I have had the opportunity to work on hundreds of projects, from big-budget commercials for major agencies & and companies to music videos for established & and upcoming artists. The experience has been full of creativity and chaos, but I have enjoyed every bit of it. From blowing up bridges in Florida, launching cars off cliffs in Nevada, shooting music videos on aircraft carriers, to the most exciting world of table tabletop, there is not a set I have not been on. Seeing the final product on the screen is an incredible feeling that cannot be matched, no matter the budget. Although there are always stressful moments and tight deadlines, I am proud to have contributed to the creation of some amazing and unforgettable content with talented individuals over the years. What I do?
- the bridge between the production company, agency, client, and label.
- supporting the director's vision of the approved creative.
- developing and managing budgets
- overseeing all production line numbers
- ensure that schedules are maintained on time and within budget
- hiring all crew, talent, and vendors
- negotiate compensation and contracts with third parties
- produced projects in most major cities across the country
- creating a cohesive camarederie environment on every set
- constant communication with all department heads
- maintain timelines
- track and report daily departmental costs
- approve all daily shooting budgets, schedules, and locations
A chronological storyline of memorable jobs is more entertaining than a reel.
I managed locations in Florida for the movie True Lies under the guidance of Michael Burmesiter and Sam Tedesco. At the time It was the first 100 million dollar film, and despite my young age and limited experience, working with these two individuals taught me specific location organization and production preparation, which became the foundation of the rest of my career. Moving and managing a crew of 100's is still the most massive logistical execution I've pulled off to this day. The experience was incredible as I was responsible for clearing locations, closing streets & highways, blowing up helicopters and bridges, and landing military airplanes on city streets!
FUN FACT: Arnold had 2 traveling semi-trucks with his fully equipped gym I always had to keep close to set!
"Ain't No Nigga" (censored as "Ain't No Playa") is the second single on Jay-Z's first album, Reasonable Doubt, and is featured on the soundtrack to the 1996 film The Nutty Professor. It features Foxy Brown with an appearance from Biggy Smalls.
FUN FACT: I received a call from Director Abdul Abbot and label producer Schavaria Reeves to produce the music video which had a budget of $80,000 for a two-day shoot. After discussing creative ideas, I said I could pull it off and we started pre-production. A few days later they came down with a brown paper bag filled with 80k in cash, they plopped it on my kitchen table and we ran production out of my house for 7 days. Oh, when working with cash was the norm!
After working with Abdul and Schavaria on "Ain't No" we became good friends, life long friends. We continued to work together for a decade on hip-hop videos which included artists such as Redman, Method Man, Killah Priest, Old Dirty Bastard, All City, and Sauce Money.. This led to Jay Z's musical film "Streets Is Watching" which combined the music from his albums "In My Lifetime" and "Reasonable Doubt" into a storyline that takes place in Brooklyn. Proudly, it reached #1 on the Billboard Music Video charts.
FUN FACT: After prep, scouting, and casting, we were finally ready to start our 7-day shoot. On day one at the first location, we arrived to find a Waste Management dumpster in the middle of our set. Abdul and the label looked at me, wondering what to do next. I told them to "give me a moment to make a call". I contacted a friend who had recently taken a corporate position with Waste Management. Unfortunately, he was in a meeting at the moment, but I "declared it an emergency" and asked that he be pulled out of the meeting. Scott finally answered the phone, clearly annoyed, saying "this better be good". I said "it is, I'll explain later" and asked him to have the dumpster removed immediately. 30 minutes later, a truck arrived, the dumpster was gone, and my "street cred" on set was legit!
I'm on a camera boat in Miami shooting a Sea Doo commercial. I got a phone call from Peter, a friend who is also a producer. Peter asked, "Are you available to do a music video? I'm booked on another job and I can't take the gig". I said, "Peter, I need a little break from music videos, I'm really enjoying following storyboards, 10-hour shoot days, and eating on time". He said, "You might want to think about it, the song could potentially be a hit". He put the phone on a speaker, turned up the volume, and on a boat in Biscayne Bay I heard Santana & Robb Thomas "Smooth" for the first time. I said "I'll be back up in NYC in a few days" and the rest is history.
FUN FACT: During the shoot in Spanish Harlem, we spent two days on 127th Street between Park and Madison. As the shoot was coming to an end around 3:00 am, Carlos Santana asked me to get 50 white roses. I told him I would do my best to get them at that time of night. I sent out four PA's to search all the bodegas in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx, and they finally returned with the roses. At the end of the shoot, Carlos gave each female a white rose as a thank you for their hard work.
September 11, 2001, considered one of the most heart-wrenching events in the country's history, alongside the attack on Pearl Harbor. At the time, I was present at the World Trade Center and witnessed the first collision. However, I'll save the details of that experience for another day.
During that time, I frequently produced with Screen Gems, where Mark Claywell was one of the staff directors. A few days after the 9/11 tragedy, I received a call from Chris, an executive at Screen Gems. He informed me that they wanted to produce an I LOVE NY commercial within 72 hours and air it within a week. Without any hesitation, I agreed to the project.
We employed two camera crews who moved around the city capturing every possible shot. Simultaneously, the office was making calls for on-camera talent, so we never knew who we would get next.
FUN FACT: The city provided police escorts for both crews, giving us complete access to all the areas we needed to shoot.
Commercials made up the bulk of my work over the next decade, a few being:
Pennzoil with Nico Bayer
Alabama Power with Mark Claywell
Bell Canada with Robert Maya
Frebreeze with Trica Caruso
Thrifty with Jerry Sandoval
I Love NY - Winter with Mark Claywell
I Love NY Winter was one of my most enjoyable shoots ever! Despite the snowball fights among the grip & electric crew, the camera team racing down Whiteface mountain’s slalom course, and the PA’s ski jumping into the darkness, we still managed to get some shooting done.
Simon Cowell and Pop Idol call me to shoot a video for the finalist on the show Pop Idol. The video will be played when the winner is announced. Due to budget constraints, I shot the video in Tampa, Florida where budgets tend to be a bit more favorable.
FUN FACT: One thing that stood out to me during this shoot was how Gareth Gates, who suffers from stuttering, required more time and patience when having simple conversations. However, as soon as he began to sing, it was a magical experience. Also, this could have been one of the last videos I shot on 35mm.
Kia with Peter Cherry
Burger King with Mel Green
Gevalia with Jamie Rosenberg
Natures Own with Mark Claywell
Everlast with Peter Cherry
"I Love NY - State" with Mark Claywell
Gevalia was my first time producing animation, so the development process was new to me. Shooting the tabletop took me 4 hours, while the animation took 40 days.
It’s easy to see why this video was chosen. It features babies, which are notoriously difficult to work with in film. To prepare, you need to have multiple backup babies, and even backups for those backups. If you have a larger budget, it’s wise to have even more backups just in case. However, dealing with parents can be a challenge. It made me miss the 24-hour shoot days of music videos!
FUN FACT: I've produced for foreign production companies all over the world coming to shoot in NYC or Florida.
I was surprised when I was asked to work on a Charles Manson documentary. The director of photography, with whom I had worked on a Pepsi commercial earlier in my career in Miami, contacted me for some assistance with the shoot on the West Coast of Florida. The documentary is about the grandson of Charles Manson, and it’s a very bizarre story, to say the least.
FUN FACT: As a part of a scene, Jason spreads the ashes of Charles Manson in the Gulf of Mexico. To accomplish this, they utilized my boat, and a camera and spread the ashes around Egg Mont key. It’s a strange and interesting fact that I can now say that Charles Manson was on my boat!
A creative approach was used to market Bryce Harper and his new video. We released a video on social media showing Bryce in the bathroom, managing his hair, which quickly went viral with many people believing it to be real. The commercial was then released about a week later.
FUN FACT: He'll sign one ball per set, only one! :)