Jordan-Paige Sudduth: Hardworking Creative
Jordan is a young writer and filmmaker who lives near me. When I first found her on social media last year, I was elated to find another multitalented young hardworking creative–someone who pursues multiple creative careers with equal vigor! She was nice enough to take some new author photos for me a few months ago, and I’m looking forward to more collaboration opportunities in the future–and for you to read what she had to say.
Tell us in one sentence what you do and why you do it.
I’m primarily a writer, but I am also a filmmaker, photographer, author, daily vlogger, and actor, and I do it all in hopes to inspire others to do what they love.
When, how, and why did you start acting, writing, taking photos, and making films?
Well, those all started at different times, so I’ll just kinda walk through them (lol). I began acting for stage in the 4th grade and acting for film and television in the 6th grade. I’ve always loved writing all my life, but I really found my passion for screenwriting in my freshman year of high school, and the summer between my freshman and sophomore year is when I began filmmaking. For photography, that’s kinda just a side hobby that started a few months ago, mainly after I got my camera for Christmas in 2017. 🙂
How old were you when you began your career(s)? Was it difficult to be so young in your industry? Do you feel like you were looked down on and not taken seriously?
For most of it (the writing and filmmaking), I was 14 when I began writing and 15 when I filmed my first project. To me, it wasn’t super difficult while I was writing and in pre-production for the film because I was just doing what I loved. However, when it got to be time to cast and produce the project, I did begin to see that I was at a disadvantage sometimes. I didn’t have the money for fancy equipment or the connections to get a proper film crew or anything like that (and still don’t, really). I definitely did face, and still do face, some feelings of being looked down upon and not taken seriously. Adults will sometimes look at me and think I’m not capable of completing a job, but I’ve learned that that’s okay, and I don’t blame them in any way for being skeptical. Because then, when I show I can, their trust in me builds (sometimes, but that’s if they have an open mind) and that’s one of the greatest feelings. However, there are lots of people who fully trust me from the beginning (or they make it seem that way :P), and that means the world to me.
What was something that surprised you when you began making your own short films—something you didn’t expect, whether good or bad?
What really surprised me was how much I loved it. I knew I wanted to create, but I was kinda just experimenting with everything, so I wasn’t sure what I would like and dislike. I ended up loving it more than I thought I would, but I also began to respect immensely how much work goes into creating a film, no matter how big or small.
What does a typical day in your life look like? How do you balance school and your career?
One thing about me: I try to keep myself as busy as humanly possible. If I don’t have something to do, I’ll find something to work on. When I have nothing to do, I get bored, and being bored is boring. Typically, I’m always all over the place. Thankfully, I’m online schooled now, so that allows me to do so much more. Normally, I get my school work done on Monday and Tuesday, and then I have a part time job that I will sometimes work on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and sometimes Saturdays. In between those, I’m normally responding to emails, planning new film projects (or filming them/in post production), writing, and a wide variety of things. Every week is different, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
You do a lot of different creative things, and you do them all well. What advice do you have for multitalented young creatives who have been told that they should just pick one thing and focus on that?
First of all, thank you for the compliment. 🙂 Second of all, don’t listen to those people. That’s your key. You do what you’re passionate about and that’s it, end of story. It doesn’t matter if that’s one thing, or five. Go where your heart leads you, and always, always, do what you love.
What gets the creative process kick-started for you?
Normally, a random idea will just pop into my head. I let it sit for a little bit, and if it kinda disappears, I know it’s not time for that story yet. But, if the story begins to develop on its own, suddenly I’ll find myself sitting in front of my computer and beginning the writing process for it.
Have you ever had a job besides your creative career? If so, tell us about it—specifically, how it helped or hurt your other work.
I’ve only ever had one other job, and it’s actually the part time job I’m at right now! I work at a cake store called Nothing Bundt Cakes (yes, indeed, we sell bundt cakes), and it’s actually helped me with my career. My manager is so understanding and supportive of everything I do, I am so eternally grateful for it. For example, just recently, I had a callback scheduled in the middle of my shift, and she allowed me to leave early to make it to it. Everyone there is so supportive of what I do and sometimes wants to hear about everything I’m doing. It means so much to me that I have them behind me to support me through everything.
What’s the most effective way that you have advertised yourself?
Surprisingly, I would say through Instagram, Facebook, or the casting websites I use to cast my projects. Social media really has such big potential for anyone trying to get their name out there, it’s mildly scary at times.
What’s your number one secret to productivity?
I would say “don’t get distracted,” but then that’d make me a hypocrite because I get distracted all the time. I’d say my number one “secret” is just to realize that 1.) what you’re doing won’t do itself, and that it’s gotta be done sometime, so why not now? And 2.) if you’re procrastinating on something you love to do (for me, that would be writing or anything for filmmaking), don’t force yourself to do anything. If you force yourself, it won’t be your best work. Now, there are times when you have to push yourself a *little* bit, but your inspiration and desire to work will come to you (mine normally hits me randomly and I have to write like a mad man).
How important do you think it is to have a mentor figure to help you along the way? Do you have this figure, and if so, where did you find them?
While I think it’s important, I don’t think it’s the most important thing in the world. I didn’t really have a “mentor” when I began, but I did (and still do) have a support system, and I think that is important. My support system is my parents, and I will never be able to thank them enough for everything they do for me. I really hope I’ll be able to pay them back someday. Now, I do have a mentor type person in my life, and she’s a casting director named Cynthia Stillwell. She brought me on as her intern after I went to an acting open call of hers, and she’s taught me so much already about the business and how it works. My old acting teacher, Ken Feinberg, I considered him an acting mentor when I took classes with him as he taught me so many valuable lessons that I would have never known without him. Overall, while I do believe that having mentors and a support system are very important, ultimately, you have to believe in yourself. It all starts with you.
What does it mean to you to be a hardworking creative?
To me, being a hardworking creative means to do what you love, no matter what, and not stopping until you achieve your goal(s). No matter what roadblocks you face, you endure.
What advice do you have for young creatives who want to do something with their work but just can’t seem to get off the ground?
My number one piece of advice for this, even though it sounds super cheesy and generic, is just don’t give up. Even if you’re the only one looking at your work for a while, don’t give up on it. Another thing–going out and making connections with people is a key. Just simply talking about what you do casually can lead to some pretty cool connections–you never know who you may be talking to.
Do you have any exciting projects in the works that you can tease about?
Indeed! When this is released, I’ll still be working on season 2 of my series, Rings, and that I am super excited about. I’m really looking forward to being back with the cast again, especially, and continuing the story where it left off in season 1. I also know that I will be writing and working on a mental health documentary/PSA film later on this year, and I am currently working with a rotary club to produce a short film about the opioid epidemic! So yes, lots of stuff coming up!