Hallie Jordan Interview
She’s an actress. She’s a producer. As the founder of Small Red Star Productions she’s produced several television pilots, independent films and comedy sketches that have featured her on Funny or Die.
Showbiz runs in the family. Her grandfather worked for RKO films and handled publicity for Judy Garland and Debbie Reynolds.
Hallie Jordan is the woman we are talking about.
Q - How is there enough time in the day to do everything you have to do?
A - You know I get that a lot.
Q - Do you have a lot of help?
A - No. I actually do everything on my own which is the crazy part. You know, you compartmentalize. While one thing is going on, another thing is in preproduction; while one thing is in preproduction another thing is in postproduction. Certain days of the week you do something. It’s a lot like when you’re in college and your compartmentalizing your classes and you’ve got to get your English assignments in by Wednesday but your history final is due tomorrow, you just compartmentalize. You do it one step at a time.
Q - Since you have your own production company you do have people working with you and alongside you don’t you?
A - I do, whenever I put up the project. I’m an actress. I started producing so I could act and I still do. I have friends. I have people who join my company on a project basis. So it’s not a continuing office that I have. Small Red Star Production is a project by project production company.
Q - You started your production company before you became an actress or during the time you were going out for auditions and decided you would put something together yourself?
A - Right. I’ve always been an actress. I always will be. I started my production company so that I could create more work for myself and my friends. I had actually been shelved by a major agency and I wasn’t going to let one agent tell me I couldn’t work. So, I looked into what it took to create a production company. I formed an LLC. I had a lot of help doing that. I created an hour-long pilot and now that pilot is at a network. But, I very much was Small Red Star Productions as my own creative outlet. So, if I have an idea, if I want to create something more or if I want to collaborate on something to generate work for myself and my friends that’s what I use Small Red Star Productions for.
Q - Let me guess, the agency that dropped you was Creative Artists Agency or William Morris?
A - No. I wasn’t associated with them but I’m not allowed to say names. But, they’re a good agency. They’re good people. I was just not right for their roster and they shelved to me. That’s fine. That happens to a lot of people in the industry, but, I saw it as an opportunity to make a name for myself and create so that I could continue to work.
Q - So, you have television pilots and independent films all going on at once?
A - Well, they’re all in different phases of production so, I’m actually learning in a week to do a movie in Georgia with George Davidson and Matt Dalles. Then I go to New York for a couple of months and I’m shooting another one in London and another one in Ohio. So, they all shoot at different times. Sometimes it takes different amounts of time for each project to become the project you want it to be.
Q - How many films are actually being made in Hollywood these days?
A - None. (Laughs)
Q - I knew you would say that. I’ve heard that the film industry is in grave danger of imploding. Costs have just skyrocketed.
A - Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say that the future is shaky for the industry. I do think people are getting tax credits in other states that don’t necessarily get attention. I think that it’ll be really good for those states who do give the tax credits to film there to bring more people in. So, I think it’s just bringing more awareness to the rest of the country and not just Hollywood. Of course, there still shooting here. There are still studios.
Q - You’ve studied acting in college. Is that something you can really learn in school or is it something that that just comes naturally?
A - Acting is very subjective. I did train a whole lot and I still have friends that did not train a day in their life who are better than me and vice versa. I know Lucille Ball choreographed every step she made on step because she had a hard time in acting school and she had to really, really work to keep up with her costars. So it all has to do with a learning curve. Yes, you can learn to act, but, you have to be passionate about it first and foremost. So, if you’re passionate about it, but, you don’t start out as a great actor, you can learn and if you’re passionate enough to learn to be a great actor, you’ll become a great actor. If you want to come to act to become famous and you’re not interested in learning about acting and you’re not good at acting and you don’t book and you have no interest in becoming good in acting, you’re probably not going to become a good actor.
Q - How about the people who aren’t good actors, but, there they are acting on TV?
A - I think tenacity has a lot to do with it. Then again acting is subjective. Some people think one person is a great actor. Then others think that person is the worst. It’s all a matter of preference. There are people that I think are really amazing who other people don’t. I love Ann Hathaway. A lot of people hate Ann Hathaway. So, again it’s subjective.
Q - Then we come to the Academy Awards. Actors are vying for an award with other actors who are playing different roles. If they were all in similar roles, it would seem fair. Does that Academy Awards show seem fair to you?
A - I mean its politics. And, you’ll find politics in any industry whether it be acting or business. There is a hierarchy. Of course it’s not always fair if one person wins an Academy award over another one but it’s still a really huge thing to be nominated when you are. These people who are there are there for a reason. They can always be up for another award next year. So, not everything is fair. I firmly believe if you work hard enough at it and you don’t give up on it and you keep up with your tenacity you will get there. You can win the award. Even the people who get nominated find a lot of work out of it and that’s what I think it’s really about. It’s about continuing to work and getting to work not so much as I want to be famous, I want to be famous. So, I think that anyone who’s ever nominated for an Academy award deserves to be up there.
Q - Was your mother and actress?
A - No. My grandfather was a publicist for RKO and my mother’s dad, my other grandfather was a standup comedian on the Borscht belt. So he was a Vaudeville Comedian. He did jokes like Who’s On First? And was really big in that circuit. My mother was very supportive of my acting but, she’s not an actress.
Q - How is it you were able to travel the country?
A - I created my own degree in college. Through that I was able to convince my committee that I needed training elsewhere. So, I just applied. I kept on getting accepted. I was accepted into the University of Paris, Sorbonne for a summer. It gave me credit for school. I was accepted at the Academic Dell Arte in Italy for a summer and that offered school credit. So, the school gave me those credits. That cost me the same amount had I been in school. And same with the Second City of Chicago. I applied. I was one of the 15 chosen from around the country for that semester and it was included in my school curriculum. I figured out how to get credit for going there as well.
Q - Your grandfather was a publicist for Debbie Reynolds and Judy Garland?
A - Debbie Reynolds and Shirley Temple actually.
Q - Your bio. Said Judy Garland.
A - I think Judy Garland might have been in there somewhere. I remember finding letters from Shirley Temple when I went through my grandfather’s storage unit which was really cool.
Q - Did you ever talk to him about these people?
A - You know, I didn’t know much about it until he passed away.
Q - That’s too bad.
A - It’s really cool to know I come from that kind of family history.
Q - So, you just have the letters then?
A - I have the letters and the pictures. He specifically worked on The Creature From The Black Lagoon. I have a bunch of pictures from behind the scenes from that. It’s really cool to see pictures of him working on that set. But, it’s also cool to know that it runs in my family. I didn’t know that he did that and I’ve gotten to where I am completely without his help.
Official website: www.halliejordan.com
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