Jeanette Bonner (Ghost Light, The Scoop) - Producer & Content Creator

(Jeanette Bonner) #1

Hi everyone! I’m Jeanette. Pleased to meet all of you!

I’ve been an actor in NYC for over 10 years. As an actor I’ve performed in numerous theatrical productions in New York and across the US, and has performed with improv comedy troupes American Standard and National Comedy Theater. My self-produced solo show, “Love. Guts. High School,” developed with playwright Matt Hoverman, premiered at the Midtown International Theatre Festival where it earned nominations for Best Actress and Best Solo Show, and then went on to the Chicago Fringe Festival (named a Time Out Chicago “Critic’s Pick”) and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I have a BA in Theater and Dance from Trinity College, CT, and when not doing any of the above, I’m introducing tourists to my favorite city in the world as a licensed NYC tour guide!

In 2007 I founded my production company, Kelly’s Pool Hall Productions - a NYC-based production company dedicated to creating exciting new content while also providing independent producing, managing, and consulting services to the community of artists in New York. My original series "Ghost Light,” about a motley crew of theatrical stagehands, has been an Official Selection of the Miami, UK, and Austin Web Fests, and has earned nominations for Best Comedy, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Editing at the Indie Series Awards. It has now partnered with digital platform Seed & Spark for streaming and distribution. My latest series, “The Scoop,” is a hybrid food-talkshow where I interview professionals in the entertainment industry over awesome NYC ice cream. 7 episodes were released this summer, and we’re now seeking co-production partnership or distribution to move it forward.

-Creating your own content
-Online distribution platforms & self-distribution
-Crowdfunding (I’ve run 3 campaigns for myself and consulted on 3 others, with a grand total raised of $59,500 across those 6)
-Work/ Life balance being a multi-hyphenate artist and/or actor-producer

We've got an AMA for that!
(Bri Castellini) #2

Welcome, Jeanette! Thanks so much for being here! When (in your career/ambitions) and why did you decide to start your own production company?

(Jeanette Bonner) #3

Hi Bri! Thanks for having me! I think it’s a pretty standard story… I moved to the city to become an actor and after about five years got tired of waiting for other people to say yes to me so that I could do the thing I wanted to do. So I started making opportunities for myself, and loved the feeling of empowerment in creating a project and seeing it through to the end. To be in the driver’s seat. Whereas as an actor you are quite powerless in the process.

(Meg Carroway) #4

Hi! Would love to talk about your dual-roles! What is your background in being a multihyphenate? Did you start as an actress and then start to write/produce, the other way around, or was your journey a combo endeavor from the beginning?

(Kallum Weyman) #5

Hello Jeanette thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. When starting your own production company where did you see it going? And where do you see it going now? In terms of work, output and platforms for your work?

(Bri Castellini) #6

Do you think indie producers, even with low/no budget projects, should start an official production company? Or is that just an unnecessary expense, in your opinion?

(Ollie R) #7

How many people are a part of your production company?

(Jeanette Bonner) #8

Hey Meg! No, you are quite right, I came to the city to become an actor (as so many of us do) and then - I just wrote this in my answer to Bri but I’ll write it again - I got tired of waiting for someone else to give me the opportunity to do what I wanted to do. So now I’m officially one of those artists who doesn’t call herself one thing, but wears many hats and has many skills I alternate between.

(Meg Carroway) #9

Is there one “dual-role” you like more than others? Or do you wish you could go back to just acting?

(Blair Hunter) #10

What do you think were the biggest factors in your crowdfunding success? Things we should all be doing more of? Helpful, actionable tips? Help! lol

(Amen J.) #11

Hi Jeanette! When starting on new web series projects, do you already have a built-in audience for it, or are you developing that anew each time?

(Jaime Lancaster) #12

Hi Jeanette!! I’m hoping to be a producer (have done a little producing work but I’m still pretty new!). What’s your advice to new producers, things we might not be expecting or know when we’re just starting out?

(Jeanette Bonner) #13

Hey Kallum! That is a totally great question. To be perfectly honest when I founded it it was a means to an end. I wanted to create a pilot to submit it to this new thing called ITVFest, a festival for people making their own series, in their second year, which was way back in 2007. NYTVF was either founded the same year or the year before, so I saw this as the wave of the future - a way we as actors could make our own work. Someone at SAG had erroneously told me I couldn’t make the pilot without having a production company, so I founded it and here we are.

In terms of where it’s going? Also a great question! I mean who amongst us can see beyond the next year? I love producing, I want to keep my company to use it to create new content. I think it also helps to vouch for me in a way when I’m looking to promote or produce new work. It’s a company with a name that people can google. It means I’m serious.

(Bri Castellini) #14

Shameless plug- we have an interview with the current Executive Director of ITVFest coming out on Wednesday, y’all :slight_smile:

(Jeanette Bonner) #15

Great question. I have no clue really. I think we are in an era where you don’t need an official company to be producing things, however if your goal or vision for yourself professionally is to establish yourself as a BRAND I think it’s nice and cohesive. Now that I’ve made four projects under my production company name I’m no longer just the “Ghost Light” girl but it’s under an umbrella and hopefully broadcasts that I’m in this for the long haul.

(Meg Carroway) #16

Do you think you NEED a company to do that, though? A legal one, that is. Would just making a consistent production company name and logo and using that without filing for an LLC be the same?

(Kallum Weyman) #17

Great answer thanks, So did you see online platforms as an serious option before setting up the company or did you aim elsewhere and now having put a show out on a online platform do you think you will continue to? and Why?

(Jeanette Bonner) #18

Yes, totally. HOWEVER I get to claim it when I file for my taxes and so that means ALL of my production expenses EVER get deducted. Apart from that, and potentially having it for the future of my career, you’re right - it was an added expense and it was a huge pain the in ass to file it too!

(Meg Carroway) #19

So in summation, we should start with branding and then eventually graduate to an LLC when we’ve got enough expenses for it to matter? Other than taxes, what are the the benefits of having an Official, Legal company, versus a brand?

(Jeanette Bonner) #20

Hey Ollie! It’s just me. But when I sent out emails to new contacts or about new work I always say “we.” I think it subliminally tells people I’m professional. It’s like Ben Folds Five – they were a band of three people but they thought by pretending they had five people sounded more legit! :slight_smile: