About John Baumgartner
I’m a Los Angeles-based film & TV writer/director.
To see some of my work, visit JohnBaumgartner.com
THE EARLY YEARS
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.
And the rest is history.
You can view my most recent work here: http://JohnBaumgartner.com