We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeff Quintana and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeff, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
I live by the the words “Follow Your Fear” it’s a derivative of Follow the Fear which was said by Del Close (A big contributor to modern improvisation and comedy) who trained some of the greatest comedic minds of our time including Bill Murray, Adam McKay, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and many others. I trained at the same institutions as these giants and there is a mind set that comes from this particular note. For me it means doing the next thing that I am afraid of doing whether it be emotional, intellectual, or physical fear. It means standing up for things when all I feel like doing is hiding. It means being strong in ways that may be perceived as weak. Vulnerability is the ultimate source of fear. It is when I choose to be vulnerable that the biggest growth happens. I love this mentality as it keeps me constantly on a path to growth. Whenever I am lost and need direction I think about what I am scared of and challenge myself to conquer it.
What should our readers know about your business?
The business of comedic theater is one of the most difficult businesses I feel. While other companies have a product that you can taste or touch, my product is intangible and some (unhappy) people would say, unnecessary. I also ran into the challenge that when working in an industry of performers, ego is a huge issue. Many times along the way I have just ran into egos that undermine and ruin free thinking and expression. I’ve had friends, who became business partners, who became non friends many times along the way. The industry is tough but I think the hardest part has been keeping faith in people and trusting after each hard experience. I overcome this challenge by practicing gratitude and forgiveness each moment. Like a good relationship I don’t want to bring my unhealed past wounds into it. I have learned to heal my wounds and trust that the next person won’t cut me just because the last one did. I believe there is a saying about it “Unhealed cuts bleed on those who never caused them,” I have had a hard time forming my brand but after years of grinding I have the most clarity I’ve ever had. I am here on this planet to help others communicate and express themselves in an open and authentic way. This mission isn’t only for what’s happening on stage in front of an audience but what’s happening in personal relationships, business relationships, and the relationship people have with themselves. I have learned so much from bad relationships of all kinds on the way but I would never trade those moments because they made me who I am. They forged me in fire and I’ve learned that it’s the only way i can truly learn things. They need to be hard. The challenges need to bring me to the depths of despair and then I rise like a Phoenix every time. It’s getting easier and easier to do. I realized that conflict in all it’s forms is a challenge to grow. I take my hits and then I’m moving onto the next moment with more knowledge to create my best life. I want the world to know that life can be hard but the hard times create the beautiful times. My company is all about being in the moment and understanding that the next second is an opportunity for greatness. I had a great hockey coach who would always ask “What is the definition of pressure?” And the team was taught to answer “Opportunity for greatness”
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 believe my favorite bars are still the dark loungy spots. I have always loved going for a drink at the Andersen Bar in the middle of the week and then going for a walk on the North Beach path and bringing blanket to sit on the sand by the water at night. For a great dinner I would have to take people to Cafe Prima Pasta in North Beach. It’s another place with just great vibes and amazing food. No trip to Miami is complete without a cigar and some salsa dancing in Little Havana. That’s the Cuban in me always loving an opportunity for a good cigar and salsa.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I was lucky enough to be born into a family that laughs and enjoys making each other laugh. The Quintana’s were born to mess with each other and mess with the world. My father, Mother and brothers are my biggest influences in comedy and I would be no where without them. I specifically have to shout out my brother Ozzie Quintana who was my first comedy teacher and still teaches me new things all the time. My other huge shout out needs to go to Mick Napier and Jen Estlin of the Annoyance Theater who taught me the best ways to create a strong community that allows the voices of artists to thrive. Finally I am honored to include my new partner Rebecca Loveless and our underground comedy theater The Coop. We’ve been doing some really fun and cool work that I know we are both proud of.
Talent: @Commonthreadentertainment Photos: @underwood.jpg