She played in Polly Schattel’s Dollar Baby Here There Be Tygers as Miss Bird.
SKSM: May you introduce yourself to our readers?
Jennifer Trudrung: Hello! My name is Jennifer Trudrung and I am an actor, writer, runner, reader and most importantly a Mom. I have a production company called Night Frizz Productions and I have been writing and producing short horror films for about five years now.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a producer?
Jennifer Trudrung: I started off in this industry as an actor. I love acting but it can feel like you are giving up a lot of your power because so much of the industry is do your best work and then wait and see. And sometimes you hear about projects you would just love to work on but you perhaps don’t even get an opportunity to audition for the show. I found that through writing and producing my own work I could express myself and give myself the roles and opportunities that I wanted as a creative person. And I get to work with my children, fellow amazing acting friends, and filmmakers that I admire and trust.
SKSM: How did you become involved in Here There Be Tygers Dollar Baby film?
Jennifer Trudrung: I have always loved Stephen King. I started reading his books while in middle school and I just could escape and thrive in his worlds. I love his characters and stories and obviously I love being scared. I love horror. Quite a few of Stephen King’s books have been adapted and filmed in the South East region of the United States where I live. I had several opportunities to audition for speaking roles in some of his shows but so far have never been cast. After attending several film festivals where my own films were screening I got to see several Stephen King Dollar Baby’s. At first I was intimidated at the idea of adapting one of his short stories but I was also inspired to try. It is on my bucket list to work on one of the shows based on his works so I thought, “here is my opportunity to do it myself and do it my way.”
SKSM: Can you tell us about your work in the film?
Jennifer Trudrung: I wrote the screenplay adaptation of the short story “Here There Be Tygers”, helped in casting the film, produced the film, and starred in it as Ms. Bird.
SKSM: What was it like to work with Polly Schattel on this film?
Jennifer Trudrung: I was thrilled when Polly Schattel met with me and expressed her desire to work with me on “Here There Be Tygers”. I had worked with Polly before as an actor in the beautiful Ben Lovett music video called “Black Curtain” and had admired her other films. She is one of the nicest people I know also besides being incredibly talented. I told her of my initial idea for the screenplay and she pushed me to make it darker and more profound. I had had an idea in the back of my mind of where I could go with the story but was afraid to change the original story so much. But when I saw her enthusiasm and had her full support we went full force ahead. She was supportive and fully invested from the get go and her work on this film is amazing. I am very grateful.
SKSM: In addition to playing the role of Miss Bird you were the producer and the screenwriter of the film. What was more difficult to do?
Jennifer Trudrung: Honestly, the producing part was the most stressful because of putting all the pieces together, hiring the crew, finding the locations, doing all the communication, and getting the cast in place but I am surrounded by an incredible creative and supportive film family where I live. I had so many people step up and express interest in being part of this project. Everyone worked at a reduced rate but gave me 100% effort and investment. However, when I was on set the hardest part was letting go of the ‘producing’ part and finding the character of Miss Bird. I would forget I was going to have act and then boom it was my turn. This was where Polly really stepped up. She led me to a great place for the character of Miss Bird. And boy did I love playing her.
SKSM: Was there any funny things that happened while filming (Bloopers, etc)?
Jennifer Trudrung: The funniest part of making this film was that I played the evil Miss Bird and my daughter Penny Munroe played Charlie who I just got to be so nasty and vicious with. We literally were playing characters who despised each other. And we had so much fun with it. I think having such a tight familial bond full of love made the creative part of truly ‘bringing it’ for the characters easier. It was a safe place for all of us. Even Selah Atwood who plays Susie who is the main bully in the film is one of Penny’s best friends. They were cracking up between takes. It felt like a true family affair and was really fun.
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Jennifer Trudrung: I LOVE Stephen King. My favorite books by him are “The Shining” and “The Stand.” But I literally own all his books. And I admire him hugely as an political advocate and an ally for decency and human rights. I LOVE his twitter page. I would love to meet him and just say “Thank you.” He is an inspiration in so many ways.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Jennifer Trudrung: I am actually working on two feature length horror screenplays. One of them called “The Bewailing” might be produced by a local film company which I’m super excited about. I’m currently working with them on revising the screenplay. The other one is called “Spectrum” and I have submitted it to numerous screenplay competitions and film festivals and I’m hoping for the best. “Spectrum” has already been a quarter-finalist in the We Screenplay Feature Screenplay Competition and the ScreenCraft Feature Screenplay Competition.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Jennifer Trudrung: I’m a former National Park Service Park Ranger. I’ve worked out in the Needle’s District of Canyonlands National Park, White Sands National Monument, and the Curecanti National Recreational Area. I also am ridiculously shy which I have had to really work on overcoming. And honestly having children, especially daughters, has forced me to learn to speak up and stand up.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Something you’d like to tell our readers?
Jennifer Trudrung: I think the thing I would like to share is that if you find something you love then go for it. I’ve learned that everything takes time and a lot of hard work. And that sometimes it can be depressing and you will want to give up. Being creative is full of rejection. But keep going. Take those baby steps. Do those little things that make you feel better and plug ahead. But also let yourself breathe and mourn when you need too. I feel like I’m making progress by literally scrambling up a hill but it’s working. And be kind and supportive to others. This industry is all about net working. So be the best person you can be and others will want to work with you and support you.