Where are you currently employed?
Entertainment Tonight on the CBS Radford Lot.
Describe Your Job.
I am responsible for all audio/video signals that enter and leave the facility. This can be fiber optic feeds from across town or satellite feeds from the other side of the world — and anything in between. I troubleshoot any problems that may arise and ensure the technical integrity of the signal. I also receive material that our camera crews have shot in the field, as well as television programs and movies that producers request. All media is ingested into our Avid system and, in some cases, onto videotape or disc. The ability to think fast on my feet during a crisis and multi-task is of the upmost importance.
How did you first become interested in this line of work?
I originally wanted to be a broadcast journalist when I entered Syracuse University in 1994. After a couple survey courses, I figured out that broadcast journalism was not for me. I had a lot of fun in my production classes and realized that production or post-production is where I wanted to be. With the help of some wonderful professors and my supportive family, I graduated from Syracuse in 1998 and moved west.
Who gave you your first break?
When I moved to Los Angeles, I stayed with fellow Editors Guild brother and Syracuse graduate, Michael Hertlein, MPSE. He helped me get to know the city and allowed me to stay free of charge while I looked for my first job. It took a couple months, but I was finally able to connect with Joan Adler, a well-known Syracuse alumnus who, at the time, worked for the Post Group in Hollywood. Joan got me into see Ken Quain, the director of operations at the Post Group's Westside facility. Ken hired me as a driver and that was that.
What was your first union job?
My first union job was with The Dr. Phil Show on the Paramount lot in early 2005.
Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?
Entertainment Tonight. It is by far my longest employment tenure. and walking in each day not knowing what the day will bring keeps me fresh and on my toes.
What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
The biggest challenge is the ability to think clearly under pressure to get a task done. The day pop star Michael Jackson died was the probably the biggest breaking news story we have covered during my tenure at ET. Anna Nicole Smith's death would be the second. These stories broke right in the middle of our daily show feeds; having to abandon the entire show and start from scratch at that time of day was difficult, to say the least. In addition to creating a new show, we were doing "live news hits" to affiliates around the country. It took teamwork to keep it all straight and ensure it all got done without a hitch.
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
Any day that I'm there. I work with some great people. In the Technical Operations Center we are a tight-knit group and knowing that there is someone to help you out if you get into a bind is a great feeling.
What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
My biggest passion besides my family is computers. Around 2005, I really got into Linux, the open-source computer operating system. I started off by making my own DVR that ran a Linux distribution called KnoppMyth — since renamed LinHES (Linux Home Entertainmnet Server) — and that experience inspired me to eventually rid myself of all proprietary or closed-source computer operating systems in my house. My current computer passion is developing my own Linux operating system for the ARM (Advanced RISC Machine) computing platform. Today, most tablets and mobile phones use ARM-based processors, so there is no shortage of devices to test on.
Favorite movies? Why?
Funny ones. I don't like to be stressed out during my relaxation time and laughing is great at relieving stress.
Favorite TV programs? Why?
Parks and Recreation is my No. 1 favorite. The characters are written so well. If my wife and I watch an episode more than once, we usually find new things that make us laugh. Probably because we were too busy laughing at something else and did not notice the new punch line. Honorable mention to Modern Family, 30 Rock and The Office.
Do you have an industry mentor?
Michael Hertlein for helping me find my way when I first arrived in Los Angeles and Dave Nash (currently at Ellen) from my Post Group days. He taught me how to be a great operator.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
Be ambitious, but don't push too hard too fast. Once you're in an entry-level position, master your job first, then explore the other possibilities. This gives people time to get to know you and you to get to know the possibilities.
Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
Yes! I got my first union job at The Dr. Phil Show with the help of then-National Organizer, Tris Carpenter. I was "laid off" by an employer during an organizing campaign in late 2004 and the Guild saw to it that I was not abandoned in my time of need. I look around at everything I have achieved both professionally and personally and I am forever thankful for their assistance in getting here.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
E pluribus unum.
Compiled by Edward Landler
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