January 09, 2024

From creating shows at 17 to Emmy nominations at 20 and beyond – Interview with Judson Jackson

Judson Jackson

Judson Jackson is an Emmy nominated Producer who has created and constructed audience-pleasing programming in all genres - from Drama to Sports, Music Events to Reality TV - for a diverse and impressive client list of networks, programmers, and national cable outlets. He currently serves as the Vice President of Production at Mission Control Media.

Q: You have an incredible journey, how did it all started?

Judson: My dad was on the sales & marketing side of television, so I basically grew up around it. I started following as a grip behind a camera when I was like 12 or 13. I produced my first TV show when I was 17 years old. Created back-to-back music video shows, and I did 70 episodes of it between ages 17 and 18; back when I was still in high school. So, I’ve been around production what feels like forever.

Q: You are an Emmy nominated Producer; can you please talk a bit about your journey with these nominations?

Judson: I was working for INSP, a cable network, and I did 2 specials for them. Both were nominated for the Emmys. One was called the Hope for the Holidays. The other was called the Price of Freedom. I was in my twenties. When I did those, it was just my first kind of jump into long-form specials. Ever since then, I've done thousands of hours of live television. I've done cooking shows, game shows, concerts, and live event television. I've shot in the UK, Greece, Israel, you know, all over the world.

Q: What is your role at Mission Control Media, and how do you see roles in production?

Judson: When I started, I always thought I wanted to be creative. But as I got into it, my passion lay more in physically producing things, figuring things out, solving problems, and managing situations. As a VP of Production and EIC on most projects for Mission Control, I am a problem solver. It's the problem-solving of it and making the wishes of the people on the creative side possible. Keeping everything in line and managing the budget, and that has really become my passion; I love it much more. I don't want to be stuck in an edit suite. That's not my thing anymore. I love being out there, putting boots on the ground, figuring stuff out, and making it happen.

Q: Can you talk about some of the creative ways a Producer/ EIC finds to fulfill production needs, giving references from the shows that you've worked on?

Judson: Oh gosh! At Mission Control, we did a project called Faze One for Faze Clan, an e-gaming sports franchise, and they wanted us to create a kind of Wipe Out slash Big Brother. We took their office building, turned it into a house, and made it a Big Brother-style show.

I did a show during the pandemic for Netflix where I took an ice cream distribution center and turned it into a tattoo parlor. We just finished Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge, where we took just an average home in Santa Carita and turned it into Barbie's dreamhouse. I like big challenges and being able to pull them off either with limited resources, limited time, or most of the time both.

Q: You have worked with some of the top Hollywood talent like Tiffany Haddish, Usher, Steven Colbert, and Ashley Graham ; how is it to work with such talent?

Judson: Honestly, my job is to ensure these people have the environment they need. Your job as a producer, whether or not you're on the creative side of the project or not, is to make it so that  talent can do the best job they can. And so that's my goal, and I want to bring the best out of them, whether it's just because they're able to or because they're getting the right materials to be able to do their job well.

Q: What is the exact role of an executive in charge in the television world?

Judson: A head Chef! (laughs) I call it a head chef because, in some way, we are also creating the menus. I am over the budget; I'm over logistics and scheduling. I handle everything that's not creative. So, the creative people come to me and say, Judson, we want to do XY, and Z. So it then becomes my job is to help the people with the creative vision to implement that vision, put it onto the screen, and do it within the budget.

Q: With such vast experience in production, what, according to you, are the qualities of a good producer?

Judson: Well, I'm very ADD, and that helps. Because a billion things are going on at once, and that's how my brain works, you can tackle multiple things at once, which is excellent for me. It so fits because we all find things that are unique. Being able to pivot and change on a dime is an exceptional quality of a producer.

Q: What's your message to all the budding producers in the unscripted space?

Judson: I genuinely try to live my life. Looking at the glass half full. This morning, we had a series that was passed on by a network. So I have to think well they didn’t buy it, but maybe somebody else will. This industry is not for people that easily get discouraged. Perseverance and patience is key. It's justifying one day at a time, believing you can do it, and keeping up there and pushing and trying. There is no magical formula for success. It is just hard work and being in the right place at the right time.

The Revolution Team

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