About John Baumgartner

I’m a Los Angeles-based film & TV writer/director.

To see some of my work, visit JohnBaumgartner.com


Born and raised in Ohio, at age 10 I realized I no longer wanted to be a magician and that directing was my destiny. It was more of a recognition than anything else. I’ve been making movies nonstop since.

I credit my mom’s support of my early dream and my dad’s constantly taking me to the movies at a very young age.  I was  introduced to the works of Orson Welles, George Roy Hill, Robert Wise, Mel Brooks, Ridley Scott, Spielberg and all those Bond films. My dad had shelves filled with books about these directors (with an emphasis on Orson) and these tomes constantly drew me in.  I was enraptured by the photos of directors working on sets.  There was a deep recognition happening in me as a little kid. I was feeling something bigger than myself, that was both in me and out there, something I HAD to be a part of.  I consider myself lucky for having had that kind of passionate direction hit me as a little kid.  It’s never gone away.

I’m thankful that my dad didn’t shield me from movies that might have been deemed too frightening (or maybe it just didn’t occur to him, which is more likely).  At 7, I was glued to the TV when he introduced me to Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, equal parts hilarious, frightening and exciting.  Nothing scares the hell out of a 9 year old like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which he took me to see in its re-release in 1980, or – when you’re 10 – is as wonderfully beyond-reach complex as Blade Runner.   This is when my director’s brain was becoming self-aware, and these are the movies that awakened it.

But probably the most impact a movie made, in terms of sealing the deal on what I would become, happened in 1981. I was 10 and can’t think of a more perfect age to see this film.  Again, I consider myself very lucky.  My dad and I were standing in line at the Avon Lake cinema that summer, and I was pissed.  I shook my head in disbelief and frustration, very cranky that we weren’t going to see Superman II.

“Trust me, you’re going to like this,” said my dad.

Shot4Shot - Raiders of the Lost Ark, Spielberg

And the rest is history.

You can view my most recent work here: http://JohnBaumgartner.com


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. LIVE FREE, DIE HARD (Wiseman, 2007) « shot4shot
    May 27, 2011 @ 07:37:43

  2. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981, Spielberg) « shot4shot
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 08:55:44

  3. aosuna@lacma.org
    Jan 10, 2012 @ 14:42:36


    please consider featuring our event in your blog. We are looking for young and fresh film directors to submit their work


  4. Anthony Young
    Apr 27, 2012 @ 03:36:17

    Hello John,

    I recently saw your film, Hard Pill, in Auckland, New Zealand, and I found it very moving. It rather bizarre to see one’s own life (or something similar) depicted on a screen in front of you. Watching it was a moving, funny in an ironic way and comforting experience, comforting in that finally I felt that my life experience can’t be that abnormal if someone on the other side of the globe can make a film telling a similar story.

    Thank you, and I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future.

    Anthony Young


    • jsbfilm
      Sep 08, 2013 @ 10:35:22

      Anthony, sorry for the long delay in my seeing your comment and responding. Thank you so much for taking the time to get in touch and let me know your experience with Hard Pill; it means a lot and is what every filmmaker hopes for, I think, that the work will resonate as meaningful. Made my day – thanks.


  5. Mark Bennett
    Oct 22, 2013 @ 07:46:11

    Dear John,

    I just reached out to you through Mandy.com but was unable to attach writing samples! Please let me know where I can send material in order to amaze and “wow!” you!

    Thank you,

    Mark B.


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