About Me "Buy the ticket, take the ride." -Hunter S. Thompson
Shooting "My Crazy Beautiful Life" in San Francisco
Marquee outside the AFI Theater
Filming Kesha backstage
With Robert Redford at the Sundance Film Festival
News coverage of my first film in 2005
At our premiere at Sundance
Q&A at the AFI Theater
Filming Kesha in her recording booth
Award winning filmmaker, video producer, journalist, and relentless conjurer of wild ideas. Director of 3 feature films, 2 TV shows, and 4 short films. Had a sold out premiere at Sundance. Was a video producer and brand manager for the U.S. State Department and Georgetown Law. Currently living in New York City.
My unholy baptism into filmmaking began in 2004 when I made the preposterous decision to drop out of college, empty my bank account, and max out 4 credit cards to make my first feature film, a documentary called "This Divided State". It was a gamble of the utmost insanity. But luckily, audiences raved and the film was picked up for distribution. A sponsor flew me to 23 college campuses around the nation to screen the film and do Q&As. Soon after that, it was released in theaters in the USA and Canada to glowing reviews:
"Filmmaking gold...extremely moving" - The New York Times
"Chilling... jaw dropping... provocative" - Variety
FOUR STARS. "Riveting... gut-wrenching and ultimately tragic. " The Seattle Times
The DVD was then released around the world in September 2005. For a more in depth analysis of how the hell my team and I pulled this all off, read this 2005 article from The Daily Herald or the film's Wikipedia page.
From 2006-2008, I was commissioned to direct "Killer at Large", a documentary on the obesity epidemic. The film played in a small film festival run and then released on DVD and iTunes on March 31, 2009. It was the #1 documentary on iTunes for 2 weeks.
American News Project (2009)
In 2009, I joined the American News Project (now the Huffington Post Investigative Fund) as a gumshoe video journalist. I investigated, researched, shot, edited and released video news pieces on a variety of issues. It was here that I met Lagan Sebert, with whom I would later create a TV series in 2011.
My breakout piece involved a mother on Long Island whose son was killed in Iraq the same week her house was foreclosed. She had fallen victim to a predatory lending scheme and my investigation exposed an insidious involvement by Goldman Sachs. The video went viral and, literally overnight, citizens across the country donated over $30,000 to save her house.
On of my final investigative videos centered on the influx of Mormon money into the anti-gay-marriage Proposition 8 campaign in California. Some of the details revealed in this piece became the backbone of my next film.
"8: The Mormon Proposition" was a collaboration between me, journalist Reed Cowan, and Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black. While we were still filming, a very rough cut of the film was submitted to the Sundance Film Festival in September 2009. Near the end of November, we were informed the film was accepted and would premiere in January 2010, less than 2 months away.
Over the next 6 weeks, John Kinhart and I lived in front of editing screens prepping the final cut, sometimes for 24-36 hours at a time. The week before its Sundance premiere, ALL showings of the film sold out. Demand was so high that Sundance added extra screenings. "8: The Mormon Proposition" premiered on January 24, 2010 to a lengthy standing ovation. The film was released in theaters that June and online streaming in July.
"Outstanding and urgent." -The Los Angeles Times
CRITICS PICK. "Informative, impassioned... absolutely enraging." -New York Magazine
FOUR STARS. "Unlikely to leave many dry eyes among its audience." - New York Daily News
U.S. State Department (2009-2010)
Before, during, and after making "8: The Mormon Proposition", I was also a full time video producer for the U.S. Department of State. Don't ask me how I was able to do that. The answer would make the Pope weep.
I was tasked with engaging global youth demographics through branded video productions and then creating corresponding Twitter and Facebook campaigns to increase viewership. Over the course of a year, my team and I were able to increase online engagement through record breaking video views and web hits. The pinnacle of our success was our coverage of the COP15 Climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark. You can see an in-depth analysis of how we rocked it in Denmark here.
Being kind of exhausted after making American propaganda and releasing my 3rd film, I decided to relax for a while and go to law school.
Georgetown Law hired me to do exactly what I did at the State Department, engage audience through social networks using branded video content. This was a "start up" position, in that the school had no previous video producer. I was tasked with establishing a viewing audience from scratch. Over the course of a year, I created over a dozen original videos and gradually increased viewership and engagement.
In 2009, a girl woke up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy and suddenly everyone on planet Earth knew about it. That girl was popstar Kesha and the song was "Tik Tok". And, as fate would have it, I had met her brother Lagan Sebert while working at the American News Project in 2009 and we had become friends. In spring 2011, Lagan contacted me to say "I'm thinking about shooting a documentary on my sister. Wanna help?" I said, "Yes. Let's start next week."
And for the next 2 years, we followed the rambunctious rock star around the world filming her entire life. At the end of it, we had glitter in ungodly places and hundreds of hours of footage. We edited together 2 sizzle reels and began to look for a buyer. MTV jumped at the opportunity and we spent 4 months putting together a 6 episode mini-series.
The show premiered on April 23, 2013 and garnered great ratings. So much so, that MTV ordered a 2nd season of 8 episodes, which premiered October 30, 2013.