Born in Springfield, IL, Aaron Schneider was raised largely in Peoria, and was a member of Chicago's famed Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps. Movie special effects captured his attention, but he attended Iowa State University for an engineering degree, which he found stultifying. However, a chance encounter with Billy Crystal while vacationing with his parents in Florida gave him the impetus to change directions. The actor-comedian advised him to attend film school if he wanted to learn about special effects, so Schneider left Iowa State for the University of Southern California. Cinematography became his trade of choice, which he began to pursue in shorts and later features. He quickly vaulted from gaffer to second unit director of photography and camera operator on major films like "Titanic" (1996) before assuming the sole mantle of cinematographer on television series like "Murder One" (ABC, 1995-96), which earned him an Emmy nomination, and "Supernatural" (The WB, 2005-). He made his directorial debut with a 2000 episode of the WB sitcom "Popular" (1999-2001). Because directing was Schneider's main goal, he invested his life savings into "Two Soldiers" (2003), a short film based on a story by William Faulkner about a boy who wants to keep his older brother from enlisting in the military after Pearl Harbor. The 40-minute feature, which starred Ron Pearlman and David Andrews, won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Subject in 2004, and brought Schneider to the attention of Dean Zanuck. The "Road to Perdition" (2003) producer felt that Schneider's work on the short made him the ideal filmmaker to helm "Get Low." Robert Duvall had been attached to the project through Zanuck, and his presence made it easy for Schneider to attract talent like Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek to join the cast for the film.The $7.5 million film premiered in 2009 to largely positive reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Sony Pictures Classics acquired it for theatrical release. It soon made the rounds of other festivals before opening in American theaters in July 2010. In November of that year, Schneider and his film were nominated for Best First Feature in the 2010 Independent Spirit Awards.