I have earned the nickname "Carrier Pigeon" after more than twenty five years flying around the U.S and beyond immersing myself in cultures while playing all the documentary roles: host, producer, director, camera, writer, and editor. I feel most at home when I am traveling.
My sense of adventure was first apparent while growing up exploring forests in Illinois and carving turns around the moguls in Colorado. Later, while studying journalism at Indiana University, I swung a Betacam over my shoulder to raise environmental awareness through media. After graduation my storytelling continued at CNN where I helped produce and edit 24 x 7 news during the first Gulf War.
I couldn't resist the lure of adventure, so I eventually moved on from CNN to join the Peace Corps and headed off on my first assignment in the Comoros Islands in Africa. The boundless joy and optimism of the African people was a perfect antidote to the previous war-footage editing. I created environmental action groups in every village on the island of Anjouan. Then, a military coup forced us all to evacuate.
Senegal became my new two year assignment and I was adopted into a local family and renamed "Oulie Mata Diop." During that time, I initiated a range of environmental, agricultural, and women's development projects. A deep water well in Thienaba still bears my name.
After returning from Peace Corps, I picked up a camera again, and became know as a "jack of all trades" go-to-person, during the late 90's digital revolution. My continuing comfort with travel, combined with comprehensive production skills, landed me many documentary commissions in diverse locations including Tibet, New Guinea, Senegal, Tanzania, India and Russia.
In between the great documentary filmmaking adventures, I honed my production skills on doc-reality series: starting with discovering the Partridge Family to rehabilitating wayward youth through wilderness therapy, on to weight-loss, rednecks, bridezillas, celebrity dating, dancing with the stars, living as LGBTQ, as a Muslim in Michigan, as truck drivers navigating deadly roads in India, surviving in Alaska, surviving hunger games, Primal Quest adventure racing, giving birth in the wild, teen birth, overcoming obstacles to celebrate prom, forging swords, dodging bullets with women on patrol, proving extraterrestrials have walked the earth, trying to quit heroin, and trying to make it as a BMX star when gang-banging is all you know. The cultures and sub-cultures of the world are not only fascinating and amusing, but also breath-taking.
In 2006, Travel Channel hired me to host the national television show, "Not Your Average Travel Guide." For a year I led audiences on trips around the world, while juggling producing, writing, shooting and editing. Segments from my seven episodes have garnered thousands of views on social media.
I continue to further missions of non-profits worldwide. I created promotional videos for the Smithsonian Institute and the U.N. I even tried my hand at creating strategic political ads during the 2008 election. I'm on staff at Rocky Mountain Sustainability and Science Network teaching digital storytelling to college and grad students with the aim of growing a diverse population of leaders ready to address climate change, sustainability, and the protection of biodiverse natural resources through community engagement.
I'm a citizen-activist of the world. I long for the next assignment, whether in my own country or halfway across the world, roughing it on long treks with gear on my back while I tease out the story elements from local people. That's when I'm truly in my element. If you have an interesting project that could use the Carrier Pigeon, contact me!