Hey, I’m James Guardino,
the documentary and commercial director 

– not the brazillian underwear model (yeah, I’m disappointed too – I wish I had his abs).

JG in 60 Seconds

People talk to me. On buses, in bars, on elevators. Sometimes it’s really personal and I rarely seek this out – it just happens. It’s my super power.

I have an outsider’s perspective and a blue collar work ethic – from my dad, who was a boxer and a truck driver, and raised me on his own. Being a creative entrepreneur and filmmaker, I live to connect and collaborate with like-minded clients and creatives. That’s when the magic happens because filmmaking is a team sport.

I love a good story and believe that everyone has one. My visual style is human, intimate and present. I’ve been told that I have a unique sensitivity in working with real people actors. I have interviewed hundreds of people from biotech billionaires to pro wrestlers, kids with cancer to women who overcame homelessness, and even Larry Flynt in his gold plated wheelchair.

I founded and run Byline Studio, a creative video agency. We have clients around the country, and produced over 500 short films, commercials, mini docs, animations and branded content-type projects. Byline works directly with companies and brands and collabs with agencies.

I also work independently as a director on feature films, long form doc series and commercials.

personal info

Name: James Guardino

Web:  bylinestudio.com  (my production company)

Selected Work

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Be My Action Hero

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Ethan’s Marathon

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Christine Bray

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10 Gold Medals

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Cure Starts Now

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Opioid in Dayton

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Building a Cure for CF


University of California at Berkeley

M.J. (Master's of Journalism)

Relevant Coursework: Documentary Filmmaking, TV News, journalism and business strategies cohort at Haas School of Business, receipient of the business journalism scholarship
Wagner College

Bachelor of Arts

English, Journalism, Photography, Track & Field team captain

The JG Timeline

As a visual storyteller who depends on others to share their stories - the highs and lows in an honest way, publicly - it’s fair for me to do the same. So, here’s a timeline of some key moments in my life that provide context for some of my work.

I grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, NY. When I was 6 my parents got divorced and we went on welfare. I remember eating cheese from long cardboard boxes and drinking powdered milk. I do not have fond memories of this time but I do think it helped me later in life to relate, empathize and connect with people from all walks of life who have gone through tough times.
My father was a union truck driver and trained seriously as a boxer when he was a teenager. Before his first bout in the Golden Gloves his parents asked him to stop. They were scared for his safety and told him he was “too handsome to box”. I wonder what would have happened if he continued boxing? (Here’s a link to watch a project about the legendary boxing trainer Teddy Atlas called The Atlas Code).
One morning when I was 12 years old I found my mother having a seizure and I called 911. She had emergency brain surgery to remove a tumor the size of an orange. She survived and is thankfully okay. Perhaps this is why I’ve been drawn to films about human health and disease, like this one on kids with cancer, this one on opiod addiciton and this one about homelessness in LA.
High School
I went to an all boys Catholic high school and had trouble finding my tribe. But mid-way through my senior year I joined the track team. Running changed the trajectory of my life, got me a scholarship to college and lead to my work sharing the life changing gospel of running. Here's a sizzle reel for a doc about the great American marathon runner, Meb Keflezighi, a mini doc about another marathoner named Ethan who lost over 200 pounds and a short film about an 85 year old man who sets out to win Ten Gold Medals in one single track meet.
College + Cancer

I am the first person in my family to graduate college. Senior year, my father was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. He deteriorated very quickly to the point where one night he sneezed and broke his leg. I cared for him by myself and was with him when he died. That day he told me to “be somebody”.

I can relate to the shock, pain and eventual growth that happens when cancer strikes. Here are a few short films I’ve made about cancer such as a mother of a piano prodigy who beat cancer, a PhD who studies the same cancer that she was dignosed with and a married couple that works together on all things related to recovery.

Journalism + UC Berkeley
I was an intern reporter for The Staten Island Advance and an editor for Dow Jones and Bridge News. But I wanted a more creative outlet and after much contemplation I decided to make documentaries.

Getting that acceptance letter to documentary program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism was a thrill. I moved to Berkeley, shot and edited short films and news stories day and night for two years, and made some great friends and collaborators along the way.
Al Goldstein
After Berkeley I moved back to NYC and lived on my brother’s couch as I researched new film ideas. On the same day that my brother, who was a cop, was giving me a tour of the jail in his precinct - Al Goldstein was in handcuffs in that same jail cell waiting to see the judge. I asked Al if I could make a film about him which set off an unlikely series of events.

I spent the next several years filming Al on his many misadventures in his Pompano Beach mansion, on an ambulance on his way to Riker's Island and living in a homeless shelter in NYC. I have over 60 hours of unseen footage and I am in talks to turn this into a broader film about Al and his impact on free speech and the culture.
Brooklyn + Advertising
I lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn for six years and freelanced as a director and DP around NYC. Working with the ad agency SSK kicked off this chapter of my career.
LA + Byline Studio + PA
During my decade in LA, my writing partner and I had an agent and went on lots of pitch and staffing meetings. I learned about the business and story structure via writing many scripts and getting great notes from luminaries like Greg Daniels (The Office) and James L. Brooks (The Simpsons).

Simultaneously, I started a creative video agency which has evolved into Byline Studio focusing on telling authentic human stories, driven by emotion, featuring real people.

We live in PA now where my wife teaches at a small liberal arts college. We have two young kids (a boy and a girl) and two old dogs (both boys).

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