I have been in the Film and Television Industry since 2002. Beginning as an actor and production assistant, I took the road less traveled, opting not to attend film school, and head out on something of a prolonged apprenticeship to learn the ropes.
Over the next five years, I worked as a production assistant, working for a cold slice of pizza, shadowing the grips and learning techniques and tools of the trade in the field, then as a grip myself, shadowing the Key Grip and Gaffer, learning their responsibilities and the working relationship they have with one another on set as well as the working relationship they both have with the Director of Photography.
In 2007, I began working as a Camera Operator and Director of Photography when the opportunity arose, all while learning lighting techniques by doing, by trial and error, by observation of others, and by observation of my favorite films. By this time, I was also able to sustain a living working solely in the industry and left my day job to pursue a full time career working in an industry I love and am grateful to have been able to make my living from and support my family.
Since then, I have served as the Director of Photography on a number of feature films, most notably “Fighting for Freedom”, starring Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3, Bloodrayne) and Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Bruce Dern (Nebraska, Monster, Big Love) and “Comedy Warriors: Healing Through Humor”, featuring the talents of Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, Due Date), Lewis Black (Daily Show, Root of All Evil), BJ Novak (The Office), Bob Saget (Full House, Half Baked), and more. I have also served as the Director of Photography on over a hundred short films, commercials, corporate and industrial projects, and television projects.
When approaching a project, I work closely with the creative forces involved in the project to make a harmonious collaboration. This is my preferred method of working, it ensures a singular, unified vision when production begins and an end product that is representative of all the creative collaborative at it’s best.
Always a team player and willing collaborator, I look forward to working with you on your next project.
Name: Shawn Schaffer
Lives in: New York City, New York
Occupation: Cinematographer, Director of Photography, Editor and Gaffer/lighting Technician
The Banality of Business
Film by Alex Guilderland (Short and Crime) Cinematographer
The New Weapon
Film by Michalina Scorzelli (Crime) Cinematographer
When the Night Falls
Film by Ed Bergtold (Short, Comedy, Drama, Horror and 1 More) Cinematographer A washed up minor league baseball player gets out of prison for a crime he didn't commit, only to find all hell breaking loose around him and the ones he loves.
Film by Spencer Slishman (Short, Comedy, Drama and Thriller) Cinematographer Secrets, deaths, and opportunities; and they hardly even knew her name! This is the story of how the untimely death of a college student forever changes the lives of her room mates.
This Is Andromeda
Film by Alex Guilderland (Short) Cinematographer
The Tomorrow Paradox
Film by Bruce Wemple (Sci-Fi and Thriller) Camera and Electrical Department A young insomniac's black-market sleep aid sends his mind time-travelling one day into the future, where he's the suspect in the disappearance of a girl he hasn't met -- yet.
Bridge of Spies
Film by Steven Spielberg (Biography, Drama and Thriller) Camera and Electrical Department In the cold war, a lawyer, James B. Donovan recruited by the CIA and involved in an intense negotiation mission to release and exchange a CIA U-2 spy-plane pilot, Francis G. Powers that was arrested alive after his plane was shot down by the Soviet Union during a mission- with a KGB intelligence officer, Rudolf Abel who was arrested for espionage in the US. Written by Gusde
The Perfect Color
Film by Justin Halstead (Short and Drama) Cinematographer
Hayride: A Haunted Attraction
Film by Nick Orazietti (Comedy) Camera and Electrical Department In this off-center slapstick comedy about loyalty and friendship, Aaron and Chris are new-found best friends who work at a local haunted hayride. Their friendship is tested when they both develop a crush on the new girl at work, and when it all comes crashing down, they have to find a way to stick together.
Comedy Warriors: Healing Through Humor
Film by John Wager (Documentary, Comedy, Drama and War) Cinematographer In the documentary, Comedy Warriors - Healing Through Humor, five severely wounded Iraq/Afghanistan veterans were given the opportunity to explore their experiences through the healing power of humor. This film follows their journey as they work with professional comedy writers, and A-List comedians: Zach Galifianakis, Lewis Black, Bob Saget, and B.J. Novak, who help them write and perform their own personal stand-up comedy routines. This exciting venture gives them new comedic perspectives from which to view their injuries and their lives, and culminates in one big night performing at LA's top comedy clubs. Written by Anonymous
Something in the Way
Film by Ronen Rubinstein (Short, Drama, History and War) Camera and Electrical Department A short film depicting the nightmares and reality of the Vietnam War and how it affected soldiers tragically when they returned back to their homes. This film reveals what the young men went through after the war rather than showing another battle driven film. James Manning symbolizes one of numerous soldiers and their struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the media and how they portrayed these brave young men.Their troubles conforming back to their regular lives and every day routines without the haunting memories of war, murder and human obliteration effecting them. Written by Anonymous
Film by Stephen Long (Short, Action, Sci-Fi and War) Camera and Electrical Department The oppressive 'interim' government has outlawed the rights to assembly, religion, bearing arms and self expression. Abby, John and their band of Opposition Artists risk life and love to appeal to their countrymen and foreign powers for help. Dodging the watchful eyes of interim leader Parris and his secret police, the Opposition smuggle their artistic statements to underground gatherings that serve as meetings to plan the rebellion. With the police closing in, time is short to affect the change the country needs. Written by Stephen Long
Fighting for Freedom
Film by Farhad Mann (Drama) Cinematographer Inspired by a true story about 2 intertwined families that are the embodiment of the immigration debate facing America today. One family is an American farming family who own Love Orchard Farms. The other family is of Mexican descent and in the U.S. illegally, having worked for Love Orchard for years. Their connection with each other is put to the test when immigration threatens to deport Angelina, a 3-year old child. Written by Shandrew Public Relations
Her Telling Heart
Film by Heidi Philipsen (Short, Drama, Mystery and Thriller) Editor A young woman becomes fearful of her watchful uncle as her secret past resurfaces.
Film by John Roome (Short and Sci-Fi) Cinematographer John Titor is a time traveler from the year 2036 on a government mission to 1975. In 1975, an error causes a ripple effect that kills his family in the future. John travels to the year 2000 and prepares them for the civil war within the United States and the nuclear war around the world. CIA Agent Somerset and his team pursue John during his time in 2000. Written by Anon
Film by Juan Luis Lopez Fons (Short and Drama) Cinematographer The first part of a cycle of music videos that will pair up Actor/Singer/Songwriter William Sturtevant with Mexican Director Juan Luis Lopez Fons. "Inspired" is the visual telling of William's choices and activities that have led him to the current stage of his career. We explore his modeling and dance background, his entry into acting and and his most recent foray into singing. The video is also a tribute to William's mother, who passed away four years ago in an unexpected accident. His mother's wishes and words of encouragement, as well as Will's resolution and tenacity, are the fuel for this video and a testament of how hard work and dedication can yield tangible results. Written by Juan Luis Lopez Fons
Survival of the Fittest
Film by Daniel Trinh (Short, Drama and Thriller) Cinematographer A dark drama film that explores the psychological mind of school shooters through three survivors' experiences with the perpetrator of the United Valley Community College shooting.
Television by Mike Feurstein (Sci-Fi) Cinematographer
Battle Under Orion
Film by Tetsuo Shinohara (Action and War) Camera and Electrical Department World War II story alternates between the past and present, linked by a fateful song. Japanese sub I-77 battles an American destroyer off the coast of Okinawa. Before heading to war, the captain received a final present from his lover, the score to a song titled Manatsu no Orion. 64 years later, his granddaughter discovers the score and the significance behind the song. Written by Snelps
Love Conquers Paul
Film by Colin Bannon (Comedy and Romance) Camera and Electrical Department Theres a little Paul is us all. Set in hometown, USA, this is the story of Paul, a twenty-something recluse with a secret... See full synopsis »
Film by T. George McArdle (Short, Crime, Drama, Horror and 2 More) Cinematographer Take a ride through the abstract world of hallucinations, dreams and flashbacks where a young woman has to choose between her brother's suffering and her life.
Good and Clean
Film by Kevin Dobies (Short and Comedy) Cinematographer A neat freak wants to rid the world of litter... until he encounters the litterbug.
Film by Michalina Scorzelli (Short and Drama) Cinematographer
Film by Sande Shurin (Short) Camera and Electrical Department The uptown chic meet the trendy arty underground of New York City at this fabulous fundraiser for a New York Museum in a Soho art gallery. It's where house music entices the all night dancers mixed with the rumba's for the uptown elite. How far will these people go to be seen? How far will the fund raising go to bring in the bucks? How far will reporters go to make headlines? How far will the performers go to make their point? This is a fast paced drama/comedy with musical performances and secrets which underscore the evening. Written by Sande Shurin
My Friend & I
Film by David Impicciatore (Short and Drama) Camera and Electrical Department Michael Cardiff has been telling his life in the newspaper for over twenty years through his well-known comic strip 'My Friend and I'. He has never felt the need to let people into his life any further, but when he agrees to narrate his life to a young writer, he realizes his childhood story is a little more than he can bear. Written by David Impicciatore
Film by Ben Alpi (Short and Drama) Camera and Electrical Department
The Vampire Assassin
Video by Michael Kazlo (Short and Horror) Actor After centuries of living the life of a free spirited spoiled rich vampire, terrorizing the Eastern European countryside, Veronica arrives in the United States for new prey. But when her actions start attracting the attention of humans she is brought before her clan elders and ordered to reign in her "bloodlust" or be ostracized by the rest of the clan, a fate worse than death. In order to get back into the good graces of the elders Veronica must become an assassin and kill vampires who themselves are attracting the humans' attentions. Written by Michael Kazlo
Film by Shawn Schaffer (Drama) Director Devin thought that finishing college was a destination, not a point of departure. So for him, life has been made difficult by the fact that everything didn't fall into his lap when he got his degree. An extended period of professional inactivity has put a strain on his marriage with his wife, Janet, who is fed up with him and is preparing to file for divorce if he doesn't shape up. To clear his head, Devin jogs through a nearby park. It is here that he meets Benjamin, an eccentric old man that Devin sees playing chess everyday he jogs. Out of curiosity, Devin sits to play a game with Benjamin. A friendship between the two blossoms as Benjamin uses the game of chess to teach Devin important life lessons to motivate and inspire him to put his life back together. But even with Devin receiving this new sense of determination from this unlikely mentor, is it too little, too late for Devin? As we explore Devin and Janet's relationship, in the past and present, can Devin ensure that it will ... Written by Shawn Schaffer
Film by Jeff Burns (Short, Drama and Romance) Cinematographer Thinking that her friend can't hear her over a bad cell phone connection, a young woman confesses something to him that may end their friendship.
Film by Michalina Scorzelli (Short, Crime and Thriller) Camera and Electrical Department Four young psychotic individuals are sentenced to St. Michael's Penitentiary for the criminally insane. These four patients are convinced that the only way to appreciate the mental tortures of a psychologically disturbed person is to be in their shoes and live in their mind. Their goal is to completely reverse roles with the doctors physically, emotionally and mentally leaving them with no other "choice," but to empathize by experiencing the exploration of the insane. Written by T.George McCardle and Henry Slattery
Film by Tom Mercer (Thriller) Camera and Electrical Department Set in the near future, UNCIVIL LIBERTIES shows a United States where the government resorts to heightened surveillance of its own citizens in the name of security... See full synopsis »
Film by Jeff Burns (Short, Drama and Romance) Actor A young man tries to change fate and prevent the woman he loves from dying.
Video by Michael Kazlo (Horror) Actor BLOODLUST opens in a blaze of blinding white light as young Maria Hunter races through her blood-spattered home to her parents room as they are being killed by a vampire. Hunter and her infant brother are adopted by the Church and grow up in a warm and loving environment until one night when the vampire who murdered her parents savagely kills her brother. The enraged Hunter leaves the secure confines of the Church on a crusade for vengeance on the creatures responsible for stealing her family from her. Written by Michael Kazlo II
Video by Michael Kazlo (Short and Comedy) Actor See what happens when a Human Resources exec. interviews a group of applicants who show how freakish they really are.
Television Academy Honor - "Comedy Warriors - Healing Through Humor"