Lately everyone has been asking me “so what did you do before you became a full-time photographer?” I thought I’d write a short series of blog posts about the work I was doing before I got really serious about image making. Here’s the first one.
After I graduated college (Binghamton University), I actively looked for jobs in the entertainment field. The truth is that I had always been interested in entertainment, mainly music. After pounding the pavement for a few months, I got a call from a headhunter who was filling a position at a comedy management firm on Long Island. Initially I was like “yeah I think I’ll pass,” but due to the fact that I had no other bites that week I figured “what the heck I’ll go on the interview.” Wouldn’t you know it, I got an offer, accepted it, and stayed at the job for nearly 9 years.
I worked for The Conversation Company, a well known management company that specialized in stand-up comedians and actors. Some of the incredible comedians I got to work with/for were: Brian Regan, Robert Klein, David Brenner, Adam Ferrara, Dick Cavett, and of course, Ray Romano. I handled a multitude of things for them, including touring, PR and marketing, and day-to-day stuff that a guy on the frontlines of a management team does. My primary responsibilities at the company were Ray and Robert, and they definitely kept me busy!
One of the most memorable parts of my job was being a part of the TV show “Everybody Loves Raymond.” I was actually on the staff and crew list, as the assistant to one of the 3 Executive Producers, Rory Rosegarten. This was really an amazing “family” to be a part of. I had the privilege of visiting the set on numerous occasions, ultimately having the rare opportunity to have all access with my camera during the 9th and final season. Wow, that was really exciting and another “how did I get here” moment for me. If it weren’t for a few wonderful friends, including one of the writers and official show photographer, Tom Caltabiano, I probably would not have been allowed on set with a camera. One of the incredibly valuable lessons I learned from Tom was that you can share opportunities with people and not feel threatened. I remember feeling like “wow I can’t believe Tom is ok with me shooting and being in HIS space!” Little things like this make a big difference in peoples lives, which is why I now try MY BEST to do the same for others when I can.
I enjoy looking back on this time now that I’ve had a few years to gain perspective. It was an exciting time in my life and one I learned a ton from.
Here are some photos and stories…
Tom Caltabiano took this with a Widelux F7, an amazing film camera. I love this photo. It’s the only photo I have hanging in my apartment that I’m actually in. Taken at rehearsal the day before the finale, there are some very creative people in this photo including Gary Halvorson, the Director, and Phil Rosenthal, the Creator and Executive Producer. Thats me poking out on the other side of the bedroom!
This was taken right after the final bow in 2005. You can see Ray is a little teary-eyed. That’s Ray. He’s a great guy and very real.
On the set at the finale in 2005
With my former employer, Rory. Tom took this. I remember this moment so vividly. All the anticipation, not wanting the final scene to come. The amazing thing I realized right away is that being around the actors when they were doing this for the final time as a cast, I felt the energy for sure but I also felt the sadness they all carried because of the show’s ending. That this great amazing group of people wouldn’t return for another episode after being so amazing for so long. When it ended you could feel it. Wow, very emotional and powerful.
It was some of the most exciting few days of my life, being on a Hollywood TV stage, camera in tow, witnessing history.
With the amazing Peter Boyle on set in 2002.
One of the coolest things I received being a part of the show are these certificates from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences when the show took top honors at the Emmy Awards, twice winning “Outstanding Comedy Series” in 2003 and 2005. Ironically enough, it’s because I hung them yesterday (Feb 16, 2013) that I felt compelled to share this stuff on my blog…