Director/Writer, JENNIFER NICOLE STANG was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has lived in England, Canada, the U.S., and Spain. Jennifer founded her film production company, Round Table Pictures (Formerly Heart Anchor Productions), with her brother, Emmett, in 2011. With her company, Jennifer has directed award-winning music videos and short films, and has produced videos for clients such as Sotheby's International, USC, and Jamie Nichols for Celebrate Dance, which is one of the "top 5 dance shows" in Los Angeles. Her short film, El Lago (The Lake) has received various awards, including Best Fantasy Film at the Mexico International Film Festival, and 1st place at the Honolulu Film Awards. El Lago is also featured on GAIA TV and Cinemakers. Jennifer directed Livvy Stubenrauch (young Anna from Disney’s Oscar-winning film, FROZEN), in her short film Les Nuages (The Clouds), which is part of The Dream Series on YouTube. Jennifer has also produced the web series, Englishman in L.A. starring Ashley Fink (Glee), Eddie Jemison (Ocean’s 11, 12, 13) and Cameron Moir (Non-Stop). The series received rave reviews from In Touch Magazine and Broadway World, and now streams on Amazon Prime. Jennifer is currently co-producing a feature film with Dark Matter Studios.
What do I do best?
I like to think I work well with people. I like to hear their ideas to consider the best option for the project at hand. Filmmaking is always a group effort, and I really believe that two heads are always better than one. I am also hard-working and determined.
What makes me the best version of myself?
I really love the work that I do, and this work happens to challenge me in the best way. I am constantly pushed to be the best person I can be, and I also surround myself with individuals that are great to work with, with whom I have a great rapport, and who see things similarly when it comes to a project. Inspiring and professional individuals inspire me to be the same.
What are my aspirations?
The goal in my work is to continue making movies, and specifically to be able to make feature films. Making feature after feature would be the dream!
My Biggest Success?
My biggest success is my determination not to give up and to continue getting better and better with each project. There are no failures; it’s how you look at things. I like to think I take constructive criticism well, and really try to improve with each endeavour.
My Most Challenging Moment?
When I decided to jump from working as an actress to a filmmaker, it was a very hard decision. I didn’t know if I was going down the right path at first, and had to start at square one in my mid twenties, which was not my original plan! But it was something I really knew I wanted to do, and I went with my gut. I spent years studying the technical aspects of film and I’m so glad that I did. In my line of work it’s important to be as knowledgable as you can about all departments of film. It helps you communicate to each department head clearly what you are looking for, and gives you an understanding of what each department has to go through.
I believe in giving your all in whatever you do in life. Even if it’s as simple as vacuuming or doing the dishes. It’s important to do your best in everything. That’s what I believe in. Even if it’s something you don’t necessarily enjoy doing, it’s always best to give it your all.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
I have many role models. Generally I look up to individuals that aren’t afraid of their own uniqueness and stand for what they believe in even if the world doesn’t understand. I look up to people such as David Bowie, Black Elk, Gandhi, Salvador Dali, and many others. In terms of film directors, I look up to Peter Jackson, David Lynch, Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick, just to name a few.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Every place in the world offers something special. To me, some of my favourite places are Sevilla, London, and Amsterdam.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
Definitely my laptop! I couldn’t do my work without it!
My Current Passions?
I was a professional dancer primarily, so I love flamenco dance, traditional Japanese dance, and enjoy taking different types of dance classes in general. I am also into yoga and love spending time with my shiba inu.
How did you get into the industry?
I acted on stage as a dancer since I was a little girl, and jumped into acting in the theatre as a teenager. When I was living in Los Angeles, I was actually in the music industry as a singer-songwriter, and got the acting bug again so I started working in film. Working on a particular project with friends, I got behind the camera and realized that behind the camera was where I really wanted to be. I then had to study the technical side of filmmaking, and ended up working as a DP, colourist, and as an editor for a while as well, but writing and directing has been my greatest passion.
Any emerging industry trends?
When are there not!? Technically, there are constant advances in filmmaking. Currently filmmakers are getting into 360 degree movies and virtual reality, and camera companies are constantly upgrading their gear. The film industry advances so quickly.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
The more you know about your craft the better, and the more you’re up to date with what’s going on, the better. There will always be opportunities and challenges, and especially in filmmaking, everyone has their own path. There is no direct way to get where you want to go. Some people work their way up, and others get funding for a feature that ends up being an indie smash. You never know!
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
I always loved telling stories and always had story ideas for films. I started by making low-budget shorts as a means to an end to promote my acting career, and once I got behind the camera, my path changed and my production company started developing content and I switched from in front of the camera to behind it. My inspiration for creating my business was really inspired by working in film as an actor, and then I developed the desire to tell stories comprehensively from pre-production to post. I enjoyed the process, and have a lot of stories that I’d like to make into feature films. It has been a very natural process.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
We (my producing partner and I) are planning to pitch a number of different projects that we are very excited about. We have just completed a proof of concept short film for one of our features, and we will be looking for funding very soon while we take our short around the film festival circuit.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
Partnerships are key to success. It is important to trust the person you partner with, and not just in terms of trusting them when you’re around, but trusting them with others as well when you’re not around. Whoever you work with is more or less an extension of you, and you have to make sure that everyone involved with the project (directly or indirectly) is treated properly, and if you aren’t able to work with them directly, you need to know those that you have hired with represent the company’s culture. Communication is also key. Most productions that people experience as difficult, more often than not, have to do with a breakdown of communication. You really can’t make assumptions, so it’s important to be very detailed and clear with everyone you work with.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
Some of my most difficult moments in the business were actually working with difficult personalities. If there is a lack of communication, or if someone is making it hard for others because he or she is stressed, it makes the whole production that much more difficult, on top of an already stressful production, so that project ends up not being pleasant to work on because of that. If everyone is positive and wants the best for the project, and treats everyone with respect, then it ends up being an incredible experience, and that’s one of the reasons why we do what we do.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
In terms of customers, I would assume in our case, it would be our audience! Even though we, as filmmakers, are excited about a particular project, the whole goal is to have others enjoy what we create. I hope our projects would enlighten, educate and entertain an audience because that’s what I appreciate as an audience member myself.
How do you motivate others?
I work mostly with those who are self motivated! To get them interested in a story, I share with them my ideas and sometimes use concept art and visuals to give them an idea of what I’m looking to create. If they see I am passionate, then if it’s their bag of beans, they will come on board.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Many people will tell you how to do things. Don’t listen to them. Everyone has their own perspective, and since we’re in the arts, everyone will have their own particular preference. That’s not to say you shouldn’t hear people out and consider their opinions, but at the end of the day, you make your own educated decision.