ABOUT JON BRANDEIS

Through his company and as an employee of networks and other production companies, Jon Brandeis is a showrunner, producer, director, writer, editor, and shooter for television, film and the web, from guided improv to serious documentary to scripted drama, comedy and satire, from concept through post and marketing, on the set, on location and in the studio. He’s directed Larry David, Ellen DeGeneres, Nile Rodgers, Lewis Black, RZA, Jeff Garlin, Bob Kerrey, Cheri Oteri and many others. Jon also produces corporate and academic content,  fundraising events and has taught at numerous universities. Clients include, AMC, PBS, Comedy Central, fX, Showtime, Bravo, ABC, Lifetime, VH1, MTV, The New School, The NY Institute of Technology, Stony Brook University, Pfizer, Cablevision, Hazelden, as well as numerous production companies, non-profits and individuals. 
The sum of this experience demonstrates mastery of nearly every process imaginable for uniquely tailored storytelling and content creation over all platforms.
WORK SAMPLES

DOCUMENTARY

PBS: DISSONANCE & HARMONY
The Music Business in The Mid-East

 

Producer/Director/Editor...

There were over 500 applicants for 12 grants being awarded by the CPB as part of the nationally aired PBS series America at a Crossroads. It’s purpose was to examine America’s relationship with the Arab world post 9/11 from numerous perspectives. Ours focused on Middle Eastern culture by chronicling the everyday joys and frustrations of musicians, both legends and struggling artists from a cross-section of Arab countries. My co-producer and the film’s narrator was Miles Copeland, formerly the manager of The Police and then Sting. It was a very difficult film to make, arranging travel and permits and directing shoots in numerous Arab countries during the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon. The real challenge was back in the USA, working with embassies and diplomats to get visas for the 29 Arab musicians we wanted to bring back to LA. All but two Iraqis made it. But the Iraqis, Jordanians, Egyptians and Lebanese who did arrive collaborated with western musicians like Nile Rodgers and RZA to put on a remarkable concert at The Roxy. The ultimate effect was to present a reality that countered the image of all Arabs as terrorists.

INDEPENDENT FEATURE:
American Bellydancer

Producer/Director/Editor...

This was a first collaboration with Miles Copeland, who grew up in the Middle East while his father was hatching the CIA. His business had transformed from managing The Police and Sting into importing the Arabic music of his childhood, but after 9/11 it was difficult. Taking Riverdance as his model, he decided to create a Bellydancing Spectacular driven by the compelling modern music of the MIddle East. This would soften the perception that the music suffered on its own. I followed him all over the world for a year, and against all odds, he succeeded in creating the first internationally touring troupe of Bellydancers. Bellydancing, it turns out, is a huge global phenomenon filled with contradictions, but the narrative needed a center and the enigmatic Miles was it. Ultimately, the film touched on the fall of the music business, a man reinventing himself, Arab/American cultural conflicts and transformation through art. American Bellydancer was released theatrically, ran on The Documentary Channel and throughout South America and The Middle East.

VH1: BEHIND THE MUSIC
Studio 54

Producer/Director/Editor...
Executive Producer Gay Rosenthal wanted to expand the BTM franchise, so she asked me to create the first episode NOT about a musician or a band, but about a convergence of social forces that spawned a unique phenomenon. Studio 54 defined a moment in American popular culture when the 70’s became the 80’s, when frivolous excess finally reached its thoroughly entertaining limit. In addition to being the first 90 minute version of the show, this was one of the most highly rated and rebroadcast episodes in the series.

VH1 BEHIND THE MUSIC
Woodstock

Producer/Director/Editor...
 

SCRIPTED

AMC – THE MAKING OF THE MOB
Season 1

Head Writer

For AMC – Writing and supervision of writing staff for 8 hour docudrama series, The Making of the Mob, about the formation of La Cosa Nostra in New York City at the beginning of the 20th century and up through the 60’s. The drama focuses on the efforts of Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello, Vito Genovese and Bugsy Siegel as they attempt to organize rival gangs and crime families into a highly profitable unified criminal enterprise. Aired Summer 2015 to excellent reception.

FOX – LEGENDS & LIES:
A Nation Divided

Story Editor/Avid Editor...
The job was to research the story, gather up the original footage, research the story, reorgainize it, request additional scenes to be shot, order up CGI effects, maps, new b roll, write narration and cut it all together in Avid Media Composer. 2 Episodes
AMC: LIZA LIFECOACH
Interstitial Series
Exec Producer/Director
An experimental series of 26 four minute ‘intermissions’ between movies in prime time. The goal was to assist in the branding of an evening of movies about women, as well as being a standalone web series. Cheri Oteri, formerly from Saturday Night Live, portrays a Life Coach committed to making the world a better place, one anxious person at a time. Nominated for a Webby Award.
PBS: LIFE PT 2
Lewis Black
Producer/Director/DP
With its series, ‘Life, Part 2’, PBS was attempting to directly address its older audience about being older. The challenge was to keep this sensitive and occasionally dark subject light from time to time. To that end I was assigned to get on a plane with my camera gear, meet Lew at a diner in LA and create a segment out of what he had to say about aging as he at a plateful of fried things.

UNSCRIPTED

fX: LOST & FOUND
22 Episode Series

Exec Producer/Director
This series was originally pitched and sold by Madelaine Smithberg and Liz Winstead, who bowed out to create The Daily Show. The idea was to reunite people who had been important to each other but had fallen out of touch. I was brought in to find a story, conceptualize, produce, direct and cut it into a segment very quickly. This video is that segment, which greenlit the order for 22 episodes. As the Showrunner I rented a 30,000 sq. foot space, hired private detectives and a staff of 120 consisting of 5 field teams and 11 avid suites. We shot episodes all over the world airing 6 weeks later. Rich Ross, our boss, came by and made a speech thanking us all for getting the show on the air in time. The series ran for 3 years.

OTHER UNSCRIPTED SHOWS
Bravo
AMC
Comedy Central
Lifetime
VH1

AMC: MOVIES AT OUR HOUSE
3 Year Run

Executive Producer/Director...

AMC wanted to bring in viewer engagement and ad sales with a short form series wrapping the breaks. The premise is Jimmy and Rachel (Jimmy Pardo and Rachel Quaintance) have a show on AMC that appears before and after the breaks. Their guests are relevant to the movie somehow (actors playing real people) and during the breaks, they discuss the movie. But behind the scenes of the show, when it’s not “live”, is a fake mini-doc chronicling the intrigue and chaos trying to run a “live” show. I supplied the guests and backstories. The rest was all guided improv, lots of fun. The series ran for nearly three years and noticeably increased the audience share as well as ad sales.

DEVELOPING

FUTURITY: 6 Part Series
Dread or Hope of The Future
Creator/Designer/Editor
An experimental web series based on the premise that a regular hard-working alien gets an assignment to create a video blog in an effort to communicate his questions and observations regarding the remarkable beings of Earth.

FUNDRAISERS

PADDLERS FOR HUMANITY
Montauk to Block Island

Producer/Director/Editor...

A band of Surfers got together and stand-up paddled from Montauk to Block Island, a challenging 18 mile journey through open ocean, not for the faint of heart. This effort transformed into a uniquely original charity event where money is raised by those who want to participate in the challenge. These funds are then distributed primarily throughout the EastEnd of Long Island for the benefit of local children. This film was commissioned to aid in spreading the word.

Brandeis Media has made films for many other organizations, such as …
Pfizer
Hazelden
The Kaitz Foundation
Cable Positive
The Marc Lustgarten Pancreatic Cancer Research Foundation.

EDUCATIONAL

THE NEW SCHOOL:
The Bob Kerrey Decade

Producer/Director/Editor...
Former Senator Bob Kerrey was leaving The New School as it’s president and it had been preordained that the staff would give him the gift of a video at a fundraiser celebrating his decade-long tenure. But Bob’s tenure had been extremely controversial, so there was a long debate about how to approach it. I knew Bob and asked asked him what he wanted. He said, “I rarely watch these things. Just tell the whole truth.” Then he proceeded to give some names of people to interview who might not be his biggest fans. The New School staff felt I had thoroughly succeeded in giving Bob what he’d asked for, but the film was clearly not appropriate to show at a fundraiser. As promised, it was handed to Bob, who to this day claims he never watched it.

STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY
The Brain

Producer/Director/Editor...
 

WEB SERIES

UNCLE REALITY
Producer/Designer/Host...
An experimental web series based on the premise that a regular hard-working alien gets an assignment to create a video blog in an effort to communicate his questions and observations regarding the remarkable beings of Earth.

EVENTS

WOLOSOFF EROICA FISCHL
Art Concert

DP/Editor...
A unique collaboration between composer Bruce Wolosoff, the world-renowned Eroica Trio and the provocative art of Eric Fischl.

TEACHING

Teacher/Mentor/Tutor
Out of all the skills and methods I’ve learned, passing it all on has become possibly my favorite endeavor of all, almost.

YOU

  BIOGRAPHY            EVENTS             FANTASY BIO     WEB SERIES        IMAGINE       

ODDS & ENDS

Tha artist Margaret Garrett asked me to find the energy in one of her paintings and expand upon it.

Is this really reality now?

A man and his dog, or is it vice-versa?

Clearly, a bold mission someone needs to take on.

CONTACT

13 + 2 =

FULL CREDITS

FEATURE-LENGTH DOCUMENTARY

 

 

Producer/Director/Writer
PBS: “Dissonance and Harmony: Arabic Music Goes West”: Part of a CPB initiative, America at a Crossroads. This hour explores the struggle of the artist in the Middle East, and a journey by a diverse group of Arab musicians to LA, where they collaborate and perform a concert with American musicians at The Roxy, offering insights into the culture of the Middle East.

Producer/Director/DP/Editor
“American Bellydancer”: Released theatrically & on DVD with music impresario Miles Copeland, former manager of The Police and Sting, a documentary about the music business in the Middle East and the unlikely formation of the 1st ever touring American Belly Dance Troupe. 3 American film festivals.

Prod/Director/Writer/Editor
VH-1: Behind The Music: “Studio 54”: 2nd season premiere – The rise and fall of the infamous nightspot, and the 70’s. 1st BTM 90 min documentary (People Magazine “Show of the Week.”)

Prod/Director/Writer/Editor
VH-1: Behind The Music: “Woodstock”: 3rd season premiere: 90 min. documentary on original Woodstock – about the joys and horrors of producing an unanticipated cultural phenomenon.

UNSCRIPTED/HYBRID

Head Writer
AMC: ‘The Making of The Mob’ (season 1)
At Stephen David Entertainment: Supervision of writing team and rewrite of 400 page, 8 episode hybrid docu- drama series,

Story Producer/Editor (Avid)
Fox: “Legends & Lies: The Patriots”
Rewrite script, gather interviews, b-roll and edit (Avid) 2 hybrid 1 hour doc-drama episodes.

Consulting Producer
Asylum Entertainment: Research, collaboration, conceptualizing and writing of a treatment for a series presented to AMC (title and premise under non-disclosure).

Development Consultant
Jupiter Entertainment: Research, collaboration, conceptualizing and writing of a treatment for a series presented to National Geographic (title and premise under non-disclosure).

Producer/Director/Editor
PBS :Life, Part 2 – 2 pieces-series pilot.: Examination of aging, by Lewis Black and the curious persistence of a terrible rock bank made up of writers Scott Turow, Amy Tan, Mitch Albom, Dave Berry, Matt Groenig and Stephen King.

Showrunner/Director
Bravo: “Citizen Reno”: 4 Episode non-fiction sitcom chronicling the unintendedly hilarious dysfunction of a seasoned political performance artist trying to live in the world, specifically, Tribeca. (Entertainment Weekly and NY Mag picks.)

Showrunner/Director
AMC: “Action Pack”: A series of shorts following Matt McCarthy and Nick Stevens as they haplessly drift through locations off the streets of New York City, engaged in a passionate, non-stop argument about nothing other than movies.

Showrunner/Director
Comedy Central: “Comics On Delivery”: Comic series that enlisted the debatable interpersonal skills of comedians to help regular people with their legitimate everyday personal problems. Also developed and directed the pilot episode. Supervised 5 field teams and 9 edit bays. Staff of 85.

Showrunner/Director/Editor
MTV: “The 24 Hour Show”: Unscripted pilot tracking the 24 hours given to Richard LaGravenese to write a 4 minute script and then for Peter Berg to cast, direct and edit it.

Showrunner//Director/Editor
fX: “Lost & Found”: 22 episode unscripted series- tales of friends and lovers reunions. 3 year run. Supervised 7 field teams and 13 edit bays. Staff of 120

Creator/Exec Prod/Director
AMC: “Movies at Our House”: 52 episode comic doc/drama interstitial series concerning odd gatherings of people watching and discussing movies “live” on AMC.

Creator/Director/Host
VH-1: “Street Talk”: 100 plus 1-minute “shows” as on-camera host discussing one particular topic with people- on-the-street over the course of an hour between music videos.

Writer/Director
Showtime: “The Funniest Person In America”.: Docu-comedy series on the road with Ellen DeGeneres.

Creator/Executive Producer/Director
Lifetime: “Three Blind Dates”: Comic dating-doc series (Originally for PSN syndication.)

Producer/Director/Editor
“In The Kitty”: Pilot with Caroline Rhea of long-lived weekly Hollywood celebrity poker game.

SCRIPTED/GUIDED IMPROV

Executive Producer/Director
AMC: “Liza Life Coach”: Cheri Oteri, formerly from SNL, portrays a determined Life Coach committed to making the world a better place, one anxious person at a time in a short-form on-air intermission.

Creator/Writer/Director
New Line Television: “True Tales of Romance”: Filmed narrative pilot developed for a series.

Producer/Director/Co-Host
VH-1: “Fools For Love”: 13 episodes narrative/stand-up hybrid w/co-host Caroline Rhea.

Writer/Director (field pieces)
Lifetime: “Way Off Broadway”: Variety/Comedy series with Joy Behar & Larry David (25 shows).

Writer/Director
Comedy Central: 7 original 16mm short comedy films pertaining to romance and eating.

Writer
Jean Doumanian Productions: 1/2 hour comedy pilot.

 

EDUCATIONAL

PRODUCTION

Producer/Director/DP/Editor
The New School: “The Bob Kerrey Decade”: 22 minute documentary tracking the achievements and controversy surrounding the tenure of Bob Kerrey as president of The New School.

Producer/Director/DP/Editor
Stony Brook University: “The Brain”: 45 minute documentary chronicling advances in research and in applied Neuroscience at Stony Brook.

Producer/Director/DP/Editor
New York Institute of Technology: 40 minute documentary investigating the history and practice of Osteopathic Medicine.

 

TEACHING
• Finalist – Walter Cronkite School of Journalism Professor of Practice at Arizona State U. Went through intensive interview process on site as one of      two candidates. Placed second out of dozens.
• Workshop Director: New School for Social Research – 8 credit video workshop.
• Instructor : New York University – Grad. program/ Communications in Education.
• Instructor: Stony Brook University – Workshop on writing non-fiction for the screen.
• Mentor: ReelWorks – Brooklyn-based film school for underprivileged kids.
• Tutor: Private lessons in Avid Media Composer

FUNDRAISERS

• Pfizer
• Cablevision
• Hazelden (with Judy Collins)
• Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research
• Cable Positive
• NYC Catholic School Archdiocese
• Paddlers for Humanity

EDUCATION
• BFA: NYU Institute of Film and Television.
• Also studied Film and Fine Arts at USC & Cal Arts.

SPECIAL SKILLS
• Avid editor/owner, interviews, documentary shooter.
• Owner of 4K production and post packages.
• Certified Diver
• Motorcycle License

MEMBERSHIP
Producers Guild of America/Producer’s Council

AWARDS AND PUBLICATIONS
• American Bellydancer invited to 3 American Film Festivals
• Chicago Film Festival National Certificate of Merit.
• ITVA Bronze Award.
• Published with byline. Front page photo Arts & Leisure NY Times
• Published: 2 short stories in Minetta Review
• Barkas Award in Creative Writing – NYU.

REPRESENTATION: ICM Partners NYC