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Realizing a Dream Behind the Spotlight: Jana Kondelova

Dream. So many of us forget to do this simple thing. Every child starts out with dreams, visions of themselves in the future; most of us relinquish these as we age but Jana Kondelova did not. The ultimate realization of this for her owes as much to her commitment and talent as it does to her flexibility. While we often think that the aspirations of those involved in film are focused on being in front of the camera, many like Jana find their passion on the other side of it. In her single digit years, Jana took delight in learning how to work with her father’s camera. Later, she felt that she might aspire to become a news anchor, but an interest in journalism led to her love of writing and stoked her desire to create stories without being seen in them. Present day has seen Kondelova establish herself as a key production member of some very well-known and lauded television shows. Recently this year she has signed on and is presently working on the upcoming film Call of the Wild, with such notable professionals as thrice Oscar nominated director Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch, How to Train Your Dragon, The Croods), Harrison Ford (Witness, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars), and Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Selfie, Guardians of the Galaxy). The projects in her past and present establish Jana as a valued and respected member of the global TV and Film industry.

Not every young girl watches her favorite TV show and then ends up working on it as an adult but Jana did just that way. As a teen, Kondelova watched ABC’s long running hit show Grey’s Anatomy with her family and loved it. As an adult, she worked on the pilot and first season spin-off series Station 19. It was a surreal experience for Jana. She describes, “I had just completed working on the most current season of TNT’s The Last Ship which starred Eric Dane, who was actually a main cast member of Grey’s Anatomy in the past. It was exciting for me but I maintained my professional demeanor. As soon as the season wrapped I got the call to work on the pilot of Station 19. It felt a bit like Grey’s Anatomy was linked to me somehow. While The Last Ship was already established by the time I started working on it, Station 19 was an exciting challenge because we were starting something completely new. We had to prove ourselves and I really liked that!” Many of Grey’s fans followed Station 19 and the show has received enormous praise. While she appreciates the detail oriented aspects of her work on the new hit, Kondelova states, “I love creativity. I have an MA in Journalism and always enjoy any type of brainstorming, creating, bringing new ideas. When I found out that (writer and creator) Stacy McKee was open to ideas for the name of this show (now Station 19), I really put myself into it. I was reading the script over and over again every single day in order to come up with some ideas that she might like; and I think I did. When I was studying journalism, we had an interesting class where most of the time we were reading random articles and tasked to come up with as many great and unique ideas as we could. This situation was very similar to what I was trying to do for Stacy McKee. I came up with a few ideas that were sent over to Stacy and among them was Station 19. I know that writers, other producers, and Stacy McKee herself had this idea as well but it was nice to see that I was on the same page as them without even knowing what idea they would go with at the end.”

Part of the challenge of being talented and appreciated for your work is constantly being in demand. In the same way that Jana’s exceptional work on The Last Ship led her to immediately being brought on to work on the pilot and first season of Station 19, the conclusion of the show’s first season made Kondelova available for the feature film Call of the Wild, currently in early filming stages. While Jana remains tight lipped about the production, leaks reveal that this incarnation of the classic Jack London tale will be full of VR effects and Technoprops. Modern films like Avatar and Jungle Book have proven that the visual tools available to filmmakers have made creating previously unimaginable worlds manifest before one’s very eyes. With names like Chris Sanders and Harrison Ford involved in this film, the deluge of attention has already begun.

Though she is constantly looking for new challenges and avenues to learn and vet herself, Jana has the mindfulness to reflect for perspective. She relates, “Coming from a small town in Slovakia of approximately 18,000 people, considering the whole path and everything that I had to go through to work alongside world famous’s personally humbling and inspiring. I think what really makes me happy is that some people started seeing me as a role model. It’s the best feeling in the world and reassures you that the difficult times were all worth it. It doesn’t matter that you don’t sleep sometimes or that you are tired and exhausted. You just have to keep doing it. Never give up and always see your goals through. Do not lose them from your sight and the rewards will be there one day.”

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