I was raised by parents who thought taking me to Peace Marches in the sixties would be good for my four-year-old sense of priorities. However, what propelled me was seeing “2001: A Space Odyssey” when I was seven which fueled a lifelong fascination with pictures and sounds. Cut to a decade later; the punk rock scene engaged me on an existential level I’ve never recovered from. This scene inspired me to join, and then later run, the radio station at George Washington University. It was at GW that I also picked up a video camera and I was in!
My post-college career started with live sports and news, which lasted a year or so. After moving to NYC and some very silly PA gigs, I landed with MTV Networks as a PA for VH1… the early days of VH1. That stint lasted 11 years and created the foundation of everything I have done since. I got to produce and direct a myriad of music projects, revealing my absolute passion for live directing. Live TV taught me to trust my crew and my gut. Shooting the best musicians in the world taught me pacing, camera movement, and the value of a closeup.
The VH1 shows I’m probably most proud are:
New Visions: I fell into producing/directing this show because no one else wanted to do it. The series started as a late Sunday night jazz show, with virtually no budget. After a roster of rotating guest hosts, I somehow secured Miles Davis to come on the series… yes that Miles Davis. The series expanded to five nights a week dedicated to different genres; rock, folk, world beat, soul, and jazz, turning it into an award-winning show.
VH1 Storytellers: This series I created, produced, and directed. Storytellers defined a new avenue of presenting musicians in a unique and authentic way. I directed the first 53 episodes which include a list of iconic artists (that still makes me pinch myself today) that I got to work with, from David Bowie to Johnny Cash to REM and so many others. We shot on 16mm film, and while it’s still on the air, I do have to say the golden age of this show is pretty damned special.
Over the years, I’ve directed everything from “Ridiculousness” to “Live Survivor Finales” to the famous William Shatner Priceline.com spots, the yearly heartwarming special “A Home for the Holidays” and countless other projects with a combined audiences in the hundreds of millions. I learned that it is possible to entertain while still aiming to inspire.