What are your current projects?
I was working at Warner Bros. on the George Lopez Tonight talk show, but it was canceled in August after two years. This month, I began work as one of the Technical Directors for NFL on Fox pre/half-time/post shows. I also worked for E! Entertainment on the Emmy Awards Red Carpet Show. I don’t have a regular show anymore, so the projects will change from day to day.
Describe Your Job.
A technical director is basically a live editor. This is how I usually explain it to people: Imagine you’re watching the Super Bowl. The producer and director decide what they want you to see—which camera or which replay or which statistic—but nothing happens unless the technical director presses the right buttons. In addition to the duties while the show is on the air, the TD is also responsible for building effects, interfacing with video engineers and basically making sure that the show is technically ready. While the complexity can vary greatly from show to show, the basic responsibilities are the same.
How did you first become interested in this line of work?
When I was in seventh grade, my family and I were taking a tour of the school library during open house. We accidentally wandered into a little TV control room. I signed up for the TV class for the next semester, and that was that...
Who gave you your first break?
A recruiter at CNN in Atlanta, who noticed that I had sent my resume to them several times over the course of two years.
What was your first union job?
A Lakers NBA game at the Los Angeles Forum, for a television station from the visiting team’s city.
Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?
I grew up watching NBA on TNT, NFL on Fox and NBA on NBC. I wasn’t a big sports fan, but I used to watch because of my interest in eventually becoming a TD and director. Ten years later, I actually was working on these same programs. I used to get chills every week when we’d roll the open and I’d hear the music that I had heard so often when watching at home.
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
I love what I do, so almost every show is fun in some way, but I especially enjoy working on music/variety shows.
Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
I’d like to be able to spend more time directing shows and producing my own projects.
What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
Motorcycle riding, working out with my dog, watching good movies, and producing and directing my own projects.
Favorite movie? Why?
I am a fan of all genres of film, but Lawrence of Arabia is my favorite film. I actually avoided watching it when it came out on VHS and DVD. I waited until the restored film version was released in theatres in the late ‘80s. From the overture to the credits, I just felt that what I was experiencing was a work of art.
Favorite TV program? Why?
Modern Family is definitely the one program my wife and I try not to miss. It’s a hilarious show with great writing and acting.
Do you have an industry mentor?
I don’t have one person I consider a mentor. I’m fortunate to know many technical directors and directors who have made countless hours of good television. I look up to and try to learn from all of them.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
Like most positions in our industry, it’s important to have knowledge of the equipment you’ll be using as a TD. The best ways to learn are to spend time at a facility just playing, and to meet other technical directors who are willing to share their time and knowledge with you. It’s also important to understand at least the basics of other technical positions.
Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
I’ve called the Guild a number of times when I and/or my crew had questions about an issue while working on a show. It’s nice to be able to make a call and get an answer so we can make sure we are not only being treated right, but performing our duties as union employees.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
I know a number of people who have had a hard time finding enough work in the last few years, and it’s been slow at times for me also. But one thing to keep in mind is that this business is changing. While our positions will not be going away anytime soon, we won’t necessarily be working on broadcast/cable television programs. For example, two of my largest jobs in the last few weeks were for Internet shows. So it’s important to not only learn the new technologies involved, but also to keep an open mind as to who our next employer could be.
- Compiled by Edward Landler
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