Interview with Julian Sol Jordan, 18 year old Singer/Songrwriter, Actor, & Filmmaker.
Bio: Julian Sol Jordan born and raised in Dallas, TX is an 18 year old filmmaker, actor, singer and songwriter. Julian is a YoungArts 2020 merit winner in film as well as an Eagle Scout. He is the editor for the feature film THIS WORLD WONT BREAK and creator of the comedic YouTube series THE KINGS OF CLASS. He has accumulated over 55K followers on TikTok and has recently graduated Booker T. Washington HSPVA as a Theatre alumni!
Interview by Lois Chan
As an introduction, what is your name, age, interests, and a fun fact about yourself?
So hi! My name is Julian Sol Jordan, Sol meaning Sun in Spanish. I’m 18 years old. I love filmmaking, screen acting, photography, making music; a bit of everything! A fun fact about myself… hmmm… I’m the editor of my dad’s first feature film THIS WORLD WON'T BREAK and I’m actually writing the next film with him right now. Top secret!
That's pretty amazing. When did you realize that you wanted to create and share your ideas with the world?
I’ve always been surrounded by creativity through my family and our friends around us. My mom is in the band The Polyphonic Spree and my dad worked on music videos and short films when I was younger. I’m not sure I remember when I wanted to start creating but when I was around 10 I started making short films and sketches on my waterproof camera and edited them in iMovie. I was constantly creating films or acting in sketches my friends and I made. I also loved making music and singing at a young age too. I just knew I wanted to do a bit of everything and create as much art as I could in my life!
I guess talent runs in the family! In your experience, do you think there's a learning process when you first start out making films and music?
For sure! I think just watching films and constantly taking in art all the time is a good way to spark inspiration. The way to get better and learn more is just constantly putting yourself out there and making as much content as you can. Falling flat on your face and failing over and over again is the best way to learn and the best way to improve. I have so many daily vlogs and short films that will never see the light of day but it’s all about the process and improving more and more. I used to wake up every morning at 5am after doing a daily video, and edit it before going to the gym with my mom. If you really want it, you just have to work super hard. Sometimes it might be uncomfortable, but it starts to get much easier as time goes on.
That's very valuable advice. As you've continued to create all the time, do you think that you've developed a personal style when it comes to your work? If so, what is it?
That’s a great question. I really just try to make everything I do authentic and true to self. I’m trying my best to find a word for my style but I’d just say I keep it pretty genuine and heartfelt. I was actually thinking about this today and realized I don’t have a word for my so- called signature style, haha.
Well, I'm sure your style speaks to many people in your audience. The world needs heartfelt stories these days! Is there anyone or anything that inspires you, both creatively and personally?
For sure! Casey Neistat was a huge inspiration for me as I started getting into the world of YouTube. Both him and David Dobrik are big inspirations. I’d say filmmaking wise, bigger directors like Paul Thomas Anderson, David Fincher, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Denis Villenueve, Wes Anderson, The Coen Brothers, and obviously Spielberg when I was younger were huge inspirations. But also filmmakers like the Safdie Brothers, Spike Jonze, Noah Baumbach, Richard Linklater, Spike Lee, Alfonso Cuaron and so many others are my biggest inspirations. I could go on for days about these filmmakers and their films but they really helped me see life in a new way. Also Jack Johnson’s music makes me feel like everything’s going to be all right.
Seems like you've learned from the masters! What do you love about creating?
Yes, those directors are incredible. I just love the creative process so much. Sometimes more than the actual finished product. Music just makes me feel at peace with everything. I love all kinds of music and have been really into hip-hop, pop, rock and some indie music lately. I feel like music is such a pertinent part of the world and really helps us escape, as film, art and storytelling does. It helps to express certain emotions deep inside of us. I love the process of making music too! By the time this interview is up, my friend Yakob and I’s first official single DON’T GO should be up on all platforms! We’re super excited to release it and it was done 100% over email. TikTok is fun for me because I can just be super random and funny, and interact with like-minded individuals. I’ve made so many connections through the app and gained 60K followers in about a month, which blows my mind. But overall, the creative process is my favorite thing ever.
What are some things that help you complete your work?
I’d say sometimes just stepping away from whatever I’m working on and taking a little break. Swimming in the pool, working out, drinking some water and watching a film or playing some video games really helps me get a fresh restart. I really try my best to not force anything I’m working on so taking some time off really helps.
Now tell me about The Kings of Class. How did it come to life and what’s it like making this series?
For sure! The Kings of Class started after I finished watching The Office. I remember texting my friends that are involved, eager to make a show similar. I love the mockumentary style and always wanted to make a series similar to The Office. Freshman year I attempted to make the first episode with my friends. It was 30 minutes and not very great. But it was an awesome learning experience. We took a break sophomore year and came back junior year to restart the series. It’s more of a fake vlog in terms of style. We premiered the first episode to our friends in the first semester of junior year and it was a hit! We’re currently wrapping up the third season with Internet Graduation being the premise of the last episode. That episode will deal with graduating, moving on in life and coming to terms with growing up and all that hard stuff. I’ve made some of my best memories with this show and I’m super proud of how it’s turned out.
Sounds like a wonderful journey you've had with your friends in making this show! Speaking of best memories, are there any interesting production highlights or behind the scenes stories you want to share?
The show is super lowkey in terms of production. Almost all of it is improvised other than the main plot outline we create for the episode. We have so many bloopers of us messing up and laughing nonstop. I’m totally blanking out on specific moments we’ve had but there have been a lot of pizza deliveries, long car drives and late night hangouts after filming finishes. We’re all best friends so when filming finishes we tend to hang out with each other and play video games or watch a movie. I feel like it’s just brought us so much closer together and I couldn’t imagine not making the series.
What do you hope the future holds for you in the coming years? Any goals you have in mind to accomplish?
For sure! In a couple years I hope to have made a lot more music, gain a much larger audience on YouTube and TikTok, make more films with my dad, as well as start screen acting in them with much larger, meatier roles. I also would love to travel a lot more. I went to Australia with my dad this past October for The Byron Bay Film Festival and it really changed my life in a lot of ways. I have such a deep personal connection with the ocean and nature. I would also love to be more involved in the YoungArts program after being a film alumni this year! My friend Joshua Bowman and I were flown out to Miami and stayed there for a week during the program. I made so many new connections and had the greatest time ever. Overall, I just can’t wait to be involved in more art and strive to just be super happy both in my personal and creative life.
Alright, here's the last question! Do you have any general advice for teens about life, whether it’s about school, friends, family or identity?
JUST BE YOURSELF!! I know that’s the most general advice someone can give you but please— be yourself, stay humble and work super hard. It will really pay off in the end and standing out from the crowd is the coolest thing anyone can do. I promise!