I was born and raised on the Hudson River in Yonkers, New York.
I went to Fordham Prep in the Bronx, where I was introduced to Pauline Kael's New Yorker film reviews in class. Ms. Kael's insight as a critic sparked my passion for theater and film.
I studied economics, history, and politics at Holy Cross College in Massachusetts, and played Division 1 baseball. I realized my senior year that I didn't want to become a lawyer. The job market was tough when I graduated, but a friend was able to get me a job in construction as a mason laborer, rebuilding apartments in the south Bronx.
After working in the cold and snow of a New York winter, I was done with the mortar and brick and block. I realized it might be healthier for me to work in an office, and I was able to get a job in statistics at the AC Nielsen company in Rockefeller Center.
It was at AC Nielsen that I learned the essentials of marketing in a data driven world.
In a short time, I was recruited to work in media at J Walter Thompson. My job was to help estimate audience size for the network up-front media buys. I went through their management training program, and was promoted to work on Burger King as an account executive.
A few years later I was recruited to work on Pepsi at BBDO as an account executive. I won numerous marketing and advertising awards as part of the Pepsi team, and learned filmmaking from Pytka, Levine, Giraldi, Hanwright, Sedelmaier & Fincher.
I also learned the "art" of advertising from Al Merrin, Richard Sabean, Jeff Mordos,
Michael Patti, David Frankel, Regina Ebel, Tony Frere & Bob Emerson, and of course Phil Dusenburry.
Thinking I needed "packaged goods" experience to really make it in advertising, I jumped at the chance to go to FCB, and work with the Colgate - Palmolive scientists to develop new products. I also was the advertising point person for Brand Palmolive dish soap, and worked with "Madge the manicurist".
Despite my best efforts, the Palmolive advertising was driven almost exclusively by data analytics, which to me stymied the creative expression necessary to create memorable tv commercials.
I learned while working on Pepsi with Phil Dusenburry that there is a way to blend brand objectives with creative output, but that the creative team really needs to "drive the car" if you want to make a film worth watching.
I soured on the big advertising model while at FCB
I found it formal cold & boring
I did love the people I met there
I then worked briefly as a rep with Sarah Holbrook at Propaganda Films.
thank you Sarah & David Frankel
Rep life wasn't ultimately for me, although I respect every one of them for being
in the trenches every day to help the big advertising wheel grind for all of us.
I became a NYC Bicycle Messenger, grew my hair out, and
started producing theater, performed in dozens of stage productions all over the city, including Playwrights Horizons, and the Vineyard Theater.
I also studied acting privately for over a decade with Tony Greco, a member of the Actor's Studio and a disciple of Lee Strasberg.
I have many dear friends whom I've met and worked with over the years as an actor, including amazing writers and directors, and what we all share is a dedication to "the work".
The theater didn't really pay, so I started also working in New York as a PA, Production Coordinator, Location Scout, 2nd 2nd AD - whatever I could do to learn how to be a filmmaker. I worked with excellent directors on commercials & music videos.
Film Production in NY was blowing up in the 90's, and I came up in good company. I Many of the people I met as a PA back then are still at the cutting edge of our industry.
I lived in Williamsburg before 9/11/01. After that day, I felt like I needed a fresh start.
So I packed up and moved to Los Angeles.
I was cast in some roles on TV, and in Indy films and commercials as an actor, including working with David Milch and the excellent cast on season 3 of Deadwood.
Working with Mr. Milch and the writers and actors on Deadwood raised the bar for me on what is possible in the film space. It went beyond the storytelling of commercials, and it also reinforced what I learned in the theater; the writing is everything, even in commercials.
Around this time, I also worked in production for Joe Pytka. I met him while working on Pepsi, and he was kind enough to bring me on when I moved to LA.
Watching Mr. Pytka work taught me a lot, since he's not only a legendary director, but he's also a master producer. It was then that I realized producing a film was just as important as directing it.
I also realized that I love producing, and I have a knack for it.
I've been at it since...
film production is a lot like construction
a lot of money definitely is better than a little money
but a little money can go a long way
especially if you know what you're doing
I produce quality content
I can take any project
from initial concept deck through the post
union or non-union
I love shooting in LA, but I can hire a legit crew almost anywhere in the world
Please call if you'd like to collaborate on something
when not working I can be found walking in the hills with our dog Lupo, or watching Rocco Sciavone on tv with my wife so I can learn Italian
I've had two lives
life is a gift
enjoy the ride