Cramming over 20 people inside of a tiny apartment with flashing cameras, lights, and an entire film crew may seem out of the ordinary for most college students, but for junior film major Jenni Johnson, it is just an average weekend.
Although Johnson has experience in both cinematography and acting, this will be her first semester producing. Her comedy short-film is titled ‘Aisle 9’ and is about two young women who find out the world is ending and they started their period. The story is about the main characters’ quest for tampons, which in the film, were sold out everywhere.
As the producer of the film, Johnson makes sure that everyone on her production team is both well-fed and on schedule. Of course, Johnson likes to add her own flair, making even the most monotonous task fun.
Johnson dons the costume of her alternate ego, ‘Joann the scammer’. She wear an oversized-spotted fur coat, a short lop-sided shaggy black wig and a drawn-on mustache upon her face. A true thespian at heart, Johnson loves to be the comedic relief to her stressed out film crew. Her desire to entertain others comes from her gregarious nature.
“I just love people,” Johnson said. “I just love getting to know people, being around people, and making people happy.”
Johnson is a small-town girl from Sulfur Springs, TX. Although some may struggle to find their lifetime passion, Johnson knew at a young age that she was destined to perform. She began her acting career as the wicked witch in ‘Wizard of Oz’ at the age of 3.
With wispy dirty-blonde hair and a confident demeanor as Johnson speaks, it is clear to see why Britney Spears was an inspiration to her as a child.
“I still remember when my grandma bought me my first Britney Spears CD and I would dance to it,” Johnson said. “I would look through the little photo book in the album and I say, ‘I want to be like her’, I think that’s what started it.”
Johnson’s acting career took off when she joined a talent agency when she was 10. She spent her first year of college at TCU studying acting. However, after her second semester she bought herself a camera and instantly fell in love.
“I filmed my cousin’s wedding my second semester and I was like wait, this is really cool, I really enjoy this,” Johnson said. “It was an all at once sort of thing, a realization of like, wow maybe this is what I’m supposed to do instead.”
Johnson started the process of transferring schools and switching degrees the spring semester of her freshmen year. She chose UNT because it was close to home and had several resources for film majors. Johnson admitted that she didn’t adapt well to the city in the beginning.
“I didn’t even like Denton at first,” Johnson said. “I was like, ‘I don’t like Denton, I don’t think that I belong here’, and then I realized that I do.”
Since then, the city of Denton has grown on her. She said some of her favorite places to visit are the Denton square and West Oak Coffee. However, what she really loves about Denton is the atmosphere.
“I’ll be real, I just love going anywhere with a sense of community, so of course the popular places I love,” Johnson said. “Denton is a really nourishing community for artist, performers and musicians.”
Despite her love for the north Texas region, Johnson plans to move to either LA or New York. With senior year right around the corner, Johnson will be looking for internships in either city.
“I love Dallas and I love this area,” Johnson said. “But I have bigger goals than what this community can nourish.”
Johnson has been ambitious about for her future since she was young. When asked about what her dreams were at 7-years-old, she said she wanted to win eight Oscars.
“I kind of want to be the first woman to ever win best actress as well as director,” Johnson said. “That’s a large goal of mine, I don’t like to limit myself.”
Her enthusiasm for work is what drives her determination. Johnson said many people tell her she is well-established for her age and ask her how she has already accomplished so much.
“I would just tell people to work hard, and you only get out of life what you work for,” Johnson said. “Nothing happens on accident, there is no such thing as luck.”