Tag Archive for: feature


Jacob is an award-winning Colorado fillmmaker, a former mayor, and a former U.S. senate staffer. His films include a family short called Chasing Rabbits, and the feature documentary Waking the Sleeping Giant: The Making of a Political Revolution, which is currently in national and international distribution. He's also the executive director of a local government coalition advocating for stronger climate policy in Colorado.

Show Notes

[1:09] Jacob's Background

  • Grew up as a military brat, settled in Aurora, CO in middle school
  • Currently lives in Golden, CO

[2:16] Jacob's career path in environmental advocacy and politics

[5:25] Senator Bernie Sanders and Waking the Sleeping Giant: The Making of a Political Revolution

[9:00] The evolutionary process of budgeting when making a film

[14:59] “Making money” on a documentary; documentaries vs. narratives

[18:40] Getting access to characters for a documentary

[22:28] Building trust

[27:15] Utilizing referrals and taking chances with different location crews

[29:46] The difference a good editor and color correctionist can make

[30:47] Judging production length

[33:47] Thoughts on distribution

[36:31] A few different ways to offer screenings

[38:37] Working with distributors

[44:23] Where the most of the budget goes

[49:43] Mistakes were made

[54:30] Dancing on the Elephant

[57:26] Budgeting for a narrative feature

[1:00:33] Requirements for the investors

[1:05:00] Doing things differently with distribution for Dancing on the Elephant

[1:09:44] The costs of hiring locally in different locations

[1:14:24] The biggest “AHA” moments

[1:18:25] Jacob's biggest reaffirmation in the last year

[1:19:29] Jacob's biggest life lesson

[1:22:21] Advice for other aspiring filmmakers


Links and Resources


Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!


Denise grew up in Texas and graduated from Texas State University with a bachelor in Fine Arts and Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Directing. After working her way up in the film industry as an intern, PA, location assistant, and second assistant director, she became a member of the Director's Guild of America in 1993 in the category of Assistant Director. Since then she's moved from Second Second AD to Key Second AD, and on to First AD where she currently works on commercials and feature films.

During her career, Denise has worked on known projects such as Dumb and Dumber, The Bucket List, Switchback, The Laramie Project, and Things to Do In Denver When You're Dead.

Show Notes

[1:39] Denise's Background

  • Grew up in Bay City, Texas
  • Went to school at Southwest Texas State (now Texas State University) in San Marcos
  • Lived first in Houston, then moved to Denver in 1986
  • Currently lives in Arvada, CO

[02:19] The roles and responsibilities of an Assistant Director

[04:08] Defining the layers of an AD

[06:51] Applying creative problem-solving to people/time management

[09:02] The myriad of ADs on larger sets and what they do

[11:12] Denise's career path

[15:01] How much time does it take to become a First Assistant Director?

[18:25] How to do the time to keep your rep as an AD

[20:14] Scouting for commercials versus 30+ day projects

[21:32] The ups and downs of being an AD

[23:36] The advantages of meticulous planning in advance for every project

[25:09] Why Denise chooses to live in Colorado

[26:55] Advice for people new to the industry

[28:29] The value in going where the work is

[31:38] Making a living in Colorado

[33:50] What all is involved is a typical microbudget project?

[36:36] Trying to find microbudget projects

[39:52] A history of self-promotion and how it works best today

[43:54] The universal truths of being nice, working hard, and being ambitious

[45:12] Dealing with slow times in the industry

[48:41] Denise's current projects

[49:52] Current trends in the industry in Colorado

[51:30] How does an Assist Director get hired, and who does it?

[55:46] Denise's mentors

[58:49] How to turn troubles on set into triumphs

[1:00:57] The feminine First AD experience

[1:06:29] Unsafe and safe sets; car jobs

[1:11:26] Working with David Sosna; Denise's book recommendation for ADs

[1:13:14] The best piece of advice Denise has ever received

[1:15:53] Advice for people looking to get into the business

[1:18:19] The biggest lesson over the past year

[1:22:29] Denise's great piece of wisdom

[1:24:28] The evolution of the industry in Colorado

[1:34:05] Speculation on incentives in Colorado versus other markets

Links and Resources



Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!