Meet Jeff Rector
Jeff Rector has been around Hollywood for many years. As an actor, a comedian, a writer and producer and now, in his latest incarnation, as a solo artist.
The thing I have discovered about solo work is how it can truly separate those who are serious about their art as a professional performer from those who have something to say only this one time. Which doesn’t mean to say that what they have to say is any less relevant or important than those to whom this is one of many or indeed that they are any less good at saying it. It’s just different…in a good way. But Jeff Rector is a serious performer and this is a seriously considered and produced show. He works all the time and you may even recognise him from his many film and TV roles. But in this time of Covid, when very little is going on in TV and film in L.A., it has become more vital than ever for performers of every kind to create their own work, to hire themselves and to find interesting ways of sharing their work with the world.
Lucky for Jeff that the glorious Whitefire Theatre is hosting their hugely successful Solofest, the largest solo festival outside of New York. They are pioneers of virtual plays and have been able to bravely continue on with theatre online through 2020 and now into 2021 to give these amazing solo writers and performers a valuable venue and a precious lifeline to the rest of the world…creatively speaking.
We wondered what Jeff thought about all this and so we asked him!
How did you start out in show business?
I started out doing theatre at Taft high school and Moorpark College. While I was at Moorpark, I joined the Speech Team and became a state and national speech champion. I also majored in telecommunications and I learned to write, direct and produce my own films. As an actor, I already had an agent and was doing some modeling and commercials at that time as well. I would encourage any actors to take some classes in school, get a feel for it and see if that’s something you really want to commit your life to. Because it is acting a full-time career, it’s not a hobby and it’s not something you can do part-time and still be successful. You have to be fully committed and you have to want it with all your heart!
You have done so many difference types of performance, what drew you to a solo show?
I’ve pretty much done everything else. Ha! Theatre, modeling, commercials, soap operas, industrial films, stand-up comedy, comedy improvisation and I have appeared in over 100 television shows and motion pictures. I met the queen of Solo Shows, Jessica Lynn Johnson a few years ago and started taking her classes. It was a real eye-opener! I realized I don’t need to be cast in a play, to do theatre. I can create my own material and do whatever I want. How awesome is that? And fun too. It’s incredibly liberating. The downside to solo shows or stand-up comedy is that you’re all alone up there. If you kill it, it’s ALL you and if you bomb, it’s All you. Ha! I would encourage anyone to study with Jessica, she is amazing and she does a lot of workshops for free! I don’t know too many teachers who do that.
Do you have any tips on getting into show business and writing your own material?
There is no quick or easy way to get into Hollywood. You have to work hard, train, study and hope you get some lucky breaks. I always encourage people to do extra work. That way, you’re at least on set, in front of the camera and you’re learning by watching and doing. You are basically getting paid to learn. And sometimes, you get lucky and get picked by the director to say a line or two. I did a lot of work when I went in the morning as an extra, and left the set that night with a speaking role. It does happen. As far as writing goes, like Nike says, “Just do it!” Get on your computer and just start writing. Whether it’s comedy, drama or a combination (dramedy) just start writing, you’ve got nothing to lose. Who knows, it might actually be good. Ha!
Moving forward, in this crazy covid world, what’s your next step?
Not getting Covid again. I did once, but I got through it and then tested negative. I’m continuing to write, direct, produce and act and was actually blessed with a really good 2020 year, work wise. I have a few projects coming out this year, a currently untitled docu-drama with the amazing Matthew Modine about the college admissions scandal directed by “Tiger King” executive producer Chris Smith, the romantic comedy “Save The Wedding” and I just worked on Micahel Bay’s new film “Ambulance.”
What have you learned about yourself from this process?
I guess I can do it all. Ha! I don’t want to sound conceited, but people kept telling me, “Pick one thing and do it well!” That’s a bunch of crap! You can do it all if you set your mind to it, and I have! There is too much out there in the world to experience, to limit yourself in any way. My favorite saying is, “You can do and be whatever you want in this world! Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t!”
If any of your readers see my show this Sunday night, January 24th at 6:00pm, I will be doing a live Q&A and would be happy to answer any questions, in person. If not I wish you all the best. Just keep creating!
“Who is Jeff Rector?”
Written, Directed and Performed by Jeff Rector
Developed with Jessica Lynn Johnson.
The Whitefire Theatre’s Annual Solofest
Sunday, January 24 at 6PM