HoC: The Second Golden Age of Television with Professor Daniel Jacobo

Humans of Chaffey

For many students, the idea of film and television degrees is lucrative and risky. Talking to Chaffey College professor of broadcasting and cinema Daniel Jacobo, the future of the industry looks alive:

“With new shows like Game of Thrones, and others from streaming services [like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu] being written so competitively, we are seeing the second Golden Age of Television. Writers like Jordan Peele are incorporating all of their television writing experiences innovatively into feature films, and utilizing different combinations of methods to get new results.”

Professor Jacobo holds his Master of Fine Arts in film and television from the University of California, Los Angeles, Bachelor’s in Chicano arts and studies from the University of California, Riverside and an Associate of Arts in fine and studio arts from San Bernardino Valley College. He also serves as a panel judge for the Television Academy Foundation’s summer internship program.

“Find balance in your life, start building your skills sooner. I used to spend five hours a day playing basketball, instead of writing. By the time I got to college I had a lot of catching up to do,” cautions Jacobo.

His academic and professional careers did not come so easily set in stone, as he was not raised in an artistic or affluent area. In his junior high years, Jacobo had a life-changing realization when his teacher scolded him for being the “class clown”, but encouraged him to express himself with his art. Sometimes it takes just one domino to begin a domino effect, and this was Jacobo's to lifelong art and video production opportunities.

When asked why he ultimately chose to focus on the film medium, he explains how movies could express the spirit of the times and provide contextual relativity between audience and characters on screen:

“Especially shows today, go deeper and deeper into character backgrounds and psychologically and emotionally relevant storytelling. It all starts with the written words.”

Jacobo believes that with today’s saturated market and ever-growing subscribers to streaming services, there are plenty of careers available for those who are willing to work for them.

Film and television are a bit more abstract as academic and career fields, as opportunities cater to very specific strengths; in other words, someone with the same degree could be good at writing while another good at lighting, or vice versa, two opposite degrees could have very similar strengths. I have learned that film is a perfect marriage between artistic and technical skills, and you can thrive either way with the right work ethic, but you will benefit exponentially more if you have additional sets of skills to provide your team support with.

Professor Jacobo emphasizes how writing is the first step to great work, and putting it off holds you back. He currently instructs multiple cinema and broadcasting courses at Chaffey College, including, but not limited to, Intro to Screenwriting, Intro to Media Writing, Beginning Single Camera Production, American Cinema Survey and World Cinema Survey.

Under his instruction, Chaffey College students have made it to prestigious film schools, like American Film Institute, University of Southern California, and, of course, his alma mater, UCLA. Jacobo reiterates the fact that the industry is growing and hungry for new talent, and that is not changing anytime soon. So, “start writing now.”