MEDIA STUDENT TO DIRECT FILM IN NEW YORK
A former Media student from Stratford-upon-Avon College is directing and producing a female-led Western in New York.
Jodi Ferguson, who has worked on shows such as Magnum PI, Wrecked, and currently, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, knew from the age of 7 that she wanted to be part of the media and performing arts industry. When it came to choosing a college at 16, Stratford-upon-Avon College was the sole place she had eyes for. She says: “Stratford was the one and only college I checked out, I went there for the open event and decided ‘Yes, this is the one’. I’m quite lucky in that I get a good feeling when things are the right fit and it’s worked out pretty well for me so far and that’s exactly the feeling I had with Stratford too.”
Progressing to study in New York upon completion of her course at College, Jodi says her choice to study at Stratford turned out to interest people in America: “The name of Stratford-upon-Avon alone holds something, it’s Shakespeare town and within the industry especially, people connect the two.”
Jodi credits the independence she was given at Stratford for instilling her with the confidence she needed to succeed in America
Jodi credits her time at College for her resolve to cross the pond and make a decision that has since brought her great success: “Stratford solidified that this is what I wanted to do and I had some great teachers there, some of whom I’m still in touch with and still have them as mentors. Sarah Downing [Media Lecturer] actually came out to New York with her students and watched my graduation play at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.”
Jodi moved to California where she worked at a Horse Ranch and it is there that she struck up friendships with people who worked in production. She comments: “One of my friends told me about an opening that had come up to be an Assistant to a lead Actor on a TV show called ‘Major Crimes’. I went for it and I’ve been working in production ever since. I am currently working on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel which I highly recommend, it’s a great show. I get to spend my day at the monitor with Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino all day every day and it’s incredible, I couldn’t have better people to watch.”
Focussing on her new film ‘The Bountress’, Jodi explains: “This is something I’ve been working on for a really long time. It is lightly inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. I grew up with horses and about 8 years ago I wrote a short version of The Bountress which I took and made into a feature. Now the project is a 14-page teaser of the longer version. Everyone who I’ve shared it with has really enjoyed it and I’m very pleased with where it is going so far.”
Not having anticipated producing The Bountress as well as writing and directing it, Jodi feels that her College course helped prepare her, she reflects: “You know, the media course at Stratford in some way gave us a masterclass in making our films because we had to be the sound person, the DP [Director of Photography], the Director and more which gave us a good overview on what to expect.”
Jodi’s advice to those considering a similar career path is to network, something she started doing at College and still reaches out to those people and seeks advice for her script: “Networking is key in this industry and it’s never too early to start doing that. You have to put yourself out there and make these connections and develop this skill as you have to connect with people and stay in touch with them. Stratford was the first place I started to do that. All of the cast members on The Bountress are people I have met throughout my career in the industry. You can’t do it alone.”
Looking to the future, Jodi hopes that The Bountress will get picked up for a series: “That’s the dream because I love these characters and the storylines and I hope we get to explore that. I have some of the Mavellous Mrs. Maisel crew coming on board to help out and we have such a great cast. I cannot wait to see them bring it to life, it’s going to be so much fun.”
Find out more about The Bountress and Jodi’s fundraising campaign.
Find out more about the College’s Digital Media Production courses.
Watch Jodi share her experience of studying at Stratford-upon-Avon College