Whether he's captivating young viewers worldwide with his animated series or re-watching Star Wars with his family, Comic-Con Dad on the Street John Schafer delights his audience with his fun and creative style.
John is a husband and proud father of three, a 31-year-old son, a 22-year-old daughter, and a 5-month-old son. He is an innovative storyteller, producer, and brand manager. John has worked for the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) for over 22 years. His work on the Daytime EMMY® nominated CG series, Superbook, has been seen by millions of people in over 90 countries and is translated in over 56 languages.
Before CBN, John founded an award-winning production studio and earned multiple ADDY® and TELLY awards as a producer, director, VFX artist, and animator. In his early career, he was a first-degree black belt Tae Kwon Do instructor and served in the United States Air Force as an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) nuclear weapons specialist. In his free time, he likes going to the movies, traveling, running, surfing, and weight training.
How has working in a creative industry influenced your style?
Three important words in the film and television industry... know your audience. This applies to my style. When I’m attending an industry event with studio executives, directors, and other producers, I dress accordingly... usually anything and everything in black. Hahaha! I know that sounds cliché, but we all do it.
For everyday work attire, I keep it simple. I wear jeans and am usually sporting a “Superbook” branded t-shirt, which is the animation series I work on. If there are leadership meetings or fundraising events, I dress for the occasion. I loved my Hugo Boss suit until I had a couple of fitted suits made on my last trip to Thailand. The materials, patterns, and styles are very Asian and extremely unique.
I regularly attend San Diego Comic-Con and the Game Developers Conference and am in total fandom with what I wear. It’s funny, how movies, television, games, and books influence us. We buy their ancillaries, wear their apparel, and become a brand extension of those properties. You connect with others because they recognize the movie, or pop culture icon on your shirt and acknowledge you.
What are your favorite places to shop? Dillard’s, Macy’s and Nordstrom
Who’s your favorite style icon? Ralph Lauren
What’s your best style advice? Be true to you, don’t try to be someone else
What trend did you love at the time, but now cringe when you see old photos? '80s parachute pants
What’s your dad superpower? I always manage to make my kids laugh
Facial hair or clean-shaven? Both. Shaven in the spring and summer, and beard in the fall and winter.
What’s your favorite way to spend time with your family? Traveling
What’s been your best family vacation? It was both work and vacation, living in Jakarta, Indonesia for over 2 months
What’s your favorite family activity? Going out to dinner and a movie
Best parenting advice: Having a 31-year-old son, 22-year-old daughter, and a five-month-old son, the most important thing I think you can do for your children is to make every moment spent with them, about them. That builds a strong relationship of trust. The best model for this is based on your relationship with God.
Parenting true confession: Being 51 years old and having a 5-month-old, parenting seems less stressful now. Not because I have experience from my 2 older children, but because now I’m much more mature, well-rounded in my faith, more rational in my thinking, and more patient than when I first became a dad.
What’s your go-to family dinner? Seafood
What’s your favorite family restaurant? Bubba’s Seafood Restaurant
Is there a movie and/or TV show that’s been especially instrumental in your life?
Star Wars was released 43 years ago last May. My favorite film of the entire Skywalker Saga. It inspired me to make movies. When I first saw Star Wars in June of 1977, the most boring moment to my eight-year-old self was when Luke was talking with his Uncle Owen. Luke was frustrated and discouraged. He walked out of their home and watched the twin suns of Tatooine set in the distance behind the dunes. Boring. Years later, I had a similar moment with my dad as a senior in high school. I remember being frustrated and discouraged after our talk as I drove to the airport. There was an area on the side of the road where you could see the planes take off and land. I stayed there for hours, contemplating while watching the planes and the sunset.
At that time, I knew what I wanted to do with my life, but my dad didn’t see it as practical and I had no idea how to get there. I felt like Luke at that moment, when he said to his Aunt Beru before barging out, “It looks like I'm going nowhere”. This was just one of many moments in the original trilogy that became relevant in my life. Much like the films, there was a season of my life when darkness looked like it would prevail. I view “Star Wars: A New Hope” as the first episode of the second act across all nine of the films. That’s why on the 40th Anniversary of “Star Wars”, 3-years ago, I asked my best friend to marry me. She said yes! Our story had just started. My second act. First episode. A new hope...
(Over 23,000 people have watched this epic proposal on Facebook.)
What’s your favorite show to binge-watch? Currently, The Mandalorian on Disney+. But my “go-to”, when everyone is asleep, is the original Twilight Zone series. It transports me back to my childhood and is a “safe place” for me.
If you could pick anyone to star as you in a movie based on your life, who would it be? John Cusack
What’s your favorite sport and why? I was a First-Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. I excelled in it which helped build my confidence and self-esteem
What’s your favorite family dance party song? I don’t dance… but if I did it would be “Shut Up and Dance with Me”. My wife made me dance to this at our wedding.
If you could hang out with anyone from history, living or deceased, who would it be? George Lucas
What’s at the top of your travel bucket list? I’ve been to over a dozen countries already, but I would love to return to Japan with Rebekah and Josiah. Josiah’s full name is “Josiah Maverick Sadamatsu Schafer” - Sadamatsu is my mother’s family name. I would love for him to have the opportunity to explore his heritage.
What’s your favorite way to unwind at the end of a long day? We live on the bay and love to walk the beach and watch the sunset to decompress.
John knows his style and he owns it-- whether he's rocking a laid-back animator look or expressing his creative side through graphics and animation. He's got a strong sense of who he is, which comes across in his life and style. Be sure to follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
And for more fun and interesting dads, be sure to check out FamilyApp Dad on the Street!