Jeff Garretson grew up in Streator, IL, of which he has always been extremely proud. This was the same neck of the woods in which all four of his grandparents and both his parents grew up. Jeff grew up where grandmother's house really was over the creek (pronounced "crick") and through the woods. He went to the same grade school his father attended and the same high school where his parents met. Jeff's 8th grade class graduated 6 boys, no girls and that school is now someone's house.
Otter Creek-Hyatt School was great for feeding his acting bug, with sketches regularly performed by students for other classes. The weekly music program was prep for the OCHS graduation show, but especially for the best darned Christmas pageant you would ever hope to see put on by a school of 60 kids, K-8.
Jeff was always a fan of movies and TV. He learned early, that if he watched the old black and white movies on WGN with Mom, she'd let him stay up until 3 in the morning with her, since no one else could. This is where he gained his movie appreciation (and also his nocturnal habits).
He always wanted to be an actor, but liked food too much to make himself starve to do it. He performed in a couple Engle Lane productions, but then went the safe route. He knew he liked math and an "Average Salary in Math Careers" poster in Mr. Vandemark's Advanced Algebra class, clearly showed engineering was a top money-making profession. After several months of careful deliberation on which school to attend, he chose to follow in his brother's footsteps, and go to Marquette University to be a mechanical engineer and join the wrestling team!!
Once Jeff's parents let him know his brother had used all that money up.. Jeff instead chose the University of Illinois!! About 5 years later he graduated from U of I - Champaign with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He didn't know it then, but he'd also met the best friends of his life, and the woman he would one day, years later, ask to be his wife.
He began work in the engineering field right after college. After a few years of working in research labs, steel mills, and traveling the country selling spray nozzles and noise damping products, Jeff moved to the big city. A much-needed layoff in 2004 helped spring Jeff's drive to check out that Second City place. He began classes in beginning improv there and a few years later, had graduated from their Conservatory program. He spent a year learning to lose inhibition in performing at The Annoyance Theater, and performed his best improv in the Corrupt Ferret show there, directed by Mick Napier.
Jeff also studied at The Piven Theater, Metropolis School of Performing Arts, the Acting Studio, and The Green Room, as well as a host of other individual classes here and there.
Somewhere in there, Jeff also began making movies. While he appreciates what goes on the stage, his passion has always been for what goes on the screen. The more sets he works on, the more he realizes, that stage and on camera acting are not the same beast. He has devoted his time and career to being the best film actor he can and enjoys building each character from the ground up.
Since moving to the Chicago area in 2003, Jeff has appeared in over 50 shorts, features, and webisodes, along with a handful of commercials. As an assistant organizer to the Chicago Acting in Film Group, he is extremely active in building the Chicago film community. He's not opposed to going to L.A., or anywhere else in the country for that matter, to work on films but he is now proud to call Chicago his home.
Jeff is very excited and knows he is blessed to be living out his childhood dream, and he thanks you all for joining him on this ride.