Glimpses into my Past...
For more Information
on my 20 plus years
making films and videos,
please visit Alex LOGIC.
I am also an ideas person,
and an excellent collaborator.
After college I was fortunate enough to win the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Internship Award in the commercials category. The ATAS Internship Scholarship Program was a very prestigious award to receive as college students from all over the country entered this competition.
An internship scholarship with a successful Hollywood Studio or Production company and an honoraria was the prize. The ATAS Internship Scholarship Program is still active today and is considered one of the top 10 interships programs of all time.
The ATAS internship was an incredible learning experience for me. I was hired by the same company after my internship ended. I then wondered if it was possible to move my way up within the company and one day become a director and use that position to create positive commercial messages for great products.
One day several of us production assistants were given dozens of cereal boxes to sift through. Our assignment was to find the most flawless cereal pieces from each box. These "hero" cereal pieces would be prominently featured in the actual cereal commercial.
The cereal pieces came in three equally luminous colors, fluorescent blue, yellow and red. We quickly discovered that finding well shaped red cereal pieces was practically impossible.
Apparently there was only so much space within each cereal piece that could accommodate all of the various color dyes, corn syrup and white refined sugar before the red cereal piece turned craterlike.
As we sifted through our cereal boxes the assistant director walked by and said "I love my job, but I would never feed that crap to my kids". At that moment I realized how easy it was to betray my core beliefs by just doing my job.
Thankfully, that crap cereal (did I just insult the word crap?) product never made it to the grocery shelf. Although if that cereal product had made it to the grocery store shelves all it would have done was just replace an already existing crap cereal product.
Twenty years later and white flour has been replaced in favor of whole wheat flour and the kinds of cereal product that was being made 20 years ago is slowly but surely marginally changing for the better. Except that now most products sold in america are made in China.
The mentality of fear that probably exists in China might make it difficult to impose accepted quality control safety standards, so all the gains that were being made over the past quarter century may now be reversed.
Once again I ask, why isn't the american consumer represented at the bargaining table when big business makes these deals to outsource so many jobs?
While still employed at my first official industry job I was offered a two day weekend free lance production assistant job working on a European cigarette television commercial. I declined the job. I had been just 11 years old when my father had already been smoking for 30 years. One night he woke up gasping for air.
Amazingly, my father immediately quit smoking and has not smoked since that fateful day 35 years ago. (I tell my dad he is one of a few people on the planet that is in the 30/35 club.) How could I now work on a commercial that promoted cigarette smoking after seeing it almost kill my dad 35 years earlier?
Another free lance gig became available in which I was asked to do camera work by a young preacher that I had met at a video equipment rental place. Ironically enough the event was sponsored by a beer company. I recall explaining to this person that since 50,000 people were dying every year in drunken driving car accidents in the United States I could not in good conscious work on what amounted to promoting a beer product.
A pattern is developing here. I am alienating people by telling them I won't work on something for philosophical reasons that they themselves have already agreed to work on.
I was somewhat obtuse in that I didn't believe someone would disassociate with me simply because I had a different belief system then they did. Neither the cigarette nor beer project people ever offered me any other freelance work opportunities afterwards.
It had to be pointed out to me that I was not winning friendships or job opportunities. Why should people react negatively towards me because I won't work on projects that promote fun and then death by consumption? I mean normally I like two for one specials but fun and death are not the two I'd like to combine.
...and the Philosophies that have Emerged.
Back in my high school days I recall joining a very nice but rogue intramural high school soccer team. The intramural soccer team was comprised of decent, respectful and very polite fellow students.
Unbeknownst to me however was the collateral reason for forming the soccer team had been so most of the team members could smoke pot while driving to the game and then swill orange juice and vodka during the game. We won our first match in part because we seemed to be playing kids that looked to be about two to three years younger than we were.
I recall being in a volkswagon bug crammed with five other teammates when I was offered a joint in the car on the way to that very first game. I politely and nervously refused. At which point the driver very conscientously slightly rolled down his window so I would have some fresh air to breathe.
Somebody else groaned that "all that good pot smoke was being sucked out of the car". Leaving the window open just a bit with a car full of pot smoke so the non pot smoker could breathe was a nightmarish solution for some in the car, but we made it work. It probably didn't help matters that I hadn't played much soccer and wouldn't be leading the team in scoring.
On another occasion I was on the Academic Challenge team for my High School and my friends didn't feel like helping me study for it. If I could have helped someone else with their goals, I would gladly have made an effort, espcially if they were a friend.
When I was in junior high school I recall playing soccer with my friend in his back yard against some of his slightly older friends. At one point the other team's goalie tried to the clear the ball with a solid kick. I timed my spinning leap and I blocked his kick with my back.
I finished my spin to see the ball take this one magnificent high bounce and plop back into his own goal (the goal area was comprised of a picnic table turned on it's side with the legs sticking towards the playing field). I had blocked the opposing goalies clearing kick and scored a goal all in one move!
All heck broke loose after that. The other side played recklessly and a bit angrily from that point on. I had ruined the soccer game by making a cool play, in essence destroying the other team's honor.
Even though I was only in the 7th grade at that time, I was starting to learn a sad but valuable lesson about life. Enjoying and revering a sport and playing it by the rules seems to matter less than either winning or not making "too goood" of a play by the opposition.
In a similar manner, adult life seems to mirror the reaction that I got to the defensive goal I scored. Nobody wants to be perceived as being "shown up".
Rather than participating in a game and playing that game with the respect the game deserves, it appears that some think it is better to team up on someone playing well rather than play by the rules.
When the rules and respect for the activity matter less than the result, society loses.
Parents should focus first and foremost on the improvement their own child achieves from the first day of sports practice to the last game of the season, that is what matters most.
After finishing my ATAS intership, I worked for about a year as a production assistant. I was offered an opportunity to work as a driver for a fast growing and well known computer animation company.
All employees could purchase stock in the company if they desired. I was so gung ho at this opportunity so even though we were only allowed to allocate 10% of our weekly pay towards stock, I wanted to allocate 20% of my somewhat meager wages towards stock options. (Thankfully, 10% was the limit).
Back in the mid late 80's my goal was to save 50,000 dollars in five years time and then start my own video editing business. One year later and my 2nd industry job was gone and the company was out of business. I still have my stock certificate to this day, it's worth zero cents.
After that company went out of business many people who worked there scattered to other companies, some even started up their own companies. I was hired by a former colleague who had found a new job.
This new company had enjoyed a momentary spike in business because of the demise of the prior company we had both worked at. This place would also go out of business a year later.
Both of these places owed their employees approximately 6-7 weeks of backpay when they went out of business. I never in my life have received vacation pay even when I was owed it. This was the beginning of the computer revolution and newer, faster, and cheaper computers were creating both instability and new opportunties in the computer animation industry.
The Cray II computer was something like 10 times more powerful than the Cray I, but those who owned the Cray 1 had built up the software to run their computers more effectively in the short term. They could not afford to purchase a Cray II since their Cray 1 was not paid off, but they still could compete for the next year or so.
I started free lancing after that third job ended with the company going out of business. After turning a couple of marketing ideas of mine into award winning Season's Greetings commercials, I started a video editing business. The video editing business has allowed me to work with all kinds of clients over the past 15 years.
In 1999 I managed to get eight Vision Awards. It turned out that of all the production companies that entered the competition that year, I had entered the most amount of different entries that all won Vision Awards. I recently tried looking up the competition on the internet but apparently it is no longer around or I would provide a link to it.
I also won a regional emmy in 2001. Imagine being a bartender who listens to people talk about their dreams and real life situations on a daily basis. Now replace the patron's alcohol consumption with a customer who isn't consuming alcohol. The result is I get to work with more level headed thinking yet equally passionate people as the bartender does.
I can say it's been a rather remarkable experience for me to work with literally hundreds of motivated and intelligent people, one at a time. I was able to work with people who wanted to create and communicate their visions and ideas with others and that environment has provided a fine after college education.
I am single, and in my entire adult life I have spent a total of $3,350 dollars purchasing three cars. I bought my first car for 350 dollars back in the early 80's and I learned basic mechanical skills maintaining that car.
My next car was 7 years old when I bought it for 2,000 dollars in the late 80's. (I still drive it to this day). My final car was purchased in 1994 from a relative for 1,000 dollars and was actually older than my prior car purchase.
I still have and drive that car as well. I happily drive both of these now very old cars because they are well made cars that work perfectly for me and they both still get good gas mileage and pass smog tests.
I mention my car history to you as way to demonstrate that I don't use cars as a form of status symbol. Actually I do, I think my old cars are more useful and better than a newer, showier, gas guzzling behemoth that is used to go get a quart of milk from the store.
Sharing one million dollars with me for five years time may result in accomplishments that you did not think were possible.
Now is the time to take my experiences and put them to use where they can do more people good. I thank you if you were able to read this entire website, as it probably now has grown to the size of a small book.