Check out our interview with actress, writer and producer Jennifer A. Goodman who has had to overcome an enormous amount of adversity growing up and working in the entertainment business. Her biggest goal is to shift perceptions of people with disabilities in entertainment and bring a voice to those who have been marginalized.
Goodman is currently filming the horror film “The Unseen” alongside actor RJ Mitte. The film follows a young lawyer who finds himself in a twisted web of murder and deceit brought on by a dark force from his past. Goodman wrote the film, is co-starring and producing.
In addition, Goodman co-created and starred in the crime thriller pilot “Conrad”. The series follows detective Katy Conrad, who is on the autism spectrum, as she battles corruption when she opens a secret investigation into the death of her father, the Chief of Police, and a human trafficking operation. The series co-stars Eric Roberts and Harry Lennix.
Follow Jennifer @Jenniferkarum
Hi Jennifer, please tell us a little about you?
I’m a neuro-diverse actress, writer and producer on the autism spectrum, from the suburbs of Chicago. I live with my husband Paul and our little golden doodle Banks!
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Passionate, Loving, Go-Getter
How did you get started into acting?
Ever since as long as I could remember I was always into singing and dancing and I got involved at a very young age. It was a great outlet for me as well since I was able to release emotions and connect to characters. As someone who’s on the autism spectrum, it teaches me how to see outside myself more as well, and step into other’s and learn about them.
What is the best and worst part of being an actress?
Being an actress can be rewarding, but it’s also hard because you are waiting for someone else to give you work, and dealing with rejection in the process. You have to have a strong ability to get right back up again. For me, I create work so I can be constantly working. Creating opportunities is fun as well. Keeps me on my toes, constantly.
How do you prepare for a role?
It honestly depends on the role. Sometimes working with sensory, but a lot of the time, building a life around the character I am playing and living in that for a few hours a day. Once I am memorized, I really focus ion the day to day, getting to know the person I will be living in, and understanding their goals, likes, desires and wants.
Tell us about your work on new horror film “The Unseen?”
It’s a great story that has many messages in the story. I love writing stories with deeper meanings that draw people into layers of characters, development and plot twists. I also like to bring stories to life that tell unheard stories, and challenge narrow perspectives. The Unseen centers around a girl who is essentially bullied to her death, and she comes back and avenges those that bullied her in mysterious horrific ways. It;’s a story that also touches on consequences for our actions, and chain reactions and how everything we do impacts others. This story touches on familial pressure and collective guilt and has some bone chilling moments that add flare to our story and make it unique.
And about the crime thriller pilot “Conrad?”
Conrad is about a female detective, Kate Conrad, who’s on the autism spectrum and how she uncovers an underground conspiracy that centers around her family. The twist is that she is doubted because of what people find to be her weakness, and question her abilities in her role, whether she can actually perform her job. It’s a great story on triumph and perseverance and seeing the value and it really challenges, can someone with a disability hold a gun?
What other projects you have been part of?
Oh wow, I’ve been in a ton. Check my IMDB. Lots of fun and great ones. I’ve also been in a ton of musicals as well.
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
I love good detective roles, but I would love to be the mysterious neighbor or sitter that does something really unexpected.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Being able to start something, raise capital, bring the same team I’ve worked with on the projects complete them and share them with everyone’d who’s worked so hard. But moreover, getting into the pitch meeting rooms, getting more opportunities because of what I’ve been able to accomplish.
What’s your advice for the newer actors?
Don’t be afraid to create your own work. It gives you opportunity to grow, and continue doing your craft even when you aren’t being called into the ‘room’.
What would say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?
TRUST YOUR TEAM. If you build a team, and you trust them to be a part of the team, learn to let go, and not hold onto things too tight. Especially the need to keep a script a certain way. Be open to suggestions.
How would your best friend describe you?
Go- getter and not afraid to ask for what she wants! Very persistent and perseverant but also loving and passionate.
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
“Don’t Stop Til You Rise To The Top.” I am someone who will try, try again, until I can reach and/or accomplish a goal. I always finish what I start.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
Make your mental health a priority.
What’s next for Jennifer A. Goodman in 2022?
Finishing The Unseen, getting distribution and premiering it for everyone on the cast / Crew. But maybe I’ll write a Christmas movie next…
What is your favorite healthy food?
And your favorite cheat food?
Birthday cake with sprinkles. Don’t laugh 🙂
What is your own definition of happiness?
Feeling accomplished, and personally achieving goals I set for myself, doing well financially, mentally and among family and friends.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Reese Witherspoon- Inspiration for me – I love her values and all she does against all odds.
Best advice ever given?
“If you build it they will come.” My father has always been successful and I’ve always desired that success. Rather than just give me what I wanted, I had to work for it. When I was growing up, it was unfair. Now, I’m thankful. Feeling accomplished is so self-fulfilling. Furthermore, I’ve had incredible support, and I feel very blessed.
Do you support any charity?
I do! Several of them! Autism Speaks, Starlight Foundation, NaMi
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
Producing and Acting in Conrad, the TV series 🙂 I’m not biased or anything 😉
Favorite song? Why?
I have sooooo many… It also depends in what mood I am in.
What do you think of Social Media?
A great way to network, and how I’ve gotten every job I’ve ever had connected with old and new friends and build my empire and team 🙂
Where we can follow you on social media?
@Jenniferkarum, @Lakefrontpictures, @Conradseries, @Theunseemovie – Would love any and all support!
Photo credit: Elite Publicity