Interview: Producer Schalet Jackson on “Cadia: The World Within”

Schalet Jackson is a producer and actor who hails from Ada, Ohio.  She’s the oldest of four siblings and established her three career goals in the fourth-grade: music education, law and acting. She graciously answered by questions about those pursuits continue to this day as well as her recent work on the fantasy film Cadia: The World Within, which was the directorial feature film debut of actor/filmmaker Cedric Gegel and was shot locally including sequences in the Wapakoneta, Ohio area.

Cedric said you were “so vital as producer” and that you “saved our lives and are very kind.”

Wow. (laughing) That’s very nice of him to say that.

Please describe your educational experiences.

I grew up in Lima, Ohio and to went Perry. I eventually went into military service as an active-duty soldier in United States Army where I worked as a food inspection specialist with combat medic duties. That lasted about 5 years.

My education continued with a bachelor’s degree in music education from Ohio Northern University and a master’s degree in education from Bluffton University plus a one-year doctorate from Northwest.

…and your musical education career.

In 2001, I was Music and Home Arts teacher for five years and recipient of the 2006 Mr. Holland’s Opus Teacher of the Year Award by the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation in Studio City, California.

What other teaching experiences can you share?

I worked with students with a variety of disabilities ranging in ages from a couple of weeks to 58 years old. That was with the Allen County Board of DD. Every approach needed a carefully planned foundation. Every day is an adventure and depends on how you approach things in a different manner. You have to hone into everyone’s strengths and look for areas of opportunities (I don’t like to say weakness). Again, every day is an adventure.

In 2006 you transitioned from music education to labor law and you have more than ten years of experience as an Ohio Education Association Labor Relations Consultant. 

Yes. That was right before acting. I’m in my fourteenth year now. I love the public speaking aspect of the work. The advocacy. The organizing depends on where you’re at. You have to recognize commonality and try to identify well with other people.

Then in 2013, you earned your first acting credit. 

Yes, in a movie in Chicago (they’re still trying to finalize that film).

Describe your acting experience.

With every set that I’m on, I have deep respect for people behind the camera. The director and writers out there. The DP (director of photography), production assistant. You cannot take anything for granted. Then with my eventual producing, there is constant negotiation even after wrapping. Lots of work in distribution.

Describe your work on Cadia: The World Within

It’s so great to reap in the benefits now. It’s so special and I appreciate how awesome that is. We’ve been very fortunate. When it was being made Cedric called me one day to get me on board. “The worst you can say is no,” he said. Of course, I joined and was in constant conversation with him throughout the project. I felt like a mother trying to help them along their way. I’m so proud.

What are some of your future projects and plans?

With this film, we’re trying to finalize distribution and promote it more. Maybe I’ll get behind the camera someday. I always appreciate all the networking. The people that adore me and help me as I put aside my goals a bit to help them.

Thank you so much.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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