Hi, I’m Jaan Shenberger, a writer/director/DP, and freelance designer/animator. I wanna give you concise, useful methods and insights to help you save time and money. In the form of blog posts. With maybe a few jokes sprinkled throughout. But you have my solemn word that none will be of the “knock knock” variety. Nor will they be about your mother. Because that would be disrespectful. And in return, please buy something from my Amazon/etc links so I can make a few pennies to buy several more pairs of novelty socks.
I tend to stretch budgets as far as I can, so I usually end up having to get my hands dirty in most stages of a project, which has given me a multidisciplined, streamlined approach to planning and executing projects. So having firsthand experience in all kinds of stuff like building creature puppets, booking crew, traditional animation, lighting a set, directing untrained actors, visual effects compositing, sweet-talking location property managers, making costumes, working with animals, shooting & making miniature models, color grading, enduring the corporate client revision gauntlet, etcetera, has given me a sense of efficiency in terms of what works on camera and particularly how that subsequently works in post.
Okay, here’s the part where I brag about myself (ugh)…
At age 20 I made a 12-minute film on 16mm (sans anything that even remotely resembled a trust fund), was DP for a 40-minute 16mm film when I was 21, wrote/directed/shot a no-budget narrative feature at 22, and directed my first live-action national spot at age 26. Then I decided I was kinda sick of being a workaholic cyborg. Since then I’ve mostly been taking advantage of my free time as a human being, in between projects for clients like Nike, Adidas, History Channel, IFC, Google, CBS Interactive, Snoop Dogg, National Geographic Channel, Pepsi, and Sony… some of which has appeared in Stash DVD Magazine (as illustrator), been featured on FWA’s Site of the Day (as animator), and won a Silver W³ Award (as director, DP, and editor).
In addition to all that commercial work stuff, I’ve been invited to pitch series to major entertainment conglomerates’ subsidiaries as a writer, and directed a web series pilot that was ordered to series. And, of course, I continue making my own self-funded scrappy projects.
My last major project was as cinematographer and editor for Dirty, Yellow, Darkness, a narrative feature shot on location in Sri Lanka. Prior to its theatrical release there in 2017, it played fifteen international festivals (seven of which were in competition) including Shanghai, India/Goa, Beijing, Kerala, and the London Indian Film Festival. It was very humbling to see our micro-budget feature in competition against so many outstanding films, including a Cannes award winner and an Oscar nominee… and it was even more humbling when we totally lost to those films, ha. This bio thing ended up way too long, I’m gonna go take a nap now.
Do you see a pattern in these pics?
Thanks to Todd Fuller, Nicole Bennett, and Hemantha Arunasiri for the photos.