How can a guy that makes movies with exploding entrails sit in a booth across from me sipping a white mocha? On top of that he uses “please” and “thank you” like salt and pepper; he’s a really polite, white mocha sipping (oh look, whip cream on the tip of his nose) Indiana University graduate that loves hack and slash flicks.
He doesn’t watch them for the thrill of terror, it’s a little more analytical than that. “I’m the type of guy that while everyone else is saying ‘oooo, yuck’, I’m saying ‘how’d they do that?’,” Jakob explained.
He’s busy these days with finishing up filming a feature length movie in Southern Indiana, including locations in Dubois County, directing the Actor’s Community Theatre production of Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” (opening Feb. 3 at Jasper Arts Center), directing and editing a web series, and preparing for his next movie to be filmed later in 2012.
The feature length movie Jakob is finishing up is called “Three Tears on Bloodstained Flesh”. The slasher flick is about a small town with a sinister secret and was written, directed, produced, and edited by his production company, Cinephreak Pictures. With so many steps in movie making, it isn’t easy for Jakob who also has a full time job that requires him to schedule periods of marathon filming and long nights of white mocha and Red Bull induced euphoric editing.
During filming of “Three Tears” Jakob had to schedule filming around his “real job”. This required eleven days and nights of driving between Huntingburg and Evansville sets and scheduling outside shoots around rainy weather; a large night scene was shot near Huntingburg. With vacation time spent he still has some filming left to do and plans on accomplishing it over a three day weekend here and there. It’s hectic and Jakob loves it.
You can see it in his eyes as he films, the intensity Jakob has for his art is invigorating. He realized this was what he wanted to do early in life when he stumbled onto film-making through his propensity to avoid school projects. “If we had to do a class presentation I would talk to the teacher and see if I could show a movie instead,” Jakob explained. “I would edit together clips and dub my voice over and put in music and sound effects. I usually picked stuff that wasn’t appropriate and I got in trouble a lot.”
The passion truly took hold during an English class project on anything the class had studied that year. “So, I was into Shakespeare at the time and I wanted to make a film version of “Hamlet”,” he explained, “instead of swords I wanted to do it with guns, but we didn’t have prop guns so I borrowed a friend’s dad’s actual guns. Yeah it was really bad, but I was a Quentin Tarrantino fan at the time and I just wanted this big showdown.”
Jakob showed the fifteen minute movie in class and got a standing ovation when it was done. “Other kids in high school, not people I hung out with, started coming up to me and telling me how cool it was that I had made a movie,” he said. “and I worked so hard at it, but I loved every moment of it.”
After high school Jakob went to Murray State University for Fine Arts but turned away from it and transferred to IU for a degree in film. He graduated and since has written/directed/edited/produced over 20 music videos and shorts, including his latest short, “Obsolescence”. His first feature, “Shade of Grey” was released everywhere DVD’s are sold online in 2010. “Three Tears on Bloodstained Flesh” is his second feature and he says that in spite of his reputation as a horror film maker, this is his first official foray into the genre.
Obviously Jakob’s characters don’t mirror his life nor does he live in house of horrors. “When I think about my life, if I imagine my best life it’s dull and boring,” he said. “But my movies are different, I want my life like this (boring) but I want my movies the opposite and I think a lot of people want to be scared. These are stories, (they are) an experience. I think it’s something that’s universal and human and connected.”
His longest running and most recognizable work is a 70’s grindhouse action short called “Foxxy Madonna vs the Black Death”. “This was filmed at a weekend film fest. We drew espionage for our genre and although technically it stretches beyond that genre a bit, it won in its category and has had a great run of film contests and reviews since.”
Jakob was hired to direct “The Mousetrap” for the Actor’s Community Theatre, it begins it’s run on Friday evening (Feb. 3). Although he’s done a lot of film direction this is new for him. “I’m having a blast with this. It’s nice to try something new as a director.” Jakob said. “It’s a great group, I couldn’t ask for a better cast. There’s already been talk of doing this again in the future.”
Jakob isn’t looking to film the next movie blockbuster. Success has a different definition for him. “It’s successful if I make a film and it gets me to the next film I want to make, I’m not interested in the finished product. I love the creative process. As long as I can make another film I’m happy,” he explained. “It may be selfish but I am really only making movies for me, if you try to make everyone happy, your not gonna make anyone happy and then you’ll be miserable. If I make something I’m proud of and the cast and crew can be proud of it, then it’s a success.”