Enjoy every project you are fortunate enough to work on. I guess I have always tried to do this, but time goes by so fast that you really should try to document more things and maybe write them down in a journal, so you won’t forget. Things can come and go just like that.
I had the pleasure of interviewing young actor on the rise, Jet Jurgensmeyer. Jet has appeared in some of the hottest projects in film and television today, securing multiple award nominations for his performances. Jet made his television debut in 2010 on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” [CBS], and has been working ever since. Additional television credits include: Hot in Cleveland for TV Land, Marry Me for NBC, Grey’s Anatomy for ABC, Austin & Ally for The Disney Channel and Black-ish for ABC. He has also booked several series regular roles in pilots over the last few years, including Hail Mary for CBS opposite Minnie Driver and Noureen DeWulf, and Bad Girls for NBC opposite Jaime Pressly and Amy Smart. Jet has also lent his voice to a number of projects over the years including Nickelodeon’s Shimmer and Shine and Bubble Guppies, Amazon’s The Stinky & Dirty Show and Disney’s Special Agent Oso and Pickle and Peanut. Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Jet has been entertaining audiences since he could walk. His parents owned a restaurant that hosted live music and dinner shows, and some of his first steps were across their stage with a microphone in hand. Jet and his family currently split their time between Tennessee, Missouri and California. When not appearing in film or television, Jet loves to hang out on his family’s farm, ride horses, go fishing and be in the outdoors. He loves to sing and play guitar, and is also active in sports, playing soccer, basketball, golf, and participating in Kenpo Karate where he holds a purple belt. On the charity front, Jet and his family support Hospice and the Make a Wish Foundation.
Thank you so much for doing this with us, Jet! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Thanks so much for having me. I was born in Nashville, TN. We also have a home and family in Missouri, but because of my work, we live in California too. So, I pretty much grew up traveling among Tennessee, Missouri, and California. Since I will be 15 soon, I still have a lot of growing up to do.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Well my parents have always been in the entertainment business. They also owned a restaurant in Nashville where we had live music every day and dinner show. Some of my earliest memories are being there and standing by the stage where I told the performers that I wanted to get up and sing or tell a joke. I just loved it! It is what I have always wanted to do.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
One thing that is pretty cool was that within a short period of time, I worked with Betty White on Hot In Cleveland, Clint Eastwood on American Sniper, and Doris Roberts on The Little Rascals Saved The Day. They are all such legends and really nice. I feel very fortunate to have been able to work with them.
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?
When my parents had their restaurant, I would always ask people if they wanted a picture of me (I had my own headshots). They would always say yes because I was just this 4-year-old kid. Then I would tell them, “Ok, that will be $2” (after I had already signed it by the way). It’s really pretty funny. Now when I think back about how nice everyone was to me, I want to make sure I remember that when I see little kids. I can try and pay it forward.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am excited about my music. My first album just came out a few months ago. I am already writing my next one and learning a lot. I am also really pumped about Last Man Standing. I have so much fun working with the cast and crew. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to be around. Another project is the animated series for Disney Jr. called T.O.T.S. I’m the voice for one of the lead characters, Pip the Penguin. It’s such a great show for kids.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
We are so fortunate to be in this great country and have the opportunities we do. It’s really important to have diverse people in the industry because that is real life. People need to see programming that shows how our world looks. We don’t need a made-up reality of our world. I am all for diversity and the best person getting the job as long as there is no favoritism being shown. I do see more and more diversity every day in children’s programming. All the auditions I go to have been for more diverse projects. The industry has become more diversified. There are more opportunities for diverse roles throughout the entertainment business for cast, crew, and management.
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. I wish someone would have told me that just because you audition for something doesn’t always mean you get the part. There is a lot of rejection and sometimes you have to have thick skin. It can be difficult and you just have to be strong and know everything happens for a reason! There are auditions you believe you are perfect for and then they cast someone that is totally opposite of the character you had in mind.
2. Sometimes people just want to be your friend because of your job. Unfortunately, sometimes this does happen and my parents have explained to me that those people aren’t real friends. People should judge you on the kind of person you are and not for the job that you have.
3. Even when it doesn’t seem like it, hard work really does pay off. I guess there isn’t one particular example I can think of now. However, this is something that I have to remind myself daily. For my music, I need to sing and practice my guitar every day.
4. Enjoy every project you are fortunate enough to work on. I guess I have always tried to do this, but time goes by so fast that you really should try to document more things and maybe write them down in a journal, so you won’t forget. Things can come and go just like that.
5. It is important to realize that what you do for a living is just a job. It is not who you are. I have seen some people in the industry that think they are their art. This is just a job. We are very blessed that we get to do what we love, but it isn’t who we are. (Wow…that got deep)
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I would say don’t forget to step away sometimes. Everyone needs some down time to just go and recharge. I think this is true no matter what industry you are in. I love to go back to my family’s farm in Missouri. It is as far away from Hollywood as you can get. When I am there, I am on a horse or a four-wheeler every day. I am with family and friends who couldn’t care less about my job and are more interested in spending time with me because we are family! It’s really a great getaway. Then when it is time to get back to work, I am ready. It makes me really appreciate both worlds.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
This one is easy…BE NICE….there is so much bad stuff that is going on around the world. I think sometimes everyone wants to try to plan out these big movements, when the biggest and simplest one is just being nice. You never know what other people are going through, sometimes just a kind word or smile can really change a person’s day.
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?
Absolutely 100% my parents. I look up to both of them so much. Everything they do is for me. I get to do what I love because of them. They both always put our family first and I think that has been something that really means a lot! When we travel or I’m at work, it’s always the three of us. We are a team. It couldn’t work any other way.
Thank you for sharing this with us!