We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Joy O’Grady and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer Joy, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
As an actor and filmmaker, I usually didn’t know how to focus on the business side of being an artist. Often as creatives we are striving to perfect the artistry and execution of our craft and the business aspect can come to our mind last. However, throughout my process I’ve recently discovered that it is possible to utilize my storytelling gifts through digital media to develop a thriving business. After studying film and television production in college, to getting my own cameras and making my own productions, I also grew my skills as a videographer and editor. I realized being able to film and edit videos which artistically portraying an engaging story for businesses and clients is a skill in demand. For the past few years I have worked solely full time for companies helping to build their brand through video and marketing, while feeling like I didn’t have the time to focus on my own goals, dreams and my business. I’m thankful for what I learned at these jobs, but now I have fully accepted the call as an entrepreneur. This year I decided to pursue building my business Open Door Film Productions as a video marketing specialist. My ultimate goal and vision since founding my business is to own a production studio where myself and my team will produce video marketing for clients and companies, educate students hands-on training in production, and have the resources and ability to create my own narrative productions in the film and tv industry.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I write and create from the heart. While this can be the most vulnerable form of expression, I believe it is also the most powerful. There are certain stories which impact others which you can only write authentically if you have lived it yourself in some way. I have learned so much from creating my short films and series in the past. But I am most excited about creating my first feature film which involves themes I am incredibly passionate about. I put much of myself personally and certain battles I’ve overcome into writing this story, in hopes that it will empower viewers. I am pushing myself not only as the writer, and giving my word and dedication that this film will be produced. I am also training physically in MMA, and of course in my craft so that I may embody this character where I am unrecognizable in my portrayal. If there is anything I want the world to know about me is that I am not a quitter and I continue to push forward not just for me, but for those who were once voiceless, for the underdogs and for the dreamers.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
One of my favorite restaurants is SuViche, a Peruvian/Japanese fusion restaurant located in Wynwood, Brickell, South Beach, Aventura and also Las Olas. Some dishes I absolutely love are the Lomo Saltado Bites, Chifa Ceviche and Arroz Chaufa. Of course we would have to visit the beach, currently my favorite Beach spot is Pompano Beach. The Beach House on Pompano Beach is also a lovely spot for dinner with a beautiful view of the ocean. We would need a trip to Wynwood Walls with plenty of photoshoot opportunities. While we are in the Wynwood area there are so many spots and restaurants we have to try like Panther Coffee, Coyo Taco, The Salty Donut, and Sugarcane for dinner. I’ve personally always loved museums, so we would take a trip to The Pérez Art Museum in Miami. If we have time to make a drive to West Palm Beach, I would visit Howley’s Diner, an awesome retro spot since the 1950’s with amazing comfort food which was the go-to spot when I was in college.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Firstly, I have to give a tremendous amount of credit and recognition to my parents, Sean and Rose O’Grady. When I told them that I wanted to be an actor in my pre-teens, instead of pushing me towards a different career path, they supported me fully and helped me pursue an education in the field I was passionate about. Even during the times I doubted myself or felt like giving up, they never doubted me, my gifts or that I would be successful in my career. Without them I’m not sure if I would have been able to pursue my dreams. I am eternally grateful that they have been my first number one fans every step of the way. I would like to recognize a very dear friend in my life, Steve Alejos, owner of Alejos Brand, who I met back when I was 17 years old at my first job. I remember discussing then that I wanted to be an actor and filmmaker, and he wanted to be a graphic designer. We supported each other since then and never doubted that our dreams would come to fruition, which they have in many ways. Within the last few years he has been a major influence in helping me to grow in my career, entrepreneurship, and most importantly as a person. From completely believing in my vision as a filmmaker to training me in MMA; he has impacted my life in so many ways. Not only has he always supported my dreams to the fullest, but he has introduced me to many friends, networks, education and communities who have also greatly influenced my perspective, decisions and career. He is one of the few people I’ve met who is selflessly dedicated to the growth and success of the people he loves. I am beyond grateful he has been a part of my journey. I owe a great deal to the friends, colleagues, family, and communities who have supported me throughout my journey. There are many to name, and I hope you all know how much I appreciate you. One friend in particular I would like to acknowledge, who is more like my brother because we grew up together, is Brandon Charlton. Throughout my life he has my back through the highs and lows. I appreciate that we can always have awesome discussions about film ideas with each other. I would like to thank those in the local filmmaking community who saw my talent at a time where I felt no one did. I am thankful to those who have cast me in their films and those who believed in my vision enough to joined my team when creating projects. From my educational years, I was greatly influenced by and supported by my theater teacher in high school, Jim Usher, and my Creative Writing professor in college, David Athey. Ultimately I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities God has given me and the influential people he has placed in my path.
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