Director of narrative, commercial, and virtual reality

Film Portfolio

Project Greenlight finalist | Short about sex, death, existence, time

Lily in the Grinder

Shabbat Dinner

Comedy short about coming out | Featured in 55+ festivals

Search is Back

Featured on TechCrunch | 7k users per day

Global event handing out nametags on first Sat in June

Nametag Day

Uber Forecast

Tracking Uber's surge pricing to guess what the weather might be

Archive for March, 2013

A girl called Emily

I subscribe to The Listserve, a group with 20,000 members that lets one member post every day. Most of the time they are saccharine duds, but from time to time one comes through and wrenches your heart. It’s wild that this guy got his chance to post right as the DOMA hearings were happening.

Subject: a girl called Emily

Three summers ago, I am a fourteen year old boy on a summer camp, trying to avoid accepting that I am gay. On that camp is a girl I’d never met before, with big brown eyes and great music taste. Her name is Emily and as fourteen year olds on summer camps do, we become friends. On the last night of the camp, Emily goes to the disco ’with’ a girl, and tells me later that she thinks she might be bisexual.

After that conversation, I am inspired by seeing for the first time someone who could be open and proud about not being straight. On the spot I resolve to have come out by the last night of the next summer’s camp. I’d never before even considered telling people I was gay.

The camp ends, Emily and I speak online a few times, and somehow manage to always go to the reunion that the other one misses. Eventually, the conversations fizzle out, but I always have in mind the prospect of thanking Emily after I’d come out, of telling her that she’d changed my life without even realising.

Easter Sunday 2011. Sitting in a tree, I come out to my best friend.  By the end of May, I am coming out to my sister, who whilst being supportive, asks me to postpone coming out to our parents and everyone else until her exams are over. I understand, and comply, putting off that conversation with Emily another few weeks.

In June, I find out Emily has killed herself. I never get to say thank you, never get to let her know what she did for me. I try to stop myself thinking about what could have been if I’d come out sooner, because there’s no point.  I’ll never know whether being aware what she had done for me would have saved her. It’s too late now.

I don’t suppose that my story has a moral. But I know that I can never again allow myself to let friends slip away, thanks go unsaid or anything be left until tomorrow.

**However, I want to use this opportunity to do more than tell a sad story. I’m asking you to donate some money to charity, however small or large a sum, in memory of Emily. What would then be amazing would be you emailing me the name of the charity you donated to and (if you want) the amount you gave. I could then email you all back, telling you how much money was donated by all of you in total, so you could see the difference the Listserve can make collectively.**

My friend deserves to be more than a sad story or a teen suicide statistic. Please, allow her to be your inspiration as well. I can’t change the past but you can all help to create a better future.

Thank you all so much,

Ethan
[email protected]
London

Personally I think there is a moral in there. Don’t wait. Be who you are now. Say what you want to say now. Tell the
people you love that you love them now. “Later” is just another word for “no.”

I’m excited to begin volunteering with the Trevor Project and potentially working with kids who are contemplating suicide. It doesn’t take much thinking to remember why that’s important.

Shabbat Dinner is on Seed & Spark!

Hey everyone,

I’m so excited about this that I’m pre-empting my official announcement, forthcoming attempts to design a pretty webpage and think through how I want to get the word out, to tell you about it here on my blog.

Shabbat Dinner is available on Seed & Spark, a wonderful video platform run by some friends of mine that they call fair-trade filmmaking. You can support films getting made, put projects on there, and watch films by yourself or with others.

So what are you waiting for?

Go watch Shabbat Dinner online!

It’s also available through a hidden link on my site with a pay-what-you-want model, if you would prefer to pay by Paypal (or what you want.) Expect a more thought-out announcement in the future!

So watch it! Send it to your friends! And let me know what you think of the film.

(In other news I’m filming another short in May! More later.)

Why we’re starting Nametag Day


Watch it and share it! C’mon, you know you want to!

Many times I’ve looked down, hours after a conference or first-day meet-and-greet, and noticed that I was still wearing a nametag. I’ve always looked up right away, pretending that I forgot to take it off.

I love nametags, and not only because I’m really bad at remembering names and faces. I love that they invite everyone around to initiate conversation, acting as a green flag saying “come over, I want to talk to you!” They say “you don’t even need to ask for my name. Here it is. We are, in some sense, already friends.”

A few times I sat on the subway, wondering what the scene would look like if everyone were wearing a nametag. Nicer. Friendlier. “This is something I should propose to the mayor”, I thought…or maybe some large bank or other group. Someone ought to do it, that’s for sure.

And nobody did. And I didn’t meet the mayor.

So (and you’ve probably guessed this part) I realized that we didn’t need the mayor. We didn’t need permission. We can start a grassroots movement to put nametags on any New Yorker who wants one. A few months ago I mentioned the idea to five of my closest friends: Alejandro, Pete, Dina, Tim, and Julia, who all got really excited.

In our first meeting, a few principles were established. We’re not nametag day, we’re just organizing one part of it. It doesn’t start and end with our little group; it’s an idea that we are letting out into the world. We are radically participatory and welcome anyone and everyone to join in. Our mission is just handing out nametags, not selling anything or throwing other events (but we welcome others to do so!) And we want to see New Yorkers talk to each other more, engage, and share ideas and experiences — not just for one day, but every day.

We did a test run a few weeks ago, shot the video you see above, and are now looking for a sponsor. And just like that, an idea is on track to being a real thing!

What has been so much fun about the idea is that it gets people excited. People get it, and if they don’t, they get it after watching the video. It’s easy, at least in concept. It makes people receiving and giving the nametags happy. It’s fun. It changes the world around us for the better. The offers for help have been mindblowing for something that only had its kickoff event two weeks ago.

I don’t know where this is going or how big or small it will be. Whether we are sponsored or not, on June 1 the six of us are going to hand out nametags. If we have enough of your help, we’ll set up 50 (or more) distribution stations and give away 300,000 (or more) nametags to anyone who wants them. Maybe people will throw nametag parties that night. Maybe those in other cities will follow suit. Or maybe it will just be the six of us, handing out nametags and having the time of our lives.

How can you help? Sign up at nametagday.com and volunteer – that’s the biggest thing. Then, make some sweet sweet social media love to our Facebook and Twitter pages!

Email us at [email protected] if you want to get involved on our core team or have other ideas for us.

And if you want to find me it won’t be too hard. I’ll be the guy wearing the nametag on June 2.

Another great video: Amanda Palmer on letting people give

I love what Amanda has to say about being an artist and having a direct relationship with her fans:

Watch this: Lana Wachowski receives the HRC Visibility Award

Inspiring for so many reasons: the message, her life story, and the opportunity to listen to someone brilliant speak clearly, in high and low concepts, without talking down in any way.