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NEWS Fall 2018
The Star
FALL 2018 Stearns is in post production on this ambitious animated project, an adaptation of a vintage sci-fi short story.

I Don't Think You're Shallow

FALL 2018 Stearns re-mounted a short film project after a 5 year hiatus, as content for the web site he founded and to enter into the Film Festival circuit. Catherine Ventura Ahmanson reprises her role as a girl who's cell phone becomes self aware and starts talking to her. The film features live action, composite, and animated sequences. Directed and created by Stearns.

We're All Happy
WINTER 2018 Stearns continues an ongoing collaboration with NYC-based writer Jean Railla on a feature-length documentary about the early 90s/pre-internet era, specifically focusing on the Los Angeles music scene that Beck emerged from. Railla and Stearns had previously collaborated on an indie documentary 5 Nights Out in the early 90s, which We're All Happy is a follow up to. Stearns is co-directing with Railla, which features interviews, archival footage, and animated elements. Stearns - "There's a really strong interest in this era among the millennials, whether they were born yet or not...seeing footage of clubs where people in the audience aren't holding phones, a time when they communicated and interacted without any kind of social media or devices. We wanted to explore how the creative process worked back then, how people made art and music." (click image for teaser trailer).

Love Gasoline!
AUGUST 2017 Jonathon Stearns created the video design for dance-theater piece Love Gasoline! in collaboration with his wife Stacy Dawson Stearns. In July 2017 Love Gasoline! premiered at the NOW Festival at the REDCAT in downtown LA, with three performances to full houses, then traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland as part of the massive Edinburgh Fringe Festival (August 4-28, 2017), where it ran over 20 performances and received a 4-Star review.

The video design was created over a period of several months, often featuring the actual performers who would be on stage. For the three studio shoots (and multiple 2nd unit shoots) Stearns functioned as DP, working with lighting designer Jesse Freyery to develop a range of looks and color palettes that defined the different characters and setups. Stearns later created animated and motion graphic elements designed to blend and intercut with the live video footage. In addition, an FX shoot was set up to capture slow motion shots of glass bottles being smashed. Stearns- "I had to dig into my art directing background to build a "smash box" that would be a safe and clean way to shoot these smashing bottles. As it turned out, the bottles were a lot harder to smash than we predicted, and had to be forcefully thrown into the box before they would break. We have a lot of slow motion footage of bottles bouncing around and not breaking.


"The REDCAT is an amazing place to work with video, the image is massive and it was really a thrill to see my designs up there... we knew it would be smaller at Venue 13 (the theater in Scotland) but when got there and started teching we realized it was even smaller than the specs we had been given, and wasn't even the full width of the stage. Luckily the on-stage choreography was contained in essentially the same playing area for both theaters, so the video design ended up working for out.. Video design for live performance is one of my favorite formats to work in as a film maker and animator, but you really have to be ready to roll with unpredictable circumstances. I'm really looking forward to the next time we can stage something with this level of video... If you can find the balance where the projection isn't overwhelming what's happening on stage, but actually enhances it, you can make very compelling work."