Rolling Out

Jejuan Smith reveals why he prefers producing over acting and modeling

The multi-hyphenate has worked with Donald Glover, Michael Ealy, and more

Jejuan Smith is an actor, producer, and model known for his supporting role in BET’s ‘Twas the Chaos Before Christmas as well as his work as a stunt double for Donald Glover on FX’s “Atlanta.” When he is not in front of the camera he is busy making short films through his company JS Productions Group, LLC.

Smith opened up about his journey as an actor, how acting compares to producing and modeling, and why he enjoys making short films.

What was it like working on the set of “Atlanta” on FX?

“Atlanta” was cool. I didn’t know what to expect going in, honestly. Just from the love of the show, as far as the crew and Donald Glover, they made you feel welcome. Every day was easy and they looked out for everybody. Everybody got speaking roles and opportunities on that show. I think that was good for the community and good for TV. It helped launch a lot of actors’ careers too.

What is it like being behind the camera versus being in front of the camera?

I probably prefer behind the camera. The reason being I always wanted to write my scripts, but … because I was on the other side so long as an extra or stand-in … I could never get in front of someone to see my vision. When you start your own thing, you don’t have to ask anyone, you just do it, and you go cast your own people. You start to see what power you have to control and how far you can take things.

What is a short film you created that made you a better actor?

I’ve written three short films, but I’ve completed one full one that’s out for viewing. My first one was in 2016. I wrote that on the set of “Atlanta” when I saw Donald Glover writing episode seven. Then I asked him, “Wait, so when you get cast in a book for a show, as the writer, or director, you mean to tell me that you don’t have to have the whole script finished, you can just have an idea, and just be writing episode seven in the middle of episode three?” It gave me a boost of confidence to not put so much pressure on myself or go the traditional route. I think it made me more confident as an actor and writer.

Who are some producers and actors that inspire you?

Producers, as far as a film, I like Will Packer for sure. Will Packer, Spike Lee, Donald Glover, and Jamie Foxx had a great influence on the acting thing.

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