C.J. is a media creator specializing in queer-themed, genre-driven, and human interest content.
C.J.’s screenwriting work has won multiple awards. His feature script titled Geller High School’s Mondo-Secret Crush Committee, a heist/teen rom-com mash-up, won 1st Prize in Columbia College Chicago’s Written Image contest in the Alumni Feature Screenplay category. The script also won the Grand Prize in the New York Screenplay Contest’s Action/Adventure category. The judges called it “smart, highly original, and very entertaining,” and the Creative World Awards said, “This story has great commercial potential and could really resonate with audiences.”
C.J.’s fiction writing has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, which recognizes the best in small press fiction. Literary journal The Ear Hustler awarded him the Golden Hustler Award, their prize for the best short story of the year. His short fiction has also appeared in several publications, including Underground Voices, The Bookends Review, The Piker Press, and Word Riot. He has written articles and reviews for such publications as Film Monthly, Bookslut, and Newcity Chicago.
As a video director, C.J. has created short form content for globally renowned comedy theater The Second City, acclaimed comedy group 3Peat, and storied writer/performer John Loos. His directing work was featured at the New York Television Film Festival in July 2018, and has been featured at festivals such as Out Webfest and the Indie Series Awards. His videos have been spotlighted several times on the front page of Funny or Die. He has also directed video for big brands such as ConAgra Foods and McDonald’s.
C.J. has served as video editor for Motorola, Walgreens, GE, Hanes, Orbitz, Clorox, Nissan, and Secret Deodorant, garnering millions of viewers on branded social media channels, in-store displays, online training portals, and broadcast television.
He has also provided video content for theatre companies including Joffrey Ballet, Victory Gardens Theatre, and Theatre Seven. Chicago Reader declared, “The show boasts slick video design by C.J. Arellano,” and Time Out Chicago called his video work “astounding.”
In 2017, C.J. edited Zero Weeks, a feature documentary advocating for paid family leave in America. It won several accolades, including Best Editing at the Colorado International Film Festival. In 2018, he completed work as the lead editor on digital documentary series Pulling the Thread, produced by The Kindling Group for ITVS and PBS Digital Studios.