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Jeffry S

- Research Program Mentor

MA at Stanford University


Filmmaking, particularly the story structure psychosocial, mythological and historical underpinnings of great masterworks.


J.J. (Jeffry John) Stein has had many career titles but devotes almost all of his time now to the creation of his own works. Previously Jeff was a VP executive in charge of development and production and/or line producer for such features as Dead Ringers, The Beastmaster, Evilspeak, Fade To Black, and John and Norma Novak. In addition, he has written some fifteen screenplays such as Harry the Mercy Killer (optioned by Richard Pryor), Heartstopper (commissioned by Priority Films), and The Q-Secret (developed miniseries for TBS). His expertise in both explicating and demonstrating storytelling percolates, as well, through his dystopian satire novel, Mediaevil, his action/adventure novel, Keeper of the Planet, his political thriller novel, Gentlemen of Decision, his book of short stories, The Magic Word and Other Stories, and his non-fiction opus, Life, Myth, and the American Family Unreeling. Throughout his career, Jeff has had a continued calling as an educator. This began as a high school English teacher in Sunnyvale and Beverly Hills, California and continued at Vanderbilt University, Middle Tennessee State University Governor School for the Arts, Tennessee State University and National University. Jeff was also a founding faculty member of the Watkins College of Art and Design Film School, now part of Belmont University, where he taught for ten years. His broad knowledge of the medium resulted in courses on producing, production management, directing, screenwriting, physical production and the history and sociological implications of motion pictures. Significantly Jeff has also delivered presentations and taught workshops throughout the country including at Emory University’s Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life (MARIAL), the University of South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Radford Universities (VA), Aurora University (WI), the Scarritt-Bennett Center, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt (TN), UUA General Assembly (Boston and St. Louis), The Mountain and Lake Junaluska Retreats (NC), and the Center for Studies of the Future (CA). Jeff grew up on Long Island. He received a B.A. in English from Dartmouth College and two M.A.s from Stanford University, the first in English Education, and the second in Communications with a Specialization in Film. As a professional and an educator, he has continued his education at numerous producing and writing workshops and conferences with such masters as John Truby, Maurice Singer, and Dean Koontz. Nevertheless, application and instruction have been his most informative endeavors.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Digging into the Cosmology of Why You Love a Chosen Film

People often don’t realize the underlying cosmology in motion picture storytelling that they are responding to. It is suggested that a prospective student pick a film they love and then investigate the mythological, structural, historical and generational archetypes operating beneath its surface entertainment. Ultimately, then, this becomes a doorway for illuminating the psychosocial cosmology driving the trials and triumphs of our human journeys.

Unearthing Mythological Archetypes Operating in Exceptional Film Structure

By applying the works of such writers on mythology as Joseph Campbell, Carol Pearson, Riane Eisler and Carl Jung, among others, a prospective student can illuminate the Hero’s Journey underlying the storytelling effectiveness of a chosen film.

Applying the Mythological Hero’s Journey in Screenwriting

Utilizing mythological research, a student can be guided in writing a screenplay that incorporates a full understanding of the Hero’s Journey. As well, instruction for formatting correctly will be given.

Teaching experience

2 years of high school English classes; 25 years college and university film production, film history, story structure and screenwriting courses; numerous workshops around the United States elucidating the psychosocial, mythological and historical underpinnings of great masterworks.


Work experience

Emory University Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life / Vanderbilt University Osher Lifelong Learning / University of South Carolina University Film and Video Conference / partial list of innumerable presentations (2006 - 2006)
Presenter/Workshop Leader
Vanderbilt University / Watkins College of Art and Design Film School/ Middle Tennessee State University / Tennessee State University / National University (1995 - 2010)
Adjunct Professor
Leisure Investment Co. (Films 21) / Warren Bush Productions / The Great American Entertainment Company / ZX-Ep.no1 / Jerry Warner and Assoc. / JeJost Prods. (1980 - 1983)
VP / Executive in Charge of Development and Production / Producer / Writer / Director / Editor
Self (1969 - Current)
writer / screenwriter


Dartmouth College
BA Bachelor of Arts (1966)
English Literature
Stanford University
MA Master of Arts (1967)
English Education
Stanford University
MA Master of Arts (1972)

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