The story so far – by Sam Small: Mom was a costume designer at an off–off Broadway theater. Backstage was my babysitter. Grandpa was a spokesman for the Progressive Movement in NYC. I grew up well inspired to be in production as a professional communicator.
As an AV (Audio/Visual) geek, running film projectors and the PA system for school announcements led to programming lunch music in the cafeteria, which prepped me for College Radio, which led to a weekend shift for a local FM. There I managed to be up for the coveted Morning Drive slot, only to get stabbed in the back and end up fired, twice, in two years.
Small station politics taught me what I didn’t want in my life. Studying classical rhetoric, gestalt therapy and mastering the just-emerging technology of videotape editing, showed me what I did want and what I was good at: creating carefully considered, extremely targeted, visual communications that educate, entertain, influence and motivate.
Applying my degree in speech communications and my technical and creative skills, I avoided TV stations, the networks and ad agencies and carved out a 30+ year, wide ranging career in NYC, editing and directing at first non-broadcast TV, films and documentaries, and later national TV commercials, and product and strategic web marketing.
I’m a multi-hyphenated-kind-of-guy: I write, shoot, edit, direct, produce, design websites and entire ad campaigns. I can do a lot with a small crew and budget and I prefer streamlined hands-on productions. Over the years I’ve directed and edited just about every style of production there is, save for episodic TV and feature films.
Directing and editing major corporate image documentaries for The NY Times, AT&T, Sony, Parade Magazine and Fidelity Investments allowed me to define a personal style to tell densely-woven stories, using real-person interviews, relying on little or no narration.
One of my clients, Prudential Insurance, liked my documentary presentation and production style so much they literally fired their advertising agency and created a position for me as Vice President of Broadcast Production. I built and ran their in-house commercial production department as part of their in-house advertising agency. I reported directly to and strategized with senior management and over eight years I personally directed and edited over 250 mini documentaries airing as 30 second national spots, twice appearing during the Super Bowl.
Pru’s reputation had previously been severely damaged and my work there, interviewing real customers about their personal financial needs, was sensitive to repairing and revitalizing the public’s perception of the company and contributed greatly to the success of one of the largest offerings in the history of Wall Street when Prudential Financial went public in 2002.
Shortly thereafter I moved from Manhattan to Maui, reestablished my production company, Small Wonder Video Services, and have been creating carefully considered, extremely targeted, visual communications that educate, entertain, influence and motivate for a variety of national and local clients.
Authenticity and sensitivity to my client’s needs, their message and audience has been the hallmark of my professionalism. It’s that sensitivity that drove the success of the Prudential campaign and that has led me to projects for some of today’s leading spiritual teachers; Ram Dass, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of TM (Transcendental Mediation) and Eckhart Tolle.
With more ways than ever to use video, film and the web to communicate you can rely on me to tell your story with a focus and sensitivity like no other, and save a bundle in the doing