Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacob Strunk.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Jacob. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’m from a quaint little Stephen King small town in Wisconsin. Parades down Main Street, fireworks at the park on the Fourth of July, a few grisly murders in the town’s mysterious past; the whole thing. It doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to see how my pals and I ended up exactly those dorks obsessed with novels and ghost stories and horror flicks, trading sports and girls for long bike rides out into the country to visit one abandoned farmhouse or another.
As grateful as I am to have had that formative experience (and as much as I use it – constantly – in my fiction), I had to get out. I’d always written stories, and we’d been experimenting with making “movies” since my best friend got a VHS camcorder on his 13th birthday, so there was never really a question that I’d head west and focus on film. I landed in Santa Barbara and went to film school at the now-defunct Brooks Institute of Photography. It was fantastic during my tenure, and I left technically proficient and creatively nourished. In the years after, it was tough to watch class action lawsuits, corporate buyouts, and that most American of pastimes – greed – run the school into the ground and, ultimately, shutter its doors.
After film school, I enjoyed a couple of great festival runs with my short films, won some awards, and had a Student Academy Award finalist chip on my shoulder. I worked on my MFA in creative writing going back and forth to Maine a couple of times a year, and here we are 15 years later. I’ve been in the Franklin Village/Beachwood Canyon area ever since doing… whatever it is I do: writing, frequenting bars, writing in bars, directing bizarre short films, making and pitching television shows, recording a weird podcast on a very lazy schedule.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I’m not sure you’d find many creative types in Los Angeles who’d say it’s been a smooth road. It certainly gets easier the longer you’re here, the more you learn to navigate the city and the people, but it’s still bumpy as hell. Building a community of like-minded misfits helps. I’ve been here half my life now, so these are my people. Those of us left standing (so far), we know to stick together. It becomes instinctive the longer you’re here. You can smell the struggle on people. You help each other out. You stick together. Smooth or bumpy, the road is long. Take your friends with you and enjoy the ride.
Please tell us about Seven Miles West of Town Productions.
I’ve been very fortunate to have a “day job” all these years pretty dang close to what I want to do and what I’m working on with my own time and energy, and doubly fortunate to meet and work with a lot of amazing people who inspire me and prop me up and whom I’m proud to call great friends. In recent years, I’ve produced a ton of unscripted and documentary content for new media, and I eagerly work in music video, narrative, and other emerging realms whenever possible. I just worked on a Funny or Die show for Quibi; as a veteran of the digital wars, I’m quite curious to see how that platform’s experiment pans out.
A couple of close friends and I are soon launching a new production entity. We have a few killers shows and features ready to go once the world starts turning again, and we’re looking to serve as a one-stop-shop for clients of all kinds from ideation through post and delivery.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck is everything and luck is nothing. Lots of folks are lucky enough to be born into situations that give them a leg up; lots are not. What defines us is what we do with the hand we’re dealt, especially in creative endeavors. But I have a hard time talking about “luck” in Hollywood given the role privilege plays in this country’s daily state of affairs. For a huge percentage of the population, it’s life or death.
- Website: www.sevenmileswest.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @dyinginthehollywoodhills
- Twitter: @sevenmileswest
- Other: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacob-strunk-8629147/
Bill Higley, Nate Eckman, Phil Loeb, Diana Oh, and Merrick Monroe