What led you to production? While I originally enrolled in a television production class at Wakefield High School intending it to be a blow-off class between baseball practices, I found myself being more and more excited to work on these projects. I started making silly videos. One silly video led to another silly video, which led me to the sports broadcasting program at Boston University, which led me to ESPN, which led to me starting my own production company. I still make silly videos.
How did working at ESPN prepare you to cofound in-house production shop Big Brick Productions? As a young production assistant at ESPN, you need to wear a million different hats. Producing live TV at major events is intense. Basically, you’re forced to learn and perform every aspect of a production, which serves me well now as an executive producer and director at my own shop.
How have you seen audience expectations change since you first started out in production? What impact has this had on producers’ jobs? Viewers nowadays are much savvier than ever before. People are exposed to so much high-level video content these days that audience expectations are increasing. We’re used to seeing things done well, so there’s no room for duds. That high standard of creativity and production used to be solely reserved for national broadcast work—not anymore.
What’s the strangest thing that’s happened to you on a shoot? During an ESPN shoot in Nicaragua, we had an unexpected run-in with a pack of fifteen to twenty glue-huffing—rubber cement to be precise—machete-and-baseball-bat-wielding teenagers on a backstreet in Managua. Thankfully, we were able to diffuse the situation without incident.
How does your love of sports fuel your work? We’re always eager to work on projects that are sports and athlete related. We definitely have a level of comfort when working on these types of projects. It makes the work easier because it’s something we’re passionate about and we typically have fun doing it. Plus, it feels like it’s easier to squeeze in a round of golf when you’re working on a sports-related project.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to get better at pitching? I know Roger Clemens used to pound his fist into a bucket of dry rice to build up arm strength, so that’s one solution. Sorry.
As far as client pitches go, you have to just be yourself. If you’re at ease and confident in front of a client while you pitch, that will naturally influence how the client views what you’re selling. The more you try to pretend or put on an act, the more people will see through you.
What skills will be essential to producers in the next few years? Producers need to be able to approach projects in a truly media-agnostic fashion—find new ways to bring content to life through a variety of different mediums. Nothing lives in a silo on one platform anymore.
What is the most exciting content you’ve seen recently? This piece by ESPN on basketball player Kyrie Irving really stands out to me. I love the format and presentation. It combines multiple mediums in one high-quality, coherent piece, blending long-form writing, quality analytics, high-end photography, video, animated GIFs and animation. Plus, I’m a Kyrie fanboy, so I was going to love it regardless.
What inspires you lately? What started as a place for me to post pics of my kids’ kindergarten artwork has turned into a guilty pleasure of creative inspiration: Instagram. Lately, I’ve been falling down the rabbit hole of my feed, populated by posts from a broad range of creatives I respect.