This meant enrolling in every filmmaking course Oleson could find, including a stint at the New York Film Academy and an internship with Academy Award-winning documentarian Barbra Koppel.
The latter's influence can be seen throughout Oleson's reel as he chronicles everything from Cape Town's Flats district to San Francisco's cultural melting pot for Airbnb.
For Oleson, film allows stories and settings that may otherwise be overlooked to flourish: "Not only can it open up new perspectives about things, but it can preserve a life and memories in a way that no other art form can. It is just such a wonderful medium!"
Such enthusiasm quickly led Oleson to the advertising realm, though juggling university studies and TVC shoots proved a tough balancing act: "Working on commercials for ad agencies was overwhelming, especially as I tried to be a full time college student simultaneously."
"Ultimately, I felt like I was learning more from working with different productions companies and directors, learning my craft on set, rather than in a traditional college setting."
Eschewing lecture halls for the real thing has served Oleson well, as he flits between branded and personal projects. His latest short film - a poetic study of South Chicago boxer Ivry Hall - has already nabbed a Vimeo Staff Pick award, and Partizan look forward to seeing what Oleson achieves as one of their own.
Check out Jake Oleson's reel here, then speak to Partizan's Ailie Robertson or Rishi Hindocha on 020 7851 0200.