telling stories making pictures
Once upon a time I dreamed that my journalism degree might be just the ticket to a writing job. Any ragtag, small-town newspaper in the Colorado mountains would do. Instead, I landed at Colorado Magazine and hit the road on writing junkets to towns all over the Rocky Mountains. My first dream job. I picked up a camera and fell in love with photography and filmmaking, too. The road forked to Manhattan and The Travel Channel, where I flew around the world producing, shooting and writing about remarkable people, places and cultures. Paris. London. Barcelona. Yeah. You got the postcards, right?
Later, how could I resist managing content development for the big-thinking little network, PLUM TV: eight television stations in some of the world's most beautiful island and mountain resorts. Nantucket. Aspen. Miami Beach, etc. Yup!
But then, PBS to sent me to the wilderness, the backwoods, where I re-enacted the French And Indian War. Bang, bang. I learned how to make fake blood! Obviously, this could only lead to a life of crime. I got locked up with MSNBC, and without leaving Manhattan I traveled the forbidden roads of prison life, murder, human trafficking... yes, even politics. Of course, there is always another beautiful destination for dreamers, another colorful story. We find them, we tell them. Sometimes we live them.
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 badgered resort TV station managers into tweaking local shows so I could repackage stories 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 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. Surf casting on the beach, I caught 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 script writing,too, but left the drafting to a PBS writer. I played my gaggle of instruments to the wee hours of every night. I hogged the stage because I was having the time of my life.
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.