Jerry Brown Jr. is a New York City based artist with over ten years of experience in building sets for stage, running crew for off Broadway shows and working as a freelance carpenter for a wide assortment of companies and theaters. From running carp tracks in high flying shows like Fuerza Bruta Wayra, to constructing incredible installations with the Hewn Bros, to designing and building sets for independent films JBJ has a wide range of skill, creativity, and resourcefulness. When he’s not working on the rooms for GET OUT OF MY ROOM he spends time as a professional actor, rock climber and fitness enthusiast. He loves all things science fiction and fantasy, is a huge superhero nerd, and is a sucker for a good bad joke.
Jerry recently discussed his career and more via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get interested in theater?
Jerry Brown Jr. (JBJ): Well when I was a kid, I got really into Jim Carrey and his movie “Liar Liar.” I knew somehow, someway I wanted to do “that.” I wanted to be zany, funny, and entertain people. My sister Brittany was doing after school dance training and they had a theatre program too. I ﬁgured theatre training would get me the closest to where I wanted to be so I went for it, and eventually got accepted for high school theatre at Baltimore School for the Arts.
MM: You are both an actor and a carpenter, so which interest came ﬁrst?
JBJ: Acting came ﬁrst, but funnily enough my ﬁrst actual build predated my acting. It was a video game shelf unit built from wood I broke during my martial arts tests. I think my parents still have it. It wasn’t until I secured a position as scenic carpenter freshman year of drama college that I started to entertain the “carpenter” moniker.
MM: What sorts of characters do you most enjoy playing and what would cause your “dream role”?
JBJ: I love science ﬁction and fantasy, so anything in that world. Comedic characters and very physical characters are always incredibly fun to play, and I do have a preference for playing the good guy. I really love what Marvel’s doing right now with their cinematic universe and if they had a slot down the line for a tough funny-guy superhero with a moral heart of gold, I’d greatly enjoy a chance to audition.
MM: To date, what have been your favorite projects and what sorts would you most enjoy working on?
JBJ: A few of my favorite projects…I’d say one of my favorites right now is “Get Out of My Room.” It’s a renovation show where I’m a co-host and a carpenter. I’ve gotten to know so many awesome families and entertain some incredibly talented kids. It’s been a super rewarding experience. My other recent fav is a time traveling sci-ﬁ short called “AETHER,” I wrote, directed and co-starred in. Any project where I get to really challenge myself and work with positive and imaginative people is a winner.
MM: How did you land the part for “Get Out of My Room” and why do you focus on kid’s rooms?
JBJ: Honestly, it happened like any other role, albeit on a much faster timetable. The production company Departure Films reached out after ﬁnding my info and asked if I’d be interested in something like “this” and after a few conversations, videos, and meetings I was given the offer. Again, it was all very fast. The “kids rooms only” idea is a perfect ﬁt for the kids network the show airs on. Their goal was to create a cool, enjoyable and positive show on air and what better way to do that, than to work with our spunky youth?
MM: What experiences with fans have been most memorable to you and why?
JBJ: From my experience so far, it got pretty funny when we started airing “Get Out of My Room” and had like ﬁve more episodes to ﬁlm. We would arrive at the house for the family and the kids would run to the door and whisper “JBJ.” That’s how I’m introduced many times during the show. It took me completely by surprise and I couldn’t help but laugh. Not to mention, they would already know everything about the show, the yellow gloves I wear, the special “get out bags” I use and a lot of other things. So yeah, those kids were my ﬁrst fans I guess.
MM: Since you started working on kid’s rooms, which have been some of the coolest ﬁnal results?
JBJ: There’s been about 55 rooms total for this season and all of them have been completely fantastic, we have such an incredible design and carpentry team in our art department. A couple of my favorites that I found to be pretty cool were just because of the things I personally enjoy. There was a video game “man cave” room, a spaceship room, a ﬁlm making studio room, and a room with a climbing wall. Again, it’s hard to pick, every room resulted in something awesome and, most importantly, in line with the kid’s personality.
MM: Has your interest in science ﬁction and fantasy ever inﬂuenced a room design?
JBJ: Well, I don’t design the rooms, that happens earlier in the process and there’s a whole team for that. When we have rooms with those themes, it really allows me to dial in my approach to the projects we ﬁlm and open up the conversation a bit more to connect with that speciﬁc kid. So, my personal interests mostly just inﬂuence how I approach and discuss the builds on camera.
MM: You are also really into ﬁtness, do you think that helps your creativity at all?
JBJ: I’m a very physical person. That’s where my theatre training comes from. Whenever I have an idea for creating something whether it’s building a spaceship, performing a character, or writing a ﬁlm, I make these things with the idea that I can physically handle any crazy idea I come up with. In order to do that, I need to be in good shape, I need to eat well and I need to be prepared for what comes next. My main source of ﬁtness come from rock climbing.
MM: Overall, what are your biggest goals for the future?
JBJ: Biggest goals for the future…immediately, I want to start preproduction for my next short ﬁlm project that I’m producing. Bigger than that, I want to get to a place where I’m able to perform in projects that I love or ones that make so that I create more work for my peers. Raise everyone up together. If I can inspire aspiring minority actors, builders, ﬁlmmakers and of course people of all backgrounds that they can do so much more than what they previously thought was unavailable to them, then I’m doing something right.
MM: Is there anything else that you would like to mention?
JBJ: Yup! Shameless plug time. Catch NBC/Universal’s “Get Out of My Room” airing on the Universal Kids channel weeknights at 6pm/5pm central, also available on iTunes, and cable on demand.
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