Whether at 24 fps or in a single shot, telling stories is my passion.
Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, CJ is a seasoned writer-producer-director with experience across film, television & new media, consistently producing strong & relatable stories with arresting visuals that leave a lasting impression on the viewer. The videos he has produced and/or directed have garnered 500MM+ views worldwide.
After graduating with his MFA filmmaking, CJ completed an internship with Laura Ziskin Productions, which translated into a producer/shooter role for Ms. Ziskin’s SU2C.org. During this time he also freelanced as a producer and director, garnering awards at the Action on Film and Urban Mediamakers film festivals.
After his internship, CJ joined Break Media as a producer on popular shows such as Prank Bank, Speakeasy and the Streamy-nominated Prank it Forward for break.com. During his tenure, the channel grew its subscription to 2.5 MM subscribers and garnered more than 250MM views. He also produced viral hits such as Good Cop Pullover (10MM views) and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Wedding Surprise for Screen Junkies (8MM).
After Break Media rebranded itself as Defy Media, CJ went on to produce and direct over 60 episodes of the immensely successful Man at Arms: Reforged series and is credited for re-invigorating and consequently growing the viewership by introducing variable frame rate cinematography and infusing the episodes with more personality. CJ also produced, directed and oversaw the post-production workflow development on Man at Arms: Reforged in 360, a VR experience for Youtube’s Daydream app.
While at Defy Media, CJ also directed and/or produced various lifestyle shows including the travel series Grid Guide for Scion, BBQ in America for Kingsford Charcoal, hosted by Dhani Jones, as well as Single & Hungry for Perdue Chicken, a reality-based cooking and dating show in which two bachelors cook their favorite chicken dishes for a bachelorette who does a blind tasting to decide which guy will join her on a first date.
Then CJ turned his attention to producing and directing scripted, branded-content for Defy, including a four episode series for Turtle Wax titled Road Trip Hacks featuring Elliott Morgan and Mike Falzone. He also produced and directed a 6 part series for Ruffles (PepsiCo) titled The Guy’s Guide which starred Shayne Topp and Keith Leake, Jr. from SMOSH.
CJ eventually left Defy Media to pursue a role as showrunner at Sony’s Embassy Row on the upcoming Cameron Dallas/MAGCON SVOD app. There he co-developed, produced, directed and post supervised 300 minutes of premium content with concepts ranging from dance to talk show to man-on-the-street and even extreme sports.
Most recently, he was the executive producer for Blue Ant Digital’s series Family of Champions, a 5 episode family-oriented, video game docu-series for Facebook Watch, which was filmed on location across Southern California and featured prominent video game influencers.
CJ also enjoys portrait and street photography and his photographic portfolio can be seen at cjschmidtphotography.com. CJ holds dual citizenship in the United States and South Africa and speaks fluent English and Afrikaans, as well as basic German.