Work History (early years)

When I was 10, I made $50 by writing a short program to calculate optimal positions for the various lenses in a UNL Photo Systems photo package printer and enlarger, a monstrous machine, roughly the size of a really tall refrigerator. The first one off the assembly line was custom airbrushed in a space fantasy motif with “For Technical Support call Brian,” and my phone number written across the top. In hindsight, I think it was just part of a bet my dad had with his co-workers.

A year later, in 1983, my father started his own photofinishing equipment sales business with a bank loan he acquired using financial documents I forged for him. By the age of 13, I was programming and maintaining customer and vendor databases and creating product demonstration videos for a one-and-a-half-man operation generating almost $2 million in sales, annually.

My teenage bedroom was the pinnacle of a freelancer’s 1980’s production house. It even had its own dedicated fax line. I would layout brochures, fliers, and reports and edit videos on tape. On the side, I designed and produced negative overlays for photo labs; they offered the service for photographic business cards, calendars, and prom pictures.

I wrote a program where the user browsed items, added them to a cart, entered their shipping and payment information, and then it all was printed out so they could then trifold the sheet to expose the pre-addressed side with “Place stamp here” in the corner because this was seven years before the Internet.

School included video editing classes at Visual Studies Workshop and video/radio production at Eastern Monroe Career Center. I also produced a weekly live, in-studio music show on WBER and took programming classes in C, Assembly, and a couple of other languages that are no longer in common use.

My activities outside of school included performing a lead role in a touring musical pageant at 11 and the role of a Toy Soldier in the Nutcracker Suite with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Arizona Ballet Company at Eastman Theater when I was 17.

My other hobbies included composing what is now known as chiptune music; moderating Q-link message boards; attending computer users’ group meetings and occasionally manning booths at international tech expos; video documenting Masonic rituals; writing a movie, DJing at the school’s radio station and at a dive bar I was too young to be in; and designing, layout and writing fake magazines — and later, for a weekly newspaper, and three college distributed publications*, creating the website for two of them; 3D animation; and designing fliers, postcards, posters, and merchandise for bands.

Since 1998, I work handling print ads, photography, digital touch-ups, full-stack web design and development, SEO and PPC ad management, and business development. For a while, I also was a stagehand and an audio visual artist for events and concerts.

* There were a couple months in 1998 when my name appeared in the masthead for publications with names like: Motion Magazine, Gracie’s Dinnertime Theatre, Cereal Magazine, and Cabbages and Kings. I only wrote a couple articles for the Monroe Doctrine, but that was around that time.