Director of photography from Mineral Ridge doubles as daily doodler

Submitted photos Mineral Ridge native, Jason Lange, working on a set as a director of photography. He’s worked with various networks to create commercials, music videos and documentaries.

MINERAL RIDGE — Despite the precarity of the television and film industry, Jason Lange, who resides in Los Angeles, still finds ways to be creative every day. Lange not only finds joy in his career, but he also doodles to bring positivity to each day.

“It’s been kind of just a hobby, but I still do it,” said Lange. “I think it’s important to stay creative. I think COVID really kind of made that more prominent for me. And then with the strikes too, it’s like, ‘OK, I still need to be creative.’ That’s what makes me tick.”

He graduated from Mineral Ridge High School in 1996, and then from Youngstown State University in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications / TV and radio broadcasting.

Since leaving the Mahoning Valley in 2002, 45-year-old Lange has worked as a director of photography for National Geographic, Discovery, A&E, History Channel, VH1, Bravo, Spike TV, ESPN and more.

Notable works include the second season of “Break A Hip,” the Emmy-winning comedy series and both seasons of the Humanitas Award winning web-series “The Disappointments” among other commercial, narrative, documentary, short film, music video, TV and web series projects.

“Every day is different, but that’s, I think, why I like doing it because it’s never the same thing. The scenarios are always different,” Lange said. “I didn’t think I could ever be in a cubicle.”

In his 20-plus year career, Lange has faced challenges that threatened his creativity, namely the COVID-19 pandemic and industry strikes. In 2020, the television and film industry was shut down due to the pandemic and since then there have been a number of union strikes that have also halted production.

“These last few years have been harder with the strikes and everything,” Lange said.

Although Lange is not a part of the unions that have struck, he has felt the effects as his career led him to work on more unionized projects.

“I definitely was involved in (SAG-AFTRA) projects, and they struck last year too. It was kind of hard to really maintain a lot of that kind of work, but it’s slowly getting better.”

Lange still finds work as a cinematographer and he has now added daily doodles to his plate as another way to make each day unique. Lange has been drawing since he was a kid but started creating his daily doodles about a decade ago.

“My brother passed away like 10 years ago, and I kind of started (doodling) on that day just to kind of make the day different, you know, to create something from that down day and make it a positive thing,” Lange said. “It’s almost like therapy. It’s part of my morning routine.”

Lange decided to put his daily doodles on Instagram and TikTok (@langetoons) about four years ago, but he doesn’t do it for the likes, he posts to preserve his doodles and make people happy.

“I don’t care if no one likes my page. I do it (doodle) to keep it and know that it’s there. If I have one person like it, I’m happy. We’re not trying to get a million followers.”

To suggest a Friday profile, contact Metro Editor Marly Reichert at mreichert@tribtoday.com or Features Editor Ashley Fox at afox@tribtoday.com.


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