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Friday, September 9, 2011

Who is This Guy?

Every blog author wants to be read. The problem I see when I read them, (and I read a lot of them), is that I have to try and figure out who is doing the writing based on what they say. Any good comedian will tell you that people like jokes, but people won't love you unless you share the "real you" with them. Otherwise, they think, "Who's this guy think he is?" and "Why do I care what he has to say?"

So, read this, and decide for yourself.

Ever since I was a kid, people asked me if I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I have always loved to draw, and later, paint, so I guess this was the natural thing for people to say. I never really wanted to be an "artist" per se. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a forest ranger, (I guess so I could be away from people telling me to be an artist).

As I grew up, I gravitated toward artistic work. I studied commercial art in school, played drums in a rock band, (badly), and tried to infuse some creativity into whatever I did.

After designing more menus and business cards than I could count, and doing a few portraits, (which I still love to do), my first real "art" job was as a designer of business reports for a major multinational conglomerate. Pie charts and graphs, mostly. But, in 1995, I had the opportunity to work on graphics for one of the first intranets.

I was hooked.

From there I moved into multimedia design, eventually rising to Art Director. I loved this job. I would design websites, kiosk apps AND get to pitch them to clients. I got to travel, meet CEOs and VPs of companies large and small, and then go back to my desk and create the coolest stuff. I worked with some of the smartest people I'll ever meet, and was constantly amazed by what they could do with code, (a discipline in which I still roundly suck). I also got to use video cameras. VHS video cameras.

One of the highpoints in that job was the chance to go to Wales, and film interviews for a kiosk that would sit outside a newly opened call center. I didn't know sh*t from shinola about lighting, framing or interviewing people, but I did it anyway. My footage was a small part of a much larger presentation, but I was thrilled beyond words.

When my division closed, I was offered the chance to make the big time. Madison Avenue, NYC. 7th floor office... with windows! My son was two, my daughter six months old. I had to choose between 12-15 hour days and miss my kids growing up, or stay at home, try to contribute, (my wife's job covered us sufficiently), and not lose my mind.

When my kids went to school, I followed them in, getting involved and volunteering. This, it turns out, was the best thing I could have done. After designing a parent group website, I was hired by other groups to do the same. When I designed a site for their school itself, the district office noticed. I was hired, (for real money) to design a website for each school in the district. Then the superintendent left, and the new one wanted a redesign, which I bid as a new job and I got that, too. Along the way, I continued to video tape school events, which got me noticed again, and helped me move into a regular bi-monthly gig filming district meetings.

My kids got into theater, so I began filming their shows, eventually working out a deal to film all of the shows and sell the DVDs to the audience. So, my continued opportunities to work with kids, surround myself with crazy, creative people and churn out creative work led me to start designing my own projects.

I pitched a TV series type project for pre schoolers, got the funding, shot it and did all of the graphics, sound, music etc. in 2009, Noodle Boosters made its debut. I was, and remain, really proud of that effort. I started writing ideas for an interview show, gathered up some great talented people, and began producing "Inside the Bubble" on JDTV in 2010. Also in 2010, I wrote and directed a short film about the dangers of cyber bullying called "RU Listening". That got funded, and it also opened the door to funding for my latest project, "A Caterpillar's Tale" which deals with bullying, and is geared for kids k-4. Custom graphics have always been a staple of my projects, but in this one, we also have custom puppets that I designed, and had some very talented, (and patient) people create for me.

"A Caterpillar's Tale" will be done in a few weeks. I have a few more "Inside the Bubble" episodes to edit, and I am trying to finish the first draft of a novel I've been writing for the past year, after snippets and chapters being written down for the past 5 years or so. I've also got two unfinished paintings sitting on my drawing table. Other than that, I'm open to ideas for my next project. Got a great idea? Let's make it happen!

So, that's me. Now, who are you?