Sunday, April 13, 2014

How I Met Your S.H.I.E.L.D Agent. Pt. 1

Go to New York and blend in -- the order seemed simple enough, and really it should have been for an agent of Maria Hill's caliber.  It was, however a bit of a challenge, the caveat being she had to hide in plain sight -- or in reality, public sight.  No one would suspect a highly visible on-screen reporter as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.  She was skeptical, but orders were orders and Fury had his reasons, even if she didn't know what those reasons were.

She went to work immediately, picking up a job as a news anchor for a local station few people watched.  All the better to keep things manageable while she got her bearings.

She blended in easily, going out with her new co-workers to a local bar.  She wasn't typically a social person, but today, and for as long as she was under cover in the dirty, overcrowded pit of New York City, she would remember her training and pretend that she did.

Maria looked around the dank, noisy pub all the while being talked at by a co-worker.  She wished she could pull the .38 out of her hand bag and shove it down this lady's throat, but that would blow her cover.  Too bad, because she was sure it would get some silence.  Across the room standing by a bar was a man in a cheap brown coat trying desperately not to look like he was staring at her.

"Men..." She thought exasperatedly to herself. "Though on the other hand, maybe it'll help buy me a moment of quiet -- or at least a scotch."

Maria turned her attention back to her co-worker.

"Hang onto that thought.  Your drink is empty, let me get next round,".  Maria excused herself and made her way to the bar.

"Give me a shot of Glen McKenna and..." She paused for a moment to think, "a Long Island iced tea."

As she finished her order she felt a tap on her shoulder.

"Have you met Ted?"

Upon turning she sees the man from earlier, cheap brown jacket and all.

"Let me guess, you're Ted,".

Ted smiled awkwardly back at her.

Maria sighed mentally and plasters on a smile deciding to play along.

"I'm Robin, Robin Scherbatsky,".

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

MetroFocus Education Innovation

It's been a while since I posted anything that I've done, but despite that I've been pretty busy. Just as an update on things, I left NJ Today in February (though I've been back several times to help when they need it, which is a pleasure because everyone there is always so much fun to work with) to work on a documentary that didn't fully happen and I believe is still trying to work itself through some financial issues. Since then I've been hired as a freelance producer/editor for MetroFocus (that happened at the start of of last month) and I've been working on that since. Below you can see our first episode on education innovation, which aired last week.

Watch MetroFocus: "Education Innovation" Full Episode on PBS. See more from MetroFocus.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Free Work

Recently I go a text from a friend telling me that the PA position I had recommended them for was not paying. That really made me mad as I was under the impression that it was and that having to be informed of it this way was rather insulting. Now, the director of this film is a friend of mine and clearly all of this is being done in the indie filmmaking world. Having been essentially raised in that culture during my time at NYU and my continued experience in seeing it after graduation (it's kind of a side-effect of living on the east coast), I am no stranger to the challenges of trying to create something with no money and can only imagine that trying to make a feature length film is 10x more difficult in that regard.

Shooting a film is hard -- especially an indie film -- it is boasts all the problems of launching a start-up with significantly less flexibility in procedure and NO immediately marketable product. Despite all that, however, it is NOT ok to advertise a PA position that will ultimately be unpaid -- and let me explain why.

The film and television industry is flooded with naive kids ripe for taking advantage of -- all just trying to get into the industry somehow. -- I used to be one of them, so I know first hand how quickly you become jaded once something legitimate comes along (and rightfully so). Generally, it's not until then that you come to realize that at the end of the day, asking a PA to work for free helps no one but yourself. Typically, asking someone to work for free comes with something for them. It is only a partially legitimate argument that you can use whatever work you did on the film for your reel and that working on this project will be a great benefit for you once the film goes somewhere. It is a shitty reason at best, but at the very least, a reason. If we look at everything realistically, the chances that your indie film will go anywhere are fairly slim. Alongside that, as a PA, the very simple question arises of "how does this in any way benefit me?". If you are making a film with the intention of profiting from it, which you are (don't give me any bullshit about artistic integrity) unless you're a moron who likes to waste money (in which case, you can afford to pay your PA's) or a nonprofit organization (in which case you should either have a legit budget or be working with a skeleton crew), it is not fair to be asking someone to sacrifice weeks to months of their time for nothing when you clearly aren't willing to do the same.

As I stated previously, your film has little chance of going anywhere and in the unlikely case that it does, no one is gonna look at the film and say "hey, that's a really great film! I think I'll look through the credits and see who the PA's are so I can hire them, because they clearly did an amazing job on this film!" Credits do NOTHING for PA's except provide minimal bragging rights in the off chance your film gets anywhere -- and even then, "yea, I was a whole crew's unpaid bitch on that production" doesn't really sound impressive.

Now, having said that, with an indie film I understand that there are always budgetary concerns, and I'm not asking that PA's be paid the full $200 a day rate (as is industry standard), nor do I expect you to pay them more than your DP or Sound mixer -- especially if they are bringing their own gear -- but I do expect them to be paid something -- anything to at least let them pay their bills (at least pay them the equivalent of minimum wage).

Comments not only welcomed, but encouraged.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Over the past two days the plans had degraded from something definite and set in stone to "I'll let you know", a common line he heard which pretty much meant "go make other plans,".

He hadn't seen them in months -- the last time being a dinner in which some of the first words out of their mouth was "I can't believe that you actually came all the way out here". (And his thought was "wait, so you invited me to dinner but didn't actually want me to come? Why did you even bother asking me in the first place?!") It had come to the point where the only reliable thing about them was that they would seek him out and then flake out on him. It was almost as though he was the victim of a game of ding-dong-ditch and at this point he was beginning to wish that she would just leave him alone.

It wasn't so much the canceling of plans that bothered him, though he was getting pretty sick of it, as it was a common occurrence that he had come to expect -- it was that he knew that the most he would hear about it would be "sorry" -- or a long one-sided IM conversation several months down the road apologizing for their flaky behavior. The problem with this being that they weren't really sorry.

All in all, sorry was a word that was thrown around way too easily -- a word that had essentially lost it's power because those who said it, oft didn't mean it. Now, it didn't necessarily mean that people didn't feel bad, or that people were being intentionally disingenuous, as in most cases they did, in fact, feel bad and were not being intentionally disingenuous. The fact of the matter was that people said sorry, acknowledged the error of their ways and then went right back to being the same kind of people that made those errors. Ultimately, as he liked to put it, if people were really sorry for their actions, they'd stop doing whatever they were apologizing for -- bottom line.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Road To Mediocrity

He felt like he was losing his edge. Little by little he began to cave to the various excuses his mind made for him. It was a common occurrence called lack of discipline. To be frank, it was a quality of his that plagued him throughout his life, especially his youth. However, where his own willpower failed, some sort of structure or system lay in place to enforce upon him their discipline.

He was at a point in his life where he didn't have such structure anymore. Most of his days he spent doing the minimum amount required of him with no one to answer to for it but the small voice in the back of his mind to berate him for his laziness.

The human conscience took up the philosophy that one should speak softly and carry a big stick. However, this metaphorical big stick was not as effective as a literal one as the target of its strikes did not often feel the effects of their inattention until much later on down the road.

And so he continued creating excuses and ignoring his conscience, all the while knowing that this was the road to mediocrity, and unless he took a turnoff he would find himself having arrived there all too soon. All the same, however, he brushed off that same little voice, knowing that the strike of it's stick would not come now.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dizzy Gillespie Vs. Cab Calloway

Here's a segment for web I edited for the Cab Calloway film that is premiering nationally on American Masters on Monday Feb. 27th at 10PM

Watch Cab Calloway vs. Dizzy Gillespie on PBS. See more from American Masters.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Moment of Reflection -- One Year Later

A year ago today you were returned to the earth from which men were fabled to have been made. Much has changed in that time -- memories have grown faint, life has moved on and all in all, the world has continued to turn. Despite that, the lessons you taught me remain ever present, so I take, if only a moment, to remember the impact you had on my life.


Thank you.