Firstly, what is your major, year and expected graduation date?
I’m a senior in the school of communications, minoring in film studies, and will be graduating this May. Of course, communications was not my first choice but the school of business found my grades “unsatisfactory”. Don’t get me wrong, business is my forte, it’s just the way I run it is unorthodoxed in comparison to the universities “standards”.
What does your role as President of ATV involve?
Well, I became President at a very interesting time. Our popularity and student involvement were traveling south and our funding was way below what we needed to be a successful and entertaining television station. My first order of business was to fix just that and restructure the organization bringing ATV back to it’s former glory. Since that has been completed I’m basically the guy who whenever there’s a problem everyone looks towards me and I’m expected to fix it, which I usually do. Overall, my day-to-day job involves overseeing all of ATV’s operations. I meet with my panel of Vice Presidents of Production, Marketing, and Distribution to discuss the dealings of their different departments along with my Treasurer to discuss the finances that make it all happen. I’ll also meet with various students who have events they want covered by ATV and I’ll make a few phone calls to set up some crews to go cover them. I meet with producers and directors to discuss how their shows are coming along give them constructive feedback to help them come up with the best possible content for ATV. I also have more meetings with many different members of SA to discuss how we can bring about a better media presence on the UAlbany Campus.
What happens during an average day/week at ATV?
Utter chaos. I usually wake up to a phone call about a camera breaking, or a computer not working, or we just lost all the money in our budget because of a computer error so everyday is very exciting. I’ll drive up to campus, sit down at my desk and then get down to business of fixing everything. When there isn’t a crisis, students are always coming in and out signing out equipment to go film their own TV shows, or cover campus events and they’re also coming in with footage to sit down and work some magic in turning all of that footage into fantastic television.
What made you want to join ATV?
My family has always been involved in the industry, dating back to my father attending NYU Film School. My parents even met while working at a commercial company in the 80’s. I knew I was destined for Hollywood glory ever since I was casted as a baby in the early 90’s for a Cheerios commercial. Unfortunately, ATV wasn’t as advertised on campus as it is now so I was originally bummed looking for a path when I first arrived. That is until I met my good friend Jeff Lahans, an ATV producer on the rugby team, and was introduced to it. From there on I was made editor of his sports show UA Overtime and soon after became producer for the next two years and haven’t looked back.
What do you get up to when you’re not running the Television Station?
Honestly, no good. I spend a lot of my free time drinking at bars, smoking cigars, and playing cards in the Lions Den. For those of you who don’t know where the Lions Den is, it is an area of my home decorated lavishly with a full and globe bar, comfortable seating, artwork such as portraits of our great American President, Abraham Lincoln, and this is where I put my days of business to rest until tomorrow. Many people, aside from my friends and associates, do not get to experience the party side of me due to the professionalism I like to maintain on campus. I enjoy listening to music, not the garbage they put on the radio but classic rock especially when I’m in the kitchen cooking and perfecting recipes. Some advice to the guys out there, the way to a woman’s heart is great cooking. My time after that is devoted to watching movies, TV, and constantly learning and improving my ideas and abilities for my own projects, which have been praised by those I trust to share them with.
What are some of your personal and professional highlights of being a UAlbany Student?
Aside from working my way up through the ranks since freshman year and building my own student media empire, I’ve spent much of my time in various other branches of UAlbany life. However, a few highlights of ATV career are that I am the youngest to produce two shows as well as the first to surpass 50 episodes. Outside television on campus I helped found the Xi Triton charge of Theta Delta Chi International Fraternity with Michael Wolf, a very close personal friend, and the rest of our founding fathers. Lastly, with a passion for rugby that derived from playing at Xavier High School and winning the National Championship in 2010, I was granted a spot in UAlbany’s starting line up as a freshman. Unfortunately, we were unable to replicate the same culture of success that I am used to. You can’t win’em all, but I certainly try to.
What do you plan on doing once you graduate?
My immediate intentions are to work on Tina Fey’s new show, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix. My father is currently working on the show and I couldn’t think of a better way to start my career in entertainment than working with him. I hope to gain experience there and a bigger name for myself in the field so I can eventually break away and enter the film industry. Ideally, I’d like to work for Paramount Pictures like my idol Robert Evans and from there start my own production company, Little Fish Big Pond Productions with my partner Marty Freda and a handful of other constituents. Being in charge of making my own TV shows and movies for my company is my number one goal.
(Photo Courtesy of Spencer Pesce)