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Life & Work with Jacob Balken

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacob Balken. 

Hi Jacob, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I first started creating when I was about 6 years old. I’d make goofy little videos with action figures and my parents’ video cameras. At around 12/13, I took my first video production class, and I absolutely loved it. I took a break from film and took Graphics and Publication my freshman year of high school. Sophomore thru Senior year I took video production courses, and a theater production class my senior year along with it. I graduated High School with a certification in Television and the Art of Film and the California Biliteracy Seal in the area of Spanish Language. It was a little after this time period I landed my first collaboration with Brandon Angulo of Brxndoo Clothing. The rest is history, and my portfolio shows! I’ve landed past music video gigs, marketing videos, photoshoots, etc. In September of last year, I became a scare actor for Reign of Terror Haunted House in Thousand Oaks, California. Over this past summer, I worked as a scarezone actor for the inaugural year of the Valley Fright Nights event in Woodland Hills. My area of focus has since shifted from strictly film to further understanding business, mass communications, and marketing; all of which I am attending college for at the moment. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been a smooth road, as is with most creatives just starting out. The main struggles I’ve encountered along the way were burnout, not getting gigs that paid well/ anything at all with photo/video, competition, and juggling my business with young adult life (full-time college student, part-time job, etc.). 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
On the side of my filmmaking and photography, I am heavily known for doing everything myself, even though in the end you would never know! Especially with some of my short films. One thing I am most proud of is when a couple years ago, I made a film called LabRat as a college project, and it ended up getting a little bit of a festival circuit! It landed in San Francisco, London, and Athens. Another moment I’m extremely proud of is not necessarily creating per se, but having the understanding of production/on-set experience to migrate to the business side of the creative industry; as that is something that is rarely discussed. 

As for scare acting, I am known for my heavily detailed costumes for my characters, as well as their backstories. Seeing people’s reactions when I’m in character scaring them as a simple idea I came up with from scratch is extremely rewarding. One of my prouder moments happened over the summer during the inaugural Valley Fright Nights event when I got to scare with many different haunt actors from various different haunted houses/scary events across Southern California. I also got to learn how to use a chainsaw, which is NOT an easy task! 

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
The things I like the best about Los Angeles are the Santa Monica Pier, the concert venues The Shrine, The Wiltern, and Teragram Ballroom (some of the underground artists you can find here are CRAZY talented!!!) going to Universal Studios, and the spooky scary conventions and photo meet I’ve attended! The main thing that I dislike about Los Angeles is how competitive it is— we are all going for the same goal, and we should be lifting each other up, not pushing back down. Also, the LA traffic— IT SUCKS! 


  • Shoots vary by location and for how long. This is both for photo and video.
  • For photos, 10 fully edited/exported RAWs will be $25; each additional 10 will be $10
  • For video, editing will be included in the shooting price; estimates depend on clientele’s budget.
  • Any other suggestions, anything spooky, or any creative inquiries please reach out!

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