Mark Smith’s career has been a hopscotch affair starting out with a strong interest in writing that made a hard turn into applying imagination to authorship to images when he jumped into the television and film world in his junior year of college.
Upon arriving in New York, he received some really solid advice from an acquaintance in the film business which paraphrased was, “pick what you want to do: camera, directing, lighting, whatever, and stick with it, it’s the only way you’ll get anywhere”. Advice that was promptly taken and ignored. Mark was thinking: “Hey, there’s a big world out there and quite a lot to learn, so rather than specialize right from the get go, Mark took to the idea that it would be great to know as much about film and television from as many different angles as possible”, so that’s what he did.
Jumping in at very large cable system operator in North Jersey, Mark soon migrated to producing live sports telecasts at USA Network for the NBA, Major League Baseball, Soccer and other sports leagues.
Then, on assignment in Hawaii for a week he got reacquainted with a camera and spent some time off doing photography around the island, which was immensely useful to the show he was producing and rekindled an old interest in visual story telling.
From there it was bye bye producing and getting behind a camera, free lancing for ABC Wide World of Sports, USA, CBS, Turner Broadcasting, and numerous independent producers in NYC.
Numerous documentary projects led Mark to Iceland, the Caribbean, Sub Saharan West Africa, the South Pacific, and the streets of New York City
After doing a tour in the documentary world, an old friend called one day to check availability for a director of photography position on a 35 mm feature. It was one of those deck clearing moments and Mark jumped at the chance even though the feature was to begin principal photography in 9 days. This was a revelatory experience coming from the doc world of “taking shots” to the scripted narrative world of “making shots”, and one that Mark loved.
That film, “Returning Mickey Stern” winner of the Grand Jury Prize of the Rome film festival in 2002 was followed by the off beat caper comedy “Crooks” starring comedian Jim Norton and “The Look” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2003.
In 2005, Mark was tapped by Spark Media to come on board to shoot on “The Pact”, an acclaimed feature length documentary that has aired on PBS and played to packed festival screenings. “The Pact” was a followed by other documentary projects: “Talking through Walls”, Worlds of Sound for Smithsonian Televsion and “Finding Amelia” a two hour Discovery Channel special. These documentary projects managed to complete a circle of sorts with Mark co- producing as well as photographing the programs.
In between shooting and assignments Mark likes to experiment with short films, music videos and Olympic distance triathlons.
BA Television and Film Production University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Stephanie’s eclectic career has brought her full circle from fine art to performance, back to visuals. Educated at UArts in Philadelphia, Stephanie switched gears after graduating and danced professionally in Philadelphia, Tel Aviv, Salvador, Brazil and New York City, where she moved her dancing into theater. For the next decade Stephanie would immerse herself in vocal training and acting, performing with small dance and theater companies, including Meredith Monk. She joined Hoboken’s critically acclaimed Renegade Theater Company where she began to direct.
Her background in music, dance and acting has proven to be a good grounding for television and film. “It’s all about storytelling. Music rhythms, the arc in theater, my understanding of how to talk to actors, all play into my writing award-winning promos and shows, directing the cast and editing the piece.”
Stephanie did time in the corporate world as producer of special projects at WWOR TV where she served as senior and then executive producer of the “Live From Broadway” series, taking home an Emmy and garnering nominations for three more. As promo producer at USA Network, her spot for the US Open received a Promax award. She became Creative Director of On Air Promotions at Trio when the network launched and spent two years happily branding the network through redesigns, promo campaigns and producing up-fronts in both print and video while managing a small, talented staff.
Stephanie left Trio to develop her own projects with O7 Films. Her most recent short film, Soaked, is doing the festival circuit and picked up a director’s award for writing at the 2005 Trenton Film Festival.
In 2007 Stephanie was called in as an editor/story editor on “Gefilte Fish Chronicles” a documentary project that has aired on PBS nationally.
More recent projects have included “Talking Through Walls” (2007) Unity Productions, and “Worlds of Sound” 2008-9 for Smithsonian Television, which recently was awarded the Director’s Choice Award at the Black Maria film festival.