Julie Brady Jenner is a full-time instructor at Saddleback College teaching television and film. (Kseniya Taranyuk/Lariat )
Picture yourself getting locked in a bathroom with Bette Midler or being in Fritz Feld’s house playing piano with his wife Virginia Christine. Imagine if your weekends were spent in Fiji or Australia and when you flew home you had time to spend with your family, but also teach what you love with an amazing mentor by your side.
Sounds impossible, but Julie Brady Jenner has accomplished all this and so much more.
Currently an instructor here at Saddleback College, Jenner has been teaching full time for 27 years, but throughout that time has also found time to raise a family, have a production company with her husband and work for ESPN, traveling the globe producing, writing and directing.
“I started as a camera women,” Jenner said. “But they would say ‘do you want to shoot the event or do you want to stay back home and edit it’ and we had a team that kind of rotated so I started off as a camera woman and then I ended up producing a lot and directing and I also wrote a lot of the shows.”
Jenner traveled five days a week, year round and on top of that she would co-teach the other two days of the week at Saddleback with her mentor Bob Cohen who was the department chair of TV at the time. This wasn’t easy and required a lot of dedication, but Jenner fell in love with cinema from the first time she attended a TV class.
“I would come back from Fiji or Australia or somewhere and when I flew in and I literally got off the plane and went to class.” Jenner said. “People would ask me how my ‘vacation’ was and it’s hard to sell that with 12 hours in the sun, it’s really hard work but the fact is you’re in Fiji.”
Jenner produced a series called “Women in Cinema” having a list of women that she really wanted to talk to. Around this time her daughter Caroline had just been born. Jenner was two months into maternity leave when she decided to call one of her inspirations Robin Swicord.
“She had just finished ‘Little Women’ the remake and it was so beautiful,” Jenner said. “So, I just called and expected to speak to her assistant and she (Robin Swicord) answered the phone herself and I ended up having her come down here to Saddleback and speak, later meeting for tea up in Santa Monica at her house where I did an interview for my series.”
This ultimately led to Jenner getting the opportunity to archival interviews for the writer’s guild because Mel Shavelson who was doing the interview and knew all the movie’s stars and the writer fell ill. Angela Carigo was in charge of the interviews said “I don’t know what we’re going to do” and Jenner’s new friend Swicord said “Oh I have someone for you.” They then called Jenner and every Friday she would go up to the guild and for five hours she would interview as her husband would shoot.
“I got to interview the ‘I Love Lucy’ writers like Bob Schiller,” Jenner said. “I also got to edit the people I had missed that Bob got to interview like Sydney Sheldon, who did ‘I Dream of Genie’ and Carl Reiner. It was amazing, because these were all the writers I grew up with.”
She got her associates degree at Saddleback and bachelor’s degree at California State University, Fullerton in telecommunications, later getting her master’s degree at San Diego State University.
Jenner credits Saddleback saying “Saddleback really prepared me for all of this the best” with all of her producing for channels on it its campus.
“My mom is an amazing woman,” Jenner said. “My dad was also an amazing guy and they always told me be what you want to be.”
Growing up in a very tight-knit family, Jenner’s parents, aunts and uncles always encouraged her to follow her dreams, but, always insisted hard work achieves dreams. She also doesn’t credit her success to any single person, instead all the people she’s met throughout the years because collectively they’ve all helped guide to where she is today.
“It’s really about the people you meet,” Jenner said. “And you meet them for a reason.”