What is Midnight Playground?
Midnight Playground Productions is a digital filmmaking production company that was founded in 2017 by Steve Nevills and CJ Baker in Brooklyn, NY. Our mission is to use visual media to tell compelling stories in the fiction and non-fiction genres. With over 10 years of industry experience in narrative films, documentaries and branded content; we have the passion and dedication to create stunning original content.
In 2006 Steve Nevills met CJ Baker while attending Full Sail: Real World Education (now Full Sail University) in Orlando, Florida. Upon graduating from the Bachelors of film program, Steve moved to New York and began working in the commercial and reality TV world as a Production Assistant. CJ returned to his home in Austin, TX and began infiltrating the grip and electric department of feature and short films. After an initial year in New York it became apparent to Steve that his career path in film/television would revolve around the Production department. After committing to this choice, he returned to Orlando to earn a Master’s of Science degree in Entertainment Business. Through this course of study is where the initial concept of Midnight Playground Productions was born.
CJ continued to excel in the G&E (grip and electric) departments and worked his way up to Gaffer. He’s been credited on many independent feature films and commercials; creating notable works for Cosmopolitan magazine where he worked with Michelle Obama, and honing his skills for his long-term goal of being a Director of Photography. Although his true passion is having a camera in hand, he hasn’t forgotten his G&E roots as he recently gaffed the upcoming film “The Mimic” set to be released in 2018.
Upon completion of his Master’s program, Steve stepped into a Unit Production Manager role for a short action film that shot throughout the summer of 2011 in Orlando. From there, he continued to move around the country to work on additional reality TV and commercial shoots. Along the journey, he completed his writing of two feature screenplays and countless shorts and spec scripts. The Midnight Playground library of potential content was being formulated for years prior to the official creation of the company. Steve landed in St. Petersburg, Florida in late 2012 where he became an Assistant Producer for the Home Shopping Network. This is where he gained much of his producing experience.
With a sense of adventure and longing to escape barriers of American filmmaking, CJ moved to Bangkok, Thailand for a year in 2015. He quickly found work as a shooter/editor for several branded content magazines, and taught cinematography at Mahidol University International College. He learned low budget filmmaking on a whole new level, and used all the tricks he learned from his years in the G&E department to craft high quality productions without access to typical lightening packages found on most U.S. film sets.
After years of Displacement, Steve and CJ both decided it was time to make a change; taking all the knowledge they had gained over the last decade and reuniting in Brooklyn, NY to realize their dream of running their own production company. In July of 2016 they moved into a small apartment in Brooklyn and began making the talks of Midnight Playground a reality.
In February of 2017, Midnight Playground Productions became a living, breathing entity with Steve Nevills as Creative Writer/Producer and CJ Baker as Director/Director of Photography. Since its formation, the company has traveled to Nicaragua for a travel cooking show, Warren Vermont for a feature length documentary and has an original TV series circulating through production companies in Los Angeles. The story is just beginning for everything that Midnight Playground will offer, and the challenges of each new project are welcomed with open arms. The playground is open, and it’s always more fun after dark.