John is an Emmy Award winning director and a leading speaker and teacher of STORY. He is the host and creator of the national PBS show, The Artist Toolbox, which has an estimated nightly viewing audience of 3 million people. He has over 30 years of experience in directing, working in films, television and stage. He directed the feature film Around the Fire, which won numerous awards including Italy’s Giffoni Film Festival (Best Picture) and a Best Independent Filmmaker’s Award nomination at SIFF, and has produced several features, including the Columbia/Tri-Star picture Nervous Ticks starring Bill Pullman and Peter Boyle. Films he directed, including the recent very well-received films, Arthur and Spinning, have played at major festivals around the world and won numerous awards including Best of Fest, Best Fiction Film at Action/Cut, Best Fantasy at MIFFF, Excellence in Film at Accolade, and gold, silver, and bronze awards at other festivals. His other major production credits include the HBO movie of the week, Danger of Love, John Frankenheimer’s 52 Pick Up with Roy Scheider and Ann Margaret, and The Assassin with Charles Bronson. He directed over thirty stage plays regionally and in New York, winning a Best Director Award, worked on Broadway under the legendary director, Hal Prince, directed and produced the Tribute to Katherine Dunham on CBS’s Emmy Award-winning Kennedy Center Honors, was a casting director with the great Ronnie Yeskel, and worked under the Academy Award-winning documentary maker, Charles Guggenheim. John has directed commercials, has sold numerous screenplays which have won awards such as the International Family Film Festival – Best Feature Drama, the Redemptive Storyteller Award, and Best of the Northwest, and was a Directing Fellow at the American Film Institute (AFI) in Los Angeles.
He speaks around the country and consults with businesses of all sorts on how story can help their branding, vision, marketing, and motivation.
For the past ten years John was the Executive Director of TheFilmSchool, which he co-founded. He managed the Motion Picture and Television Department at UCLA Extension (the world’s largest film school), is a script doctor, mentors directors and writers on their feature film and television projects, and also teaches master classes in acting, directing and writing all around the country at such fine institutions as The University of Washington, UCLA, Seattle University, Cornish, Seattle Central Community College, Freehold (where he has been a faculty member for 10 years) and TheFilmSchool (where he has been a faculty member for 10 years). Mr. Jacobsen has been on many non-profit boards including TheFilmSchool (where he served as President), The ACT Theatre (where he served as Vice President), and The New Century Theatre Company Advisory Board, is principal partner of the film company MogaJacobsen, and is married to the fashion stylist and author Pia Jacobsen. Mr. Jacobsen is proud of many things, but certainly he is most proud of his three sons and of winning the Big Brother of the Year Award for his work with the United Way.