Jasmine Ballou Jones is a production designer and set decorator for film and TV. Among her set decoration projects are the films "Blue Valentine", "The Place Beyond The Pines", "St. Vincent" and "Mediterranea", and the TV shows "Inside Amy Schumer", "Master of None" and "Crashing". Jasmine's production design credits include the films "Super Dark Times" and "Blow The Man Down", premiering at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.
Knowing that you're about to enter a long project, you gotta get your ducks in a row! I like to take care of any looming personal business possible - this brain cleansing makes it much easier to focus on the professional. I also definitely try to get in as much friend and family time as I can before going underground… they gotta remember who I am :). I usually prepare for upcoming projects by watching any films or ingesting any artistic mediums that could inspire the design/decoration. Never too early to start design decks or moodboards!
Like everyone else, I fully commit to projects and give them my all, but when I’m working on a longer term gig, say TV or a big film, life inevitably presents important events (weddings, reunions, music festivals, etc.). I do ask for long weekends when needed. In some instances I’ve passed on jobs that conflicted with an important personal event. That said, A few years ago I took two weeks off for my own DIY wedding and still get flak from the producer about it. It’s a tough balance, but losing touch with friends and family can sap your energy and creativity in the long run. I find it important to strive for a healthy balance.
Every project I set out to achieve a daily routine including exercise, cooking dinner and spending time with my partner, but you have to be flexible. While most everything in my life gets put on hold for a job, I rarely sacrifice a full night of sleep. 8 hours or more. It’s priority number one for clarity and a positive mindset.
Besides sleep, healthy eating and exercise really do the trick for me. I’ve definitely been known to do a juice cleanse or two, but starting the day with something green will get you on the right track. I try to eat as healthy as possible, but chocolate happens. Luckily none of us are shackled to the chains of catering, so I simply type 'organic cafe' into a google map search at each location and go with the best option. After work, I usually eat at home and keep it light.
My daily green juice, yoga or barre 3-4 times a week, and a nightly download with my partner keep me going. Relationships outside of the job provide a welcomed reality check and recharge. I try my hardest to be present with friends and family, in workout class, or wherever I am outside of work.
Burning out is a real danger, so I have to rest and recharge to keep the creativity and positive vibes alive. Watching a great film, attending an incredible concert/performance, or absorbing any impactful art always helps to motivate me. Daily life in NYC is so inspirational. This city has so much art and culture to keep you propelling forward. Simply walking around, fully aware of your surroundings can be an incredible experience. Nature can have the same effect. Just getting out of your work environment physically and mentally can clear some space for enlightenment.
While at work, your crew is your chosen family. You must surround yourself with the talent to succeed (of course), but also with kind, hardworking, like minded friends. Showing your appreciation for the crew's hard work on a daily basis is key. I always get to know my crew and at least get the names down of any day players. When a team spirit is present, productivity is also there. When times get really tough, surprise ice cream will do wonders.
So in short: get as much sleep as your body needs, eat healthy but enjoy some sweets from time to time, drink more water than you think you need, be as active as possible, listen to music while you work, get to know and joke around with your crew, be mindful, and keep up the love and laughs in your personal life.
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