Meet The Person Behind JBL Films
I’m JB Letchinger, the proud founder of JBL Films.
I look forward to sharing some of my story. I hope that you will enjoy getting to know me a little better.
I became an avid photographer sometime between eight and thirteen years of age, and my passion grew after encouragement from friends and relatives. I found that photography and art helped me share some of myself with other people and strengthened connections. In my early 20s I expanded my focus to documentary film-making, as it combined my interests in history and photography.
After graduating from Grinnell College in 1987, I set out on a road trip with some friends and we created a travelogue, a travel-based documentary film throughout Wyoming and South Dakota. We talked people into letting us shoot their oil fields, longhorn steer herds, coal mines, dude ranches. We shot at Pine Ridge, one of the most poverty stricken and desperate areas in the country. Despite not fully knowing what we were doing, this project helped solidify my desire to be a filmmaker. Having shot reels of film footage and practical experience across the country helped me secure a few student projects and some professional ones, too.
Soon after, I was working as a driver for the Chicago Film Festival and became friendly with a director from Belgium. We were both Blues fans, and he asked me to show him around the Chicago Blues Club scene. Patrick wanted to make a documentary about it and needed someone local to chat with club owners and find out about costs. So I printed out business cards, and a friend suggested JBL Films would be a good name to put on there. That’s how the name was chosen. I continued to work on corporate, industrial, narrative films and music videos throughout the late 80s and into the 90s, when I moved to Los Angeles with my wife and we had two kids soon after.
As a Director of Photography, I’ve learned to treat everyone respectfully on larger feature film sets as well as the smallest low budget documentary, and I believe my professionalism sets me apart. Whether I’m conducting a simple interview or a television project, I strive to make the highest quality content possible using the available equipment and budget.
I have been working as a Cinematographer and DP in Los Angeles since 1996. I enjoy lighting and framing up a good shot, and helping someone tell their story gives me great satisfaction as a director/producer. By being honest, transparent and showing compassion when interviewing, I coax people into making connections and conclusions, sometimes seeing their own stories in a new light. As a producer or DP in corporate, commercial or documentary production, to achieve a successful project I listen carefully to my clients and ask many questions to get a clear idea of their goals. I also plan for the unexpected by anticipating any potential pitfalls that could occur.
I give some credit for my success to my crew who approach each project with positivity, energy, and commitment. We put in the time and show up ready to go with a creative style and logistical game plan in mind and cameras prepped. We try and make the process look easy, while delivering quality work on schedule and within budget. Our techniques have resulted in great satisfaction from clients and created incredible memories over the years, which I cherish. Some of these will be the subject for future blog posts.
When I’m not shooting or making promotional films, I love playing music and digitally retouching old photographs from my archives. I also enjoy attending art events with my wife Laura, who’s an artist, and I’m a pretty serious L.A. Kings hockey fan. In addition, I enjoy watching French-language films and hope to use my language skills to work on French projects in the U.S. and American projects in France or some other unique combination.
On a more serious note, I feel strongly about many current issues facing our country. I look forward to working on special documentary and commercial projects to help change the narrative.
I have enjoyed sharing some of my story about things that matter to me and how they influence the way I do business. I hope to publish more stories and technical observations as well in the coming months as I refine this website.
If you or someone you know could benefit from my expertise as the owner of a video production company in Los Angeles, CA, I invite you to get in touch. Please visit my website at www.jblfilms.com.