Jenn Gotzon is a small-town girl with big dreams of making a difference in people’s lives. Raised in the countryside of the Lehigh Valley in PA, Jenn persistently pursued her dream to play complex protagonist characters in films with compelling storylines. Her breakout fim opportunity came when she was tapped to portray President Nixon’s daughter, Tricia Nixon, in Ron Howard’s Oscar nominated Frost/Nixon. She is currently starring alongside John Scheider in Doonby.
Mike Parker– You started performing right out of high school. What sparked your interest in performing?
Jenn Gotzon– I remember going to the movies when I was around 15 years old. I don’t even remember whatmovie it was, but I do remember that I felt an electricity from it that filled my soul with a fire to be a part of what I just saw on the screen. When I got a bit more mature I realized that electricity that had so impacted me was the power of story; and story still has the power to impact people’s lives today. We can all identify with the characters on the screen. We can can relate, because their story is our story.
As an actress I wanted to find roles that people can relate to in the depths of humanity, so I explored every avenue I could including doing pagents, acting in murder mystery theatres and dancing. By the time I reached my early 20s I was beginning to understand my desire to act as more of a calling than a vocation, which has made me considerably more selective in the roles I am willing to play.
Parker– You have an extensive resume of training including graduating from The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. I’m going to make the assumption that you place a high value on honing your craft.
Jenn– Yes. Absolutely. I believe anything you do as a professional, you should do it with excellence. If you are taking an investor’s money to tell a story, you have an obligation to tell that story excellently.
You are called on to do all sorts of things you have to do as an actor. You have the responsibility of reading the screenwriter’s words in a script, and translate those words into a performance that can somehow connect with another human in a smart, responsibe, spontaneous manner. That doesn’t always come natureally. As an actor, if you don’t know how to do that you are in trouble.
You have to feel what the character feels in a way that translates to the camera, and you have to do it while there may be 100 people watching you be vulnerable. Doing that in front of the camera is completely different from how you do it on stage. And you have to learn to be truthful with your performance in an effortless manner so that the audience doesn’t realize you are acting. Most of us can’t do that naturally. It takes training. And you don’t just get training once. You have to keep going back because there is always more to learn.
Parker– You’ve have the opportunity to perform a number of small roles in some big films, and some big roles in some small films. Which do you prefer?
Jenn– That’s a challenging question, because the answer is really, both. My passion is telling great stories. Having a small role in a big film gets my name out to a larger audience, whereas having a major role in a small indepenent film gives me more time on screen but not that many people get to see me. My goal is to strive for excellence in filmmaking and story telling, regardless of the size of the production or the size of the role.
Parker– Big name actors have ‘people’ who keep their names in the public eye, but the rank and file in the industry have to work pretty hard to maintain a steady work schedule. What do you do to keep yourself viable in the industry?
Jenn– There are a multitude of things. Film is a relationship business; the whole not-what-you-know-but-who-you-know thing, so you have to actively nurture your relationships in a giving and serving way. You have to be able to bless other, rather than simply trying to determine, what’s in it for me. Living in LA there are several organization that have a common interest. There is the 168 Film Festival, which is a great place to get involved. My first year I went in with the attitude of getting cast, but after doing it for a while I had a epiphany where I started to realize that I wanted to give to others. There was a paradigm shift in my heart. I wanted to serve others, and the fruit of that realization has opened doors for me to be cast in a multitude of other projects.
Of course it does you little good to do great work if nobody sees it, so I’m actively involved with promotions. Once a film I’m in wraps I’ll write a press release and send it out to all the trade magazines, casting directors, agents, producers and other contacts. I’ll turn it into a print mailer and include transitive association of working with people of high caliber. That opens doors for coverage by newspapers, magazines and talk shows. In Hollywood, you get your name known by being cast in a major motion picture. If you nurture your name you become a star. If you don’t; well, you may fall off the radar.
Parker – Tell me a little about the your projects that are hitting theatres.
Jenn– I’ve got a lead role in Doonby, playing opposite John Scheinder. I also play the lead in the inspirational family film, God’s Country. I have several films in post-production, including I Am Gabriel and Alone Yet Not Alone.
Parker– Last words?
Jenn– I love to find a way to inspire people who haven’t found an answer in life. I try to be quiet and still each morning and spend some time reading the Bible. When life is chaotic it is some times hard to hear the voice of God. When I try to serve myself first nothing happens. When I switch my heart to putting others first, that’s when I seem to end up getting a call from a casting agent.
The Seven Questions
1. What’s your favorite sound?
Jenn– The waves of the ocean crashing.
2. What makes you happy?
Jenn– I love laughing with my husband and going on adventures with my friends.
3. What makes you angry?
Jenn– People who are evil.
4. What is the secret of success?
Jenn– Prayer, perseverance and faith in God while pursuing your dream.
5. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, living or dead, who would it be?
Jenn– Meryl Streep. I admire her her choice of stories to be involved with. I would love to learn from her.
6. What is the epitaph that is written on your tombstone?
Jenn – “Jenn came to serve, to love and to inspire.”
7. When you get to heaven, what is the first thing you want to hear God say to you?
Jenn– “I am proud of you.”
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Continue reading on modenook.com A Conversation with Russell Hornsby – National Entertainment | modenook.com http://modenook.com/entertainment-in-national/a-conversation-with-russell-hornsby#ixzz1nbuKlDLH