telling stories making pictures
When I started writing for Colorado Magazine, I never dreamed that I would eventually travel around the world for The Travel Channel. Or, that I would help launch and program local television stations in beautiful island and mountain resorts for PLUM TV. One of those great Russian writers said there are only two stories: a man goes on a journey; or, a stranger comes to town. I kinda feel like I've traveled both directions.
But I’ve been to the backwoods, too. PBS sent me to the North Country to re-enact the French and Indian War. From the battlefield, I moved to prison life, working on MSNBC’s LOCKUP series and other documentaries.
I’ve been lucky to work with talented production teams. I’ve learned from people I admire, and gained many skills: producing, directing, shooting, editing, writing and art direction. It’s a privilege and adventure to use those tools to tackle the mysteries of storytelling.
"Those who tell the stories rule the world." --Hopi American Indian proverb
producing • content development• POST SUPERVISion
Let’s face it, ideas are easy. That’s because most of them are bad. And for good ideas, execution is the caldron where the magic comes together. Add experience liberally. Starting as a magazine editor, I had the privilege of making story assignments. At THE TRAVEL CHANNEL, I executive produced travel, documentary, talk shows, cookery shows and even a game show. Good work for the hungry mind. At PLUM TV, I cajoled resort TV station managers into tweaking local shows so I could repackage content for national and VOD distribution. And I’ve managed stations in Aspen and Sun Valley, supervising all program development, including live morning shows. At msnbc, we commissioned most of our docs. But I was part of the screening team that evaluated everything form scripts to rough cuts, and from branding to final deliveries. I also pitched ideas that we produced in-house. For reality shows, I went to the dogs: ANIMAL PLANET webisodes for which I was a story producer and string-out editor. I like to think I have a photographers eye, a writer’s imagination and a musician’s rhythm. Life can be a messy soup, but we can dice up the ingredients nicely with a little passion and imagination.
OK, this was just lucky: a few random but wonderful opportunities to shoot, edit and do sound on small indie features. It was great to work with Broadway actress/singer Idina Menzel (Tony Award • Best Actress • WICKED) Michael Shannon (nominated for an Oscar) and Shea Whiggham --both stars of HBO's BOARDWALK EMPIRE. This drama was a murder mystery shot on Fire Island. One morning, surf casting on the beach, I hauled in a big striped bass. Catching fish is always a mystery. Eating the catch... is that murder?
Where do the one-man-bands flourish? PBS. For me, it was a historical feature film that required authentic re-enactments of battles and lifestyle scenes from the 1750’s. And, of course, historical research and combing the archives of museums and libraries for archival images. But I loved the idea of leading all aspects of production as producer, director, director of photography and editor. I had new ideas for graphics and animated illustrations, so I also became artistic director. I supervised writing, too. I worked my mélange of production tools to the wee hours every night. I was having the time of my life -- in the 18th century.
tv station management
If you drank some new-age, pumped-up purple juice, you might come up with this crazy, wonderful idea: open local TV stations in the nation's most beautiful resorts. Island and mountain towns, all tied together as a network. We did it, capturing the unique lifestyles of those iconic places. Hyper local and national, in one fell swoop. Aspen, Nantucket, Miami Beach and other resorts. What a dream job. Managing content and curating it into network shows that all the stations shared. And, I set up the VOD operation, too. Bang, four million new viewers. Oh, yeah, along the way I managed local stations in Sun Valley and Aspen. Somebody pinch me.