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Rising Star Jessica Franz: “Becoming our higher self is the biggest blessing there is”

Spirituality plays a big role in my life and I think being on the right path, leading a morally good life and working on our pitfalls is the best we can all do. And helping others with their awakenings — if we can contribute to them. That’s why I enjoy screenwriting so much. I also think that, […]


Spirituality plays a big role in my life and I think being on the right path, leading a morally good life and working on our pitfalls is the best we can all do. And helping others with their awakenings — if we can contribute to them. That’s why I enjoy screenwriting so much. I also think that, more than ever, finding ways to return to communities and supporting each other, will make us much happier. I love bringing people together. Eastern philosophy has helped me understand what it is all about the most — so it is something that is with me in everything I do. Finding real guidance how to become our higher self is the biggest blessing there is.


As a part of my series about the rising stars in popular culture, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jessica Franz. Jessica is an accomplished actress, writer, director and photographer from Germany. Rising to fame through her roles in the RTL “Schulmaedchen” and cult classic “Soccer Rules Ok”, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in filmmaking. She founded her own production company, Triple Threat Pictures, which has won multiple awards for her commercials, short films, music videos and scripts. Their short film “Chew” raised 25k through a Kickstarter campaign and now serves as a calling card for Jessica’s film projects. She has developed and written several scripts, which are currently out to producers.


Thank you so much for joining us Jessica! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

There is no specific story about how it got started, other than seeing Pretty Woman and thinking to myself: That looks like a fun thing to do, making a movie like that! Both of my parents were huge film buffs so it kind of sparked my interest early on. Telling stories that touch or move people is the most gratifying profession I can think of for myself.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Filmmaking is always an adventure so there are many. The most interesting would probably be the research and making of my short film “Chew.” Learning about Xander’s experiences since his motorcycle accident — and dealing with being a T6 paraplegic now — was incredible and we all got deep into it. Examining everything we take for granted and witnessing Xander’s strength and daily struggles first hand, gave us all a whole new appreciation for our lives. Hunter Garner, who played the role in the movie, getting emotional on several occasions, was only a testament how fundamentally moving it was to tell his story. It really touched the entire team. I’m hoping to go even further with it in the feature film I wrote.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The funniest mistake I made was probably asking my first DP to do this big camera movement I had in mind — handheld — which came out terribly shaky of course. It is cute looking back on it now though… Wanting to shoot like the big guys but lacking the means or equipment. What I took away from it was: always make sure you have the proper budget or let go of the vision. Things never come out right being done halfway.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Since I have shifted my focus entirely to writing, I currently have three different scripts that are all exciting in their own way. “The Perpetrator” is a suspenseful crime drama, based on my own experiences losing my father to cancer, paired with a gripping love story. The hilarious romantic drama “Imperfect” is based on my friends’ true story, so it really moves you on that level. I have also been developing a dark erotic thriller, told in a miniseries, with Majeed Nami that has lots of potential to shake up the genre. It is hard to decide which one I like best — since they all represent my love for comedy and suspense in one way or the other.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

Coming from a small village in Germany, meeting my heroes and people I have looked up to my entire life in Los Angeles now is almost always a highlight. That being said, accidentally ending up in a picture with James Cameron is my current favorite. A friend had invited me to the Fox Searchlight Oscars afterparty, with Avatar winning everything, so suddenly the doors swung open and a flood of filmmakers with the Gold statues entered the room. It was breathtaking. I dared to walk up to Joe Letteri to hold his Oscar when James suddenly turns around to pose for a picture with me. Guess he knew I will try to take it… It really caught me off guard — as you can see in the photo. I have felt like part of the Avatar crew ever since but they never called me for some reason.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Always listen to your guts and choose the right people to work with — always. The nature of the business breeds individuals that are in it for the glory or filling a void within themselves. So make sure you protect your work and sanity. Getting input is great — as long as it is constructive. I have met many people since I got started that tried to keep me down or overpower me. It stifles your confidence, creativity and motivation if you let it. Creating your own reliable network of professionals is key. I’m of the strong belief that filmmaking should be easy and collaborative to produce great results. It is hard enough to tell stories people want to see. At least creating them should be something you don’t have to worry about. Definitely get a dayjob until you get there so the concern how to support yourself does not consume your mind. Make sure it is not full-time though because exhaustion is a guaranteed creativity killer.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Spirituality plays a big role in my life and I think being on the right path, leading a morally good life and working on our pitfalls is the best we can all do. And helping others with their awakenings — if we can contribute to them. That’s why I enjoy screenwriting so much. I also think that, more than ever, finding ways to return to communities and supporting each other, will make us much happier. I love bringing people together. Eastern philosophy has helped me understand what it is all about the most — so it is something that is with me in everything I do. Finding real guidance how to become our higher self is the biggest blessing there is.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Stay calm when things get hectic. You don’t have to loose your mind when others do. There’s a place and time for emotions but not when you are in charge of a project. We had a permit to shoot in the 6th street riverbed, trying to get an important sunset shot, when a group of chatty locals walked up. I calmly explained the situation, they stopped talking and we got our shot.
  2. Always look for the reason when something does not go your way. It usually leads to something better or a lesson we need to learn. That is especially true for filmmaking. We did this big Doritos commercial for the Superbowl competition, with all my friends helping out for free and people making spoofs of it online after I uploaded it, which didn’t even end up in the top fifty. Now it has over 2 million views online. It’s amazing.
  3. Be discerning. The people you work with can make or break your project. I have spend an entire year developing a great film idea with someone, when this person suddenly flipped on me, making all sorts or demands and trying to steal my ideas. I should have seen the signs but I just really loved the project. It doesn’t do anyone any good putting all of your energy into something that will just be dropped at some point.
  4. Gratefulness and appreciation go a long way. Filmmaking is a collaborative process, so make sure your team is in good spirits and you leave your ego at the door. The long hours and set issues can be a series of trying circumstances. Then there are personal problems that can weigh on someone, overshadowing the entire production. I was so tense during my first projects that I lost sight of that. Don’t forget to enjoy the process.
  5. Trust your instincts. I wrote several scripts in the past when I listened to other people’s opinion that made me change it when I should’ve just stuck with it. I know now that creating your own voice requires you to stand up for what you believe. That also means staying away from stereotypes or writing stories we have already seen. Write what you know — make us part of your experience.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

That would be Steve Martin’s “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” It made me push harder and keep going. I have been writing screenplays for 20 years now but I am now finally at a point when I know my scripts are tight enough to be made. Seeing my script “The Perpetrator” made it into the semifinals of the ScreenCraft Film Fund and quarterfinals of the Drama competition only confirms that. I’m convinced I would have given up if it weren’t for my own critical eye if I am at my best yet.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

It undoubtedly started with my mother who is the most supportive person I know. She made me believe I can do anything. It is a testament to her that this female filmmaker from the countryside over here is now in Hollywood, trying to compete with the big guys. Naturally, there have been too many other incredible people in my life that have been there for me: my closest friends, allies, even strangers. The person I am most grateful for in L.A. is my filmmaker friend Eva G. Szigriszt who helped me get my company off the ground and gives me great screenwriting advice. I have learned a lot from her. We met when she was still in film school and we have been helping each other ever since…

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

I have always felt a strong kinship with Julia Roberts, probably like everyone, but I would not even dare to dream about meeting her one-day. Although I’m fantasizing she will play the lead in my next script. Yes, I’m crazy. David Fincher made some of my favorite films although I already had the pleasure of meeting him during “The Social Network.” I’m a big fan of Brie Larson and I’m happy to buy her breakfast– if she wants to. Also mildly obsessed about Francis McDormand and wanted Shirley McLane to be my grandmother.

Other than that I’m hoping to meet more producers that are supportive of Female filmmakers of course. It’s still an uphill battle and men are assumed to be better — which is hilarious to me.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can find my work at www.triplethreatpictures.com although there are no current social media updates since I’m mostly in writing mode right now. But feel free to follow my photography work in the meantime: www.instagram.com/jessica_franz_photography

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!

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