Making video that moves people to laugh, cry, and take action.
I read an article about Quill Kukla, a 50 year old philosophy professor who also does competitive weightlifting and boxing in their spare time, and knew it had the makings of a great video. Quill's story is empowering and (if you'll forgive the pun) uplifting!
Maybe you've seen the viral photo of the old woman with the marionette version of herself. When I saw the photo, I knew there was a story. I found the old lady and the puppeteer who made the puppet. But I also found a beautiful story of friendship across generations. This remains one of my favorite pieces I've ever made, and has been seen millions of times across platforms.
When telephone repairman Chris Donovan turned 50, he realized that he didn't want to keep working at something he didn't love. So he decided to quit his job and finally pursue his lifelong dream: designing women's shoes. But going to fashion school is hard enough, let alone for someone in his fifties. The other students mistook him for the janitor. But Chris found his niche and continues to thrive.
When the SEC was considering a new rule about the fiduciary standard, AARP needed a video that explained why the rule was a bad idea. Looking for a way to make dry financial material a bit more palatable, I turned to ice cream, naturally.
When AARP Advocacy asked me to make a video that explained the “age rating” provision of the Republican health care bill, they imagined a whiteboard explainer video. But I knew nobody would watch that. So I pitched a much less conventional approach, featuring a lumberjack who learned about health care policy from a talking stuffed squirrel.
The video was a hit, earning headlines like “This squirrel could save the US healthcare system” and comparisons to classic political ads like “Harry and Louise.” And it inspired an entire campaign for AARP, with activists showing up on Capitol Hill in squirrel costumes. It was even brought up in the White House briefing room!
After the success of the "Axe the Age Tax" video for AARP, we brought Charlie the Squirrel back for a follow-up video when Republicans were refusing to show anybody the text of their bill. Again it motivated huge activations among AARP members.
In the middle of the pandemic, I was asked to make a video explaining why the TRUST Act was a bad idea that people should oppose. Since safety was my top priority, I kept the cast and crew tiny. We built a set meant to invoke the classic vaudeville-style stage and wrote an Abbott and Costello-style script. It proved to be a hit, earning 4x the average engagement for the organization’s social channel.
This video kicked off a campaign series of profiles of people across the country who are detrimentally affected by the high cost of their prescription medications. It was deliberately made on a small budget with a small crew so it would be authentically intimate. And true enough, Larry's story really resonated with people. Three years later, I revisted him to see how he was doing and found out that things had gotten even worse for him. We made a second video, and this time it really caught the attention of Congress. Larry was invited to speak at the Capitol. Congress passed a bill allowing Medicare to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs for people like Larry, and when the President signed it into law, Larry was invited to the White House.
This simple video shows how storytelling can have a powerful impact!
Three years before this video, Larry starred in a piece I made for AARP that kicked off a series of profiles of people across the country who are detrimentally affected by the high cost of their prescription medications. It was deliberately made on a small budget with a small crew so it would be authentically intimate. And true enough, Larry's story really resonated with people. Three years later, I revisted him to see how he was doing and found out that things had gotten even worse for him.
We made a second video, seen here, and this time it really caught the attention of Congress. Larry was invited to speak at the Capitol. Congress finally passed a bill allowing Medicare to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs for people like Larry, and when the President signed it into law, Larry was invited to the White House.
This simple video shows how storytelling can have a powerful impact!
The AARP Purpose Prize recognizes people over 50 who are making a difference in the world. Karen Cassidy's charity the Hildegard House is one of the most heartfelt charities to win the Prize. It's similar to a hospice, but for people who have no home and no family to be with them.
There is an annual gala event and year-round promotion of the Purpose Prize winners. The winner profiles are the centerpiece of the gala and website.
As the lead Producer overseeing video content for the Purpose Prize, I made sure that all of the Purpose Prize videos work together, aligned with the Purpose Prize team's core messaging, to promote and inspire change.
AARP did a case study about the benefits of intergenerational workforces, and wanted a video to promote the topic. Looking through the study, I found an opportunity to create a great visual story about one of the included companies. They build giant ships for the United States military, combining a mix of old shipbuilding techniques and modern technology.
PNC is one company applauded for exemplary work in fostering an intergenerational workforce. I interviewed the top executives at PNC and AARP to tell the story of how they do it.
David Vaughan was getting to the point in his career where he was thinking of retiring. But then he had a breakthrough. He discovered a way to grow corals in the lab faster than anyone thought possible. Now he's working to restore coral reefs with a renewed energy in his career.
This documentary earned an astonishing 20 million organic views on Facebook, becoming one of AARP's most popular videos of all time.
For a get-out-the-vote campaign, I made this video about the importance of voting for candidates who are strong on issues like Medicare and Social Security.
One of the great things about living in Washington DC is that I get to see how the sausage gets made, so to speak. While that usually means working with lawmakers, a graphic designer friend introduced me to Antonio Alcala, an Art Director at the US Postal Service. I went to his studio to find out how stamps get their designs.
This is far from my newest work, but it was so meaningful to me that it's one of those pieces I keep around. I was privileged to spend time with Ralph Baer, inventor of the Magnovox Odyssey, the first home video game system. His workshop that we filmed in is now in the Smithsonian. This video was for a PBS Digital Studios series about inventors.
Marty Cooper invented the very first cell phone. Just think about how far we've come since then. Here Marty tells the story of the first cell phone call ever made. This is another video from the PBS Digital Studios series I produced about inventors.
Jeff Brown's ShopRite supermarkets in Philadelphia are designed with the specific intent of solving the crisis of food deserts — communities that don't have access to fresh groceries. For this video, I used one of ShopRite's employees as an entrypoint into learning the story of how ShopRite thrives in the community.
Some video producers focus just on the "production" part of the job. But I'm in my element developing an idea from the beginning as a creative and seeing it through as a director, bringing my unique perspective to help a project break through the noise. That's how, for more than 10 years, I have produced award-winning videos that move people to laugh, cry, or take action.
Using both humor and heart, I've produced short documentaries that earned tens of millions of organic views, alongside national advocacy spots that have actually led to legislative action. You can click on the videos above to see case studies.
I've filmed on battleships and backlots. I'm used to projects with tight deadlines and multiple stakeholders. And uniquely, my background as a professional photographer for brands like Ralph Lauren and Esquire means that my videos don't just get the job done, they look good, too!
And because video isn't worth making unless it gets seen, working with you to develop clear goals and strategies is an essential part of my process. If you're not already thinking about that, don't worry. I am.
Anyone can work on an awesome project. But I love the challenge of taking on a project that needs someone to make it awesome. So whether you already have ideas or you're starting from scratch, let's talk.
I can work with your team, or I can pull together a crew of my own favorite people to work with. Bring me in early, and I will help you find the creative ideas that cut through the noise and stand out. Some of what I do best includes:
I'm in Washington DC. But wherever you are, I can help you tell your story.