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Meet Jessica Bennett

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Bennett.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jessica. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born and raised in Nashville, TN, and got my BFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. While at university, I missed my true love of riding horses where I rode as a Grand Prix rider and showjumper for a big portion of my life – I realized it was stunt performers that got to ride horses for TV and film. From there, that’s what I decided I needed to do. DePaul being a movement-based program gave me an incredible opportunity to learn a great many skills, and helped me meet those who really gave me my footing to start my career.

Huge thanks to the folks at Midwest Stunts for letting a rookie follow them around, take me to lunch, answer my emails, drive cars, and train high falls. From Chicago, I moved to Los Angeles as a newlywed with my husband, Jordan, who is a professional musician, composer, and sound designer.

A family emergency brought me back to the Southeast, and while needing to find a new normal, I found opportunity, community, and work in Atlanta. In 2017 I moved my family from Los Angeles to Atlanta. While in Atlanta I have had the privilege to stunt perform for shows like “The Walking Dead,” “Zombieland 2,” Dolly Parton’s “Heartstrings,” “Making History,” “Slutty Teenage Bounty Hunters,” to name a few.

In the last year, I began my training with Intimacy Director’s International. As a budding stunt coordinator, my love of leading teams, breaking down stories, working with directors and department heads, and caring for the well being and safety of teams brought me to fall in love with creating a culture of consent and intimacy coordination. I was graciously mentored by Alicia Rodis and Rachel Flesher while paving the way here in Atlanta with fellow Intimacy Coordinator Samantha McDonald. I have now been the lead Intimacy Coordinator locally for HBO’s upcoming “Lovecraft Country,” and been on the team for “P-Valley,” “Boomerang,” and “The Outsider,” I currently am putting in my final application as a Certified Intimacy Coordinator.

My stunt work and intimacy work has brought me all over the U.S., Canada, and this past year had the opportunity to work in Asia. I am so thrilled for what the next adventure will be, including more opportunities to train with me.

Has it been a smooth road?
No road worth taking is ever smooth. When you choose a life as a stunt performer, injury in inherent, and an injury early on in my career, although devastating, led me to also start thinking creatively and learning that the path you are on does not have to be in only one direction.

A bumpy road has encouraged me to stretch my creative wings – as a writer and director, to learn new skills – I am a licensed Advanced EMT and have served Fulton county at Grady EMS, and be fearless to scary new opportunity – like learning stunt skills like rigging and coordinating, and even becoming an Intimacy Coordinator.

One of the obstacles that come with the territory of being a woman is just that – being female. I have my own #MeToo story, being told I am too small and not small enough consistently, battling an eating disorder, and realizing there is still a glass ceiling for each of us to shatter. Working for a live show company this past year as a designer, I was told they like to hire women because “we have more to prove.” In this experience I found my male assistant coordinator’s voice was heard louder in the room; I am ever so grateful for his support and being the force to get my ideas to the table.

Moreover, in the newer industry of Intimacy Coordinator for film and television, there is the path of education and perseverance while we pave new boundaries. I believe that being on this path with my fellow coordinators would be a lot more difficult unless I had already been pressing against my current glass ceiling, and learning skills to make sure my voice is heard at the proverbial table.

Please tell us more about your work. What do you guys do? What do you specialize in? What sets you apart from competition?
As a TV and film professional, my company is my family! My husband and I formed Family Band Productions because we love create, whether independently or together. When we work together, we realized we bring a great deal of creative and technical services to the table.

I have worked as a professional from the writing-table, breakdown services, as a casting associate, and all the way through shooting. My husband is a post-production wizard, especially with sound and music services. While our company as a service works on independent work at this time, it too is the umbrella my husband and I work under when we work under larger companies. For me, I am primarily hired as a stunt performer, Intimacy Coordinator, Stunt Coordinator, and Casting Associate.

Under Family Band Productions, we have a couple of short films being released in early 2020.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
In the past ten years, we have seen massive shifts in film and television. The rate at which content is being made now is unprecedented. I am excited to see where streaming services grow as over the next decade, and how we continue to receive content. I believe that interactive mediums are going to be next adventure. We are seeing a great deal of it with social media, Twitch, and technologies like the Oculus, but I believe that we are going to be seeing more of the video game aesthetic in entertainment viewing. However, I don’t believe the classic, sit down and binge a show is going anywhere, anytime soon.

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Image Credit:
Patrick Marcigliano

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