In the Loop
Alumni News : Oct 21, 2016

From New York, to Gainesville to Hollywood, UF grad makes a name for himself

By Abigail Friedman

Jason Weiss (MFA ‘11) is the Executive Director of Theatre of Arts in LA. Founded in 1927, Theatre of Arts boasts 26 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is associated with titans of the theatre industry such as Michael Chekhov, Max Reinhardt and Marilyn Monroe.

“I am sitting in the same chair as Michael Chekhov, I have the plays that he wrote notes in, I hold them in my hand and it’s like I’m holding the mantel,” Weiss said.

Weiss, in a word, is tireless. More than running a prominent theatre school, Weiss also is “top dog” at his own production company, Dog House Films, an international communication consultant, owner and operator of JW studios, and is also directing, producing and writing his own content. The role Weiss is most proud of, however, is that of a connecter.

“I love connecting these big people. More important than who you know is, who knows you,” explained Weiss.

Weiss successfully worked for years as a New York based actor before heading back to graduate school.  He ultimately decided to attend UF after sitting in on one of Dr. Yanci Bukovec’s voice classes.

“I heard Yanci and was like, ‘that is what I want to sound like’ and immediately told them ‘yes,’” Weiss recounted.   

The University of Florida was formative for Weiss. 

“Three of the most important things to ever happen to me, happened to me at UF:  I studied under Yanci and he changed me as a performer, I met my future wife, and I became a Gator fan,” Weiss said.

More than the training he received, Weiss appreciated the artistic community he found in Gainesville.  

“I made a great, interesting artistic family,” Weiss said. “We maintain relationships to this day, and I can count on them as friends and artists.”

Weiss encourages all young actors to create their own content and simply saying “you just have to be great.” Weiss hopes to one day run his own studio and “be the one who says yes.”