As a writer of a very small blog that I swear only my parents see, I am always surprised when I have a reader outside of my family and friends. It feels special to know that someone out there is looking for my content. Even if it is only one person. Jourdan (@jourdash_jeans), you are that person! Thank you for reaching out, showing me love and asking me to tell my story. As promised, I am finally answering your request. To fill everyone in, Jourdan asked me to write a post about how I got into the business of television and became a Post Producer. I am happy to divulge.
Entertainment is actually a family business of sorts. I can’t explain my journey without giving you a brief history of the Hooks family first. My grandfather, Robert Hooks was one of the pioneers for African American actors. He started in the theater in NYC then moved to film and television in the 1960’s. Much like me, my father, Kevin Hooks grew up watching and admiring his dad’s work. Unlike me, he became an actor at the age of 9 years old. By 14 years old he had already earned a Golden Globe nomination for his leading role in the movie “Sounder”. Under the mentorship of Bruce Paltrow (yes, Gwyneth’s dad!) my dad learned to direct and produce. From there his career took off! These are the footsteps I’ve always wanted to follow in! They both make me proud every day.
Even at 5 years old, I knew I wanted to be in the entertainment industry. I used to wake up before the sun to go to set with my dad. I’d sit there quietly all day with my feet dangling from his director’s chair. I think my attention and discipline at such a young age surprised the whole crew. I was just so taken by the whole process, I didn’t want to miss a thing. I continued my set visits throughout my childhood and couldn’t wait to go to college to learn more about the business. While I didn’t go to film school, I took every theater and TV production class that Pepperdine University had to offer.
Two days after graduating I started working as a Production Assistant at Steven Bochco Productions. I won’t lie, my father did help me land that gig. Many people would see that as an advantage, nepotism at it’s finest. While I was incredibly thankful, I actually saw it as a minor set back. Let me explain. I always felt like people saw me as the “must hire”, like I didn’t earn the spot. Like I may have taken the opportunity from someone more worthy. Because of that, I vowed to work harder than everyone else. I wanted to earn the respect of my coworkers, prove myself and stand out as my own person. I believe I was able to do that successfully, one coffee run at a time. I was happy to pay my dues.
I was then promoted to work as the assistant to the President of Bochco’s company, where I stayed for two years. That position led me out of production and into development. From there I got a job at Jerry Weintraub Productions. At the time we were in the early stages of projects like “Westworld”, “Behind the Candelabra” and “Tarzan”. It was exciting to see the birth of some amazing works but quite frankly, development was too slow for my hamster wheel of a mind. I missed the fast pace of television production where each week is a new episode. That is perfect for someone like me who gets bored easily. I was craving that lively energy as I read scripts alone at my desk each day. Ok this is going to sound silly but a script for “90210” was sent to me for a fun read. I was obsessed with the original show so I was very curious about the reboot. The pilot script lived up to my juicy expectations and I was hooked. I really wanted to work on the show but didn’t quite know how to break back into production without having to go backwards in my career. No joke, about two weeks later, out of the blue I got a phone call from an old friend from the Bochco company days. She offered me a job to be her Post Production Coordinator on…wait for it…”90210″. I obviously accepted and off I went.
Post Production was a foreign language to me. I knew very little about it when I started. It was technical, I was not. I got scared but I was determined to learn! I stayed till 2am every night reading all the manuals and workflow documents, I was dedicated AF! Again, I never wanted that “must hire” label. Luckily the show was on for 5 years and I was able to move up the ranks. After Coordinator was Post Supervisor, after that was Associate Producer. I held that position on several shows after “9-0” ended. Now I am a Co-Producer on a series called “Queen Sugar”, a show I’m most proud of in my career. You can see my full body of work on my IMDB page (here).
I could go into more detail on all that happens in Post Production and what my responsibilities are as the Post Producer but this is already quite long. I’ll just save those points for a future blog post. To be continued, I promise!
So if you’re ever wondering why I don’t post as often as other bloggers, it’s because I have a very demanding, full time job. I am quite busy but I love Ciao Christiana and it’s followers, so I will always come back here when I can. Thank you again for taking this journey with me, it truly means a lot. And of course, a special thanks to Jourdan again! I hope you all feel free to send more questions and requests of what you’d like to hear from me! I love sharing my stories with you!
PS. I chose to post this outfit with this story because I wore it on the red carpet of the “Queen Sugar” premiere party and this Rebecca Taylor dress is now on sale. Score! It’s one of my favorites!
Photos by Rebecca Pimm.
This post was written while listening to “Cold Little Heart” by Michael Kiwanuka. (Because I can’t get enough of “Big Little Lies”.)