We had the good fortune of connecting with Todd Jacobs and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Todd, how do you think about risk?
I think about risk as needing a companion in planning. The more risk involved, the more planning that’s needed. I’ve never planned very far ahead in life until I decided to immigrate from Australia to America. If I hadn’t put the effort I did into where to go, what to know, what to prepare for next, and having a plan (even a loose plan) it would have been much more difficult to deal with the sheer stress of it all. It can be overwhelming! Ultimately risk has played a huge role in my life and career just off of the one decision to leave my home country. I took a risk going from somewhere comfortable with everyone I loved to Los Angeles where I had a single contact and the idea that opportunity was greater here. Everything that could potentially go wrong would be enough to decide not to, but I took the risk and now I get to do the work that I love and further my career while building a new life! I’m much happier having taken the risk.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have worked in production and post-production sound for film and television, nowadays primarily as a dialogue editor. One thing that helps set myself apart from others is adaptability. You’re always working under somebody with workflow preferences to do things a certain way and you need to be able to make their job easier and deliver on that. Even when it means learning some new tricks to make that happen. There’s always more to learn! What I’m most proud of happened recently. It has been over a year working in LA now and when I returned to some new projects for the Image Resources studio, I noticed how much my skills had improved over the past year even though I have been working in the industry for over 5 years. Being here in LA and around incredibly talented people has helped me improve so much and makes me incredibly proud of the work I can do. My pathway to where I am today feels long and complicated, though retelling it will seem much shorter. After working in the Australian film industry for over 2 years to help save and fund what would come next. I came to the USA for 3 months; 2 in LA and 1 in NYC to go to a couple conventions and see if it was worth making the move. I got further in my career in those 3 months than I did the entire time I worked in Australia. The quickest path to a work visa was through study so I spent almost a year in Georgia getting an MA in Sound Design at Savannah College of Art and Design. Then I moved to LA while practically broke but with a job and received my work visa. I worked on a lot of Christmas movies due to the timing of my work starting (a LOT of Christmas movies) and now I’m in the process of building my career and meeting people to just see how far I can go! The hardest thing about the whole process was the stress. A lot of imposter syndrome, and immigration paperwork along with consistent unease was very rough. It has made me incredibly grateful for my family and friends new and old. They have helped give me no regrets about coming here for my career. Along the way I’ve learned a bit more extroverted assertiveness. I wasn’t necessarily a quiet introvert before but interaction with people of all levels within your field while hoping for work is a skill to refine. Being able to feel comfortable in a room and converse with anyone can become valuable when you realize something as simple as that can help land you a job. An Aussie accent certainly helps as well! Something I’d want the world to know about me and my story is that it is one of many stories of immigration to the USA. I was incredibly lucky with the opportunities I received that helped me get to where I am now. And sometimes those opportunities were given with barely any inconvenience to the other person but the benefits it gave me on my journey is immeasurable. I’d want more people to know how important it is to spread that kind of benefit and kind gesture to people. It can change someone’s entire life or career just by giving them a shot.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
It would have to kick off with a morning hike in the mountains. There are lovely hiking trails like the ones around Pasadena and Griffith park, but nothing beats escaping the city by driving up the 2 and hiking to a breathtaking view. Can go from a chilly mountaintop down to the beaches as you come back along the coast. At night there are some fantastic spots along the hills like Mulholland Dr that give beautiful views of the city lights. Or even another night to travel a bit further out of the city, away from the light pollution and see the stars so clearly. I’d want to show off how easily you can experience wildly different things from mountain forest, to beach, to downtown city, to middle of nowhere stargazing all relatively close by! I’m continuing to discover new things about LA since I still feel very new to the city, but I think anything not in an obvious tourist area is where the gold is found.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There’s a handful of people who have allowed me to get to where I am and it would be criminal to not mention them. I have been in a position of privilege with my family being able to offer support in circumstances that would have otherwise left me broke or trapped. Their belief in what I wanted to do and support both emotionally and financially is irreplaceable and makes me hope I can work to be in a position where I can offer that same kind of support to others. There’s also my fellow Australian to LA friend, composer Nick Soole who immediately advised that I move to LA once I transitioned from music to film work. Nick also helped me get my first American job which continues today with Dave Moorman and Mark Noad of Image Resources who offered mentorship and faith that a random Australian could do the post-production sound work they needed.
IMG_029 – (From left to right) Carson Lewis, Annie Taylor, Rachel Boissevain, Todd Jacobs