Spotlight: Clarissa Jacobson

The Vercingetorix of, eh…no.., the Victorinox! of the art of film!
Clarissa Jacobson is an actress, a creator, a screen writer, a filmmaker, has her own label Rebel Minx, and wrote a book about short film making!

She is doing a lot of stuff, she’s a hard-working dude! And she has made a couple of fantastic shorts! Lunch Ladies and A Very Important film!

Shortly had an opportunity to ask the multi-talented, award winning, charismatic genius Clarissa Jacobson a few questions about short filmmaking.

The deepest insight we’d got though was that she sees herself as a future raven. A dark, mysterious wisdom carrier firmly connected in the mythical paths of ancient lore. She could have chosen a puffin bird, but no, she wanted a raven. Her hero, Edgar Allan Poe – wrote “the best poem ever” about a raven. He apparently never did that about a puffin bird. That figures.

Shortly: How long have you been doing short films and what made you start?
Clarissa: I have been making little videos for years, but it wasn’t until I made Lunch Ladies that I made what I would call a respectable, put your nose to the grindstone, get all the working parts in order, and “go for it with all you have” short film.

I decided to make Lunch Ladies for two reasons. One, I had written the feature and when I would send it out people would tell me it was funny, but that there wasn’t a market for it. I set out to prove that there WAS a market and I made it as a proof-of-concept to get interest in my feature. The second reason I made Lunch Ladies was I had been screenwriting for many years and have gotten close many times to getting those screenplays made – but I haven’t had a feature made yet. I felt I needed to see something of mine come to life, and making Lunch Ladies is the best thing I ever did.

Backstage with the lunch ladies

Shortly: What is it with the short film format that you like?
Clarissa: I believe it is the most creative medium in filmmaking out there because it’s truly independent – with budgets and money put in by the creators or supporters. This means it can take risks and put things on the screen that features cannot – there is not worry about selling the film (who makes a short to make money?!) so all the concentration is on being authentic and unique to the filmmaker’s vision.

That means it’s real, exciting, fresh, and raw – which we don’t see often in features who have marketing issues to worry about in who they appeal to.

Shortly: Are you living the dream or what is your ultimate goal regarding filmmaking?
Clarissa: I would say I lived the dream and am still living the dream with Lunch Ladies – it has been an incredible ride and I have not given up at all on getting the feature made.

But my overall goal is to make all my features. I work with Shayna Weber, my creative partner under the banner Rebel Minx and we have all kinds of things we want to make and produce. My ultimate goal is to have a production shingle where I can make whatever I want of Rebel Minx’s with Shayna independently and I’d also love to uplift others and find great scripts out there to make as well.

Shortly: Is short film making “only” a stepstone for full length features and tv-series or does it have a “value” of its own?
Clarissa: No, it is not only a stepstone, but it is a great one!  There is so much value in making a short, you meet incredible people who may be part of your creative journey, when someone loves your film, it’s the best feeling in the world and it can help you build up your confidence in your work – after I got so much love for Lunch Ladies I felt like “OMG! People get my sense of humor!”  Also, the main thing value of making a short film is it brings something of beauty to the world and we need more beauty in the world.

Shortly: Has the general view changed about the value of short films or is it the same as before?
Clarissa: I think the value has definitely gone up as we move more toward a TikTok society – people are asking for more short form content and streamers that carry shorts are popping up everywhere. Also, as more festivals become hunting grounds for those looking for talent to hire, the short film is revered – if you’ve done it well, you can be considered a good candidate to hire for something bigger.

Shortly: How did you find out about Shortly?
Clarissa: I’ve heard about Shortly off and on as I tend to keep my eye on the distributors out there – and Shortly has an excellent reputation.  What was wonderful is Gonella Productions who now non-exclusively handles the film, worked with Shortly to put Lunch Ladies up there. I’ve had a wonderful relationship with them and Shortly.