Align Magazine got the chance to sit down with one of Atlanta’s up and coming Millennial creatives to discuss his latest projects and navigating the murky waters of entrepreneurship. Here is what she had to say…..
Jason, let’s start by telling us a little about yourself My name is Jason Simon and I’m an aspiring actor based out of Atlanta Ga. I’m 35 years old and I was born on June 22nd 1984. Summer babies are the best! Lol. I was born in Boston Massachusetts but we left there within my first year so I have no recollection of the city. I was raised most of my adolescent years in Plainfield NJ. I am definitely not a product of my environment. Plainfield was a city that you definitely needed to be inside before the street lights came on. And my nerdy ass was definitely in the house with my only friends: X men trading cards and my Sega Genesis. Because I was a stereotypical nerd, i didn’t learn about music or movies or sports like that until later on in life. I’m what you could call “self sheltered.” I didn’t have many friends. I wasn’t athletic. I for damn sure couldn’t dress. So staying home was safe for me. It wasn’t until High School that I gained some type of confidence about myself. A confidence that lead to me making too many bad decisions before I started to get my life together.
Now, lets talk about your entertainment company. What got you started? Always Focus Entertainment is the name of my company. I’m tired of the same aesthetic in Hollywood that black films/shows can only be profitable if we are slaves, rappers, drug dealers, or athletes. While those have been entertaining over the years, we can be more. We can be the doctors or cops or just everyday people telling compelling and relatable stories. There’s more than enough roles out there for everyone to eat. We don’t have to settle for the stereotypes.
Has your journey been an easy one so far? What challenges have you had to overcome? My journey has just started but it took a long time just to get this far. I came up with the idea for my show back in 2014. I’ve had casting changes, crew changes, I’ve moved to California and back, I even gave up on it for awhile. All the setbacks I had made me even wonder if this is something I should even be doing. Who am I to try to change the culture in Hollywood? If the big wigs aren’t complaining about the way things are, who’s gonna listen to some nobody with no credits to his name? But as time passed, I thought to myself that change always started with one. One person made a move and from there it was a trickle down effect. As long as the person that started it kept his/her resolve, progress was made. That’s why I can’t give up on my dreams. It’s too important.
What’s one thing we should know about you? The one thing that you should know about me if that I’m a strong believer in that if you have a dream/passion, you should never give up on it. Too often we get complacent and comfortable in our everyday lives and give up on the things that matter to us. I never have and never will settle. And I encourage others to do the same.
Jason, what sets you apart from any competitors out there doing similar things? What sets me apart is my conviction. I might not be classically trained or have ton of “on set” experience but I love what I do and I won’t compromise my morals for anyone else. I really want to help change the way people of color and women and treated in Hollywood and I’m not going to take any shortcuts to achieve my goals.
Out of all your memorable experiences, what has been your fondest moment thus far? My fondest moment was the amount of positive feedback I’ve gotten from the pilot episode of my show. So much work went into it and it took years to get off the ground. So to finally see it come to fruition and it be recieved so well meant the world to me.
Free time is a rare occurrence for our millennial creatives these days. When you do get some spare time, what do you like to do? In the rare amount of free time that I do have, I spend it playing video games(Mortal Kombat), playing Spades with my college buddies, hitting the movies to see any and everything that’s out lol. I also enjoy just chilling at home and watching Netflix. I could literally do that all day long and not be bored.
“The one thing that you should know about me if that I’m a strong believer in that if you have a dream/passion, you should never give up on it.”Jason Simon
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years from now? In 5 to 10 years, I see myself as a successful actor in Hollywood. When I say successful I don’t necessarily mean that I’m making high grossing films and getting paid millions of dollars, but, that I’m creating and involved in art. I’m making movies that people can connect with on an emotional level and that will resonate with them for a long time.
Who has been the most influential person in your life? The most influential person in my life thus far has been my best friend, Damil Bryant. I watched him work his way up from a person that everyone counted out and looked down upon to a successful father and animator in Hollywood. I’m still waiting on him to bring home that Emmy!
Describe yourself as a child. As a child, I was very to myself. I was a huge nerd. I’m talking high waters, suspenders, big ole glasses, and a mini from. I got picked on. I had a crush on the most popular girl. Everything you saw in the movies about nerds, that was me. I even had asthma! Lol. I was always a dreamer though. So that’s one thing that hasnt changed.
Is Atlanta a good city for what you’re doing professionally? Atlanta, even though I’m tired of living here (I just want something new), is a great place to do what I want to do. There are so many creative people here trying to make a name for themselves so networking is easy. Plus the look and feel of the city gives alot of great venues to film at.
What would you like people to remember about you when you’re gone? I would like people to remember me as someone who never gave up. Life has thrown so much at me that most people would’ve just bowed out and settle for the “norm.” I’m not most people so i continue to push myself to be greater every single day. I have big hopes and dreams and I can’t allow myself to be sidetracked or distracted from achieving them. There’s too much at stake.
Give one piece of advice that you can share with fellow Millennials. The only advice that I’d like to give is to never give up. Dreams only die when you don’t execute them. Too often we just let them go because they don’t seem practical or attainable. But with that thought process, we all wouldn’t be where we are today. Push through! Make it happen! Never. Give. Up.
Website: https://youtu.be/bznMqIOhSlg (Pilot episode of my show: finding yoU)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jfsimon2 & https://www.facebook.com/findingyoUFocus/