Jake Hunter Emmy Award winning Creator of the Amazon Prime Series “Class Act” took some time away from acting, producing, and directing to discuss his new project and his personal journey in Hollywood as a former Baseball player turned actor.
Young Blvd: So tell us about your new series “Class Act” on Amazon Prime?
Jake Hunter: “Class Act” is a new series starring Eric Roberts that is about an out of the box acting class in Los Angeles. We follow each characters story as they try to make it in Hollywood. A lot of the characters were people I met when I was in acting class. So some parts are true, others are a bit elevated. It shows the comedic side of trying to make it big as an actor but also the struggle.
How did this project come about?
JH: This project came about simply because I was trying to create more of my own content. I got into the industry late (not until I was 23) so I needed to make up for lost time, be proactive and make things happen. So I wrote a story about what I knew at the time which was trying to be an actor.
You wrote, produced, and starred in “Class Act”. How long have you been on the production side of things?
JH: I’ve been on the production side of things the last few years now. Almost every project I’m on I wear multiple hats. I spent my first year in LA waiting on auditions, sitting in class, doing side jobs. I wasn’t making the progress I wanted. So I switched gears, started writing and producing my own stuff.
I spent my first year in LA waiting on auditions, sitting in class, doing side jobs. I wasn’t making the progress I wanted. So I switched gears, started writing and producing my own stuff.
What did you learn from this experience that you’ll use in future filming?
JH: I learned to enjoy the process more. It’s always crazy before the shoot, pulling everything together, then the shoot happens, then it’s over. There’s a kind of sad feeling you get when it ends, and production goes so quick. I wanted to make sure I take everything in and have fun.
How do you handle all of the responsibilities and pressures that come along with wearing so many hats on a single production?
JH: I try and handle all of the main producer tasks before we get too close to filming. When I’m acting I really try to just focus on acting. I don’t want to compromise my performance because I’m in producer mode. This is why I make sure to have a great team around me to pick up the slack when it’s time to go into acting mode.
You were a professional baseball player, what made you take the leap into the entertainment industry?
JH: I loved playing baseball, but I had so many injuries. I just wasn’t able to compete at that high of a level anymore and by 22 I was a shell of myself. One of my friends joined an acting class and recommended it to me, so I hopped in. I felt like I had been performing my whole life with baseball, only difference was now I had to speak. Even though I wasn’t necessarily killing it at first, I knew this was something I’d like to pursue.
What is hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in pursuit of your dream?
JH: The hardest thing I’ve had to overcome was in the beginning. I had just moved to LA, I didn’t know anyone, I had no credits, and I was living in my car. I had just dropped out of college to do this as well. I had to figure out a way to start my career and survive. So I worked on my craft like crazy, did the side hustle, and was prepared when opportunity came my way.
Do you take anything from your athletic career that translates to how you approach Filmmaking?
JH: The main thing I got from my athletic career was work ethic. I felt like the progress I made was because I came here and have been consistent with everything. There isn’t a day that goes by I don’t work on my acting, I’ve constantly been networking, constantly making projects. I’ve had the stamina to keep doing it because I had to hustle that much on the baseball side just to have the opportunity to play through college.
Congrats on the Emmy win! How did it feel to be acknowledged for your work on “The Bay” with this historically prestigious award?
JH: It was an honor to receive an Emmy. It also gave me a really interesting awareness to not worry about winning awards or anything like that. I brought my mom with me to the Emmys, had the moment of winning with her, got to go on stage and see a lot of people I used to watch on TV in the audience. I still felt the same though. This taught me that gratification comes in the doing, not in the result. I’m happiest when I’m filming, and creating. If you make a solid product, the rest will take care of itself.
I still felt the same though. This taught me that gratification comes in the doing, not in the result. I’m happiest when I’m filming, and creating. If you make a solid product, the rest will take care of itself.
What do you do to unwind from your work?
JH:I unwind by reading a lot. I really like books like the four agreements, power of now, and the alchemist. I also am big into meditation. I try to meditate at least once a day. These help balance me out from the craziness of the industry.
Who inspires you past and present as a creative and filmmaker?
JH: James Dean is someone who inspires me from the past. He was someone who cares so much about the work, and didn’t follow the crowd like so many do. Present day I would say is Bradley Cooper. He’s another one that pours himself into the work, and I don’t think he even has social media. I respect that he’s so focused on just doing his job well and not worrying about how popular he is.
Shoutout – Who would you like to give a shoutout to that you’ve never told how much they’ve impacted your life and why?
JH: I’d like to give a shout out to my little brother Jon. Growing up he would always do what I did. I always used to stay out of trouble because I knew he would do the same. In the end, he helped me stay out of trouble. So I’m very grateful to have him. He still runs lines with me almost everyday as well to keep my acting sharp!
Any advice for youth who want to take on the production side of things in Hollywood instead of acting?
JH:I would recommend to people to just go network and meet people. The more people you meet the more opportunity you’ll get. So go to all the festivals you can, check sites like Mandy that are looking for crew, and keep working on the craft. No matter what you do, you can always get better.
What’s next for Jake Hunter?
JH: I just got back from New Mexico filming a new Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones film called “The Comeback Trail”. I’m going into production now for a project called “What’s to Come” that we hope to bring to Sundance this year.
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