After graduating Columbia College ('63CC, English literature), Alan Jacobs was a film student at the School of the Arts in the mid '60s but left early to take work as a documentary director, editor, and producer. He eventually received the MFA in 2004 in order to teach film at the university level. In the interim Jacobs was co-owner of Odeon Films, a New York independent production and distribution film company, co-directing, co-producing, and editing documentaries for 15 years. During these years he was actively involved in the civil rights movement (Alabama March), the anti-Vietnam War protests (Only the Beginning and Sir, My Men Refuse to Go), the feminist movement (Open for Children), and the national emerging wave of independent film and video. Jacobs was the executive director of the Association of Independent Video & Filmmakers (AIVF); a founding trustee of the Sundance Film Institute; and a board member of the American Film Institute and the Independent Feature Project.
Part II, the sequel, began in Los Angeles, where Jacobs developed and produced narrative films with a first-look deal at Sydney Pollack's company, Mirage Enterprises (Running Out, Walter Matthau and Ellen Burstyn). Once again an independent, the next production was a Hallmark Hall of Fame film (An American Story, Kathleen Quinlan, Brad Johnson and Tom Sizemore). This was followed by a 10-year run of TV features, including A Call to Remember (Blythe Danner and Joe Mantegna). At the dawn of reality TV, Jacobs accepted a full-time position at Hallmark Entertainment, running the company's Los Angeles office and overseeing sales, development, and production.