Jessica Watkins is a New York City based standup comic, actress, and writer. Originally from East Nashville TN, she moved to Los Angeles at the age of 18 to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Following her time at acting conservatory Jessica became involved in her first feature film, Bad Batch of which she helped produce and starred in. After 6 years in Los Angeles, Jessica moved to NYC to focus on writing and performing standup. She has spent the last five years developing her style of comedy, a bit of personal storytelling with a satirical look into politics, religion, and the world as a whole. Most recently at Chicago’s Women’s funny Festival Jessica is preparing for her first comedy tour. The tour will be on foot and cover more than 3,000 miles.
Jessica has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund her tour and a film documenting a standup comedian who walks across North America in search of material, finding a fresh perspective on her country.
Here’s what Jessica had to say about the film:
This March 2014 I will start walking across North America. I am a standup comedian, actress, and writer who lives in New York City. For the better half of a year I will walk over 3,000 miles in pursuit of material for my first comedy special, creating a documentary film in the process.
My life is that of a full-time waitress and comedian. I spend my days serving pizza and writing jokes. As night falls I perform at open mics and in the back of bars and small comedy venues. For more than 6 months I will leave behind my day job, boyfriend and dog, for hiking shoes, a camera and cart. Setting out on a pilgrimage, walking from the East Coast to southern California, writing and performing comedy along the way, in search of gaining a fresh perspective on my country, the people in it and what they feel affected by.
Each comedy show could be weeks apart in distance. I will walk anywhere from 10 to 30 miles a day. I will stay with comics on the road, or sleep in locals’ homes, camp in yards, in beautiful national parks or in the middle of the desert. Sometimes I will wonder where I am going to lay my head at night and sometimes I will be like… What the f*ck, where am I, why did I do this, my feet HURT!! The journey must continue, as does life, ol’ FDR said “Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”. So, I decided to film it.
The feature length documentary will follow me as I travel through the changing demographic of this vast land. It will capture the many comedy shows I seek out at the end of a long day, the interesting people that I meet, the unique places I visit. Burning Daylight is a collaborative project where I’ll meet up with local film makers, and they will help me capture the journey. The ambitious project will compile over a hundred hours of footage. To properly store the information, post-production will begin as soon as I leave New York City. Every two weeks I will send the footage I have gathered to my editor for safe keeping.
The cameras won’t stop rolling in Cali. A few weeks after my arrival back in NYC (flight) I will film my first standup special. The special will tell the story of my adventure, and that will be the beginning of the documentary. The film will be partially narrated by standup, as some jokes flashback to the walk and you get to see footage of the events at hand. You will see the evolution of a joke, the evolution of a journey, the evolution of a country.
$15,000 would cover the bare bones expenses to get me on the road, with some basic equipment and an editor to help retrieve footage from the road.
Go to Jessica’s Kickstarter page and chip in a few dollars to help one of our own do something interesting and fun.. and stay tuned for news about Jessica’s journey. She plans on passing through and doing shows in Nashville, so who knows? You might even be able to sneak your way into the film.