The Filmmaker: Amy Jacobowitz

April 15, 2013

Let’s see, where do I begin with Amy? We met soon after she graduated from college. I was putting my blog together and she helped with the loading, coding and aspect ratio’ing of things. I remember thinking within the first five minutes of our meeting, “Damn, this girl is smart, she must think I’m an idiot.” If so, she never let on… she was always so nice, brilliant, helpful and proactive. I knew she would be going places… really far places…  

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About a year later, Amy announces that she has some exciting news. I’m thinking, oh cool, she’s moving to Paris, or getting another puppy, or buying a big house, or starting her own business (projecting all of my fantasies onto this exciting announcement). She proceeds to announce that she entered a competition, and was selected to go to Doha, Qatar to film a short film that she wrote. Roman Coppola and The Directors Bureau would be producing, and Lee Toland Krieger would be directing. I’m thinking, “Huh? She writes too??” After the news sunk in, I was doing imaginary cartwheels and thoroughly enjoying all the excitement my talented friend deserved.

Amy went for it. She entered a competition, and won! And now she’s on her way to far places. Really far places!

where are you from?
i was born and raised in culver city, california.

what did you want to be when you were a kid?
i always wanted to do something with writing. for a while i thought i would write books, and then there was a very long period of time where i wanted to be the speechwriter for the president (as if there was one person who had this position, and it didn’t change per speech or term). this was during bill clinton’s presidency, and i remember writing him a letter when i was in second grade. i received what was, i’m sure, a very personal response from mr. clinton himself.

what do you do now?
i currently work as the pr manager over at an amazing advertising agency in santa monica, 180LA. besides that, i spend my weekends and evenings writing and seeing movies when i can!

what was it like at the dinner table when you were growing-up?
some of my fondest memories are from family dinners growing up. my mom worked part-time while my sister and i were in elementary school, and my dad worked less than a mile from our home, so they were both always present. my mom would usually cook dinner and we would sit around the table and tell stories about our days, my mom always making a point for everyone to share something nice that we did for another person – a “mitzvah” as we said in our jewish family (“meshpuchah” in hebrew). as i got older, i remember rolling my eyes at this tradition, but it’s something i look back at and really love.

what is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to you?
i’d say this last month of my life has probably been the most exciting yet. in august, i submitted a short script to the four stories competition, sponsored by w hotels, intel, vice, and roman coppola and the directors bureau. the competition stipulated that entries had to be no longer than 10 minutes, include one of four given w hotel locations (washington dc, mexico city, barcelona, or doha), and feature the new intel ultrabook as a character. i wrote a script and submitted it, not thinking too much of it. and lo and behold, a little over a month ago i was in doha, qatar shooting this film with an amazing cast, crew, and director. a few weeks ago, i saw my words spoken on the big screen at the red carpet premiere in westwood, sitting alongside roman coppola, jason schwartzman, and others. it’s mind-blowing.

when you are writing or creating, you have to be open to your work being malleable, especially in this field where a script can start one way and be transformed into something you never imagined.

what is the lesson in going for it?
this sounds counter-intuitive, but i really believe that you can’t hold any one idea to be too precious. not that i am a huge “success story” per se, but i see friends and colleagues of mine develop an idea and covet it like it is a treasure. when you are writing or creating, you have to be open to your work being malleable, especially in this field where a script can start one way and be transformed into something you never imagined. it can be disheartening, but the idea is that you can’t hold any one thing to be too sacred. you have to have faith in yourself, your intuition, and your unique brain power that there are so many more wonderful ideas where that one came from!

what do you want to be doing in five years?
ideally, i will be writing and producing my own material. whether that be television, film, short film, branded content, what have you. i want to be creating – and most importantly, working with people who want to be creating as well. i lucked out this past year with this competition and getting to work alongside lee toland krieger, who i admire immensely, and i want to keep up that impetus of working with the right people. wherever that puts me in the world, i’m fine with, though i love my city of los angeles. i would love to be able to live relatively close to my sister, who is getting married next year (and may be starting a family of her own within five years), and our parents who still live on that quiet block in culver city.

if you could spend time with anyone throughout history who inspires you, who would it be and why?
i would love to go on a wild gonzo journalistic ride with hunter s. thompson and (fingers crossed!) live to tell the tale!

favorite music?
while working: simon and garfunkel, cat stevens, beirut
while playing: the alabama shakes, the black keys, jay-z, lcd soundsystem, mos def
and i know it’s not music, but if you put on a cd of louis ck stand-up at any time, i am guaranteed to listen to it all the way through (and probably fall off my chair laughing)

what do you collect?
i used to collect everything when i was a kid (my mom would be pleased to show you the many boxes in her garage), but i’ve tried to be much more minimalist in the last couple of years since i have moved many times. mostly i collect books (or new, different copies of books) by my favorite authors: dave eggers, david foster wallace, jonathan franzen, etc. oh, and val kilmer movies. i have no justification there, i just love him.

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