed by him and his close knit group of friends: “It was a humble effort, for sure. We would get excited just getting more than a hundred views. Eventually however, the views no longer became our motivator. We wanted to challenge ourselves, do more, be bigger, complicate our stories, engage with our audience beyond sophomoric humor and laughs. Inevitably, our ambitions were met with practical obstacles for a couple of teens making Youtube videos. No budget, no real training, just guys with a camera.”
Jeron’s dedication to his craft only evolved alongside his drive, after enrolling in his high school’s television production class, a class taught by teachers Jeron remembered fondly, “My teachers at the time would often call me stubborn, and rightfully so, but they were impressed by my ambition.” With the invaluable support of his educators behind him, Jeron was able to view art as not merely a hobby, but as a realistic, tangible career. Bringing his filmic journey full circle, in 2015, Jeron was accepted into New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
As a college graduate, Jeron has made significant progress as an independent filmmaker and artist. He’s worked alongside high profile industry professionals, including television director and adjunct professor Habib Azar and the notorious Broadway and Hollywood producer Scott Rudin.
Alongside Jeron’s professional endeavors in the film industry, he has been engaged in a prolonged post-production phase for his two short films: “The Red Blouse” and “Marauder”. Despite his films’ approaching release dates, with “The Red Blouse” projected to be released by the end of the year, Jeron speaks candidly about the obstacles of being an emerging, independent filmmaker in the middle of a pandemic: “Post-production and distribution has truly been a significant challenge for me. I don’t want my films to release to silence and haven’t quite found a constructive or creative approach to building momentum. Coupled with a rather limited film festival submission budget, I have admittedly been sitting on these projects for longer than I would like. However, hopefully this edition of Artist Spotlight will attract the appropriate attention to my films so they don’t drown amongst the sea of fellow dreamers.”
Can you give us some insight into your creative process?
I draw inspiration from observing everyday mundane interactions; A casual conversation with your cashier, a chance meeting with a long-forgotten friend, or even the feeling of steadily watching a car’s headlights in your rear view mirror during a late night drive home, cautiously making sure you aren’t being followed. It’s the strange polar dynamics of life, the aspects that make it so unpredictable, that excite me most when approaching filmmaking. How easy it is for a situation to go from mundane to malicious. How delightful it is to witness friendly banter turn flirtatious. I like to recreate these moments in film, turning everyday moments into entertainment and injecting drama into the daily status quo. What is the connection between your art and social justice?
Art, as I’m sure you’ve heard ad nauseam, is a reflection of life. However, it’s not as simple as putting a mirror to reality and exposing it to itself. Art is like a funhouse mirror, warping everything that it reflects. Sometimes you get a more beautiful image than you expected, other times you may be disgusted by what you see.
What I think is most important, however, is having that opportunity to see yourself reflected, to begin with. So often are the faces of black, brown, people of color, and women omitted from this experience. They’re left to believe they have no reflection at all, vampires in a funhouse. I think it’s the moral responsibility of artists representing disadvantaged populations, to create art that reflects their community in an abundance of ways. I’m not satisfied with just seeing the token black best friend, or the shoehorned female romantic interest. Art should reflect all aspects of all people. We should all be given a chance to look in that mirror and interpret what we see for ourselves.
What inspired you to pursue writing and filmmaking? What were the challenges you overcame in this?
My inspiration for writing and filmmaking is simply engaging with people.Those big ole eyes eagerly staring, waiting for something to laugh at or the big twist at the end to gasp to. I saw the way faces would light up as I told a story on screen and it immediately became addicting to me. It also helps that writing is a common career in my family. My grandparents, even a few aunts and uncles, were authors. I was just the first to add a camera into the equation.
My biggest challenge has mostly been financial. However I’ve mostly overcome this by focusing on quality instead of quantity. I would tell the strongest story I could with as little resources as I had. Hoping character and plot would compensate for a lack of flashy visuals and cinematic fluff.
What’s been the most rewarding part of being an artist for you? Do you have any advice for future artists?
The most rewarding part of being an artist has to be seeing the art complete. Doesn’t matter the reception or the merits it earns. Being able to watch something that didn’t even exist in reality be birthed from the brain, onto the page, into production, and then broadcast for eager audiences, is so gratifying. It’s physical proof of the rewards of hard work, patience, collaboration, and creativity. I think that’s enough reward.
My advice to fellow artists is to create the art you want to see. Your passion is what will make it invaluable. Also don’t measure your success to that of your peers. You, your journey, and your art are one of a kind.
Do you have any advice on how we can do our part in supporting emerging artists of color like yourself?
Support fellow artists. Share their posts. Watch their films. Read their stories. Admire their art. Take more chances on people with passion. Use nepotism responsibly. If someone is showing you how much they care, how much they want to succeed, don’t act blind. Give them a hand. Be the “Yes” that changes their life.
Be sure to follow Jeron's Instagram to stay updated on all of his upcoming writing projects!