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Steelheads’ Jacobs Earning Stop-Motion Spotlight

Tuesday, May 24th
Steelheads’ Jacobs Earning Stop-Motion Spotlight

If you’ve spent a lot of time over the past 13 seasons watching the Steelheads at CenturyLink Arena, there’s no doubt you’ve seen Jared Jacobs all over the building. For over a decade, Jacobs has served as a Communications Assistant for the Steelheads, running stat sheets around the arena and helping to accommodate the Boise media at Steelheads games.

Balancing a full-time job and family responsibilities, Steelheads hockey is part job and part hobby for Jacobs. Yet recently, it has been a different hobby that is earning him a whole lot more attention expanding far beyond Capitol Boulevard.

Jacobs has a special knack for creating stop-motion animation videos, frame-by-frame short films in which he uses Legos to recreate popular programs and events. What was a fun leisure activity is now becoming much more, after Jacobs’ reanimation of Tiger Woods’ famous chip-in on the 16th hole at the 2005 Masters went viral on the internet two weeks ago.

Major media outlets like ESPN and CBS Sports, in addition to multiple major news sites and the PGA Tour website itself, all put a spotlight on Jacobs’ recreation of one of the great shots in Masters history, and now people want more.

“Some television networks have approached me to commission a series of videos for them in a variety of sports, including college football,” said Jacobs, startled by his newfound fame. “Another golf video will be coming soon that I’m doing with Pinehurst Resort, who reached out to me and wanted me to do one of Payne Stewart. I feel like I have to put out an even higher-quality product now. I’ve stepped up my game a bit.”

Stewart won the 1999 US Open at Pinehurst in an epic duel with Phil Mickelson. The project demonstrates what Jacobs already knows about his unique medium, that there are dozens of moments in any sport that fans would like to relive in Lego form.

“There are a couple hockey plays that come to mind, and even some old-school football moments, but the college football opportunities have me really excited,” said Jacobs, who said networks have been courting him for college football in particular. “Ever since I came to the States, I’ve become a college football addict.”

Sports were not the initial inspiration for Jacobs’ stop-motion work. He started making his videos as a fan of the television drama Breaking Bad, breaking out his Legos to recreate his favorite scenes and share them on his social pages. That was when he earned his first minor following.

“The first one I did was awful. I did it using Vine and I didn’t even know anything about stop-motion,” said Jacobs. “But one of the actors from the show, Daniel Moncada, put it out on his social media so I got a bit of a cult following from that. That was my first little taste of success.”

From there, Jacobs turned to sports and to golf in particular. Jacobs believes that stop-motion animation works especially well for depicting golf due to the limited number of moving characters. He chose pro golfer Graham DaLaet for his first project.

“The video that got the wheels in motion was the Graham DaLaet one. I had a beard from one of the kits I’d bought so I made him and his caddie,” said Jacobs. “I don’t do a lot on Twitter, but I tweeted it out. First his caddie retweeted it and a couple hours later Graham did. As soon as he retweeted it, I started getting a ton of notifications and followers. That was when I decided to try riding the wave and doing another one.”

The DaLaet video got attention, but not to the extent of the Tiger Woods video that had golf outlets around the world calling to learn more about Jared Jacobs. The vast interest proves that these videos have an audience beyond the passionate sports fan.

“I think Legos resonate with everybody. Whether you played with it growing up or you’ve seen the movie, people understand that this form of stop-motion animation is extremely time consuming and a lot of work goes into a 20-second video,” said Jacobs, who admitted he’s been getting fan mail from young Lego builders seeking tips for their own videos.

“There are some local stores that want me to teach classes on this now.”

Jacobs has shot all of his videos to this point using a simple smart phone, but should have some new resources to work with as he takes on these larger projects. Filming the videos is obviously precision work, not only in shooting the scenes but also in preparation. It’s not surprising that Walter White or Payne Stewart Lego figures might not be immediately available, so Jacobs must spend time ‘building’ characters himself. Jacobs says Bricks and Figs is a store that has been critical in supplying accessories for his work.

With so many Lego costume changes at his disposal, Jacobs can let his imagination run wild for future video topics. And while the opportunity to be paid to do these videos and to highlight iconic sports moments is certainly enticing, this skill also allows him to express his own nostalgia.

A Calgary native, Jacobs is very interested in putting his retro Lego jackets to use to create one of hockey’s most iconic hockey duos- Ron MacLean and Don Cherry.

“That’s something special for me and my childhood. I remember watching Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday night as a kid, and to recreate Ron MacLean and Don Cherry would be special for me,” said Jacobs, hoping he might have a chance to do it in this year’s Stanley Cup Final. “Usually the ones I’m most proud of, whether they’re viewed by the masses or not, are ones like that.”

The notoriety is something new for Jacobs and there’s no telling where it may lead for him. While he continues to field calls from media big-shots who want a piece of the stop-action, Jacobs knows that the work doesn’t change. It is still first and foremost about fun, and a side-activity he gets to share with his children- Anson, Oakley, and Jovie.

Whether the videos remain on his Instagram page or make the move to network TV, Jacobs is happily and quietly building his Lego-cy

“Even if it isn’t something I make a lot of money off of, it’s fun for me and I enjoy doing it,” said Jacobs.

“If this is the pinnacle and it dies down from here, it’ll still be fun for me and my kids to look back at these videos and articles. I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.”

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