When I finally decided to pursue the world of film and TV production, I made myself a promise – that my instincts would guide my work.

Living in Buffalo, New York, my first tangible production experience came during my senior year in college when I interned with a company called Buffalo Advertising Management.  I had independently sought out this opportunity – no school credit, no pay.  A one man operation with a very good reputation, I saw Buffalo Advertising as a chance to learn as much about the business as I could.

My philosophy was this: it seemed to me that production was an enterprise consisting of many moving parts, all impacting one another.  I felt the more I could learn, the more I could offer.  Not only that, but the more knowledgeable I was about different disciplines, the better informed my decisions would be.

While I was exposed to all facets of production, perhaps the most important element of my internship was the trust Creative Director, Bob Stachura, soon placed in me.  This trust allowed me to take on and learn new responsibilities quickly, thus gaining confidence in myself and my abilities.  He also introduced me to a producer at WNED-TV, Buffalo’s PBS affiliate, who offered me additional opportunities to learn, this time TV production.  I loved production.

It wasn’t long before I was offered a formal position at Buffalo Advertising.  In only a few months, my business card reflected my new responsibilities: Writer/Director/Producer/Editor.  Within my first full year, I had earned a Telly Award in all four respective disciplines.  In my time there, I went on to produce work for such clients as: Jim Kelly Enterprises, Tops Markets, Hunter’s Hope, WNY Kidney Foundation, and Erie Community College.

During that time, I also began moonlighting at WNED.  Beginning as an untrained camera operator, I rapidly worked my way up to floor manager, technical director, and ultimately director.  Some of my program highlights include: serving as cameraman for the nationally syndicated “Mark Russell Comedy Special,” floor manager for MSNBC’s infamous Clinton/Lazio Debate, and director of WNED’s live, five camera Great TV Auction.

While I was doing very well with both my commercial and television production work, I was still eager to work in feature film.  I got my opportunity in 2001 with a film called “Manna From Heaven,” an independent film starring Shirley Jones, Frank Gorshin, Louise Fletcher, Shelley Duvall, Wendie Malick, and Cloris Leachman.  With no film experience to speak of, I eagerly submitted my resume in the hopes of becoming a production assistant.  A few weeks later, I got a call asking if I was interested in interviewing for the film’s 2nd AD position.  At the time, I didn’t even know what an AD was, only that it sounded bigger than a PA.  Here’s what I learned – an AD needs to be a skilled manager, coordinator, communicator, and motivator.  It was film school trial by fire, and I wasn’t only up to the task, I excelled.  16-20 hour days, six days a week for six weeks – I loved it.

I took that invaluable experience and decided to try my hand at telling my own narrative – a short film called “Tiny Magic.”  The story was about a magician with the powers of telekinesis who tries to impress a girl.  Shot over a holiday weekend, the film became the embodiment of everything I could hope for as a professional – an engaging and entertaining story, a well organized and responsible production, a high quality and successful final product; all of which could not have been accomplished without the incredibly talented, dedicated and generous cast and crew.

The film went on to earn universal praise from both audiences and critics alike.  It won several awards, including Official Selection - Taos Talking Pictures Festival and Best of the Fest – Rochester International Film Festival.  I had my first affirmation that my style of storytelling had the ability to touch audiences.

The success of “Tiny Magic” prompted me to take several new steps with my career.  First, I stepped out on my own and began shopping myself as a freelance talent.  Since that decision, I have written, directed, and produced work for numerous clients including: New Era Cap, Fisher-Price, United Way, Kwik Fill, Mineo & Sapio Italian Sausage, and WGRZ-TV.  I am proud to say I have also maintained a wonderful working relationship with Buffalo Advertising.

Next, I began to focus my efforts on writing extended narratives.  I have completed two feature length screenplays, a coming of age drama called “Mist From The Falls” and a supernatural thriller called “My Friend Matty,” as well as a dramatic TV Pilot called “The Leo House.”  In addition, I have laid out the foundation for 12 other feature film treatments ranging from family drama to sci-fi.

The experience of creating and producing “Tiny Magic” also inevitably led to the desire of producing and directing my own feature film.  And while I would love for a studio to identify me as a talent they wished to produce, I feel that I would be able to more accurately present my abilities as a writer, director and producer through an independent film.  It is this belief, and effort, that has prompted me to remain based in Buffalo – an environment that is incredibly supportive of independent filmmaking.

In short, I love production – any kind.  I love the creative process, the challenge of realizing a vision, the camaraderie of a crew and the reaction of an audience.  I take a great deal of pride in each and every job.  Whether it is for a studio, a large agency or a mom and pop corner store, I give my utmost to make sure they are pleased with not only the final product but the attention and effort throughout the process.  I appreciate that this is a business as well as an art form.  In the end, whether it is a film, television program, commercial, corporate video, music video or live event, I use my talents to ensure that the final product is something that is affective for the viewer and effective for the client.

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- John