Jon directed, co-wrote, and produced Urbania, which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. The Lionsgate release won nine other film festivals; was named Best Film of the Year by Movieline, BoxOffice Magazine, and Baltimore City Paper; and was listed as One of the Year's Ten Best in every major LA paper, Time Out NY, the SF Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, and 30 other publications. Urbania made history as the first film to use a digital intermediate; Shear conceived the part of the process that conforms a film's negative.
Shear runs the Take Action workshop, in which working film directors and actors explore how best to collaborate to create indelible film performances and scenes. Filmmakers get to act and develop their latest scripts, four of which went from the workshop to completed films this year. Its actors get to direct, with 3 members this year co-creating their own webseries.
Jon serves as a script consultant for projects from two hundred million dollar tent-poles to two hundred thousand dollar indies; was a creative consultant on Nickelodeon's Secret World of Alex Mack and The Journey of Alan Strange; and runs The Script Stage, which performs screenplays in development with such actors as Michael Sheen, Damian Lewis, and Kristen Bell.
He entered the business as an actor, using the pseudonym Jon Matthews because his family was being considered for the Witness Protection Program (He's the grandson of a hitman and son of a bookie and FBI operative). He was featured in such films as Independence Day and Heathers; starred in the original Pulitzer Prize winning production of Angels in America; and appeared on Broadway in Six Degrees of Separation, Shimada, and Runaways. Jon's most recent theater work includes directing Jeremy Sisto in Sanguine and producing Val Kilmer's one-man play Citizen Twain.
Shear's latest film projects as writer-director, Pursuit of Pleasure and Red Light Green Light, are currently under option and he's preparing his first documentary, Yours Anne: a diary of The Diary of Anne Frank. Jon is a graduate of Harvard University, where he won the Harvard Prize for writing and the McDonnell Award for his contribution to the arts. He has taught Directing the Actor in the MFA film programs at NYU, Columbia, and Brooklyn College, where he also teaches multiple MFA courses in screenwriting.