Jenn Gotzon, President Nixon’s daughter “Tricia” in 5-time Oscar Nominated Frost/Nixon
NYCDA: How did your training at NYCDA help you to achieve your goals?
Gotzon: My main goal is to play protagonist roles in movies that can inspire and impact people. As the protagonist you follow the journey of the character through the rough spots when they’re broken, and in the climax of the story they have a revelation and most times within the story they find hope, a new course of action. Following the arc of creating that human condition, you have to know how to do that. It’s not just reading a script out loud, it’s physically inhabiting the character’s attributes. The only way I think a human being can do that is to have formalized training from a psychological training perspective on the human condition. I did the summer program and the two-year program, and it really created that foundation and understanding for me.
What was your tipping point to becoming a producer on your new project?
Gotzon: Being on set working on so many various family films with Amazon I became very good friends with all those producers. Naturally I wanted to help with the making of the movie, and any time they needed resources or another crew member I found myself saying, “What about this person?” or “Let me see if I can help you here” and fast forward to now with my husband (Jim E. Chandler), myself and our producing partner (Joel Bunkowske) making this Christmas comedy movie called “The Farmer and the Belle.” Now with all those desires to help other people, I can officially make the reach, and provide healthy movie watching for the Christmas season.
What mentor(s) have made an impact on your journey?
Gotzon: In my time at NYCDA, I remember Joan See telling me “You’ve got to continue to pursue this art form. It won’t happen unless you continue to make steps forward.” She made a remarkable impact on my life.
What have you learned working with various agents or managers?
Gotzon: I’ve always wanted an A-list agent because an A-list agent gets you on the short list to go in for auditions. I’ve never had those opportunities to get into a major network television or studio picture. The agency I’ve always worked with has been a smaller boutique agency. Once I was picked by one of the top 10 agencies and the audition they got for me was against my personal belief system. The content of the short film made me crawl inside and I had to say no because I wasn’t comfortable with the situation as an artist. The work has never come through that channel.
Every actor’s journey will be different with their agent or manager. I’ve learned to keep doing the work, get out there and serve. Find ways to be a blessing to others instead of waiting for a blessing to happen.
What advice do you have for current students at NYCDA?
Gotzon: Find film festivals and serve as a volunteer. That allows you to get into the community of filmmakers. If your heart is pure in wanting to help another, without the desire to receive, when your heart is in that place, that’s where you’ll experience the most success.