Navigating Hollywood, Episode 10: Elizabeth A. Davis: Broadway Actress & Jordan Richard: Director of NBC News, Transcript
The original post for this episode can be found here.
Allen Wolf: Welcome to the Navigating Hollywood podcast. My name is Allen Wolf and I’m a filmmaker, author, and game creator. My new book based on my upcoming movie, The Sound of Violet, is coming out September 21st. I’ll put a link in the show notes, if you’d like to check it out. Navigating Hollywood encourages and equips entertainment professionals to live relationally and spiritually holistic lives. If you work in entertainment, be sure to visit navigatinghollywood.org to see how you can get involved today. We’re joined by Elizabeth Davis and Jordan Richard. Elizabeth is an actress whose debut on Broadway landed her a Tony nomination. She has also appeared on many television shows, including New Amsterdam, Law and Order and Blue Bloods. Jordan is a television news director for NBC and ABC. Welcome, Elizabeth and Jordan.
Elizabeth Davis: Hi.
Jordan Richard: Thank you for having us.
Allen Wolf: Thanks for being here. Elizabeth, I’ve heard that if you’re an actor living in New York City, and you haven’t appeared on Law & Order at minimum playing a dead body, it’s a warning sign that there’s no hope for your career. Now, you went beyond that with a guest starring role. Is there any truth to that?
Elizabeth Davis: That’s funny. Yes. There were quite a few years where I have heard that and I had not been on that show. So I thought I guess then I had to throw in the towel.
Allen Wolf: And you knew you made it once you appeared on Law & Order.
Elizabeth Davis: Yeah, let me show up a time or two. So I had some lines.
Allen Wolf: And you received a Tony nomination as best featured actress for your role in the Broadway show Once. The production received eleven Tony Award nominations and won eight, including best musical, best actor, and best book. And it won the Grammy Award for best musical theater album. That’s huge. Can you talk about your journey getting there.
Elizabeth Davis: I’m from an extremely small town in Texas who just happened to grow up playing the fiddle. The only other musical I had done before Once the musical on Broadway, was with Texas Outdoor Musical Drama in the Palo Duro Canyon. It was just one of those things where it was the right skill sets kind of all combined you had just been working for your whole life and you didn’t know it. So the show definitely shaped my aesthetic since then, it has given me, you know, gifts beyond just the show itself and affirmation that sounding like myself is okay. So it was a really gorgeous journey that landed me a hip surgery. I blame it on kicking the cajon too many times while playing the fiddle at the same time. It was a very physically demanding show as they all are. It was a really wonderful experience
Allen Wolf: And you said that show helped you find your voice?
Elizabeth Davis: Yeah, I never imagined myself in musical theater. That was not something I was interested in. I got both my BFA in my MFA in classical theater performance and I came to the city simply to do straight theater and got here and hadn’t opened my violin. But I played since I was three. I quickly learned that there are significantly more auditions for musical theater than there are for straight plays. So I just started singing and playing which I grew up doing. If you don’t use your voice and lean into the uncomfortability and you don’t decide that you’re willing to embarrass yourself forty times over, there was definitely a muscle of overcoming embarrassment. All artists do with that. If you’re not used to embarrassing yourself, God bless. It’s just the walk of shame every day. And then you realize it’s not the walk of shame. It’s the walk of courage. It’s the walk of sustainability and so I think that’s how the muscles of staying power are really created.
Allen Wolf: Did you have to develop that sustainability after just going on oodles of auditions?
Elizabeth Davis: Yes, and also after the Tony nomination, there was this expectation that I was a certain thing that I was now minted as a musical theater performer, and that was terrifying, because I never asserted myself as such. I was deeply thankful for the nomination, but I then had an identity crisis of who am I as a creative. And what am I saying about myself? And so I left the show, I left the show to go do Off-Broadway. Brecht.
Allen Wolf: Whoa.
Elizabeth Davis: I’m looking at a show poster of Christopher Lloyd Christopher Lloyd. There he is. The showing of Broadway to do, Caucasian Chalk Circle with Christopher Lloyd, getting one eighth. My dear husband. Again, like, Babe, I’m gonna leave Broadway and the good money, and I’m going to go do Off-Broadway and I don’t know when I’m going to have another job after that. And he’s like, okay.
Allen Wolf: Oh, wow. What went through your mind when she told you that, Jordan?
Jordan Richard: A little bit of terror. When you’re a theater artist or an artist in general, things are up and down. And so we had kind of just set up our lives to live off of my income. And so, the Broadway income was a nice bump for us. I know that my wife, if she is not creatively content, she’s not going to be happy. And so I just had to say, you know what babe, whatever you feel right in your soul about doing. Go for it. Because I’m confident in your ability and your skills. And then another Broadway show will come along whenever the time is right. Thankfully, she kind of brought me into the decision and we made it together.
Allen Wolf: What happened that made you realize that wasn’t for you, that wasn’t the direction you want to go in?
Elizabeth Davis: Well, I’ll say this. I have come full circle. A circle to accept that this is a path that is a part of my journey. I had to go discover what it was for myself rather than being forced into it suddenly, this mold that I didn’t understand. So I went to Brecht to remind myself who I was as an artist and then the process of writing started for me, I guess. In April of next year, I’ll start my next Broadway show and it’s been that long between Once. I’m doing 1776 on Broadway, but there’s been so much work in between there that I’m really proud of that probably significantly less people have seen, that has cemented who I am as an artist what I want to say, what my aesthetic is, and more most importantly why I’m saying it. And so I think that if I had not gone through that cycle, which was painful, let’s be honest. There was a lot of pain involved in rebuilding, you know, you get to this pain, and you have a choice. You can either reach a pinnacle and you can stay in comfort in that pinnacle. Or you can choose to launch from that pinnacle and you fall and learn to fly in a new way. Those are your options. And so I think that there was a lot of certainty in that I was certain I was making this decision. I was uncertain in what it would look like getting to the end of that, and I think that that, I mean, that is just what life and faith looks like is is just the fall of grace is constantly not knowing. Not knowing especially in a creative life. You can’t become a mercenary or you stop being creative.
Allen Wolf: Did the people in your life think you were a little nutty for making that decision?
Elizabeth Davis: Sure. There were plenty of people that did it at the same time. I’d been in the show. I developed the show out of town, off Broadway, on Broadway for a year, gone through the Tony nomination cycle. I wasn’t learning anything about myself as an artist. We didn’t have children. We were at a point in our life where we’re making, taking big risks like that. Financial risks was okay. I wouldn’t make the same decision again, and I would say that to other artists too. This is a project by project decision that, you know, you can’t expect a cookie cutter decision-making process in art. It just doesn’t work like that.
Allen Wolf: And you said next year, you’ll be appearing in the revival of 1776.
Elizabeth Davis: Yes. Playing Thomas Jefferson Don’t you look at me and think, Thomas Jefferson.
Allen Wolf: I’ve heard of colorblind casting. I guess this is gender blind casting.
Elizabeth Davis: It is. That is being done. It is founding mothers. Yes.
Jordan Richard: Without giving away too much, right. There’s a take that the director has conceived that would make it make sense.
Allen Wolf: Wow.
Elizabeth Davis: Okay, we were actually in rehearsal when the pandemic hit. I’m supposed to be on Broadway right now. Yeah, I’m like gosh.
Allen Wolf: Wow.
Elizabeth Davis: We still have it in our family calendar. I haven’t deleted it.
Jordan Richard: It might have gotten shut down, not had the funding to restart. You just never know. There are so many variables that go into getting something to that place. That timing might have saved the show.
Allen Wolf: And when does it open next year?
Elizabeth Davis: We will go into rehearsal in spring and it will develop in Boston where Once was created and then it will come back to Broadway and be in Roundabout’s summer/fall season.
Allen Wolf: You have been on quite a journey since you first appeared on Broadway that’s then taking you back to Broadway.
Elizabeth Davis: Jordan has been so encouraging to me exercising my voice. The whole time when I thought that I did not have a voice that was worth doing anything with. And my husband has been steadfast. And now I have a new album coming out of music that I’ve written. So this guy, it’s all this guy.
Allen Wolf: Jordan, how did you develop that kind of encouraging muscle toward your wife?
Jordan Richard: I think, when you love somebody, you are the first fan right? And you appreciate all the things that they might not even appreciate about themselves because we all carry this heavy burden of self-consciousness, and self-doubt, and when you have a supportive spouse, they’re the person being your cheerleader. Championing you. She does the same thing for me, even when I don’t feel like I’ve got that wind in my sails. I’d seen Elizabeth, whether it was around the house, in the shower, at church, hitting notes that I’m like, where did that come from? Why are you afraid to do that in front of a professional because you do it around the house and it blows me away. She’d always express a little bit of this uncertainty. Of course when you can do that in the house, but not doing that in front of a casting agent, who is a professional who sees professionals every day, I just wanted to push her out there and say, show the world these beautiful gifts that you have that I get to see. I want everyone else to see them too, and to hear them seeing her do the musical Once was something that I knew was there all along because I’ve known her all along, and I’d heard her sing since college and play violin. And how she expresses herself in all these creative ways that I was just waiting for the rest of our city, and the audiences that would fill the houses, to appreciate like I’ve become had come to appreciate.
Allen Wolf: So Jordan, what was it like for you the first time you saw her on stage in the show?
Jordan Richard: It was incredible. Because it’s a special show for us outside of it being her first Broadway show. One of the first dates, I took around was to see the movie Once at the time. Neither one of us would have thought this is going to be a Broadway show that one day you would be in. To see the stars align, it was so providential in a way that there were, there were a lot of tears. It was just something that we can’t orchestrate for ourselves had we written the script.
Allen Wolf: Jordan, you work in television news. For many of us, you know, being deluged with all kinds of bad news after this past year. They’re just moments, you know, we just feel like you want to take a break, turn off the news, get distracted by something else, but you didn’t have that choice. What’s it like seeing all the news all the time?
Jordan Richard: It can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a safe place to go to, if you don’t have someone to dump some of your emotional baggage on that you carried from work, especially now that we have a child. I think I carried a lot heavier than I did before, especially when you hear stories of children and things that might happen. And yeah, it’s difficult. I think people in the news industry develop, sort of like comedians, that sick sense of humor because it’s your protective skin that you put on. And so when I’m in the control room and I’m calling a show, sometimes we kind of make jokes, not off of very serious stuff obviously, but just the mundane things that happened because we’ve got to keep sort of that light. It in the control room or else we’re going to be overwhelmed with grief.
The beginning of the pandemic we didn’t know what was going on. And so I sent them off to Texas where they can be out in the middle of nowhere, Elizabeth and our son Josiah, who was two and a half almost, and just spent six or seven weeks by myself working 30 days in a row at times with like a day off. And then another 20 something days in a row just covering this story that no one really knew what was going on.
But we know it was bad and we know it was particularly bad in New York City being sort of that the American epicenter of the pandemic. There’s a lot of uncertainty at that time.
Elizabeth Davis: He was designated to be the survivor for the NBC New York control room. And in case there was an outbreak in the newsroom. He was put on a different floor. He was going on the subway every day at the height of the pandemic, into his designated survivor control room, to make sure that New York City was receiving the news of what was happening in the epicenter.
Allen Wolf: Wow.
Elizabeth Davis: He was holding it down for New York City.
Jordan Richard: Yeah, but then we reunited and we saw each other again and things got better. And here we are. You know, I mean, everybody’s experienced, I feel like, some sort of hit from the past year and a half.
Allen Wolf: What do you do as a television director, for the news?
Jordan Richard: In a live control room, you could probably equate it kind of like the conductor of an orchestra. You’ve got cameras. You’ve got graphics. You’ve got video, you’ve got posts, or news anchors, and reporters, and audio. And then you’ve got the director who is helping composite all of these things on the air to make this stories make sense. And the same way that a conductor says, you know, pulls all the instruments together to bring in the piece together. I work with the producers and we kind of come up with a vision of how they want to tell the story, the news stories, or whatever.
Allen Wolf: Whatever you do as you’re directing the news is seen by millions of people. Has anything ever gone terribly wrong, and you just hoped people wouldn’t notice?
Jordan Richard: How many times. I mean, I don’t want to spill all my dirty laundry out here, but there was one time I kicked Lester Holt and the Nightly News broadcast off of the air, and I was just thankful that I kept my job. I hit a button that rolled a commercial in the middle of their show. Only in the New York Market, thankfully, only in the New York market. So I’m sure he was doing a teleprompter read or they were in the middle of a news package. And here I am a few floors away. I was recording something that was going in the taxi broadcast for local news. And normally when I fade to black, I press this button. It rolls a commercial, but this was just a record for taxi, but muscle memory kicked in. When I faded to black, I press the button. It automatically played a commercial on the air at the moment and kicked Lester Holt in the NBC Nightly News broadcast off. So, not my finest moment, but you know, you learn from these things. And, when they ask you back the next day you go, “Huh, I think I’m okay. I think my job is safe at the moment.”
Allen Wolf: There’ve been a lot of accusations that the TV networks create fake news or are biased on what they report. What’s been your view of that from the front lines?
Jordan Richard: The short answer is, absolutely, they are, and that’s just human nature. You know, we’re flawed people. As much as I like to view myself as a down the middle, independent, moderate person, my biases sink into everything, and so we all see the world with a specific worldview and that effects the stories, the producers and journalists that I work with. They tell the stories that they choose to focus on. You tell the stories that you want to. And there are stories that you say, that’s not so interesting to me.
And unfortunately that happens. I think right now we live in a time where we’ve become so politically divided, we’re not realizing the repercussions of that small bias. And that small bias has become a large bias, over years and years and years and years of people feeling like their job is to be the arbiter of truth in a news industry, and so especially coming off the political climate that were in. It’s just, it’s toxic, and I’ve seen it firsthand, where there have been opportunities to, whether on the left or the right, of trying to get in the ear of a news anchor and say, “Hey, do you realize what you just said completely misrepresented what this political figure said,” and he goes, “oh gosh,” Live television. It’s already out there. The damage is done.
Allen Wolf: Wow.
Jordan Richard: News anchors and journalists are flawed, good people. There’s not a lot of grace in the current moment that we’re living in. And so we would all do ourselves a lot of good to give people grace and then try to assume the best from people instead of assuming the worst. Because I think that’s what we’re doing a lot of right now. It’s become a completely commercialized industry because look, the reason I get a paycheck is because we have commercials on air and so, unfortunately, if you’re putting a very moderate, lame middle of the ground broadcast, you may not have people watching. I don’t work at Fox News. I’ve never directed at MSNBC, but I think we can all agree that those are two extremes and I think those people know who their audience is and what their audience wants to hear. There was a time when CNN was a little more down the middle and it didn’t do well for the ratings. Not that the reviews are doing well right now, but they know the base that they’re playing to at this point, and out fighting for the most eyeballs. And, unfortunately, it’s not moderation and giving grace and playing it safe.
Allen Wolf: There have been such a string of bad news headlines. I know my wife and I, as we’ve talked about it, said, “oh, well can’t wait till we don’t see the string of bad headlines.” But then once those headlines go away other bad headlines take their place. And you know, it’s just because they want to keep that addiction cycle of going, what’s going on. You know, you can’t. They want to read the news to find out what’s going on. “Oh, no, this thing happened. This thing could happen. This could be really bad.” So I can see how that can be really driving the news cycles.
Jordan Richard: Sure. I was just reading this book called, “Get Your Life Back” recently by a guy named John Eldridge and he talks a little bit about how we weren’t as individuals, as beings with the soul, we were not created to know all the troubles of the world. We were only created to really be able to take in or carry the weight of our community struggles on shoulder in our current, you know, slice of couple of blocks of Manhattan or wherever it might be. And now we’re in this place where we have so much information being thrown at us that it can feel like there’s just chaos going on all the time. When really, this has been, there’s been chaos throughout the world for centuries. We just hear about it now because we have information in our hands, a lot of the things that are being flagged by all these news organizations are the most extreme stuff.
Allen Wolf: You’re both working in very challenging fields where a lot of people would like to work but few are able to what are some key things that you feel like have helped get you where you are today.
Elizabeth Davis: Well, you can’t care about being famous. You can’t care. The work must be what you care about, you have to care about telling the story. So you have to care about the craft and also, I think, the balance of family is really important. I definitely have gone through my identity crisis, creative crises, which, you know, we’ve kind of alluded to. I think the pandemic was a good moment to just say, oh well, okay, I’m not on Broadway right now, and I thought I was supposed to be. Okay. Well, not shooting that film. That’s not what my identity is. I’m not rocked to the core. and so therefore, I somehow feel more stable to tell more adventurous stories. I feel as if I have more staying power because I just carry a little less than perhaps I did before. Maybe that’s just aging but I do think it is a bit of a secret. It’s just you bust your tail over and over and over. Not because you’re just endlessly ceaselessly to strive. It’s going back to this idea of staying here. Know your craft, know your theater history. Know who the artisans were, break apart your script. Be an actual Craftsman.
Jordan Richard: Allen, as a filmmaker you can probably attest to this. People are chasing fame because they see the surface product, and don’t see all the hard work that’s gone into that product under the surface. And to be fair, social media has created these celebrities, in reality TV people, that are famous for just being famous.
At some point, you have to just keep creating and create for the sake of creation, not for the sake of, this is going to make me famous or this is going to make me money or going to make other people happy. I mean, even in the field that I’m in, I still have plays that I’m writing and short films that I’m writing and Elizabeth is constantly. She just finished the album, but she has three other plays that are in the works that people are wanting to produce. And, none of that is paying the rent right now. But it might it might three years from now or two years from now, but it wouldn’t, if we didn’t prioritize the creation of things.
Elizabeth Davis: As a family, we try to say this is not a means to an end, but it’s simply the end in and of itself. If this never goes any further, whatever it may be, there was a purpose and a meaning to this thing and we offer it as our gift and that could be the end, you know, if it has another life, if it ends up being a means to an end, great.
Allen Wolf: @hen you look back at your choices and life and your career, is there anything that you wish you had done differently?
Jordan Richard: We’re people of faith and so we believe that God has a plan for our lives. Even though it might not look like what our plan for our life would look like. I came to New York City the last semester of my college career, and I had an internship with a film director and an internship at Good Morning America, and I thought, no way is Good Morning America going to pan out. And the doors just kept flying open with Good Morning America. That was my first job. I was there for five years and I look back and I go, I can’t believe I have been able to live in New York City, you know, it allowed me to have enough money to date Elizabeth, to put a ring on her finger.
Elizabeth Davis: I’m an expensive date.
Jordan Richard: Because if I would have been pursuing, no, I’m just saying, if I would have been pursuing film at that time in my life, we probably would have missed each other.
Elizabeth Davis: I can’t exactly pinpoint regrets in my life. I don’t think that I have regrets, but I think maybe in saying that is me saying I cannot judge the former version of myself for not knowing the things I know now. Instead of regretting things, I think choosing to live in a continuous cycle of learning and growing and grace is forming the new version of myself.
Allen Wolf: And you mentioned your spiritual Journeys. Can you tell me what your spiritual journeys have looked like?
Jordan Richard: My grandfather was a Christian, Baptist evangelist Mexican man, who traveled the country with…
Allen Wolf: That was a lot of words. He was what again?
Jordan Richard: He was a Christian evangelist, which means he traveled around the country to different churches, all over, preaching, what they would call revivals. This was like, you know, 1960s and 70s and 80s.
Allen Wolf: Okay, like tent revivals?
Jordan Richard: Some tent revivals. Yeah, those sort of things. Probably less sweaty than you see in the movies. I’m just thankful that there was a legacy of faith in my family that I was able to stand on that helped shape my character at a young age. I feel like Christianity has always been the north star that has led me on different paths to where I was going when I came to New York City. I believe it was God who was opening doors for my career to continue going in the way that it went, even though it wasn’t at the time the way that I was expecting it to go. But it allowed me to set up this life in New York City and reconnect with Elizabeth and for us to get married. And so we’re heavily involved in our church. It’s just something that’s very central for our family.
Allen Wolf: So it sounds like from an early age faith became part of your journey. Has it just been steady ever since.
Elizabeth Davis: Steady as it can be naturally. Once you fall in love with Christ, is what happened to me, those disciplines of faith that I was trained up in by my mom and my dad eventually, when I fell in love with Christ, those became real and flourished into an outpouring of how my faith expressed itself in my life.
Allen Wolf: And what are disciplines of faith?
Jordan Richard: You know, going to church on a weekly basis, reading the Bible, and finding out more of what I actually believe, prayer. Things of that nature that, you know, when your parents talk about it, you go, “Why are we doing this?” But the more and more you do it, the more you understand why you do it. And then a light turns on in your head, I would say, more in your soul, where you go, “Oh, I get it now. Christ was the most amazing loving person that ever walked the face of the Earth. And if I want to try to love on those around me, then it would only make sense that I would follow him. And I would try to love on people the way he loved on people which was all the way to the cross and back.
Allen Wolf: Can you describe your spiritual journey, Elizabeth?
Elizabeth Davis: I also grew up in a very devout family and devotion to that has been sustaining as an artist. Often times, actors in particular feel that there’s a disconnect between what we do and what a Christian faith is and what my faith journey has been is discovering actually the fusion of those two things and being so surprised by that over and over being so pleasantly enamored by God the artist. I’m actually working on a book called “Incarnation Acting: A So Far Memoir.”
I was doing his and we were talking about Kuyperion sphere sovereignty, and Abraham Kuyper was a theologian. Just one specific class on Kuyper’s ideology on art and essence was about the division between sacred and secular and saying that that is a misnomer. There is no division between sacred and secular art. And I just remember bawling, just weeping, feeling as if someone had cracked my life open. I’m interested in telling stories that depict all of the huge range of emotions of human beings and discovering that is a holy task. That God is not going to smote me for telling a human story. And that release, though it seems sophomoric, is something that I live in the freedom of every day. I tell human stories and God loves humans. That’s the thesis for what my faith journey has been: discovering God, the artist.
Jordan Richard: Elizabeth also talks about the idea of Christ, being God, who put on flesh and heart.
Elizabeth Davis: Dr. Timothy Keller says it, I remember him in a conversation once saying, “Actors are like Jesus in that they make the words flesh,” and it being the most profound thing anyone could have ever told me. That there is something holy about stepping into the shoes of another person to represent them, to give them life, to breathe life into their story and to really put flesh on the words that were speaking. It is a holy task to incarnate character. Okay, so that’s what keeps me in this industry too, of feeling like this is a call to be empathic, to also to love characters as much as God loves. Okay, I don’t agree with this character I’m playing. I don’t have to agree with them. I’m not called to agree with the character I play. There’s a division between Elizabeth the person, Elizabeth the actor or the character. That was also a very hard won lesson.
Allen Wolf: I imagine there must be a lot of skepticism toward faith in New York City. How do you navigate that?
Elizabeth Davis: Elizabeth just loves on people. And then at some point when people get a little inside, closer to her and get to know her a little better, and then they find out that she’s a person of faith. Sometimes it’s shocking to them, but a lot of times it’s not shocking because they were like, “oh, yeah, that makes sense because of the way that you’re kind and loving and gracious and accepting and welcoming.”
Elizabeth Davis: As people who believe that God loves us and came to redeem the world and like, give us a second chance at life, there’s a beautiful easy confidence.
Allen Wolf: What advice do you have for someone who wants a career as an actor?
Elizabeth Davis: The logistics may be differen now for someone with the resources and with the social tools that we have now, and I don’t want to pretend as if the logistical journey would look, some would look the same to mine. What would translate? It is being really well read. Read as many plays as you can, read as many scripts as you can, learn the players in your fields. Listen to cast albums, watch films, as it goes back to being curious about the form, finding a niche.
Like for me, the violin opened up a really specific pathway that I wasn’t expecting. If you also are an incredible figure skater, or also an incredible figure skater.
Jordan Richard: Elizabeth says that because I’m an incredible figure skate.
Elizabeth Davis: Yes, like trombone player. I don’t know. But what you know, is there a way that you can create a fusion or a trifecta of skill that makes you really unique and special, right? Those intersections are like inflection points where things, exciting things happen.
Jordan Richard: There are eight million people in New York City and seven million of them are actors.
Elizabeth Davis: Don’t lie.
Jordan Richard: And so if there’s one way that you can distinguish yourself from another person just to make yourself stand out in a casting call, don’t be afraid to lean into those things.
Elizabeth Davis: Yeah, the things that you hate. You know, someone listening to this is like, I don’t know, you know, I wish that I didn’t have, you know, wiry red hair. Why God, why? What does that make your pain your purpose, then get really, really good. Lin Manuel Miranda talked about this: pick your lane and stay in your lane until the end. Then at some point, the lane will broaden. Specificity then becomes universal.
Allen Wolf: What about for you, Jordan? What advice would you have for someone who wants to work in news?
Jordan Richard: I think you could attest to this as a director. You first need to have a strong grasp on the fundamentals and then just work your butt off. Understand what a good framing of a shot looks like, understand the best way to tell a story, and whatever your medium is, and then pursue it. My biggest regret, if I can do a throwback, was not being more specific about what I wanted to do.
When I first got to New York City, and doors were opening for me, small doors at the time, but doors no less, that kept me in New York City. I was so overwhelmed that I was here and that people were paying me to work in the greatest city in the world that I wasn’t incredibly clear about what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. So I think I could have been a lot more specific early on and saying that right there is exactly what I want to do. But I think for somebody that wants to work in television news, you kind of have to at some point become a junkie about it and watch a lot of TV. Watch a lot of, get familiar with camera framings when people use Steadicam versus when they use a jib, try to break in a local market. So many people start off in their local market, whether it’s Amarillo, Texas or Des Moines, Iowa. And so many people take small jumps to bigger markets, a bigger market before, you know, it, you’re in New York City. And so, that’s what a lot of people do. I went a completely bonkers route, and I got an internship, and I just refused to go away. I was like, I’m not moving back to Texas. I’m staying in New York. So somebody’s going to give me a job eventually. And thankfully they did.
Allen Wolf: At the end of your lives, what kind of legacy would you like to leave behind?
Elizabeth Davis: We’ve moved into a new home and currently, in our office, we have a lot of representation of our work. And we have decided that all of our show posters, all of Jordan’s New York Emmy nominations, all of this stuff is going to stay in this room. We’re not going to put it in the hall or the living room or a bedroom. It’s going to stay here because there’s one section of our life that’s about work.
But the other sections of our life are about commitment to family, to faith, to our prayer over our son is that he would be a fulcrum of wisdom, that’s actually I have in calligraphy and framed. I think, perhaps, the way that we’re laying out our house hopefully is indicative of how we want our legacy to go, which is yeah, work was a was a part of our lives and we loved it and we’re thankful deeply for it. But it’s not the whole story. I want our family tree to be one where people are winsome and bold because they are secure in the fact that they are loved by their family and loved by the eternal God, and whatever path they choose for their career, that’s fine. May they use their gifts.
Jordan Richard: I think you’d want to be a multi-Tony nominee, not just single Tony nominee.
Elizabeth Davis: Okay.
Jordan Richard: Legacy with these shelves would have less books and more awards on them. No, we’re so good at compartmentalizing things. If we were to blur the lines of the compartmentalization, I think we’d want to be known among our family friends and co-workers, as people who were loving people who would do anything…
Elizabeth Davis: For a quick buck?
Jordan Richard: A quick buck. What do you want on your tombstone? Cheese and pepperoni. Remember that old commercial?
Elizabeth Davis: Sure.
Jordan Richard: It’s just one of those things, especially coming out of a pandemic, there are so many people who lost loved ones and you think about what’s going to be said at your eulogy. I mean honestly, I hope no one really talks too much about my work at my eulogy. That would be a good legacy to leave behind is that people didn’t talk about the stuff I directed as much. They talked about the way I made them feel and the relationships that I invested in now.
Elizabeth Davis: Deep stuff.
Allen Wolf: Thank you so much for being my guests, Jordan and Elizabeth.
Jordan Richard: Thank you for having us.
Allen Wolf: Thank you for sharing about your lives and your journeys and being so open about what you’ve been through and all the ups and downs.
Elizabeth Jordan: Yeah, thank you for asking.
Allen Wolf: If you work in entertainment, be sure to check out the courses and other resources available at navigatinghollywood.org. There are courses for pre-marriage and marriage and the Alpha Hollywood course, which gives entertainment professionals the chance to explore the most important questions of life. You can find out more at navigatinghollywood.org. If you use the invitation code “podcast,” the courses are complimentary. Please follow us and leave us a review so others can discover this podcast. You can find out more about our other shows, you can read transcripts, and see links and more at navigatinghollywood.org. I look forward to being with you next time.