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Great to know: Anson Williams

My relatively short career as a professional working in episodic television production took a giant leap forward in 1995, when I was hired to assist the Florida-based producers for NBC, Universal Television and Amblin Entertainment’s SeaQuest 2032. The year before, I had worked on a different series for Fox, BBK Productions and Columbia Pictures TV, where the many producers, directors and talents I met became inspirations for me. Nonetheless, I was very surprised to meet – and have lots of opportunities to work with and get to know – director Anson Williams as one of the many all-stars involved with SeaQuest.

Best known for his Golden Globe-nominated role as Potsie Weber on Happy Days – the single greatest TV series of my youth – Anson is also an award-winning television director, as well as being a writer, singer, producer and entrepreneur. By 2014, Anson has directed over 300 hours of television for scores of world-famous TV series, including Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager, to name but a few. Read more

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Amy Schatz, HBO and American Museum of Natural History: Thanks for the documentary

On Monday, 15 December, an important new series will debut from HBO Documentary Films, the American Museum of Natural History and producer/director Amy Schatz, starting with a two-part family special about the environment. Entitled “Saving My Tomorrow,” additional credits include executive producer Sheila Nevins, supervising producer Lisa Heller, producer Beth Aala and editor Tom Patterson. “Saving My Tomorrow” will continue in 2015 as a four-part series beginning on Earth Day, 22 April, exclusively on HBO.

From the children who will inherit the planet comes a collection of songs, activism and heartfelt tips for protecting the earth. Kids share their thoughts on subjects ranging from endangered animals to climate change, while exploring stories with the museum’s scientists about the plants and animals that are affected by a changing earth. A lyrical mix of science, animation and music, SAVING MY TOMORROW celebrates the wonders of the natural world and is a call from kids to kids to help take care of the planet. Read more

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Art Basel keeps bringing artwork to the global stage

Starting soon and running through 7 Dec., Art Basel returns to Miami Beach for the sixth straight year, extending the renown for Switzerland’s Art Basel which over the past 40 years has become the world’s most prestigious art show. The Miami Beach event will once again unite top galleries in its very special exhibitions, parties and crossover events featuring music, film, architecture and design spread throughout the Art Deco District. Altogether, it’s a thrilling, immersive experience allowing art lovers to discover new developments in contemporary art in the presence of rare, museum-calibre artworks.

Looking ahead to 2015, this premier international art show will land in Hong Kong 15-17 March, then return to Basel, Switzerland, 18-21 June. Details for all events are available at http://artbasel.com.

Also worth noting, Art Basel recently launched a crowdfunding initiative in partnership with Kickstarter. Read more

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Take your best shot on 2 Dec., Giving Tuesday

Great things are set to happen this week thanks to you and others who are making plans to participate in the third annual #GivingTuesday festivities. This movement began in 2012 as an organized effort dedicated to giving back. As a result, on Tuesday, 2 Dec., charities, families, businesses, community centers, students and others all around the world will come together to celebrate generosity and to give.

Participation is simple. First, find some way for you, your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then, tell everyone what you’re doing. The results are sure to contribute to this important new tradition of generosity.

The official website is http://givingtuesday.org, and you can also follow this link to download the Social Media Toolkit offering tips on how best to leverage your network and social media sites for this most worthwhile opportunity to make the world better: http://bit.ly/GiveTues14

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A day of ceremonial gratefulness

I’m not sure of its exact origin, but I’m indebted to ESPN SportsCenter star Stuart Scott for introducing me to this phrase: “Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose.” Today is Thanksgiving Day here in America, and on the occasion, I am feeling deeply grateful.

Like many other entrepreneurs in America and elsewhere, I find a great deal to be thankful for in my occupation. Writing for OnStartups.com, Dharmesh Shah has posted an excellent short article entitled “12 Things Entrepreneurs Should Be Thankful For,” which I encourage everyone to read.

Among the story’s growing list of comments, here are a few of my favorites. Read more

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Prepare for 2015 at the upcoming Most Contagious event in London

Contagious Communications was launched ten years ago in London by Paul Kemp-Robertson and Gee Thomson. Currently operating offices in London, New York, Sao Paulo and Singapore, Contagious is well known for helping brands and advertising agencies understand and adapt to shifts in marketing, consumer culture and technology. Through Contagious Magazine as well as the firm’s I/O intelligence platform, its Insider consultancy and its original events, the company aims to “make brands braver” by simplifying, filtering and advising.

On 10 December, the company’s annual Most Contagious curated innovation event will return to London. Celebrating the biggest innovations and analyzing the past year’s most impactful marketing, this is your opportunity Read more

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Honor military veterans


Today is Veterans Day here in America, a day of honor and celebration that has its roots in “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918, when Germany signed the Armistice to end World War I. I have written before about what this day means to me. My military service took place during the relatively peaceful era of 1985 to 1990, but it still wasn’t all that easy. I know firsthand about the dread of boot camp, and the difficulty of enduring even basic training… but to me, my motivation was clear: I wanted to serve my country.

Through those experiences and others, I came to have ultimate respect for those who have gone far beyond “basic training” to become the Marines, the SEALS, and other elite members of our special forces… whose bravery and daily commitments are seemingly made of granite. It is nearly impossible to duly honor them and express the appreciation they deserve. Read more

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The Movember Foundation’s growing effects

The Movember Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization focused on having an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health. Started with a single conversation 11 years ago, that dialogue has grown into millions of others taking place on the subject of men’s health each November, when men are invited to grow moustaches to spark new discussions and raise funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health.

Together with its expanding community, the organization has so far raised over U.S. $550 million and funded over 800 world-class programs in 21 countries, and its commitments to changing the face of men’s health are growing. Read more

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Adventures in sound with Another Country

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve had the great honor of providing PR support for Another Country, the well-known sound design studio in Chicago. A leader in high-definition surround sound, the studio’s award-winning talents specialize in sound design and mixing for cinema, television, radio, gaming and online media. Each of its four 128-track Pro Tools HD suites is 5.1 to 7.1 capable, hosting all the best plugins, and offering ISDN and Source Connect capabilities and unparalleled stock music and sound effects libraries. Staff sound designers/mixers include John Binder, David Gerbosi, Drew Weir and Erik Widmark, and the executive producer is Tim Konn.

One of my many 2014 highlights from this relationship is an email I received from acclaimed filmmaker Steve James, commenting on Drew Weir’s contributions to his sensational Roger Ebert documentary feature from Kartemquin Films. Mr. James wrote: “Drew and his team at Another Country did a stellar and inspired job on our mix for ‘Life Itself.’ What I love about Drew is that no matter how granular we get about every detail of the mix, he’s right there with us, wanting to make it the very best it can be.”

To let you hear some of the latest sound designs from Another Country, I’ve organized the YouTube Playlist embedded above. You can also visit http://anothercountry.net to learn more.

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Living artistically: Mary Elizabeth Williams

Welcome to my newest series of blog posts. With “Living artistically,” I plan to shine some light on artists I admire who are living in ways that seem to be lifted to higher levels by creative sensibilities, talent and character. First up, I’m proud to feature NYC-based writer Mary Elizabeth Williams, who brought the awesome video I’m embedding above to my attention a couple of years back and has been on my regular reading list ever since.

On her personal blog, Mary Elizabeth describes herself as a writer, consultant, and radio commentator, “with about a thousand years experience, give or take a century.” On Twitter, she adds even more color: “Melanomaniac. Clinical trial lab rat. Uptowner. Instigator. Caller of shenanigans.” A writer for Salon.com, she has also written for The Nation, Read more

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