Interview with actor Jett Jansen Fernandez


Jansen is a Cuban/American writer, actor, director and producer. His short films, feature films and new media episodic shows have earned him 33 film festival nominations including a nomination from the Oscar qualifying festival HollyShorts, Best Picture Nomination for HBO’s Urban Action Showcase and several wins for Best Action sequence, Best Science Fiction screenplay, and an award for Best Actor at the Paris France International Film Festival. He’s is also a pioneer in the world of Virtual Reality filmmaking as well as Combat Sports and Pro Wrestling distribution and production. He is the founder of the production company “Crash Site Films” and the co-founder of Markout Media which is a distribution partner with CBS Viacom/ PLUTO TV. He is also a published comic book writer under his comic book publishing house “Crash Site Comics”. 

  • How did you get involved in acting?

I started acting as a young child in elementary school in theater programs and never looked back. 

  • How different is it to act in a movie and to act in a theater play? And which one do you prefer?

Acting for theater and acting for film are very similar. They’re both acting, but they are different styles. It’s similar to salsa dancing vs ballroom dancing, they are both dancing; but the techniques, disciplines and movements are very different. You don’t get multiple takes in theater but you get longer rehearsal. In theater you have to act a little bigger for an audience whereas for camera you have to act very small and very subtle. I have no preference, although I will say I wish I had done more theater because I do feel that theater helps with certain techniques that make acting for camera better. Which is why theater actors make the best movie actors.

  • What are your weak points when it comes to acting? How do you try to improve them?

My weak point in acting I would say is playing phonetic high-energy rolls. Like a crackhead or emoting high-energy fear, It’s the same issue that I think De Niro has. You never see him playing a tweaker or somebody that’s rambling fast or being super high energy. I’m naturally a low-key guy, so the way I fix that is similar what De Niro does, which is to simply not do those parts. I lean into what I’m good at and I let someone else handle the other stuff. Acting is about believability, it’s much better to just go with my nature. 

  • What are your strong points as an actor?

I have a very naturalistic Style, I’d like to think it’s similar to a Sam Neill or a Jeff Goldblum. It’s relaxed and natural which comes off as real. I’m also naturally able to be charming and or funny which not that many people have as it is hard to teach and usually is a natural gift in people. 

  • What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?

I’ve been very blessed and lucky enough to work with some really amazing directors. From guys like Russell Mulcahy, who directed the first Highlander film all the way up to Shawn Levy who has directed episodes Stranger Things and his newest film Free Guy starring Ryan Reynolds. What I learned was that the best directors are open to suggestion. This game is about collaboration, you have got to be open-minded and flexible. Also less is always, always, always more. 

  • What makes a good scene partner?

What makes a good scene partner is chemistry. I know that’s an intangible thing, but a lot of this game is intangible, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Some people have good chemistry some people have bad chemistry.  It’s also similar to dancing, you have to not step on your scene partner’s toes; you have to be gracious, you have to know what the goal of the scene is and work towards that goal together. But ultimately good chemistry is key. 

  • What are some of the difficulties of the acting business?

For me one of the most difficult things in the acting business are inexperienced casting directors. They’re all looking for Calvin Kline models. It’s much better to find actors with character in their face then using pretty people. Bad casting can really hurt a movie. Going with the model type makes a film look like a toothpaste commercial.

  • What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?

Bringing a script to life can be very hard or very easy. It really depends on the quality and genre of the script. If you’re doing a Science Fiction story like Star Trek you’re going to have a hard time making that type of dialogue sound natural. But if you’re doing something written by Tarantino all u gotta do is say what’s on the page and you’ll be just fine.

  • What do you do when you’re not doing theatre/film?

When I’m not acting in a project, I’m usually writing or producing projects. I just really enjoy the process of making things. No matter what hat I’m wearing. 

  • If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?

I think Oscar Isaac would be a good fit to play me or even a Donald Glover. It would be cool to see what he does with it!