2 Minutes With ... Jessica Babila, SVP of Digital Marketing at Stampede Studios
Jessica Babila is a marketing veteran with expertise in digital marketing campaigns for genre hits such as Smile and Scream, plus Oscar-winners such as 12 Years A Slave, Birdman and The Revenant.
She began her career at Fox Atomic, a young adult-focused content unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, later moving to New Regency Productions. From blockbusters to time-honored classics, Jessica has collaborated with some of the world's most acclaimed directors, actors and producers. After New Regency, Jessica transitioned to Stampede Studios, playing an integral role in the execution of theatrical, television and streaming titles.
We spent two minutes with Jessica to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations and recent work she's admired.
Jessica, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
Born and raised LA.
Why you pursued a career in entertainment.
Growing up in Los Angeles I was surrounded by the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Walking out of my door I could easily see a film being shot or had the opportunities to attend live TV tapings. Early on, I was enamored by all of it and knew I had to be part of the magic in some way. Luckily I was able to snag internships in college at Warner Bros. and Fox which influenced my path in the industry.
Three movies/TV shows you couldn't do without, and why.
The Goonies: The use of practical effects along with the chemistry between all cast members, makes it so special. They built a pirate ship just for this movie for goodness sake! The Goonies showed me that a group of friends, despite being from different backgrounds and classes, could band together to achieve a goal. That core value is something I grew up on and continue with in my everyday life.
Scream: This is the film that changed the horror genre, I never knew I could laugh and be terrified all at once. It came out at a time when genre movies were dying and it basically reinvented the way we look at horror. There were so many happy accidents. For instance, Drew Barrymore was supposed to play Sidney but chose to be Casey Baker who gets killed off within the first 15 minutes (which was unheard of for big stars back then) and Marianne Maddalena finding the mask at a location scout. Everything just fell into place accordingly and showed us all that scary movies can be more than just tropes.
Back To The Future: Popcorn entertainment at it’s finest. I come back to this movie every year and it still holds up. Showcasing the perfect protagonist, villain and comic relief. Don’t forget it also has the one of the coolest, most iconic, sci-fi transportation vehicles with the DeLorean. We all know the greatness that is this film but what I learned most from it was how the team had to constantly pivot to achieve greatness. Like the Delorean was supposed to be a refrigerator, they shot Marty McFly with a different actor for a plethora of scenes, and a studio exec wanted the film to be called Spaceman from Pluto. Yes these are the trials and tribulations to making a movie, but they were able stand-by or have enough self-awareness to pivot accordingly. This is something I deal with on a regular basis in this industry and hope I can navigate my decisions as perfect as they did.
Your favorite movie trailer or poster.
The 1977 Star Wars poster. Fun fact I bought an original half-sheet poster when I was a kid for $20 at a garage sale. Someone was selling all their son’s memorabilia and I only had $20 in my pocket. They told me I could pick one thing out of the collection and that’s what I grabbed. I’m still in awe of the illustration.
One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on, and why.
Gone Girl. Every piece of marketing materials was very strategic. David Fincher was really hands on and pushed the marketing teams to put their best foot forward. Highlights included the Entertainment Weekly cover (shot by Fincher himself), the nuggets of clues we sprinkled throughout various outlets, Amazing Amy's pinterest board with diary entries and even creating the Amazing Amy book.
A recent project you're proud of, and why.
Scream V. We had to create magic from only the trailer and some special shoot footage. We usually get to read or see the film beforehand but in this case everything was so under wraps. This title really takes a fan who understands the franchise and genre. To be able to be a part of this campaign in a small way was a career highlight since I'm such a huge genre fan.
One thing about how entertainment marketing is evolving that you're excited about.
The use of A.I. is very interesting. I’m hoping there will be some sort of balance with its usage.
Someone else's work, in entertainment or beyond, that you admired lately.
Creepy Duck is absolutely amazing, his posters are so fresh and stunning. You can see his fandom resonating through the pieces and I admire his ability to execute so many stunning posters each year.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
Abbott Elementary. The show is so smart and the characters are endearing. I’m in awe of Quinta Brunson as the creator, producer and actress. Seeing strong female creators thriving is always inspiring for me and a great reminder about how hard our teachers work with such little resources.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
StarFighter is a visual artist I adore. She can paint the most stunning murals on gigantic buildings or even a simple canvas. I own a couple pieces of her earlier work and make sure to display them front and center in every room. I love the energy she's able to capture and project.
Your favorite fictional character.
Eleven from Stranger Things. She never gives up, is loyal, courageous, independent and has super powers!
Someone worth following in social media.
SmallTownWeirdo (Adam Bucci). He loves all things spooky and creates some very cool art.
Your main strength as a marketer/creative.
I'm a fangirl. I've stood in the Comic-Con lines, watched panels, immersed myself into these fictional worlds and spent hours dissecting films or tv shows. I use my experiences as research for any campaign I work on.
Your biggest weakness.
Overthinking something. As I write this, I'm overthinking that I'm telling the world my biggest weakness is overthinking. See where I’m going with this!?
Something people would find surprising about you.
I really enjoy directing. I get to dabble in it here and there at work but would love to direct a TV episode or film someday.
One thing that always makes you happy.
My dog Vinnie. He has the biggest dog smile that is hard to resist.
One thing that always makes you sad.
When others tear each other down instead of uplifting each other.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in entertainment.
Probably running a dog rescue or owning a spooky shop like The Mystic Museum.