Director, Writer, Photographer, Teacher,
and Public Speaker
Emmy Award Winning Director
Winner of Honored Artist of the Year
"I've probably said it a million times - but I owe so much of my recent success writing a script for Paramount and JJ Abrams to what you taught me." - Sarah Conradt-Kroehler, screenwriter of Dead of Winter
"Good structure is essential in screenplays, and John understands how to do this better than anyone. If you have the chance to work with him, jump at it!" - Liz Glotzer, President, Castlerock Pictures, producer of Shawshank Redemption, Before Midnight, The Myst, Sibling Rivalry, Mystic Pizza
"John Jacobsen is master storyteller."
"John is a seasoned Film Writer and Director, and an extraordinary mentor and teacher."
"If you have the opportunity to work with John Jacobsen... do it!"
"What a pleasure working with the amazing John Jacobsen. So kind, so patient, so wise, and so FUNNY! An "Actor's Director" in every sense of the phrase. Can't wait to see the commercial John!"
"We would not be where we are today were it not for the efforts and leadership of John Jacobsen."
"ARTHUR is BRILLIANT!"
"John knows more about structure than Robert McKee."
"He is, simply put, the best Director in Seattle, as well as one of the nation's leading screenwriting teachers."
"Certainly one of the best directors in the Pacific Northwest."
"John is the most amazing person to work with and learn from, and a fantastic director!"
"Of all the instructors I've learned from as I've studied film, John Jacobsen is among the top on my list. Smart. Communicative. Witty. Accessible. You'll never be sorry you studied with JJ."
"John is an expert in stage and camera acting."
"I love John Jacobsen!"
"John is my story sifu."
"John as an acting teacher is magical."
"Every time he teaches I want to be in that class."
"Truly one of the greats."
"Another poignant visually stunning film by John Jacobsen."
"Intense and powerful and a really well done film! Nice work, John Jacobsen!"
"John is a verified treasure."
"Washington's most accomplished director, John Jacobsen, has molded a ferocious evening of theatre."
"Jacobsen is probably the best director in town."
John, you are a visual genius! - Luanne Brown
"You are such a great storyteller!" - Robin Rather
"I cannot imagine a better acting coach."
"John Jacobsen's ex-quisitely fine-tuned direction shows up in every detail."
"It's no wonder you are such an artist." - Sharon Galloway
Once again, you nourish me with your words, John. - Lori Ritter
"All concerned were wise to hire John Jacobsen and their daring paid off in a superior mounting of this very illuminating play."
"It's a good thing that the fine director John Jacobsen was brought on as the script needed help and boy did he supply it."
"Of particular note is the decision to bring on director extraordinaire John Jacobsen."
"Your posts should keep your story-telling classes and speaking engagement calendar full to overflowing. Lovely, lovely, lovely." - Tracey Conway
"You are, quite simply, the best teacher I ever had."
@ my big bro jj...you're a really great person and you have helped me so much in life it's crazy...you are thoughful and sometimes you care about others! hahaha :-D but you're a really great friend and I'm glad 2 have you in my life. - Daniel, Little Brother in United Way Program
“A real industry insiders point of view.” - Robert Yount, director
"Facebook has now become like the magazine I get in the mail and flip straight to John Jacobsen to see what story he has for me today. I love reading your stories, and share them with husband and now-teenage son."
"What a great story, John. You really can take a story and make one want to read it to the end. That's a real talent."
"You are an amazing photgrapher." - Arminda
John is an extremely talented host, director and producer. I have met few people with his passion and creativity. I am constantly impressed by his ideas, his vision, and his diligence. I highly recommend working with him and would trust him with any project or task. - Sarah Laval Moga TV Producer, CBS
John is the most amazing person to work with and learn from and a fantastic director! - Eric Morgret, director of Maelstrom International Film Festival
John knows more about structure than Robert McKee... John is a master of plot-based scripting and a reliable evaluator of any script's strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, John is a gifted instructor, whose knowledge extends to directing and acting. I cannot imagine a better acting coach in the region, nor a more jauntily-attired one. John balances his wisdom with a DC wit, that both amuses and engages. - Warren Etheredge
John has the ability to dig straight to the soul of the stories I'm trying to tell. Blowing out the cobwebs and sifting through all the muck that I get mired in along the way, he gets me to remember why I wanted to tell those stories in the first place. All those fundamentals, the architecture of a good story, that I've studied relentlessly but nonetheless sometimes manage to neglect - after an hour with John, they're center-stage and make more sense than ever before. After a session with him, I leave with a clearer path ahead of me. But maybe even more importantly, I leave re-inspired, re-energized, re-ignited each time. I leave re-committed to keeping this dream alive. And that's priceless. - Sarah Conradt, writer of JJ Abrams' Dead of Winter
"John Jacobsen is a story teller at heart and it shows in his directing. Certainly one of the best directors in the Pacific Northwest, he approaches each project with a high level of professionalism and integrity. He has a keen eye for great shot composition and always shows dedication and commitment in his creative vision. I have developed some of my best scores in collaboration with John, resulting in many prestigious awards.
- Charles-Henri Avelange, Composer
"I would recommend John for any directing project based on his in-depth knowledge of the screenwriting process, his highly skilled work with actors and his unique ability to bring both story and actor to their highest place."
"As you examine the work John’s put out into the world, you appreciate his expertise."
"John Jacobsen one of my fav people -- professionally, creatively and personally (someone who totally gets the "human" in humanity). - Ryan, writer
"After working with John on an entire TV series I must say watching him work as a director is just magic." - Kevin Klar, Plan B Entertainment
Your structure classes are in a league of their own. I've never had anyone, not even on the internet, break it down so meticulously. - Matthew Taylor, writer
"Of all the instructors I've learned from as I've studied film, John Jacobsen is among the top on my list. Smart. Communicative. Witty. Accessible. You'll never be sorry you studied with JJ!"
"You are one of the best story tellers." - Laura
We would not be where we are today were it not for the efforts and leadership of John Jacobsen. In addition to teaching, John has managed the school from the very beginning, even when it meant running it out of his home. He's been a tireless advocate, mentor, and friend to so many of us. - Andrew Kwatinetz, Board President, TheFilmSchool
John Jacobsen is master storyteller. As a founder of TheFilmSchool in Seattle, John has been an inspiring mentor to several lucky students, enabling them to turn their story ideas into professional screenplays. In addition to his own screenwriting successes, his experience as a director and producer enriches his stellar ability to guide others in the craft of movie-making. Partnering with John means you'll get it done. - Alex Pederson, writer
You've made an enormous difference to me, in my life and in my writing. Your sensitivity encourages me to journey deeper into my memories and reveal both the pain and the joy. Awakening; it's a beautiful thing. Thank you for being you, John Jacobsen. - Leigh Straub, writer
John is an outstanding teacher, mentor, guide! My life literally changed in the most wonderful ways as a result of his tutelage and encouragement. - Leslie Asplund, director
John's in-depth understanding of screenwriting and his ability to direct actors based on that knowledge produces work that is remarkable in its intensity and respect for both story and actors. John's directing skills are equally evident in both the direction of his own stories and other peoples' work. His ability to bring skill and excitement to a project whether it's a screenplay he's written, another well known writer's work or a student screenplay speaks to his pure love of both story and directing actors. Actors love John. He has the rare ability to push actors to their greatest work without bruising the process or end result. I would recommend John for any directing project based on his in-depth knowledge of the screenwriting process, his highly skilled work with actors and his unique ability to bring both story and actor to their highest place. - Alex Landes, writer
Whether it's directing or writing or producing or teaching or being a dad, John seems to simply think "I can do that" and proceeds to do so with enthusiasm, creativity, and confidence. He just does it and does it very well. - Bob Morrisey, actor
No Hero's Journey is complete without a Mentor, and for many of us, John is that mentor. - Andrew Kwatinetz,
If you've ever thought about writing a screenplay or need a doctor to cure what ails the one you are writing, go to John Jacobsen - he's the best! - Peter Vogt
You are, quite simply, the best teacher I ever had. - Matt Howard, director
I love John Jacobsen! He's the best, most amazing acting coach and mentor! He's so supportive and really cares! He inspires me to be the best me I can be! - Rachelle Henry, actress
Patricia Moss: What an outstanding series! Mr. Jacobsen is an excellent interviewer.
Host John Jacobsen ... has a charming talent for coaxing insights and candor - KCET
I’ve worked with John long enough to know that he protects his actors; he appreciates what they bring to the character; he listens to minds and hearts in subtext; he makes them think and re-think; he asks for more; he intuits what is lacking; he polishes the story by helping his actors shine, thus polishing his actors. The great circle of film life…
John has shared his knowledge and skills with TheFilmSchool students for over a decade. As co-founder and Executive Director of TFS, he created a great entity that has benefited hundreds of students.
Coming in to TheFilmSchool with two screenplays in my desk, I thought I knew a little about storytelling and script writing. Ouch. What a good hurt to know there was so much more to know. John has opened the doors to film-hurt for all of us. He could write a fantastic book about structure – wait – I think that’s exactly what he’s doing.
As you examine the work John’s put out into the world, you appreciate his expertise; that is, if you can pull yourself out of his stories long enough to sense quality when you see it.
As mentor for my third script, John took me and my story seriously, saw what I was trying to accomplish, appreciated the strong values in my story, immediately got on board with the tone, gave great suggestions for rewrites, and respected my feedback to his feedback. He encourages every student to be a writer and--write! And to nevah, nevah, nevah give up. He has been the Churchill to my war with my screenplay; which, by the way, has garnered accolades in several 2012 film festivals.
Passion for story, respect for the artist, impeccable taste in choices, kindness for all, good humor—these qualities and more are what inspired me to ask John to direct my first film. We’re working on funding it as I write this. I’m not sure I would trust my story to anyone else. I look forward to the adventure! - Julie Oliver, screenwriter
One day, an instructor named John Jacobsen, approached me after seeing a scene I performed for a friend of mine in his class. He smiled, nodded said "That was good work. You have great instincts...but you're vague. You have no idea how much work the author put into those words you're ploughing through--you're relying on emotions to carry you through the scene and missing all the subtleties that make this character real." I was stunned. And suddenly, finally excited again. Because John was willing to be honest, and to take the time to challenge me. - Jason Bortz, actor
John is unusually gifted as a writing mentor.
John's abilities include not just knowing the world of story and the form a story must take for a screenplay to be one that works from beginning to end . John also has a ton of experience as both a successful writer and director. He's a truly gifted communicator, not simply verbally adroit but also with something that matters to say. He has a humorous, winning way with even the most difficult of students. I was one of those.
Uniquely, his humor never diminishes his considerable analytical abilities. His problem solving abilities with a script are first-rate. He always has an idea or two to share, and often those ideas are just terrific.
I can not recommend John any more highly. - Tom Thompson, writer
Wow I'm watching and enjoying ARTHUR and thinking what a sweet story of childhood imagination when all of the sudden you realize what's really going on! Intense and powerful and really well done! Nice work John Jacobsen! - Sheri, actress
ARTHUR is BRILLIANT! - Pandem Aelion
John was and is an inspiration to me. When trapped in the doldrums of creative ennui, I invoke words of wisdom remembered from his classes and regain my verve.
Truly one of the greats, this fellow is. No question. Plus, he has good hair. No, he has Great Hair. Maddening. - John Boucher, director
John, is a very personable, very intelligent...friend. I have known John for over 15 years and over that time John has always been supportive and encouraging, both on a personal level as well as a professional level. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend John to anyone who is serious about developing their craft in acting or writing. John's approach to artist's is always to encourage their strengths first yet remain honest and critical of areas of weakness. John would be an asset to any project. - Dannul Dailey, writer.
Another poignant visually stunning film by John Jacobsen. - Persephone Vandegrift, director
Thank you, for sharing, John Jacobsen, your talents are unprecedented and all you have done for so many here in Seattle. - Andrea Ward
I studied with John at TheFilmSchool, and his vast experience in acting and directing alone is not what makes him such a gifted screenwriting instructor; his ability to connect with students and vividly illustrate ways to elevate the depth of emotion in a given scene contribute to the screenwriter's well-rounded education. Additionally, John is a master of story structure and the required story elements necessary for screenwriters to craft a story that will connect with audiences. Without such knowledge, a screenwriter can only hope to write scenes of compelling breadth. I highly recommend John and TheFilmSchool. - George Thomas Jr., script analyst
I saw the recent announcement about you leaving the Director position for TheFilmSchool, and I want to say thank you. For all the hard work it must have taken to get here. And also, for really being completely, uniquely yourself. I'm so grateful for your mentorship. All of the formal ways, and all of the quiet confidence you have given me to stand in my work. - Sonya Lea, writer
John is an elegant, inspiring, humorous, hardworking, lovely, creative man who's "always live well" motto in life has inspired me in my life and travels. He was my acting coach from the time I was 18 until I moved to Los Angeles at 22. He really taught me the foundation of my acting technique that I use for every audition, scene and role I encounter. When I saw that John had directed a film and was holding a screening, I was excited to see what he had put together. Here are the notes I jotted down during the nine minute short film: saturated, gorgeous depth of field, magical, Where the Wild Things Are, threatening, lonliness filled by imagination, complex, surprising. That's a lot of adjectives for one lil' movie! - Kacie's Blog
John is my story sifu, the master of the hero, king of the cave, keeper of the campfire, architect of the gap and turn.
John is a first-rate teacher, as good as anyone you’ll find at USC, UCLA or EXPO. I took his classes at TheFilmSchool, and mentored with him afterward. He gave me the foundational knowledge of story structure that I needed to elevate my screenwriting. - Kate Wharton, screenwriter
John is a sensational, funny, talented, brilliant, and compassionate human being. - David LePenske
If you have the opportunity to work with John Jacobsen, can I offer a word or two of advice? DO IT. Yes, he really is that awesome. - Trin Miller, actress
John is the BEST, most knowledgeable teacher I've ever had in any subject. From writing to directing to acting, he knows his stuff, and he knows how to imbue that knowledge into others. He's very responsive to each person's specific abilities and learning requirements, and is very able to adjust his style accordingly - Matt Howard, director
John is a deeply caring individual, shows great passion for teaching and knows his stuff. I began a coaching partnership with him through the use of teleconferences and email after taking a class with the TheFilmSchool in Seattle. Without these intensive one on one weekly sessions, I would still be wandering in search of a plot. - Laura Monlux, writer
John is an expert in stage and camera acting. His attention to detail in a performance by an actor under his tutelage is above and beyond what one would normally expect. Whether teaching a large class or conducting one on one coaching John has a way of communicating with his students that is exacting but very personable. John also teaches his students the principles of goal setting, personal motivation and self discipline that are necessary to build a successful acting career. - John Misner, actor
Whenever and wherever you see a class with John Jacobsen teaching .... sign up. You get a chance to learn as well as become a better person.....safe environment in which to explore and learn. - Leslie Asplund, writer
I can honestly say that if you want to challenge yourself to write better stories, you will find no better teacher.
- Carol Schiller, marketing executive
I honestly believe that anyone that attends his seminars will walk away with so many “ah-ha” moments. John knows, understands and loves story. He is a beautiful storyteller and a gifted teacher. It really is like you have been let in on a super-secret way of doing things when you listen to John unravel the art of storytelling. - Lisa Wilson, writer, White Gold
John works at Freehold Theatre as one of our faculty members. Freehold is a center for the practice of theatre and offers a variety of acting classes taught by some of the most talented working professional artists in Seattle.
We have been privileged to have John as one of our premier faculty members. John teaches several of our acting classes and has done so for several years. Our students consistently rave about his classes noting both his exceptional teaching style and the depth and range of his knowledge. In addition to John's expertise (which is vast), we also are regularly impressed by his ability to relate well with his students and also by his professionalism with students and staff alike. - Kate Gavigan, Freehold Theatre
In the chaos that is the writer’s futzing mind, director John is able to unearth clarity and deliver eloquent discourse to illustrate the profound, universal structure of the stories we’ve told and those we wish so desperately to tell. – Michelle Thorson, director
I have worked with John on my screenplay since graduating from The Film School and he has provided incisive and constructive feedback through every phase of the screenwriting process. I have had the benefit of his expertise and through our consistent work together I have made progress toward my goals. John is a consummate teacher and a great coach who is invested in my success. - Lisa, writer
John helped me with the development of several scripts, and his suggestions were helpful and inspiring; never invasive or paternalistic. He listens to what the material wants to become and helps the writer find the path the writing needs to take. He is brilliant, incisive, and generous with his ideas, while remaining kind and respectful in the meetings. I highly recommend him as a script doctor. - Cornelia Moore, director and producer
Some people not only have the knowledge but an extraordinary gift for teaching. We have all had those teachers and they have made a huge difference in our lives. John Jacobsen is such a teacher. Students hang on his every words. They leave his class inspired and go on to create great things. He has an extraordinary talent for both passing on the knowledge but also the joy of his craft. As a fellow teacher in TheFilmSchool, I find myself constantly inspired by him. And inspiring the potential in all of us is the best anyone can do. - Rick Stevenson, producer
I have been a student of Mr. Jacobsen in a classroom and in individual training sessions. He is a fantastic teacher, with the unique ability to teach and inspire. His classroom is an amazing experience of learning, energy, and fun
.- Jason, actor
John Jacobsen excels at helping his film students truly grasp and begin to unravel what is a complex and difficult art form. His structure classes have helped me learn to craft my stories into tales that are compelling on multiple levels and to approach screenwriting in a methodical way that ultimately allows for maximum freedom and creativity. A superb teacher and speaker, his classes are as much fun as they are educational. Also, he’s a unbelievably dapper dresser…and who doesn’t like a teacher with a sense of style?”
John is an experienced professional who brings his successful Hollywood pedigree back to Seattle and is imparting his knowledge to the hungry, talented pool of writers and performers there. - JP, LA actor
Host John Jacobsen goes beyond the usual glossy magazine articles that are part of a successful artist’s everyday life, coaxing from his subjects some surprisingly frank and funny insights as they share the inspiration behind – and the work and dedication involved – in the creation of their beautiful, culture-changing art. - Screen Magazine
As partners in TheFilmSchool, John and I are the odd couple. John is the guy who picks up after all of us and I'm the guy who messes it all up again. Perfect partnership. - Tom Skerritt
John is a true renaissance man. His depth and ability to express feelings are truly Beautiful. It makes it hard not to love a person like him. I am really moved by his works. - Alice Gavey-Sundy
I can't say enough about John or his Acting For the Camera class. He is focused, expert, unflaggingly energetic, and hilarious. He dishes up practical, thorough information about acting and the industry, is accessible and gracious, and is the best kind of teacher: one who inspires beyond the subject, into the students' lives. - Gymi Siezinger, actress
John brings a seasoned professional's sensibilities and wisdom to his classes & students. He allows for healthy dialogue within his classes while maintaining his agenda and achieving his goals. I have had the privelege to work frequently with John over the past 13 years as a student and colleague. - Michael Patten, Executive Director, New Century Theatre Company
John is my mentor and I highly recommend him. He's that good. I have learned some amazing things on scriptwriting through him. Seriously everyone, if you are writing, this will be the best money you could spend. I have taken several classes via UW and private, and John takes the cake. - Brenda Jallits, writer
What a great writer. And whatever the story is --John Jaccobsen is truly an American original and royal. - Alan Simon
John's in-depth understanding of screenwriting and his ability to direct actors based on that knowledge produces work that is remarkable in its intensity.
John is a seasoned Film Writer and Director, and an extraordinary mentor and teacher. He knows his craft and is able to break it down clearly, allowing new comers to take it on.
John is an articulate, demanding and compassionate Mentor to writers; challenging them to aspire to excellence in story and character development. As an Acting Teacher, John brings a breadth and depth of expertise, and a discerning eye. He is able to empower young actors to create simple, resonant, and subtle life on screen.
In all of his endeavors he sets an extremely high standard of specificity and truth, and holds his students to that standard.
I feel very fortunate for any opportunity to work with John. He is a rare and gifted entity in our business. - Robin Lynn Smith, Artistic Director, Freehold Theatre
J.J. is the only reason I finished the film program. Love Mr. Jacobsen and have to say he's been one of the most inspirational teachers in my life. Always there for you. Goes way above and beyond if asked. Best of the film program 4 sure.
What a guy. Upbeat, passionate, realistic, approachable. He's human, not some anonymous "teacher." He is the lone bastion of sanity in an otherwise kooky assortment of teachers in the SCCC film and video world. You will learn a lot about screenwriting and directing from him. Inspiring.
I have learned everything I know about screenwriting from John. He has taught me to seek the truth in every aspect of creating a film. John's mentorship has pushed me to grow as a filmmaker and writer, in addition to giving me a huge amount of insight to life. The more I work with John the more I find the truth in storytelling. It is an incredible honor to work with John and I cannot express how grateful I am. - Sharon Z.
I hired John as Director of my short film. He is, simply put, the best Director in Seattle, as well as one of the nation's leading screenwriting teachers. As Director, his work -- from auditions to rehearsals to filming -- were crisp, fun, and pulled the very best from the actors. He is fun, thorough, insightful, brilliantly intuitive, and thoroughly professional. He'll pull no strings to achieve the best possible end result while being a first-rate teacher all the while. - Bill A.
"There are some mentors who are very good, others who are great, and others still who inspire their students to a level of truth that is both terrifying and magical. John as an acting teacher is magical. He challenges his students to work, work, work and to dig deep into contemporary and classical texts to bring out rich, deeply felt, moving characters. His knowledge of Stanislavski technique, Meisner, Hagen, Chekov, the greats, is staggering and yet he maintains a level of humility that is necessary when working with such an intensely personal craft." - Grace K., actress
"What an incredible eye he has for photographs, talent and story." - Martin
Incredible motivator, one of the best teachers I have ever had. Ps. Love the scarf.