As my first venture after leaving Wolf Films and Universal Television, my Grandfather died as a result of smoking. Needing to put my grief and anger at Big Tobacco somewhere, I sat down and wrote a Public Service Announcement to stop the cycle of smoking. This would mark the beginning of my desire to help children make good decisions in life. What I noticed is, most smokers were children of smokers, so I wanted to stop this cycle. After pitching my idea to the suits at The American Lung Association, I began.
I approached Panavision for help and I got it. Now with a camera package and free film (yes, film)…I began pre-production. I made friends with a commercial producer and together, we assembled a crew of 20 creatives. Shot in 1 day, Stop The Cycle was an ambitious adventure because of the video effects involved. While at Wolf Films, I made friends with Richard Pearson, an editor who would go onto great success with his Academy Award nomination of Flight 93. Rick is now one of the hottest film editors in the business. His credits include Iron Man, Avengers, Jason Bourne, and more than one James Bond picture with Daniel Craig.
Rick and I finalized the cut and then I got favors for the morphing of the “grandfather” from White, Black, Mispanic to Japanese. The process was long for these effects because again, we had to work off hours. Who said doing good was easy.
For music, I teamed with my friend Mark Mothersbaugh, founding member of DEVO. Mark’s team created an engaging score that would help us get the attention of The International Monitor Awards. As Head of Post Production, I scheduled, managed and oversaw the entire process. Upon delivery to the American Lung Association, they were so impressed with the quality of our production, they held a press conference to announce their latest Public Service Announcement.
The attention in the media got us nominated for effects and I was nominated Best Director in the commercial category. At a ceremony held in the iconic ballroom of the Beverly Wilshire hotel where the Golden Globes are held, I beat out big budget commercials from Ford, Budweiser, NFL and Coca-Cola. With the award, I got meetings all over town and I was off and running as an award-winning filmmaker.