A principal director at an advertising production company, Steven Shainberg has directed over 20 commercials.
He received a B.A. in English Literature and East Asian Studies from Yale University. After graduation he worked on numerous films, commercials and rock videos in a variety of capacities: as location manager, assistant director, production coordinator, grip and assistant editor.
Subsequently, Shainberg worked as an independent producer, developing several screenplays. He then entered The American Film Institute where he directed four short films, all of which he wrote or co-wrote, including one that he would later rewrite and develop into the 2002 feature, Secretary. Another of these shorts, The Prom, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, won the Grand Prize at the Houston International Film Festival, the Critic's Award at the Breckenridge Festival in Colorado, and the Silver Medal for Drama at the New York Festival.
His first feature length film, Hit Me (1996), was based on a novel by Jim Thompson and was released in August 1998 after being screened at numerous festivals, including the Toronto Film Festival.
Although Shainberg developed Secretary into a full-length screenplay, it took several years to get the film produced. He spent many years in Los Angeles trying to get it developed, but received no offers. He finally decided to return to New York and shop the script around there, where he finally found a producer.
The film screened at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won a Special Jury Prize.
Shainberg claims to have been greatly influenced by the movie Blue Velvet (1986), crediting it as the film that inspired him to make movies.
Hit Me (1996)