EOC 002: Interview with Jake Katofsky, producer/ screenwriter

Here's Jake at (what I believe is) the premiere

Jake living the dream

In this take of our podcast, I speak with Jake Katofsky, a producer and writer whose first feature, 108 Stitches, is now available on Amazon and other VOD platforms.

Jake is (only) a student but through unlimited passion, smart networking, and perseverance, he found his way into an independent production that features such talents as the Oscar-nominated Bruce Davison, the Emmy-nominated Larry Thomas, and many comedic super stars.

In this show we discuss:

  • Financing and funding
  • Distribution
  • How connections will help your production in several stages
  • Jake’s plans for the future
  • How networking  happens in Hollywood
  • Some pop culture Easter eggs
  • How hard it is to market a movie without the “ideal” cast
  • And more!

 

There are so many things in life you cannot control, but one thing you can control is how hard you work and your attitude when you are working. And I believe that a good work ethic and positive attitude can take you a long way.” – Jake Katofsky

 

108StitchesSet

On the set of 108 Stitches

Show Notes

Highlights

Among many interesting topics discussed, I think one of the biggest takeaways from this episode is how networking was essential for 108 Stitches. We always hear about how crucial networking is, but sometimes there are no examples to illustrate how that occurs. In this episode, I definitely noted many:

  • Jake himself befriended director David Rountree in a film class David taught. In the interview, Jake said he was  the only student who respected David’s time and gear (this story is later corroborated in Take 5 where I interview David).
  • Financing was possible due to the connection the crew had in the baseball world.
  • The production was connected to Bruce Davison (perhaps the biggest name in this film) through a referral by Kate Vernon
  • The production was connected to Larry Thomas through Jake’s grandma who plays mahjong with Larry’s mother (now this is just luck!)
  • Distribution was facilitated because David plays in a weekend baseball league with Mike Simon, who works for the distribution company Freestyle Releasing.

 

Jake Recommends

The book Jake referred to us was Save The Cat by Blake Snyder. This is a book that I also have and enjoy. Though there is a vast ocean of screenwriting books out there, what sets Save The Cat apart is the emphasis in marketing your story, which is a skill not many writers enjoy, but one that is necessary for longevity in Hollywood.

Stage 32 is the online resource Jake recommended to us. Stage 32 is actually how I found Jake, so you know I use it as well. This website is a good place to network with other filmmakers and entertainment professional. Think Facebook for filmmakers.

 

 Elements mentioned in this take

People

  • David Rountree: the director and co-writer of 108 Stitches
  • Bruce Davison: Academy Award nominated actor, plays Coach DeShields in 108 Stitches.
  • Larry Thomas: Emmy nominated actor for playing the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld.
  • Kate Vernon: she plays President Jennine Wormer Pratt (a reference to Animal House)
  • J.P. Pierce: the colorist and co-producer
  • Dat Phan: co-star in the movie and Last Comic Standing winner
  • Josh Blue: co-star in the movie and Last Comic Standing winner
  • Allen Maldonado: co-star in the movie (his latest film The Equalizer just opened two months ago).
  • Denzel Washington: one of Jake’s idols and star of The Equalizer.
  • Mike Simon: General Sales Manager at Freestyle Releasing

Companies and institutions

Titles

  • Animal House (1978): a comedy film referenced through the Jennine Wormer Pratt character
  • Seinfeld: a 1990s sitcom referenced in the movie through Larry Thomas, who played the iconic Soup Nazi on that show
  • The Equalizer (2014): thriller headlining Denzel Washington, with 108 Stitches‘ alum, Allen Maldonado
  • Cut! (2014): another movie which David Rountree and Jake also worked on