Director of narrative, commercial, and virtual reality

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

Lily in the Grinder

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Comedy short about coming out | Featured in 55+ festivals

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Global event handing out nametags on first Sat in June

Nametag Day

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

Archive for May, 2013

Nametag Day Is Coming on June 1 – With a Documentary

Cross-posted from Huffington Post and the Nametag Day blog:

It’s coming on June 1, and I can’t wait.

We’ve been talking for the past month to everybody who will listen about Nametag Day (and it’s been onCBS New YorkChannel 12 News, and Gothamist.) Every time I discuss it, I remember our test run in February.

Watching the video of that test run is the best way to envision what June 1 is going to look like. A smile. Making eye contact. Saying hi to someone and their cute dog as you pass them on the street. A bus ride spent getting to know the fascinating person next to you instead of on your cell phone killing time.

What’s it going to look like?

We’ll dispatch teams of four to six volunteers to busy parks and intersections all around the city. We’ll be holding a sign and handing out nametags, saying “It’s nametag day, would you like a free nametag?” If you don’t want one, we won’t push. We’ll announce the exact locations a few days before the event — the more people who sign up, the more locations we’ll have.

Then what?

People, all over the city from all walks of life, will take nametags! Of course not everyone will. Some won’t notice us or will think the idea is stupid — we hope they still take a minute to at least think about how we interact with each other. But the scores of thousands who do will be rewarded with an incredible experience. If you take a nametag from us, you’ll walk off and have a day like you were going to otherwise, but a little bit different. Maybe you’ll get in a conversation, maybe a dozen — about someone’s awesome shoes or nice haircut, or a topic in the news. Maybe you will meet a neighbor. Or maybe you’ll just go through your day looking at our city of eight million people a little bit differently.

The after-party

We’ll be throwing a giant after-party for volunteers on Saturday night. Come by and meet tons of new friends, all wearing nametags. We’ll announce details soon.

Documenting it all

I’d like us to make a documentary about this day. Take a camera or cell phone and capture video or photographs: friends, interviews with strangers. When a connection with someone affects you, tell everyone else about it. Then post it to YouTube or Instagram and send us a tweet at @NametagDay. We’ll put it up on our site.If you’re taking high-quality video footage, your can upload it in full resolution through a link on our site. Together, we’ll crowd-edit the footage. Mostly, I’m excited to see what happens, because none of us know what will. We know it’s going to be big, we know it’s going to be fun, and we know it’s going to make a big difference in everybody’s day. But beyond that? It’s our story to tell.

Nametag Day, being a social organization, is on the Facebooks and Twitters and Instagrams.

To volunteer go to nametagday.com. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up — we promise.

Setbacks and platitudes

We’ve hit a major setback with shooting my short just now, in a production (like many low-budget short films) that has been punctuated by minor setbacks and resolutions.

A typical response for me is to run through pieces of conventional wisdom. It’s a search to define myself and my situation, and glean from the zeitgeist what my mistakes might be and where I’m headed. The problem with platitudes, though, is they’re shallow and flippant and contradict each other. Here’s a few that I’ve tried out:

  1. Fail quickly, fail often. Failure is part of this industry and life, and if you’re failing it means you’re trying.
  2. Fight kicking and screaming until you win. Tenacity is the only way ahead in film and it will ultimately be rewarded.
  3. Icarus flew too close to the sun and his wings burned off. Don’t ask for everything and expect it. Know what is and isn’t within your reach.

The drive to accept and rationalize events is part of our struggle to wrestle a series of unassociated points into a cohesive narrative that says something about who we are. And I’m not sure what this tells me, if anything, about who I am.

For now, this particular setback has meant that we’re not shooting the film on Thursday and I get to head to my brother’s graduation in Philly early (happy graduation David!) and spend more time with my family. So I guess I’ll add just one more piece of dubious folksy wisdom:

  1. It is impossible to know what will come from events, or what meaning they will come to have in your life.