Welling's career began in dance, before his rise in the indie film world. Soon after, he opened the dance studio Planet Funk Academy in Houston, TX.
His career as a dancer saw him performing & choreographing for the NBA World Championship games for the Houston Rockets in 1994 and continued with NFL & NHL half-time shows, Cirque du Soleil (Dralion), Good Morning America, where Diane Sawyer heralded Planet Funk as "legendary."
IN ADDITION TO OVER 1,000 SHoWS WELLING HAS PERFORMED AND CHOREOGRAPHED IN THE U.S.
Welling was selected to represent the United States in 2009 by the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce to bring his dance team and choreography under Planet Funk Team U.S.A. to perform at the 2009 inauguration of the RasGas facility in Qatar. Contacted by Nina Ridge of BUSACC, Welling and his team performed about five decades of American dance styles for sheikhs and dignitaries in the middle of the Qatar.
Welling has also produced a variety of successful master classes for clients such as Disney's "The Lion King" dancers and the cast for the Broadway hit "Oliver!" He has also worked with well-known dance stars, Phillip Chebeeb, Brian Friedman, I.aM.mE, Les Twins, and many more. Welling's still photography work has been used by top dancers and models and was featured on the cover of Adobe Photoshop Users magazine.
In 2008, a Houston Chronicle reporter described Welling as "a walking encyclopedia of dance history.
Welling's PHOTOGRAPHY work was the cover story of the April/May 2011 issue of Photoshop User Magazine. The magazine, covering Adobe's product, was interested in his "prestigious" work.
In addition, Sony Music made use of his PHOTOGRAPHY talents in 2012, "to capture the amazing motion of famed dancers Les Twins."
French scientific journal Futura-Sciences also used Welling's photographs of the dancing duo to illustrate a story on twin phenotypes.
His non-dance-related photography also appears as high quality stock photography in many publications.
America's Next Top Model contestant Hannah Kat Jones used Welling's services for a professional photoshoot. After Welling's working with her, Jones landed a recurring role on the Disney Channel's Austin & Ally as Carrie, a romantic interest for one of the major characters, played by Calum Worthy.
Shawn has, over the years, also become a much sought-after public speaker, due to his knowledgeability and engaging stage presence in film. He has spoken at colleges and universities across the country, as well as film festivals, and literary conventions.
Welling has spoken at institutions of learning as varied and prestigious as Texas A&M and California Polytechnic State University.
In 2015, Welling was a featured panelist at The International Wizard of Oz Club OzCon, for the West Coast Premiere of his short docudrama, "Beyond the Yellow Brick Road."
The convention, mentioned in the film itself under the former name of Winkie Con, invited Welling and his screenwriter to speak at the popular and historic event in San Diego, CA.
WORLD OF DANCE
That same year Welling won one of the most prestigious film awards to date. The World of Dance industry award for best film work in dance received Avalon Hollywood theatre.
As a film director, Shawn Welling's first film, "House of Dreams", won a gold and a platinum Remi at the Worldfest International Film Festival. Welling's second film, "The Messenger: 360 days of bolivar," was released at Landmark, AMC, and Angelika Theaters to sold out screenings, and was awarded best feature film of 2009 by Houston Press. In 2011, Welling premiered his third feature film, also based on a true story, "Project Aether".
In 2011, Welling's feature film Project Aether, earned Critics Choice Awards for 'Best Feature', 'Best Actor', and 'Best Overall World Premier' by the Houston Film Critics Society, as well as a Best Local Filmmaker Award from Houston Press, which described it as "a patchwork of the sci-fi, horror and conspiracy theory genres.
Welling began filming "AXI: Avengers of Xtreme Illusions" (winner of the grand remi for "Best Web Series" 2012 & 2013) showcasing artists dancing in their element.
The series has, so far, enjoyed a six season online run on YouTube, and has featured appearances by Chachi Gonzales, Lee Majors, Phillip Chebeeb, and others, including Incroyable Talent's Les Twins. Dance Spirit magazine lauded the series as sort of "Once Upon a Time" meets "The Twilight Zone" meets insanely good hip hop-with a Tim Burton-esque quality that's just creepy enough.
The same year Welling released his fourth feature, "The Legend of Dark Horse County, starring Lee Majors (Six Million Dollar Man), Michael Biehn (the Terminator), and Olivia "Chachi" Gonzales.
GLOBAL FILM NOTORIETY
In 2015, Welling premiered what is to date his most critically acclaimed project. The film, a short entitled "If I Could Talk," has won awards on multiple continents.
In addition to being awarded the crystal award for Best Houston Production at the 2015 WorldFest Houston International Film Festival, the short has garnered over 130 million downloaded views INTERNATIONALLY and millions of comments online.
With a heartrending and relatable (to any dog lover) story, "If I Could Talk" has become Shawn Welling's most popular film by far.
A successful feature interpretation "If I Could Run" and a short companion piece "IF I Could Bark" soon followed.
In 2015, Welling married the real love of his life, Michelle Simmons, a Houston-based photographer. They brough into this World TWO GIRLS EMMARAIN WELLING (11-11-2018) and LILLYSKY WELLING (5-25-2021)
Welling entered 2016 with four shorts and two features in production and an ambitious slate of coming features, shorts, and webisodes, including the true-life family feature, "The Blimp Trap."
in 2017, welling released "Strange Bird", an ambitious speculative fiction short film with an epic focus. Star, Preslee Tucker, won a rising star acting award for her work on the film, the eighth acting honor for welling films, joining over fifty official accolades for Shawn Welling's small independent studio. That year Welling was also named "Filmmaker Ambassador for the Chinese/American partnership" that has become a signature of the Worldfest International Film Festival.
MID FILM CAREER
Welling Films has expanded his successful If I Could series with "If I Could Run (2018), a full feature film which won numerous awards such as "Best Feature" and "Best Actress" with Don Miller of the Miller Family as producers. Afterwards, "An American Ghost Tail", was produced, starring his canine companion Ranger, alongside Chloe Klitus, and Preslee Tucker. American Ghost Tail won "Best Horror Film" at the "Gulf Coast Film Festival".
On November 11, 2018, Shawn and Michelle brought their first daughter into the world, EmmaRain. During this time, she made her first movie appearance as the baby version of Evena, an alien-Astronaut played by World of Dance's solo champion in 2018, Eva Igo.
Welling Films joined with Deepwater Productions to create "The Last Astronaut, first screened at Cinemark theaters at Worldfest.
The movie, "The Last Astronaut" went on to win 5 awards, "Rising Star - Eva Igo", "Best Young Actress - Chloe Klitus", "Best Young Actress - Alexis Arnold", "Best Cinematography", "Best Sci-Fi feature", and 1 nomination for "Best Supporting Actor" - Darrin Henson.
LATTER FILM CAREER
For 2019 - 2020, Welling has completed production in directing for Deepwater Productions motion picture group "Narco Sub" would return Welling back to directing Lee Majors along with Robert Lasardo and action favorite Tom Sizemore - plus an adventurous sci-fi drama "Monstrous: Interview with a Killer".
Welling also produced and directed 3 award winning shorts that year and another k-9 based Featurette in 2020 called "Flight 483" with producers of life and sights.
Welling would follow 2021 with the ambitious dark comedy feature "The Great American Action Hero" bringing back Lee Majors plus adding Jake Busy (Starship Trooper) and Terry Kiser of (Weekend at Bernies) to the cast along with some strong local actors from "Monsterous" and "Narco Sub".
In the fall of 2021 Welling would reunite with executive producer Don Miller for the exciting cinema retelling of the novel "If I Could Ride", a fantastic coming of age feature film of two teens (Eva Igo and Lexi Arnold) set in the backdrop of Windsor Vermont amongst Equestrian competitive horse ventures.