Skills & Languages
I have more than 20 years experience as both a writer and designer. I have experience using the following Adobe Creative Cloud applications: Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Dreamweaver. In addition, I've developed custom templates for both PowerPoint and Keynote.
- Adobe CC Photoshop
- Adobe CC InDesign
- Adobe CC Illustrator
- Adobe CC Dreamweaver
- Apple Keynote
- Apple Pages
- Microsoft Powerpoint
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Excel
- HTML 5
- Some French
Heavy rains had pelted the area for days. When the call came, my father hopped in his car to drive the town where my mother had checked into the hospital for my arrival. Before he could get there, however, his car was swept off the highway by flood waters. Luckily, he managed to get a window down and escape certain death. He borrowed some clothes from a mechanic and hitched a ride to the hospital. When he finally got there, some 12 hours later, he was told that it had been false labor pains. Two weeks later, I was born.
What can I say? I’ve always tended to do things my own way. But, really, what can you expect given the era into which I was born?
The year was 1965. Post Beatle invasion. Post Kennedy assassination. Prior to love beads, long hair, and the moon walk, but right smack dab at the beginning of a revolution.
True to the generation into which I was born, I've always been one to question the status quo. I remember having an argument with my 10th grade English teacher when I refused to use the masculine as the default for the third person singular when gender was unknown. I’d like to think I started a small revolt that ultimately changed the convention.
By nature, I’m extremely curious about just about everything. Maybe that's why I decided to become a writer.
I began my career at INSITE Magazine, a monthly lifestyle magazine. I started out as a telemarketer but, as the wall that separated East Berlin and West began to fall, I pitched a story to the editor about a woman I knew who’d been separated from her family since the wall was built. She’d caught a flight to Germany as soon as she’d heard the borders were opening. I got the story and, a week later, I got my first full time job as a writer.
In the five years that I was with INSITE, I rose through the ranks, eventually achieving the title of managing editor of the magazine. I also handled public relations and managed the book department— seeing their first five titles to print. But, as a writer, I found myself drawn to two types of stories: those focusing on the family/children's issues and in-depth investigative pieces.
This prior interest led to a job offer from a publishing and video production company that specialized in videos and publications for foster youth. I took a job as editor of Getting Ready Magazine, a national publication dedicated to helping foster teens make a transition into independent living. A few weeks after I started, I was asked to attend a national conference for those working with independent living programs. We were told that Congress was cutting all funding for independent living projects nationwide. I was surprised that, almost without exception, the members of the group simply bemoaned the announcement and started thinking about shutting their programs down or finding private funding sources.
Though I was the newest and youngest member of the organization, I stood up and suggested that we make a short video to explain why these programs are important. The naysayers in the room immediately said there wasn’t enough time to make the video before the Congressional vote, which was just a few short weeks away. I volunteered to try. Within two weeks, I’d conducted interviews, borrowed film from some other groups, wrote and cut together my first short film. By the end of the month I got the video to each and every Congressman and every Senator in Washington, and Independent Living programs were saved.
A few weeks after that project, I got an opportunity to go to Seattle on an assignment that took me to the set of "Northern Exposure." As soon as I got to the sound stage and knew I'd found my element. I went back to Oregon, did some research, packed my bags, quit my job and moved to California.
With a desire to ultimately try my hand at screenwriting, I took a job as a script supervisor interning on "Baywatch" and “Baywatch Nights.” I learned everything I could from each director we had that season and from our cinematographer, Jim Pergola.
After “Baywatch,” I got a job at the Artists Rights Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by the Directors Guild of America to protect films from unauthorized alterations (think colorization, panning and scanning, etc.). At the Artists Rights Foundation, I put my writing, PR, advertising, and marketing skills to work. I started, designed and wrote a quarterly newsletter for the organization. I also worked with the membership director to greatly expand the membership of our organization and, at the same time, raise funding for our mission. Toward the end of my time with ARF, I also came up with a logo concept for the organization— something they had toiled with for many years. That logo concept was unveiled at the 1998 John Huston Award ceremony that honored Tom Cruise.
At ARF, it was my tremendous honor to help film legend Fred Zinnemann defend his film "The Seventh Cross" against being exhibited in a colorized format in Italy. Working daily with Mr. Zinnemann, our president Elliot Silverstein, and Gillo Pontecorvo in Italy, my work ultimately led to a precedent-setting verdict in Mr. Zinnemann's favor, a decision that entitless film authors the same rights guaranteed to other artists under the Berne Treaty.
After a change in leadership at the Artists Rights Foundation that ultimately led to the organization’s demise, I set out on my own as a writer and marketing consultant. My previous work on youth issues led to an offer to consult for a national think tank in Washington, DC, that was testing programs and other evidence-based recommendations to reduce school and community violence.
In my four years working with the organization, I created two complete website redesigns, publicity packets, more than seven brochures, created and published a quarterly newsletter, and wrote a booklet on bullying that was very well-received by the education community and which was used by Dr. Phil for his first show addressing bullying.
After being asked to ghost write a book intro for a friend, I made the acquaintance of Betty DeGeneres and ultimately her daughter Ellen. Ellen offered me an opportunity to try something new—managing several properties and the staff at each. I did this for a while in both Los Angeles and Santa Barbara but, ultimately, was drawn back to writing. I’d been working on a story that I’d learned about from one of my colleagues at INSITE Magazine. Sydney Pollack, who I’d gotten to know while at the Artists Rights Foundation, had mentored me and had advised me of a new way to look at the story. Shortly after, I had interest from director Joe Johnston (CAPTAIN AMERICA, OCTOBER SKY, JURASSIC PARK III) who asked if I could try to turn the story into a screenplay. I spent the next three years trying, but discovered it was easier said than done. Though it’s still a story I intend to tell, I’ve taken Joe’s advice and have stepped away from it for a while.
I've been in California for more than two decades now, and I've had some amazing experiences and opportunities. My consulting work has continued to flourish, and I’ve been lucky to work with many talented folks and companies and organizations that inspire me. My work is different every single day, and I love it.
Someone once told me "at the moment of commitment, the universe conspires to assist you." I’ve found that to be absolutely true. I’ve always been one to take the path less traveled by, and I can honestly say that it has made all the difference.
Here's to the next big challenge!