After watching Senator Hollings’ candid account of the corruptive influence of money in Washington on 60 Minutes, Jonathan Neil Schneider became irate. How could a senior Senator appear on one of the most respected news magazines, tell America that its government is up for sale and nothing happens? Well he had to do something.
That “something” was to write/produce/direct his first feature film, Mr. Schneider Goes to Washington.
To do so, Mr. Schneider was forced to leave behind a lucrative career, exhaust most of his savings and get a job waiting tables to get by but according to Schneider, “It all couldn’t have been more worthwhile! I’ve been frustrated with what goes on in Washington for a while. I’ve talked about getting more involved… I just never got involved. Senator Hollings was the straw that broke camel’s back. It was time to stop talking and start doing.”
Making rash, ill-conceived decisions is nothing new to Schneider. A roommate at George Washington University had been pursuing an internship in Congress for months. Schneider thought, “That would be cool.” His roommate insisted you couldn’t just appear on Capital Hill and expect a job. Clueless, Schneider did just that.
“It was funny, when I showed up the Chief of Staff questioned me on Congressman LeBoutillier’s position on a number of issues. I didn’t even know what the issues were, let alone the Congressman’s position. To get rid of me, he gave me a huge stack of papers to read and get back to him. Luckily I took speed-reading that summer and started flying through the material. Five minutes later I knocked on the Chief of Staff’s door and said, ‘It looks good to me, when can I start?’ Amazed, he said tomorrow.”
After graduation, Schneider worked as a salesman in his family’s home improvement business. Unfulfilled, he left his native New York and traveled to California to pursue his passion for show business.
As an actor, Schneider worked in commercials, film, television and theater. He is especially proud of a recurring role on the critically acclaimed show The Shield.
Acting lead to writing, which eventually led to producing, most recently on America’s Next Top Model. Schneider had the difficult task of traveling the world and having to work hand in hand with Tyra Banks and an endless parade of aspiring models.
But making Mr. Schneider Goes to Washington has been Schneider’s most rewarding experience by far. “I never wanted to make a political documentary film, especially one where I had to use my own money to make it. Everyone thought I was crazy, including myself. Two of the most exciting, frustrating, anxiety filled years later, I couldn’t be happier with the film and my decision. I just hope the film gets out there and helps to inspire others to contribute their voice to this and other issues they are concerned about.”