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About Channel B4 and Jonathon Stearns


Channel B4 Media was founded by Jonathon Stearns in 2001. CB4 creates video, animation, immersive video, motion graphics/design, and music. Original and commissioned work. Based in Los Angeles.

Jonathon Stearns Bio
Jonathon Stearns is a film maker, multimedia artist, animator, writer, and musician/composer.

Stearns is a graduate of the SUNY Purchase film program (BFA Film '89). During and after college he lived in Portchester NY and worked in night clubs as a lighting designer, and created scenic/projection installations. He also worked for scene shop ShowTech as a carpenter/welder/electrician on Broadway Musicals, including Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Starlight Express, Follies Bergeres, and others. He later moved to Brooklyn NY and worked as the house lighting designer for the Bottom Line Theater. He was also part of the original Shooting Gallery indie film collective.

In the early '90s Stearns moved to Los Angeles, and found work as an FX tech and set carpenter for Cinnabar, Jets Sets and other scene shops serving the commercial film industry.

After the '91 LA riots he moved to downtown LA, and took a staff video editor position at EZTV, where he cut actor demo reels for Viggo Mortenson, Alan Thicke and many others. He began an ongoing collaborative relationship with then-EZTV intern Jean Railla. Together they created an indie rock documentary 5 Nights Out focused on local LA bands, (featuring not-yet-famous Beck). They also co-produced a cable-access TV show based on the EZTV collection of art videos spanning into the 70s. Eventually he realized the boss, who had often been missing from work, was convinced he was regularly being abducted by aliens, and parted ways with EZTV.

With experience in FX and set construction, he began Art Directing, working on over 50 music videos through Propaganda Films, DNA, Satellite, HSI, and others. Projects included Beck ("Where It's At" and "Jackass"), The Cure, Snoop Dog, Mariah Carey. He also art directed several episodes America's Most Wanted and TV commercials.

In the mid 90s Stearns began directing, and was represented by Original Film. He directed music videos for Rickie Lee Jones, The Geraldine Fibbers, Velocity Girl, Lutefisk, Throneberry and others.

Stearns also played trumpet and keyboards in many bands in the Silver Lake music scene of the 90s. He recorded and/or performed with Possum Dixon, The Geraldine Fibbers, Rickie Lee Jones, Leather Hyman, The 99th Fuck You, Ann Magnuson and many others. A long term resident of the famed(?) "Rockplex," in Silver Lake, Stearns collabrated in the construction and operation of a garage rehearsal/recording studio used by many bands throughout the 90s.

In 1998, at the beginning of the DV video era, he took a staff director-editor job at dot-com start-up Quickband Networks and created a body of short-form documentary content for DVD titles Circuit and Short. Clips included artists Moby, Cracker, BT, Cake, Titan, Mercury Rev, and many others.

In the end of the 90s into the early 2000s Stearns co-founded psyhedelic jazz project Tesch. With Tesch he co-wrote, performed, and recorded a full length CD and an EP. Tesch performed at SXSW and NXNW and local LA Venues such as Spaceland and the Silver Lake Lounge.

After Quickband was folded in the dot com crash, he formed Channel B4 Media (formerly "Return to Whatever") in 2001, with a plan to produce original DVD titles for distribution. CB4 sustained by providing multimedia content services to clients. The studio was situated in what is now the Mack Sennett Stage in Silver Lake CA. Clients included Harley-Davidson, Deloitte, HeathNet, Boyd Communications, CalArts, Hollywood Records and many others. CB4 also offered DVD duplication and disc printing services. As online video/YouTube and social media started to phase out the relevance of DVD, CB4 shifted focus toward generating content.

He has composed music/sound design for film and stage productions; the REDCAT NOW and Studio festivals, Highways, performance series Anatomy Riot hosted by Showbox LA/Meg Wolfe.

In 2010 Stearns' co-formed The Silver Palm Trio, a super-group of talented LA performers with members of Gerandine Fibbers, Clawhammer, Elvez and others. SPT played "music from B&W movies" with his wife Stacy Dawson Stearns as Frau Klunch emceeing. SPT performed only a handful of shows, mostly at the famed Taix.

Stearns' original video work has been featured in festivals including Telluride Indie Fest, NWNW, the LA Independent Film Festival (LAIFF), the REDCAT NOW festival, The Edinburgh Fringe, LA Cinefest, LiftOff Horror Genre. Stearns often collaborates with his wife Stacy Dawson Stearns.

In 2016, Stearns took on the full-time task of building a video strategy for long-time freelance client California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and produced promotional content for all 5 arts schools and other departments. In the Summer of 2017 he created the video design for a dance theater-piece created by Stacy, which premiered at the NOW Festival at the REDCAT, and went on to a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe fest, where it received 4 Star reviews.

Still maintaining CB4 on a part-time basis, Stearns briefly served as the Director of AV at animal rights organization PETA, where he oversaw a team of videographers, editors, producers, and the archives department. He developed concepts and led productions, headed the video content team, and implemented a DAMS (Digital Asset Management System) for the organization. His goal of raising the bar on the quality and impact of the in-house productions was constantly interrupted by the lack of mid-tier management staff and crippling bureaucracy. As the requirements of the work allowed for a minumum of creative or independant thought, he returned to Channel B4 full time.

In 2018 Stearns joined an Instructional Design team through Applied Learning Science, developing and producing videos/animations for corporations and universities. He was involved in the launch of the Immersive Learning Lab (ILL) which develops immersive content for the California Community College system.

In 2019 time he collaborated with Stacy and other partners to produce a 360 video Haunted house experience, which launched on Halloween of 2019, and is in production on a revamped version for Fall 2020 release.

Stearns continues to play old jazz songs and continues to work on independent projects including music videos, social media promos, and short form documentary.