Friday, April 10, 2009

I have come so far....or have I?

So I'm at home in St. Louis for a few days before heading to New York and my mom just brought out a very old piece of writing of mine. It may, in fact, be my first story. And I think it's rather awesome. It's got a Charlie Kaufman-esqueness to it, if I do say so myself. If anyone would like to option it, you can contact me via this blog. Here it is, exactly as I wrote it so many years ago (typos and all):


Whon day a boy was riteing a story about monsters.
He made a mistake so he went to get a eraser.
When he came back the monsters wher a live
They grabed him under the desk.
And tered his face off.
And then a nother boy made a story about a hero.
And he made a mistake so he went to get a eraser.
When he came back the hero was alive and he cilled the boy.
And the monsters. Then the hero wnt out side.
Then evry body screamed and went to a nother planet.



YEAR 1986

Age 7 ½

Four people in family

Monday, April 6, 2009

"Humboldt County" available on iTunes!!!

Hey guys,

Soon, Darren and I will be heading to NYC to do a little script research on the next project. Exciting. Every time I go to New York, I feel life flow through me. Not only will it be a blast, but it will also be incredibly helpful to be in the city in which our script takes place. I remember every time we would go up to Humboldt while we were writing that script, I would come back filled with hundreds of little ideas to improve the story. Something about being immersed in a place does that to you and in New York, it's easy to get immersed.

And in Humboldt news, the film is finally available for rent and purchase on iTunes!!! Click HERE
So go on, buy or rent and also rate it highly!!!!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Turning Thirty

Today I turn 30 years old.

Wow. It's a shocking number for a lot of reasons. My mother was 30 when I was born, for one. And I am nowhere near having a child. So there's that. Darren and I had always said we would make a film before we turned 30 and we achieved that goal. But on the negative side, we were lamenting today that were were on set for "Humboldt County," shooting our first feature, back in October of 2006. Yikes. That's way too long to not be shooting, I think. Though, in looking back, it's not like we've been slacking off. It was simply that releasing an independent film takes a lot of time and it delayed our work on our next feature. And now our next feature script is simply taking time to take shape. Sigh. I would have liked to have made another feature by now to be sure. We've always admired blue-collar filmmakers like Woody Allen and Sydney Lumet more than the current crop of filming superstars like P.T. Anderson or David Fincher because no matter what, Woody and Sydney made film after film after film.

Perhaps Darren and I aren't quick enough writers, I don't know. Maybe we'll get quicker as we gain more experience, I don't know. But a year ago, at this time, we were gearing up to premiere "Humboldt County" to the world at SXSW 2008. It was a heady time. And, looking back, things could hardly have gone better for us from there. We sold the film to Magnolia, released it theatrically and now appear to be building a sizable audience on DVD. Still, sometimes I feel like an aging rockstar reveling in past hits. I feel much more comfortable focusing on what's next. And what's next for me is my thirties, and hopefully, many more films.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Writing and Moving...

When some of my friends move, they say "I bet it won't be as bad this time." Not me. Every time I move, my inner monologue goes something like this:

"This is going to suck. It's going to suck harder than I can even imagine. Prepare yourself, Darren, for complete suckage. Prepare yourself and maybe it will not suck as hard."

And yet no matter how much I prepare myself for said suckage, I inevitably reach a moment -- where I'm sweaty and my arms are sore and there's still WAY more stuff that needs to be moved than has already been moved -- and the whole escapade has fully exceeded my suck-expectations and made me regret moving. I always end up deciding that I will never move again, and I condemn my idiot self for not adequately preparing for this level of sucky-ness.

And that, my dear LCLs, is the writing process. Or, at least, the writing process as it pertains to Danny and me. You see, we always go into a script (or even a rewrite within a particular script) trying to be fully prepared -- it's going to suck, it's going to be so hard, we're going to plunge into the depths of despair and depression -- and then we inevitably fall DEEPER into depression and reach GREATER depths of despair than we ever imagined.

We've always (so far at least) somehow maneuvered our way through the dark times, but we're constantly overwhelmed with the fear that each new challenge will be the one that finally bests us.

And I think, frankly, that that's how it's always going to be. There might even be some small comfort in that. Because if a script (or a move) was somehow less challenging than I thought it was going to be, it would probably mean that I was coasting, or at least that I'm not trying to get better. And if I'm not trying to get better, then I'm probably just getting worse. So I think I've finally come to a place of being OK with the roller coaster, a place of self-awareness that these dark times are an important (and positive) part of my process.

Unfortunately, being OK and self-aware doesn't mean I forgive myself for not preparing more for these damn dark TIMES.


p.s. I'm thinking of moving. I bet it won't be as bad this time.

Friday, February 27, 2009

An Open Letter to Mr. Tom Charity of CNN....

Dear Tom Charity,

My name is Danny Jacobs and I am one of the writer/directors of “Humboldt County” – a film you recently reviewed over at I am writing today because I recently read your article, “Whys some films go straight to DVD” and I felt compelled to make a few things clear.

First of all, “Humboldt County” opened on significantly more than nine screens, as you mention in your article. In fact, the film opened in over fifteen major cities including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Austin. When I first read that error, I was dismayed that such an estimable publication such as CNN would not have done some simple fact checks, even on a piece written for the entertainment section. The more I read of the article, however, the more I realized that my problem with your work was far more systemic than a simple factual discrepancy.

In order to explain this problem, let me go back a bit. When Darren and I made “Humboldt County,” we knew we were making a film with a 70s sensibility. We knew we were making a film that worked, consciously, against the quick cut, fast paced nature of plots in many modern movies. And we did so with the fervent hope that everything everyone was saying about modern audiences was untrue. We didn’t believe that they were ADD riddled media schizophrenics who couldn't hold their attention on something for longer than thirty seconds. We believed that the content being provided to audiences had changed, but that audiences themselves had not. In the absence of full characters and fleshed out worlds, of course attention wanders. But if the product is good, our hope was that audiences would follow. And the funny thing is, we were right. The audiences that have seen the film have, more or less, really enjoyed it. Of course, for some, the pacing was too slow and narrative wasn't their style, but the vast majority was able to fall into the universe on screen.

What we didn't expect was a fundamental shift that had occurred in the world of the nation's film critics that you, unfortunately, have exemplified in your article of February, 27th 2009. And that is that a growing number of today’s film critics are not the purveyors of the medium they once were. The number of excellent critics that truly contribute, in the vein of Pauline Kael, to the discussion of film in this country is dwindling. Sadly, the true ADD riddled, mass media consuming, attention span deficient movie watchers are critics like you.

I say this after reading your “review.” I put that word in quotations because, in reality, it is nothing more than a plot summary told with a dollop of sarcasm. The only real comment you provide about the film is that you were “underwhelmed” and “nothing much happens -- slowly.” Now, let me be clear, my issue with your review is not at all that you disliked the film. “Humboldt County,” though generally liked by critics across the country, has certainly received its share of bad reviews (some much more critical than yours) and every critic has every right to dislike a film. Your “review,” however, stood out for it’s ironic, detached, sarcastic and ultimately, empty tone. And that is the true tragedy of film criticism today. Your readership doesn’t ask that you like every film. What it asks of critics, however, is that no matter how you felt, explain yourselves. Develop arguments, provide insights and give the regular moviegoer a thesis of some depth and intelligence. Speaking as a moviegoer and not a filmmaker, I can tell you that we are screaming for that, hoping fervently that like our new president, we could be graced with film critics that do not treat us like children and give audiences the respect they deserve.

The real irony of your article, Mr. Charity, is that you chose to review three films on DVD to avoid having to review the new Jonas Brothers film and ended up reviewing the DVD films in the same superficially pithy way one might view a concert picture about three teenyboppers in 3D - with a contempt for the audience and a lack of trust that the audience can handle an actual perspective.

Talk to us like adults, Mr. Charity. We can handle it. I promise.

Danny Jacobs
Writer/director “Humboldt County”

P.S. To review Mr. Charity's piece, click HERE.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Confessions of a filmaholic.

This afternoon, I went to the movie theater. I saw "Confessions of a Shopaholic." By myself. And I had a ton of fun - not because the movie was particularly amazing (it wasn't) but because I was in a movie theater. You see, I love going to movies. It almost doesn't matter which one as long as I'm sitting there, Diet Coke in hand, watching pictures dance across the screen. In that space, I'm golden. My "film friends" wonder how it is I am able to sit through the likes of "Friday the 13th" or "Princess Diaries" and they call me disparaging names when I tell them that I actually enjoyed myself. Still, I know the truth - that when I'm sitting there, watching a film, and feeling the emotions of the audience bouncing back against the screen, I feel alive. I feel a part of a community. It's the closest thing I can think of to what I imagine it was like thousands of years ago when our ancestors sat around the campfire and told each other stories. The stories weren't always good and they didn't always move the listeners, but they always brought the community together for a shared experience. And that's why I'll never stop going to the theater, no matter what dreg is put up on the screen before me.

In other news, "Humboldt County" has moved up a notch in the instant movies program on Netflix! Last week, we clocked in at #6. This week, we moved ahead of "Superbad" and stole its spot at #5. Come on, LCLs, let's keep the rise going!

My name is Danny. And I'm a filmaholic.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Top 10 Netflix Movie!

Happy Friday Night LCLs!!

Yes. I'm at home on a Friday night. Yes, I'm a loser.

But onto more important matters. First of all, Darren and I have been hard at work on our next script, tentatively titled New York Challenge. Yes, we know it's not an amazing title. Yes, we know that we're not very good at creating titles. Still, it seems like the right title for the material. Writing again, as we are, is both amazing and terrible. Though, recently, we've completed the first draft of the script that we don't completely despise - which, for us, is quite the step. Still, there is a great distance between "despise" and "enjoy." Though, in the back of my mind, like a tiny annoying little nat, the fear exists that once we do get this script into fighting shape, there won't be an economy anymore. So there's that.

In "Humboldt County" news, the tide is beginning to crest! I just got the following email from a friend, who uses Netflix. Names have been changed to protect the innocent, but the long and the short of it is that "Humboldt County" was the sixth highest rented Netlflix film on their instant movies program. We're ahead of some big films and it's exciting to hear that people are checking out the picture.

See below and in the meantime, I hope no one is home to read this tonight and that you are all doing far more exciting things than I.



Re: Humboldt County in the top 25 instant movies from Netflix


Actually, you guys are #6 for last week on Netflix Instant Movies. Netflix has about 20,000 movies and shows available instantly online or on their Roku player which lets you play movies on your TV - Frankensense and I really like to use that since we often don't know what we want to watch until the last minute. We went ahead and got the Roku player for our TV for like $100 - not a bad idea if you all already use Netflix.

Humboldt also has 20,341 ratings and an average rating of 3.2 / 5 stars - not bad!

Anyway, the top 10 for last week was:
1) Penelope
2) 21
3) Heroes Season 3
4) Serenity
5) Superbad
6) Humboldt County
7) Ratatouille
8) 30 Rock Season 1
9) Next
10) The Office Season 1

I would list out the top 50 - there are some other impressive names that you are trouncing right now including Man on Wire and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, but I think you get the idea!

Take care,
Fuddy P. Duddy

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A quickie...


Stay tuned for some photographs of our LA premiere screening coming soon to a blog post near you!

In the meantime, take a gander at the first review of our incredible soundtrack here! We strongly encourage you all to check out the soundtrack, which is available NOW on iTunes via music supervisor Peymon Maskan's new label "Little Mountain".

Just search for Humboldt County on iTunes. We know you will not be disappointed.

Talk soon,

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Harold & Kumar Vs Humboldt County

A buddy of ours sent this photo to us from a Blockbuster store in Chicago. Notice that HK is fully stocked while HC is all rented out. Nice.

Humboldt County ONE - Harold and Kumar ZERO

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy MLK, LCLs!

As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. day (well, not McCain, but the rest of us), it occurs to me that this is a time of renewal. The 4,731 hours of inauguration coverage are in full effect and the estimated number of attendees in Washington changes by the second. With all that chaos ongoing, I thought it a time to think and ponder....

On January 12th, 2009, we had a screening in LA of "Humboldt County" to commemorate the DVD release the following day. It was a lovely affair (Darren will upload photos as soon as he figures out how to use his wife's spankin' new camera). A lot of friends came out and people we've known in the industry for a long time. Most poignantly, our very Jewey mentor, Mr. Jake Kasdan (director of such notables as "Zero Effect", "Orange County" "TV Set" and "Dewey Cox") moderated the Q&A. Jake recounted the story of how we came to know him and how he became a flagship member in the "Danny & Darren Mentor Program." We got his phone number (how, I will not divulge) and left a message on his answering machine, in no-doubt ridiculous fashion. And the rest, as the ubiquitous "they" say, is history. Every 4-6 months Jake would take us out for a scrumptious meal at The House of Pies in Los Feliz and dispense drops of wisdom from his decidely large fountain of knowledge. So, it was with great pleasure, and a touch of surreality, that Jake moderated our Q&A after the screening.

The Q&A featured cast members Chris Messina and Madison Davenport as well as our composer, Izler (Like Madonna, he has but one name. Deal with it.) Fairuza Balk and Brad Dourif came to the screening beforehand for some press stuff, but sadly, neither of them could stay around after.

It had been a long time since I had seen the film up on the big screen and I stayed around for the first 10 minutes or so to watch. I kind of wanted to stay for the whole thing but instead, joined the cast and a few others for dinner. It occurred to me, though, that this was likely to be the last public screening of the film in the United States for quite some time. Because now, the film exists out in the world - on DVD everywhere. And speaking of, if you want to buy the DVD (which you can literally do anywhere) please buy it from our website. It's a better deal for us (and for you).

Lastly, Magnolia finally got the numbers back from the first 3-month Video on Demand window for "HC" and they were pretty darn good. The reason it takes so long for us to find out how many people watched the film on VOD is a long, sordid and frustrating tale but nonetheless - the numbers did come in and apparently, all across the country, people have been checking out the film. So many people, in fact, that Magnolia is bullish about our DVD prospects and has ordered 25,000 DVDs for the release.

How many of those DVDs get bought/rented remains to be seen. But as we near the final, homestretch of this fantastic run, we wanted to say "thank you" to all of you LCLs that have been there since the beginning. Keep checking this blog because we'll continue to update it (more regularly than we have, we promise) with "Humboldt County" news as well as progress reports on our next project.

Until then, enjoy your endless inauguration coverage and remember: Don't sit idly.

P.S. Whenever and wherever you rent or buy "Humboldt County" please rate it highly and write a positive review!