Why I Became a Director/Cinematographer

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I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina exploring the woods and marshes near our home. I was always fascinated by nature, and I remember loving the ETV series “Nature Scene.” When I was about 8 years-old, I met the show’s host, Rudy Mancke, at a talk on Edisto Island. It was like meeting a rock star. I was always impressed with Rudy’s wealth of knowledge about local flora and fauna, but I was equally impressed with Alan Sharpe’s cinematography and editing of the show.

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I never really picked up a video camera until I was in college. It was a film appreciation class at the College of Charleston, and I was facing the choice between writing a 15-page term paper or making a short film. Needless to say, a few friends and I went straight to the equipment room, checked out an ancient looking VHS camera and got to work. The class required a short film, no longer than 5 minutes. What we produced turned into an enormous Action Comedy-Spoof-Mess of a movie called "The Hard Way Out." It took 3 months to shoot, covered over 20 locations, had special effects and makeup, and ended up being 45 minutes long. We got an A.

From that moment, I was hooked on filmmaking.

I enrolled at Trident Technical School and began studying for a film degree. I went on to make several short films, including my senior project, "Struck."

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After college, my first job was a production assistant at WCIV in Charleston, SC. I worked my way up to do what I loved: shoot video. While working as a news photographer at WCIV, I learned a lot about television: how to shoot-to-edit; how to work on a tight deadline; but mostly, I started developing my own sense of style and technique.

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I went on to work as a producer/director with South Carolina ETV, video producer for the Beaufort County School District, videographer/editor for the City of Hardeeville, and producer for Beaufort County.

Being able to collaborate with naturalist Tony Mills on "Coastal Kingdom" has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my career. Tony is a natural on camera, and has an extensive knowledge of local creatures and their habitats. My passion has always been for longer format shows, and it doesn't get any better than working outside in the Lowcountry.

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