SHEEN sits TV Producer Janay Coplon to discuss her journey, career aspirations and more! Check it out below.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got to this point in your life..
I’m originally from Connecticut but have been in LA for four years. As a student at Howard University, I got my first taste of the entertainment business as an intern at the Maury Show. Shortly after graduating and moving back home, I got my first official gig as a PA for the Maury Povich show. It was a crazy ride, but I learned a lot. From there, I moved down to Atlanta to work on court shows like Paternity court and Couples court.
In recent years I have had the honor of producing and writing for big shows like The Real, Busy Tonight, and Wipeout! Throughout the years, I created strong relationships and mentors that pulled me through the ranks and taught me how to navigate the tv industry.. I would move around the county and work on various shows. However, I always made a point to work in various positions and always be on the lookout for the next opportunity.
What struggles have you faced on the journey to where you are now?
I think what I struggled with the most was balancing work and life. As a freelancer, I moved a lot.. I have had at least 15 addresses. When moving around at the rate I was, it’s hard to establish consistency in relationships, with medical care, a budget, and just keeping a routine. I was living a run-and-gun lifestyle, and it was running me down. I think moving to LA, buying a home, and securing a corporate position has changed my life for the better. It wasn’t an easy journey; it took me ten years in this business to get benefits!
What has been the most rewarding experience in your career?
I’ve had the pleasure of producing some of the biggest names in tv, film, and music, but the most rewarding part of my career journey has been the ability to reach back, inspire, and mentor younger entertainment professionals through my non-profit organization, “Hey Sis.”
What projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m really excited to release my upcoming podcast, GIRLMOM, which explores the complicated yet beautiful relationship between black mothers and their daughters. I am also working on an ebook for freelancers looking to purchase a home. I know sharing my experience will help others avoid some of the pitfalls that I faced. Homeownership is something I am passionate about. It is just one of the ways black Americans can create generational wealth; the long-term effects will have a positive impact on our future.
What plans do you have for the future of your production company, June Entertainment?
June entertainment also has a lot of fun projects that we are pitching and selling. We arecurrently developing two animated series that I can’t wait to share with the world!
What was the goal behind creating your podcast Girl Mom? How has it been working with your own mother while creating this podcast?
As an only child to a single mom, who was also a teen mom, the concept of GIRLMOM was so organic. As I got older, I really started to see how much my relationship with my mom had an impact on who I was as a woman. We are best friends now but getting to that point was not easy; through my friendships and mentorship, I realized my tumultuous feelings for my mom were not as unique as I had thought. So many daughters and moms experience the same sort of complicated paradigm. There were times growing up, and even in my 20s, when we were so torn. I would brush it off like I didn’t care, but when we were at odds, I felt it in my heart, in my brain, and in my body! It hurt.
Through the anger, I found grace and understanding for her. As I got older, I started to see how her relationship with her own mother had influenced her mothering and infiltrated our relationship in many ways. I started to see a pattern that led me to more conversations with my grandmother, and she too could relate to the feelings and instances I communicated with her. That’s when I knew this was needed. Sharing our story may help others to find peace. No, we are not perfect, but we are all that we have!
What advice do you have for young professionals in the entertainment industry?
My advice to young professionals is to keep creating and know that your stories and your ideas matter. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Always be ready for the next opportunity with an updated resume or portfolio. If you want a certain job or position but don’t have the experience, create your own experience, collaborate with friends and peers. Good work and good workers will always win in the end! There are a lot more people talking about it than actually being about it. So just do it. Whatever it is. Do it!
What career aspirations do you have for the future?
I love my new position as manager of development for Ellen Degeneres, Ellen digital ventures. We are creating innovative projects that include NFTs, AR VR, Gaming, and other digital endeavors. In a perfect world, I will continue growing in my position while also creating my own projects utilizing new and innovative forms of media, while also helping others bring their work to life!