Field Producing X Factor USA Digital

Field Producing X Factor USA Digital

For the past few weeks I’ve been working a job that’s a bit different from the typical documentaries and journalism I do.  A colleague and friend hooked me up with a field producing gig with The X Factor.  Basically what I do is behind the scenes interviews for the X Factor’s website.  I have to admit it’s been a surprisingly good experience and a lot of fun getting to know all of the contestants, though sad to see two of them eliminated each week.  I suppose that’s the nature of the show though.  I was especially  sad when Lyric 145 had been voted off the show.  They were one of my favorites.  Very talented and just generally fun to be around.  I’m sure they’ll go on to do great things.  Speaking of Lyric 145, here’s a sample of the work I help produce for the X Factor web team.

Archie and me. Vaughn New Mexico


I’ve spent a total of two weeks barnstorming around New Mexico in recent months.  One thing that has surprised me is that there  really aren’t many paved roads in the state.  Maybe ten.  So I spent a lot of time going back and forth on the same roads.  Secondly, there really are not a hell of a lot of people anywhere outside about 5 cities (and I use the word ‘city’ liberally here).  The only towns you do see all seem to have a look like they’ve been gradually fading into history since the 1960’s, sometimes earlier than that.  It’s actually quite striking. After passing through one such town 4 times, a place called Vaughn, I finally decided to get out and snap a few pics.

Within a few minutes a curious guy named Archie came cruising by on his little Rascal scooter.  With the exception of a few of Archie’s formative years when he went off to see the world, he’s lived in Vaughn his entire life.  In fact he was quite a historian and told me about all of Vaughn’s home-grown war heroes who had fought in World Wart II, the Korean War and Vietnam.

After a little while he obliged to let me snap a few shots of him as well.  He was a cool guy.  Here are some of those pics.

Images from America’s pastime as played in the Pecos League

I recently took a scouting trip to the Southwest for a project I’d like to do about independent baseball leagues.  The Pecos League is literally the bottom rung of professional baseball where players show up and play everyday for the love of the game and that’s about it.  It’s pro baseball, but most players don’t make much more than $50 a week and live in spare bedrooms offered up by locals in tiny host towns like Roswell, New Mexico, Alpine Texas and Trinidad Colorado.

Iowa Caucus: Asking GOP Candidates, why do we vote on Tuesday?

A colleague, Jacob Soboroff, invited me to field producer and shoot a video at the Iowa Caucus for his non-profit, Why Tuesday and Take Part.  The premise of the video was simple: Jacob wanted to ask each aspiring GOP candidate if they knew why America only votes on Tuesdays.  It’s an old law that has no barring today but prevents millions upon millions of Americans from being able to make it out to the polls and exercising their right to vote.

For me personally, this was my first time working on a campaign trail and it was really interesting to see how it all works from behind the scenes.  Here’s the video Jacob put together upon our return.

Flashback: My first reel (2006)

Back in 2006, just after moving to San Francisco, I spent the better part of a week working day and night on my first reel.  Although, with the exception of Nelson Mandela, there are no big names, no big brands and no flash network graphics there’s something I’m still quite proud of about it – even if it is a bit rough around the edges.  Part of me wishes I could go back and reedit, but unfortunately reconnecting all the media would be a nightmare at this point.  Plus it’s all SD footage.  To that point, the uprez on this leaves a little to be desired.  Even still I think it’s worth having out there, if only as an important event in my digital scrap book.



Shooting for Vanguard’s Under the Knife Abroad

While on location in Houston producing the Two America’s documentary for Vanguard I was called to team up with colleague Adam Yamaguchi to cover one of the subjects of a different Vanguard doc, Under the Knife Abroad.  All shot with one camera, here’s a few of the scenes as edited for the final program.  Hats off to Producers Doug Busby, Doug Dearth and correspondent Adam Yamaguchi for yet another compelling episode.

Rape on the Reservation receives Livingston Award

Correspondent Mariana vanZeller and I were humbled to receive the 2010 Livingston Award for Young Journalists for our part in the production of Rape on the Reservation – a documentary for the Vanguard series on Current TV that explored the high prevalence of sexual assault on Native American Indian reservations.  We won in the domestic reporting category.  Although the award recognizes individuals, this award would have never been possible without the dedication of our entire production team, especially co-producer Joanne Shen, senior executive producer Jim Fraenkel as well as editors Mike Shen and Benita Sills.