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MJ Schilling

     Born and raised in the Bay Area, I picked up my first 35mm still camera at the age of twelve. Then I spent the next several years studying and experimenting with photography on my classic Canon AE-1. My early work was dedicated to only black and white 35mm still images, all personally hand processed and printed. When I shifted my focus towards cinematography, I then decided to compose with color.

     I’ve been actively working in the industry for over a decade on countless Features, TV, Music Video, and Commercials. I was even mentored by Chris Strong, who is an industry legend, and long time David Fincher collaborator. My extensive background in lighting has led me to working with clients like FOX, Amazon, Netflix, shows such as 'American Horror Story', and the film '6 Balloons'. Currently, I just finished camera operating on photography for Avatar 2 & 3, and excited to start other collaborative projects.

 As a cinematographer, I gravitate towards character driven pieces where I can help complement and explore the nuances of story and persona. This has given me a strong narrative background and helps set the stage for other types of projects as well. I use lighting to enhance environments & characters. I’m always aware of how the camera movement and framing will subconsciously impact an audience. I’m constantly exploring new ways to be inspired with light and color, whether through a renaissance painting or digital artist. I feel there are infinite creative voices that can help shape the way we see the world. 


I have a Bachelor’s degree in Cinematography and am currently based out of Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

(213) 361-6914
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