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Jay Jackson talks ‘Parks and Recreation,’ acting, and digital age (Includes interview)

Jackson is known for his portrayal of television broadcaster Perd Hapley in Parks and Recreation. “It was an awesome experience because I got to work with so many talented people such as Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Ben Schwartz, and Chris Pratt. That’s a lot of talented actors to be working around and it helps you improve your craft,” he said.

He acknowledged that Parks and Recreation was a career-defining moment for him. “That was supposed to be a one-shot deal (one episode) but when I film the scene, the producers saw something special and that got the acting bug going for me. It has been a great ride ever since.”

On life in quarantine, he said, “It has been kind of stressful because I like to be on set and acting. These days, you can’t do anything. I have been making a lot of short films.”

Aside from Parks and Recreation, he is known for his work in Scandal, Supergirl, The Neighborhood, Fast Five, and Criminal Minds, among others.

On being an actor and filmmaker in the digital age, he said, “It’s great because I am doing a lot of short films and I am doing them on YouTube. I’m using my phone and a couple of great apps. You can create things in a way that 15 or 20 years would have taken an entire crew to do. Now you can do all of these things yourself.”

Each day, Jackson is motivated by “paying his mortgage.” “Enjoying life as much as I can in these times and making sure that my kids are healthy and happy. That’s the motivation,” he said.

For young and aspiring actors, he said, “Try to get into a good acting school so that you can learn the craft. Once you have learned the craft, you can go anywhere. There are opportunities for acting everywhere: every town has a theater or a small acting company around where you can polish your skills. That way, you can be ready for Hollywood.”

“I want to encourage people to continue to create, especially artists. It’s very therapeutic to continue to create if you are a creative person. If you go stagnant, you can lose a lot of opportunities to create new, unique, and inspiring things. Try to stay creative,” he added.

He has nothing but the kindest remarks about Coastal Entertainment and being a part of their events. “Coastal Entertainment is awesome. It is always first-class. The people are wonderful, and it’s just great since you get to communicate with fans, which is an awesome experience,” he said.

On the title of the current chapter of his life, Jackson said, “Final Approach.”

Jackson revealed that he is also on Cameo, where viewers and fans can book their message by clicking here. “The messages the fans leave are really awesome, heartfelt, and inspiring,” he said.

He defined the word success as “being happy and healthy, as well as taking care of your family.” “As long as your family is happy and healthy, the number in your bank account isn’t what matters. It’s about the level of happiness in your circle of love and that’s success,” he said.

For his fans and supporters, he said, “Thank you for appreciating the work that we are doing. Perd Hapley has become an iconic character thanks to all of your support.”

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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