Pizza boy to movie director: One man’s Recession-era American dream

Pizza Boy, PR image.
'Pizza Boy,' PR image. (From a film by Brad Jacobowitz)

OCALA, Fla., April 3, 2014 — The economy has got many Americans down, and a great deal of these individuals are young adults.

Few things are so dangerous for a country as when its youth drift without gainful, or sometimes even steady, employment. We live in an era where recent college graduates, no small number of whom have credentials beyond a Bachelor’s degree, come home to find only service-sector jobs and crash in their parents’ basement.

In decades past, they would have been on their way to productive white collar careers, which might have eventually rewarded them with six-figure annual incomes. Now, they not only are they doing high school-level, minimally-paying work, but they are shouldering massive tuition debt as well.

No end to this cycle is in sight.

Fortunately, not all young adults are letting these roadblocks deter them from following their dreams. One such example is Brad Jacobowitz, a New York-based filmmaker who employed his personal angst to achieve professional gain.

“The Pizza Boy,” his acting and directorial debut, centers around a man in dire need of direction. Stuck at a menial job with the once viable possibility of a wrestling career long gone, Jacobowitz’s character gets little respect from those around him. He takes this on the chin for awhile, but eventually lashes out with extreme violence. From a much younger boss to an aggressive prostitute to his concerned parents, no one in his path is spared. Or so it seems.

Jacobowitz tells Communities Digital News that this character relates with people because “he’s 30 years old, lives with his parents and has no economic prospects. He’s somewhat of a dreamer who makes excuses for why he’s not living up to his potential. Many younger people are moving back in with their parents and feel the same way in this economic climate.”

His new film’s inspiration came about in a seemingly mundane fashion.

“I came up with the idea for The Pizza Boy when I was a pizza delivery driver around 10 years ago,” Jacobowitz says. “I was late delivering a pizza to a customer and she was very upset. She called my manager in front of me and said ‘the pizza boy is late.’ The fact she called me a boy irritated me and I thought about a frustrated pizza guy who becomes a serial killer as a film. That’s what gave me the….initial inspiration for the film.”

Even for those who can’t stand cinematic violence, there is a message behind “The Pizza Boy’s” madness.

“I would say the lesson is to take responsibility and stop making excuses for yourself,” Jacobowitz explains. “Work hard and do what you have to do to live up to your potential.”

While he does have some experience in the entertainment industry, leaving for Southern California to gain a foothold, Jacobowitz completed his work outside of the traditional studio system. His film was shot in Tuscaloosa, Alabama where he lived for a time, and suburban Central Florida where he was raised and where the film’s story takes place.

As one might imagine, “The Pizza Boy’s” production budget was minimal.

“I don’t plan on being an ultra-low budget filmmaker for long,” Jacobowitz remarks. “This was my first film and it’s a springboard for my future films with much bigger budgets each time around. I can say making a film with such a low budget is challenging but very liberating because you have total creative control over every aspect of your film. Dealing with your own money to finance the film enables you to make a truly uncompromised piece of work. The advances in digital filmmaking have made it much easier for the filmmaker to create their vision.”

“I’ve always been a big movie fan,” Jacobowitz observes. “I started by writing my first screenplay. I wanted to sell that screenplay to a movie studio, so I moved to Hollywood. I figured to sell my screenplay, I would be an actor and work my way in the business. While learning how to act, I learned how to direct. Eventually I figured, why don’t I write, direct and star in my own film.”

Perhaps the most important takeaway from the story of Jacobowitz’s career is that one should not give up on his or her dreams. That point is of insurmountable importance in a difficult age like our own.

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