fatherhood + creativity: jimmy giggle

jimmy Giggle

We usually interview Aussie mothers in our Motherhood + Creativity series but today we look at fatherhood – with a very familiar face: Jimmy Rees, aka Jimmy Giggle aka Hoot’s BFF.

Tell us about your work. Why is it important to you?

In a nutshell, I talk to puppet owls in my pyjamas for a living.
I love it because I get to be myself (sort of) and bring my creativity to the scripts. And of course the amazing kids who watch the show, they are why we do it and it’s wonderful to think our job is to make them happy.

Did your parents encourage creativity when you were growing up? 

Oh yeah, big time. My mum was a stay-at-home mum and devoted her time to bringing up my brothers and I. She always had creative things for us to do.

We had a council reserve next to our place as well, and mum and dad just let us run mad in there. We explored every corner of it, built cubby houses; my dad even mowed a bike track through the long grass.

I also loved TV programs like Play School and Art Attack which encouraged creativity.

I was always trying to entertain my family at home, putting on puppet shows with my brothers or singing concerts. In high school, I followed in my older brother’s footsteps and hit the stage in school musicals. From there I gained an affinity with the stage and live performance.

What does it mean to you to be an Australian creative, who is also a parent?

Being creative and a parent is a wonderful combination!

I think there is a level of creativity you have to have as a parent anyway – you just have to kind of go with the flow and improvise a lot.

The entertainment industry is a great place to have a career and I think it’s awesome to be able to take Lenny along for the ride too.

final-jimmy-reesDoes Lenny inspire your creativity, and if so, how?

Yeah, he totally does. Now I have an audience to try out my material. He loves to play music and explore the world. It’s fun to test him and get creative to entertain him or just excite him.

What does a typical day involve for you? What’s your creative process like?

I wake up, get out of my PJs, go to work and get straight back into my PJs. On a shooting day, we start early in the morning and try to get through as many segments as we can. The day is fast paced so I’m learning lines as quickly as I can and rehearsing with the funny props. Then we shoot a segment and move on to the next crazy scene.

I’m a person who loves to just get up and play around with the props and costumes to see what we can make funny.

So the creative process for me is trialling different options in front of the camera. I find if I can make the crew laugh, it’s in.

Because it’s fast paced, we’re flying by the seat of our pants to a degree which I love. In a way, it brings a certain authenticity to the scenes.

 

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Is there anything you’d like to share with other dads who may be trying to combine their lives as creatives and caretakers?  

Just to know that it’s possible. I think there is a tendency to think that not having a nine-to-five job is very hard on a family, but I think there are always things you can do to keep being creative whilst being a parent.

My other piece of advice would be to look at your kids as inspiration; they are amazing muses.

What do you love most about being an artist, and what are some challenges?

The best aspect of it is bringing something to the table that everyone laughs at. That first reaction from people is a great feeling and it makes my job especially great. I get to be myself and showcase my talents under the guise of Jimmy Giggle.

I don’t have many challenges in my current job really, but I will say it is a difficult industry to get a handle of. It’s challenging getting your ideas and projects off the ground without the proper support.

What would be your dream project?

I would love to have my own show that entertains adults someday. I don’t know, maybe there is a space for a Jimmy Fallon-style tonight show in Australia?! That would be my dream.

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Words Lana Al Habl / Images of Jimmy and his family from his Instagram