Like so many of us growing up, I loved dogs, was fascinated by animals, and held a deep respect for all living beings. My dad used to catch bugs in the house with a glass and a piece of paper, calling on me to open the door to set them free.
As I got older and became more aware of the facts – that hundreds of millions of Earth's creatures live in horror and die without dignity by the hand of man – I realized they needed strong voices to come to their aid. From that point on, I sought out to capture the attention of the world by telling their stories.
Through our work at 1999 Productions, in partnership with Lord Danger, I've focused on sharing stories of people navigating through life in a bid to help us understand our role in nature. By generating a kinship with other living beings, it serves us to not only protect them, but to learn from them. It is my great hope that our kindness and compassion will be the defining traits of the human race, prevailing over all else.
Together, we can build a better world, for all.
Across the United States, countless animals endure hardships hidden from the eyes of the world. Luckily, there are good people who've devoted their lives to rescuing and rehabilitating these creatures.
In this cross-country adventure series, we visit these thankless heroes to ask them what it is we've done wrong as a society, and how can we be better.
A LIFE OF PLAY
After years of developing his skills and cultivating a community of parkour practitioners in New York, world-renowned traceur Jesse Danger has his sights set on developing an official program to teach parkour in the city's public schools.
We followed Danger and his band of urban acrobats, The Movement Creative, as they traversed the concrete jungle while trying to overcome their toughest obstacle - diffusing the negative perceptions surrounding the sport.
NBA ALL-STAR WEEKEND
I fulfilled my boyhood dream of interviewing my idol, Kobe Bryant, at All-Star Weekend in Toronto. Not only was the event held in my hometown, it was Bryant's final All-Star game before retiring from the game. When I asked him what advice he had for the dreamers out there, he said in order to make those dreams a reality, you must "never lose your imagination. You have to keep that."
Shortly after its launch, animal news outlet The Dodo commissioned me to produce its very first video listicle,
"7 Hugs You Can Only Get From An Animal Pal." In only a few weeks, the video surpassed 1 million views. Success.
COLUMBIA JOURNALISM SCHOOL
I was 10 years old when I told my dad I wanted to live in New York City. He said, "The best chance you have is getting into a good school out there." I asked him which school was the best in the city. "Columbia University," he said. "Fine," I told him. "I'll go there."
And I did.
After quitting a job in corporate insurance to pursue my dream of working on-air, I got my first big break as a reporter for CTV News Northern Ontario. I'd never operated a camera or edited tape-to-tape, but with an assignment slotted for the evening newscast on my first day, I was forced to figure out how – and fast. It was without question the best learning experience of my life.
Screened at Cinema Village Theatre
New York City, October 2017
COLUMBIA JOURNALISM SCHOOL
A Life of Play screened at DocFest
Columbia University, May 2014