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Walter Iooss/Esquire Network

Walter Iooss/Esquire Network

For the last few months, I’ve been working with a very talented group of people to produce a 10-part documentary series for the new Esquire Network “Friday Night Tykes.” 

“With exclusive access to the 8 to 9 year-old Rookies division of the Texas Youth Football Association (TYFA), this 10-part docuseries follows five teams on and off the field during the 2013 season.”

The first two episodes will air back-to-back on Tuesday, January 14, at 9 pm ET.

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Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired
Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired

This and other gems are what one will hear when delving into the digital medium of podcasts.  Alec Baldwin elegantly articulated the line above during a conversation with David Letterman, and it made me giggle out loud, much to the amusement/alarm of my fellow subway riders.  These days I have a dreadful commute from Brooklyn to a production company in Newark, and there are only so many New Yorker magazines that one can read while navigating three separate trains over the course of an hour and a half each way (while barefoot in the snow uphill?  No?  Well, it’s almost that bad).  To make the trip more bearable, I’ve started loading podcasts onto my smart phone, and now the ride is actually enjoyable.  Read More

Actors Taylor Schilling and Uzo Aduba, Netflix

Actors Taylor Schilling and Uzo Aduba, Netflix

Orange is the New Black is a Netflix original series about a waspy young woman serving time in a federal prison.  Specially crafted for binge viewing, each episode deliciously slips into the next, and yet creator Jenji Kohan never steps too far into the realm of the absurd as to be unbelievable.  Firmly rooted in reality, the show is inspired by Piper Kerman’s memoir of the same title about year in a minimum security prison. Read More

(Pussy Riot/Live Journal)

(Pussy Riot/Live Journal)

Pussy Riot is a female punk rock political collective based in Moscow known for their provocative guerrilla performances in well known public spaces.  In February of 2012, they staged a demonstration to protest the union of church and state on the altar of the Russian orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior, for which they were arrested and held for 6 months without bail during a trial that many considered a sham.  No one was hurt during the demonstration, and the actual performance was shut down by security within 40 sec.  And yet the three young women, Nadia Tolokno, Masha Alyokhina and Katia Samutsevich, on trial were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and sentenced to two years each in a labor camp. 

Much has been covered in the press both inside and outside of Russia.  Governments of the European Union as well as the United States have called the sentencing disproportionate.  Amnesty International has labeled the women “Prisoners of Consciousness.”  Public figures from Aung San Suu Kyi to Madonna have championed Pussy Riot’s commitment to freedom of expression.  The directors of the documentaryPussy Riot: A Punk Prayer,”  Mike Lerner and Maksim Pozdorovkin have put together a film from court footage and interviews with the family in this story about about the group and the case.  It premieres on HBO tonight at 9pm (June 10).

zombie photoshootThe mid-season premiere of the Talking Dead reached an audience of 4.1 million viewers a few weeks ago, scoring a higher rating with the 18-49 demographic than anything on NBC that same week.

Back in November, I had the great pleasure of visiting the set of the Walking Dead outside of Atlanta.   AMC asked me to direct some behind-the-scenes field pieces for the fan show.  As a huge zombie fan, of course I was thrilled to do it.

I wish I could tell you what I saw and did, but that will have to remain a mystery.  Suffice to say, it is always inspiring to be around talented people who love their jobs, and everyone we spoke to on the Walking Dead set, from the actors to the crew, fit the bill.  Congratulations to them all for securing a fourth season! 

Be sure to tune in to the remaining season for a chance to see more behind-the-scenes! 

April 2, 2013 UPDATE:  The AV Club just posted a glowing review of the Talking Dead finale here.  Enjoy.

girls1alt 2

As the Girls’ Season 2 premiere approaches, I feel the need to announce to the world that I love this little show.  I don’t know why I feel so protective of a series that is doing quite well.  To be critical, I’ve found the episodes are sometimes uneven, and the characters are mostly a homogenous mix of privileged white kids.  I don’t know the creator, Lena Dunham, personally, and this is not a show I’ve worked on, nor is it even in my genre. And yet… Read More

Behind the scenes with Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and a walker. "The Walking Dead," Episode 1: Days Gone Bye. 2010.

Though I make non-fiction television, I am loving scripted tv these days.  “The Walking Dead” just aired its Season 2 nail-biting, budget-busting finale on Sunday, and once again, I’m eagerly awaiting the next season.   I’ve read a lot of reviews about how uneven this season has been and how deadly (excuse the pun) the farm as been to the forward momentum of the show.  But despite its slow, zombie-shuffle to the end, I’m hooked, damn it.  The season finale contributed a new twist on the familiar theme [SPOILER ALERT] with the revelation that our heroes are already infected!  So now, the apocalyptic survival tale is even more unsettling.  It doesn’t matter if you die from a zombie bite or from falling off the roof – the body will reanimate, and it will be very hungry.  Mwaahahaa!

I just love a good zombie story.  Why, you ask? Read More

It’s Academy Awards season again, and it always reminds me of one of the more surreal experiences I’ve had in production.  Years ago I was working as a production assistant on set for Errol Morris, who was directing a short film to kick off the Academy Awards Ceremony.  Internally, we called it The Movie Movie, and it was a celebration of film by folks famous and not-so-famous from outside of the movie business.  I had the best PA job ever!  I was the runner for the talent, greeting them and then escorting them through a labyrinth of stairs and corridors to the greenroom where they would wait their turn to be interviewed by Morris.

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