Since 2014, I’ve produced over 30 documentary shorts which have appeared in the Atlantic, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Politico, the Chicago Tribune, and on One Illinois, of which I was a founding member. These are a few of my favorites.
I first met Neringa Venckiene as part of a feature length documentary being produced out of Europe back in 2015. I was the only American crew.
When I was hired we thought her journey was more or less at its end. But that wasn’t the case. As events continued to unfold in America, I began to work with her son Karolis to produce content that would draw attention to her bizarre story.
This story is actively developing, and the feature doc is still in production.
ONE YEAR OF ONE ILLINOIS
A look back on some of the videos we produced over the first year of One Illinois.
Featured content includes my political coverage of rallies for Donald Trump and Barack Obama, behind the scenes videos about or FOIA fight against the governor, and clips from interviews with politicians and short docs about the everyday people in our state.
I produced everything solo.
BATTLE FLAG: GOAD GATSBY
Goad has 13 ancestors who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War, but he doesn’t believe the Confederate flag represents his heritage. He feels better represented by something else: hip hop.
This video was produced as part of a series with journalist and co-producer Logan Jaffe. It was featured as a staff pick on The Atlantic, was covered in The Washington Post, and was a recipient of the Chicago Filmmakers Digital Production Fund.
The Nachusa Grasslands park is an under-appreciated gem in the heart of Illinois with an inspiring vision: to return wild buffalo to the lands where they once roamed free. I produced this entirely on my own to accompany reporting by Ted Cox.
ADRIAN CHOY: ROBOT RIOTER
Adrian spends his days running a robot exhibit in Chicago’s largest science museum, but at night he dons his studded jacket and pits terribly designed robots against each other in a thrilling death math. But it’s all for a noble cause. I produced this video entirely on my own.
Chris moved to Savannah to escape the stress of city living and found something he didn’t expect: a community that loved him as much as he loved them. Now he has a chance to give back in a way few can, as the unique mayor of an unique town.
This was the first documentary short I produced for One Illinois, and I did everything solo (including the score).
Tabitha grew up in Union County, and now she’s fighting to protect it from exploitation. When the Illinois EPA couldn’t step up to enforce its rules, she did.
I produced this video solo, with reporting by Ted Cox.
I produced a series of explainer videos and short documentaries for One Illinois, where I tackled politics, history, odd events, and more. It was a blast.
Cairo IL has a long and troubled history that reflects the civil rights struggles of the country. These days, most people stay away. You shouldn’t.
This video was produced as a one-man-band in one week, aimed at a facebook audience where it garnered several hundred-thousand views (and a whole lot of controversy).
THE IPI IS LYING TO YOU
The Illinois Policy Institute has a long history of stretching the truth to fit their goals. At one point, they released an intentionally misleading article every day for two weeks straight. Here’s what you need to know about why they’re fighting the proposal for Illinois’ Fair Tax.
I produced this video solo, in my apartment, with editorial oversight by Ted Cox.
WHY WE’RE TALKING ABOUT CHANGING THE CONSTITUTION
Illinois is one of only 8 states that still uses a flat income tax, and is clearly worse off for it. Here’s why changing that is harder than it sounds.
With ADPT Productions, I produced and directed commercial shorts for web audiences, with clients including Cards Against Humanity, Johnson & Johnson, and Buzzfeed.
THINGS YOU UNDERSTAND IF YOU’RE FROM CHICAGO
I produced and directed photography on this video, which was made by a large crew of proud Chicagoans on behalf of Jewel Osco.
HOW TO ROGAINE
This video was part of a series I produced, wrote, and directed to help Rogaine develop a more positive and encouraging rapport with their customers. It ran for four years on their website.
CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY HACKS THE ELECTION
As the midterm elections ramped up in 2018, Cards Against Humanity decided to get involved with a campaign to try and support candidates running against the worst politicians in the game. Frank Toilet was our amalgamation of all of those candidates, and frankly, the hardest thing about this campaign was making his statements sufficiently ridiculous as real candidates kept racing us to the bottom.
I produced, directed and DPed this video.
HOW TO PLAY SECRET HITLER, EXPLAINED BY WIL WHEATON
I produced, directed, and shot this video explaining the explaining how to play the viral hit game Secret Hitler, which was used in the partner app for the game, on their online store, and was picked up by gaming sites like Polygon.
I’ve made a lot of corporate videos in my time, but working with Mitchell Air was a treat. They’re a small company with a big heart and modest roots. I produced, directed, shot and edited this video.
I’ve worked with progressive candidates in races big and small to get their message out to online audiences. I like working with candidates who have a clear message and actionable goals, because it blends the needs of documentary and commercial production.
AMEYA PAWAR - PRIDE
This is actually the first political vid I ever made, for Ameya Pawar’s run for Governor of Illinois. I learned how to film while running backwards making this.
Ameya continues to be one of the most respected advocates of my work, and I’m incredibly proud of (and grateful for) what we’ve made together.
TYRONE COLEMAN ON CAIRO
I’ve done a lot of work in the struggling historic town at the southernmost tip of Illinois. This video, from my first trip down, is still one of my favorites.
EPSTEIN FOR SUPREME COURT
My first foray into the Judicial branch of government. It’s a whole other ballgame.
I’ve worked with universities and non-profits to create video content for fundraising campaigns. These videos are played at black-tie fundraising events and sent to donors online.
SUPPORTING THE ARTS AT DEPAUL
In the past ten years, DePaul university has invested in their arts programs like no other university in the country. With new buildings, programs, and ample scholarships, DePaul is having an incredible impact on the coming generation of working artists, and corporate sponsorships are a critical part of that effort. I was thrilled to produce this video for them as a one-man-band.
ASTRID’S STORY - THE NATIONAL IMMIGRANT JUSTICE CENTER
The National Immigrant Justice Center came to ADPT for help telling the stories of the people we helped, and we were thrilled to be a part of their important work.
COMEDY AND WEB SERIES
My production company ADPT produced comedy web series for online audiences, and had the privilege of working with some of the most talented young comedians in the business.
KILL ME: EPISODE 2 - THE BACHELOR ICU
This video is episode 2 of “Kill Me,” a 5 part webseries written by Jeremy Sender and Liliana Winkworth and produced on a micro-budget. I produced and directed photography on this episode.
I’M SORRY: EPISODE 1
I’m Sorry was a 10 episode web series for Gilded Cinema with a simple premise: one person is apologizing to a man whose face we never see, the camera pushes in slowly, and we never cut away. The real joy was the talent we got to bring in for our apologizers, who were all spectacular improvisers and comedians from across the country.
This first episode featured Eli Mandel, who is now a writer for SNL. I produced this video almost entirely solo, since my co-producer Chris Johnson was the man with his back turned.