About C.J.

Writer. Director. Editor.

C.J.’s screenplay 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 writing work 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 has been featured on the front page of Funny or Die, and at festivals such as the Illinois International Film Festival, Chicago REEL Shorts Film Festival, and Big Bear Lake International Film Festival. He won 1st place at Chicago Filmmakers’ Citywide Film Showcase.

C.J. has cut comedic videos for Motorola, Walgreens, GE, Hanes, Orbitz, Clorox, Nissan, and Secret Deodorant. These videos have garnered 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 my video work “astounding.”

In 2017, C.J. edited Zero Weeks, a feature documentary advocating for paid family leave in America.


The writing is sharp. The characters are wonderful, and the dialogue is first-rate. It has incredible market potential. It has everything one asks for in a script.

New York Screenplay Contest

C.J. Arellano's video design is sharp and dynamic.

Time Out Chicago

The show boasts slick video design by C.J. Arellano.

Chicago Reader