The 2002 Top 100 Producers
Page 11 of 11

Vic Cherubini
Company: Epic Software Location: The Woodlands, TX
Age: 49 Title: president
Applications: sales/marketing, training, presentation, education

Cherubini is founder and president of the Epic Software Group, a 12-year-old multimedia production company. He wrote the business plan for Epic while completing an MBA at the University of Houston. “After the professor gave me back my A-plus,” Cherubini says, “she said, ‘What are you going to do now?’ I said, ‘I’m going back to work.’ She said, ‘Vic, I think you really need to give this business plan a go.’ So I did. We starved for the first few years and then, with the advent of the Internet, suddenly all corporations had a line item called ‘new media.’” Cherubini says what sets his work apart is attention to detail. “Being in this business for over 12 years, I’ve seen what happens when software is released before it’s tested thoroughly. It’s so easy to produce things and push them out the door and suffer the consequences later.”

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Jim Jorstad
Company: University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Location: La Crosse, WI Age:
Title: director, educational technologies/ITS
Applications: sales/marketing, training, presentation, education

From his post at the University of Wisconsin’s La Crosse campus, Jorstad handles Web-site development, creates resource DVDs and produces a variety of video presentations for both educational and corporate interests. His PBS documentary “Battle at Bad Axe” utilized state-of-the-art 3D graphics (and original music) to recreate the historic early 19th- century battle along the Mississippi River. Digital nonlinear editing technology allows Jorstad the freedom to modify his productions at will, especially helpful when working with interactive resources like DVD. “DV technology opens up the digital world to a much wider audience,” says Jorstad. “It’s now a lot more affordable for people to express themselves.” But, says Jorstad, technology alone won’t always get the job done. “The key to success is simply the effective management of people,” maintains Jorstad. “Creating a team that focuses on quality, is motivated and is passionate about what they do will always yield superlative results.”

Albert DiPadova
Company: Production Machine
Location: San Francisco Age: 34 Title: president
Applications: sales/marketing, training, presentation, education

Think of DiPadova as a Cuisinart of media. He’s the creative techno-geek, the designer and editor—an encyclopedia of production resources, to mix metaphors. “When I started my agency in 1997, I saw that no one shop did everything. You had to go here for graphics, here for interactivity, etc. I decided I would be that one shop.” He recently completed a sales training DVD for Apple—going from design to distribution in 28 days (in two languages). Within a week, DiPadova had assembled his cast and crew, had sets built and began shooting the 50-minute program on Digital BetaCam. To edit the material there were four edit suites running 24/7 for four days straight. DiPadova actually slept at the post-house for the week to ensure a high production value. “I’m proud of the product because it’s the first sales-training DVD I’ve seen that successfully merges the messages for the sales staff with the messages for the consumer.”

Matt Faye
Company: Lightsource Creative Communications
Location: Fort Collins, CO Age: 38
Title: creative director
Applications: sales/marketing, presentation

Faye has evolved from graphics designer to creative director in his 12 years in the business. Over those years, he’s seen the importance of story. “What does the content mean—rather than just having flying graphics?” Faye asks. Recently, Faye and his two other co-owners created a video—in five days—for HP executives to use with their employees immediately after their merger with Compaq. “We knew the objective was to quell the fears of a post-merger audience so we chose our interview quotes very carefully.”

Anthony L. Vietti
Company: Best Buy Company
Location: Eden Prairie MN Age: 36
Title: senior interactive program designer/visual merchandising
Applications: sales/marketing, training, education

“The most interesting aspect of my career at Best Buy is creating something that not only will interest and educate consumers, but will also entertain them,” says Vietti. “We like to use the term ‘edutainment’ for production here because we want to bring information to our consumers, yet draw attention, captivate, and engage the consumer.” One of Vietti’s favorite ongoing projects is assembling the videos displayed in Best Buy’s interactive kiosks, which are used to inform customers about new product lines. Naturally, Vietti must first develop a working knowledge of the gadgets himself. “I find that very enjoyable,” says Vietti, “because it puts me ahead of the curve and challenges me to transfer that knowledge to the consumer.”

Brook Ashby
Company: Penfield Productions
Location: Agawam, MA Age: 46
Title: president
Applications: sales/marketing, training, presentation, education

Brook Ashby could talk about his company’s well-stocked Fortune-500 client list, or how Western Massachussutts-based Penfield landed a major Warner Brothers music-instruction series entitled “Inspiring Drummer,” beating out a slew of big-city production houses in the process. Instead, Ashby stresses fundamentals—namely, customer relations. “I really believe that’s our strong suit,” contends Ashby, who started out in the Penfield stock room back in the mid ’70s and eventually worked his way into the president’s office by 1996. “All other things being equal, we have good people, great facilities and our prices are competitive. But I think what really sets us apart from everyone else is our devotion to customer service. We’ll bend over backwards to make the client totally satisfied with the finished work.”

Mike Discenzo
Company: Hyland Software
Location: Westlake, OH Age: 24
Title: creative director
Applications: sales/marketing, presentation

Discenzo has been trying to set new boundaries in the use of conference films since he came to Hyland Software five years ago. “With traditional conference films,” he says, “you bring your shareholders or sales people into an auditorium and you show them videos full of products that are very dry. What I’ve done is gone ahead and treated these videos like short films that loosely have to do with the technology and the company but are viewed primarily as entertainment.” How has he been able to get his superiors to allow this out-of-the-box approach? “By never being fatally wrong,” Discenzo says. “The first year here, they said, ‘Let’s see what you can do.’ And then I’ve been pushing the boundaries further and further
every year.”

Jason Keil
Company: Kenexa
Location: Lawrenceville, NJ Age: 27
Title: instructional designer
Applications: sales/marketing, training

Kenexa was Keil’s first “real job” after college, and he’s learned all he knows about instructional design and multimedia since arriving there in January of ’99. “I didn’t have any training coming out of college,” he says, “but I have found that what drives me is the desire to foster learning.” Most of Keil’s projects involve working with clients to analyze their training needs and to develop technology-based training solutions. His recent work with AstraZeneca, for which he helped to design a multiple CD-ROM training series for the company’s launch of a new cholesterol-lowering drug, was “very special because of the humorous theme that the client loved, and the awards our team received for the work,” he says. “I put my energy into making multimedia training programs that don’t bore learners to death, but also do not ignore the main goal: to instruct.”

Jon Mills
Company: Creative Producers Group
Location: St. Louis Age: 32
Title: senior video producer
Applications: sales/marketing, training, presentation, education

Mills recently joined Creative Producers after having worked next door in the same building running his own production company. He’d had his fill of trying to be a small businessman and still have enough “bandwidth” left to produce creative videos. So when Creative Producers asked, he came. “Now I’m able to spend more time concentrating on the project in front of me rather than trying to hustle up the next project.”

Daniel J. Smith
Company: Earthtalk Studios
Location: Bozeman, MN Age: 48
Title: founder/CEO
Applications: sales/marketing, training, presentation, education

“Since the day I first realized we’d be editing video on computers and delivering mind-bending multimedia on CD-ROM, I have been intrigued with the prospect of blending science and art through multimedia,” says Smith, who launched Earthtalk as a video-production enterprise back in 1990. For its Web-site project,, Earthtalk created a fully updateable, graphics- and media-rich exploration of science and research in Yellowstone National Park and the Greater Yellowstone region (which subsequently garnered a Macromedia Site of the Day accolade). Additionally, Earthtalk works with companies like Prentice-Hall to create dynamic corporate and educational CD-ROMs as a textbook companion, and has helped Ligocyte Pharmaceuticals, Travel Montana, and the Museum of the Rockies offer goal-driven, interactive experiences for both Web and CD-ROM users. “Having an imaginative and resourceful design team,” notes Smith, “along with a crack programming crew, gives Earthtalk a powerful, multi-disciplinary approach to multimedia.”

John M. Greer
Company: formerly with SLAM! DigitalWorks
Location: Nashville, TN
Applications: sales/marketing, training, presentation, education

Greer got an early start in multimedia: In the 6th grade, he won his first contract for hire when he built a lighting system for his school theater, complete with fader banks. His passion for technology followed him into college, where he studied film and video production. Upon graduation, he continued to explore new skills as director of multimedia services for Christian artist Steve Green. More recently, Greer and two other partners started SLAM! DigitalWorks, whose client list has included Lucent Technologies, Word Records and Covad Communications. One of Greer’s standout projects at SLAM! was a Web site for the Tennessee Film and Music Commission, which was awarded the Best in the World by the Association of Film Commmissioners International. Whatever the task, Greer is known for his relentless drive in getting the best possible product for the client, even when it means working around the clock—which he regularly does.

David Wright
Company: Goodyear
Location: Akron, OH
Title: producer
Applications: sales/marketing, training presentation

Wright helps keep Goodyear on the road with his production, directorial and camera skills.

Clay Bergren
Company: Differentiation Strategies
Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Title: producer
Applications: sales/marketing, training, presentation

An intuitive production editor and script writer, Bergren has added flair to many of Differentiation’s training and marketing projects.

Philip E. Miller
Company: The Culinary Institute of America Location: Hyde Park, NY
Title: producer Applications: training, education

Miller has been with the CIA since 1985. He’s produced curriculum-driven training videos and now is producing programming, such as The 60 Second Chef and Captivating Confections, that has a broader culinary market appeal. Although he has spent many long hours recording the techniques of world-class chefs, he isn’t ready to trade in his camera just yet. “There’s a mutual respect,” he says. “They know we’re not chefs, and they know they are not videographers. I’ve learned a lot, but I’m not going to say I have their skills or know how to do what they do.”

Rick Berlin and Dylan Wood
Company: Berlin Productions, Inc.
Location: White Plains, NY
Titles: founder/CEO, staff producer
Applications: sales/marketing, training, presentation, education

Thanks to the production assistance of staff members like Wood, founder Berlin has been able to maintain an enviable client list that includes the likes of IBM, Prudential and Major League Baseball.

Source: AVVMMP

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