Brian Firenzi, Jon Salmon, and Michael Rousselet are members of 5-Second Films, a comedy troupe that was created by Brian after being disappointed by so many 5,400-second films. 5SF has released a film every Monday thru Friday since 2008. On top of working with Patton Oswalt, Weird Al Yankovic, Peter Stormare , Juliette Lewis, David Koechner, Eddie Pepitone, Doug Benson, Mark Hoppus and Andrew W.K., 5SF has appeared on Tosh.0, Attack Of The Show, CNN, Spin Magazine, Wired Magazine, and recently TIME Magazine named them one of the "Top 50 Websites of 2013." They currently have over 1,400 5-second films on their website.
Richard Arlook is a prominent American talent manager, film producer and the President of The Arlook Group, a talent and literary management, production, and consulting company based in Beverly Hills, California. He attended Emerson College where he produced student films and all throughout college interned at ABC News 20/20, working with Geraldo Rivera. A major opportunity arose and he went to work as an assistant to Scott Rudin, who was then the Head of Production at Twentieth Century Fox (1985). In 1986, Arlook left Rudin to produce films on his own. He formed a production company called High Bar Pictures, and at the age of 26, he produced the feature film After Midnight for MGM. He then joined The Gersh Agency in 1990 where he represented many of the industry’s top writers and directors. Prior to founding The Arlook Group in 2008, he was a senior partner and the Head of Motion Picture Lit. at The Gersh Agency.
Matthew Arnold has watched movies his whole life and played video games for the rest of it. A lover of all things storytelling, he went to USC where he studied Film and Economics while messing around with his friends making YouTube videos and working as an EA Sports rep. After graduating college and earning a ton of free swag, he spent two years in the corporate world as an Associate Producer at Disney Interactive, working on such landmark titles as "Wizards of Waverly Place" and "Sonny With a Chance." When he felt his career in children's games had peaked, he quit his job to create a new media network where he could make whatever weird stuff he wanted to, which became RocketJump.com. Even more of that weird stuff became Video Game High School, which he did some of the writing, directing and creating.
Beck is an actor and comedian from Chicago. He lives in LA where he acts, writes and makes videos and is one fourth of the comedy group, Good Neighbor. Good Neighbor has performed all over the country, performs at the UCB in Los Angeles, and has cultivated an online following with their videos. Beck has created and starred in other web series such as Fresh Perspectives and Theatre of Life. He recently wrote on a new show for FOX ADHD and talks to Kids in AT&T's It's Not Complicated commercial campaign. He was recently on the latest season of “Arrested Development” and has been in movies such as “Kill Me Now,” “Beside Still Waters” and upcoming this summer, Intramural.
Will Campos graduated from the University of Southern California in 2008 with a BA in Writing for Screen and Television. Since then Campos has worked as a freelance screenwriter with a focus on direct-to-DVD and new media markets. In 2011, he pitched an idea for a web series called "Video Game High School" to fellow USC classmates Freddie Wong and Matt Arnold, and he's been living and breathing VGHS ever since. Currently, he's hard at work writing VGHS's third and final season, as well as developing a brand new web series for RocketJump.com.
Best known for his roles in classic cult comedies such as Office Space, Pineapple Express, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Dodgeball. Gary Cole is a veteran of both the screen and the stage. Gary recently starred in the new Sam Shepard play, Heartless. Additional credits include, The West Wing, Entourage, and HBO hit VEEP.
Desmond “Dez” Dolly grew up in a small Midwestern town and spent a fair portion of his childhood staring out of the back of the family station wagon catching late-night drive-in double features. Early aspirations to become a special effects make-up artist led him to The Art Institute of Chicago, and eventually on to film studies at USC’s School of Cinema. After college, Dolly found himself directing, editing and producing commercials and shorts for major brands, such as EA Games, Activision, TeamCoco.com, Comedy Central and Rolling Stone. Dolly now pulls double duty as both one of the executive producers and editors of the web series Video Game High School. In 2012, he Co-Founded RocketJump.com with pals Matt & Freddie so they could continue to make crazy cool stuff on their own terms.
Sebastian Distefano has over 20 years of industry expertise in Print, Web and Video Production. He works with educators to understand how the latest Adobe technological advancements can impact the learning experience and real life work skills for students. Mr. Distefano is in a unique role working with the top film and broadcast schools in North America as well as showing aspiring filmmakers how to best use Adobe’s video applications.
Suzanne Feller-Otto brings a lot of diversity to the film industry. Before she started her career in film, she lived in Tokyo, where she worked on the PUROLAND Theme Park for SANRIO, the parent company of HELLO KITTY. She also has work experience in Perugia, Italy where she taught art classes.
Feller-Otto is a third-generation film industry professional in her family and has a natural talent for set design. She was awarded a Primetime Emmy Award for her set design work on “Seinfeld” and her other impressive television work includes “Ally McBeal” “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter” and “ The United States of Tara”.
In the feature world, Feller-Otto worked on “Out on a Limb,” “Trail and Error” and “Breakdown.” Feller-Otto has enjoyed teaching at AFI for the past ten years and looks forward to may more years with AFI.
Garrity is a Senior Filmmaker-in-Residence at the AFI Conservatory and an AFI Production Design graduate. His educational background and experience has led him to be a successful production designer in the industry. Some of Garrity’s most inspirational work includes “Runway Train” as Art Director, “Weeds,” “My Girl,” “Drop Dead Fred,” “Son-In-Law,” “Imaginary Crimes” and “Sunshine Cleaning.” After meeting Christopher Guest in 1988, he was chosen to design his directorial debut feature “The Big Picture.” Since then, Garrity has been a designer for “Waiting for Guffman,” “Best In Show,” “A Mighty Wind” and “For Your Consideration.” Garrity continued his professional career with Christopher Guest on the American episodes of the HBO series “Family Tree."
John Michael Higgins is a skillful actor on television and in film. He is best known for his comedic roles in Yes Man, Arrested Development and the Christopher Guest films “Best in Show,” “A Mighty Wind” and “For Your Consideration.” Mr. Higgins currently portrays Peter Lovett in the TV Land original sitcom Happily Divorced.
Bronwen Hughes is a New York and Hollywood-based feature film director of Canadian and British origin. Her recently completed feature, “Stander,” is based on the true story of a notorious and brilliant bank robber in 1970’s Johannesburg. She previously directed “Forces of Nature,” starring Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck, and “Harriet the Spy,” starring Rosie O’Donnell.
For television, Hughes’ prestigious pilots “White Collar” and Fairly” Legal” are now hit series and she’s also directed episodes of “Breaking Bad” and the HBO series “Hung.” Bronwen is currently at work on the feature film “The Journey is the Destination,” based on the life of artist and photographer, Dan Eldon.
Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi have established themselves as one of screenwriting’s most versatile duos, moving fluidly among comedy, intimate drama and large-scale action, sci-fi and fantasy projects that feature their character-driven signature. This July Universal will release R.I.P.D., a supernatural action comedy which they wrote, and stars Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds. Previously, Hay and Manfredi wrote the 2010 hit Clash of the Titans.
The pair made their screenwriting debut in 2001 with the critically acclaimed drama Crazy/Beautiful, which starred Kirsten Dunst. Manfredi wrote and, with Hay, co-directed the 2002 comedy Bug, which won the Audience Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. In 2005, Hay and Manfredi wrote the science fiction epic Aeon Flux.
Next up, Hay and Manfredi wrote Ride Along for Universal Pictures, which stars Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, set to be released on January 17, 2014. Currently, they are writing a sequel to Ride Along and are producing The Invitation, an original independent thriller they wrote.
Mike Kanfer is an Academy Award-winning Visual Effects Supervisor (TITANIC) who joined Adobe in 2005 to evangelize the role of their professional video products in Hollywood. Kanfer worked for over 20 years in the digital visual effects industry before joining Adobe. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and is an associate member of The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). He has worked closely with top directors such as James Cameron and David Fincher, and two-time Academy Award winning VFX supervisor Rob Legato. Kanfer is currently Adobe's Senior Solutions Consultant for film and video workflow in Los Angeles.
With experience in virtually every aspect of the television industry, Tom Karsh worked over 16 years for Turner Broadcasting, overseeing its Turner Classic Movies network. During his tenure Tom helped improve viewership significantly from 6 to 75 million viewers, and he attained the rank of Executive Vice President before leaving in 2007. Tom has also worked for Showtime and AMC.
Kwong is a logical, cerebral and accessible prestidigitator who is able to pull back the curtain but not let any tricks out of the bag. As a magician, magic consultant and producer, Kwong has combined his passion for film and illusion as the founder of the Misdirectors Guild, an elite group of magicians that specialize in magic for film and television.
Kwong most recently served as head consultant on “Now You See Me.” Kwong designed the illusions in the film and taught the film’s stars Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson and Isla Fisher, how to perform magic.
In addition Kwong and his company, the Misdirectors Guild oversaw the magic for the upcoming film “The Immigrant” starring Jeremy Renner as a turn-of-the-century magician. Previously, David worked as consultant on “The Incredible Burnt Wonderstone”, “Paranormal Activity 4”, and “All About Steve”. Kwong is currently working as a producer on a secret project with JJ Abrams.
Jean-Paul Leonard’s career started out with an education from the American Film Institute Conservatory where he earned his Master of Fine Arts and then attending the University of Florida where he earned his Master of Architecture.
Jean-Paul’s most memorable work includes working on “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Simpsons” and “Futurama.” His work has also been showcased at several film festivals, including the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 (for Jill Soloway’s “Una Hora Por Favora”) and 2013 (for Soloway’s “Afternoon Delight”). Leonard’s animated short “Sub:Division!” was screened at the ResFest Digital Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Mill Valley Film Festival.
Prior to his career as a production designer, Leonard co-founded the new media company Angry Monkey and was the founder of Company Wide Shut, which specializes in design for digital media, film and television. His clients have included Lucasfilm, New Line Cinema, Fox Home Entertainment and Universal Pictures.
Born and raised in Hollywood, movie studios and stages have been Martin’s second home. His father was an actor in the classic old westerns which contributed to Ron’s passion for the industry.
With over 35 years of experience of technology leadership in the entertainment industry, Martin’s skills range from digital effects, film scanning and recording and distribution technologies (including DVD, Blu-ray, Digital Cinema and 3D production).
Martin has worked as Chief Post Production Engineer for the ABC Television network, Vice President of Engineering and Operations of Universal Studios Hollywood, Vice President of technology for Deluxe Digital Studios, and currently is the Vice President of the Panasonic Hollywood Lab (a division of Panasonic Research and Development Corporation of America).
Martin enjoys traveling to colleges and universities all over the country to share his experiences and to conduct seminars relating to personal leadership and success for students in all disciplines and areas of study.
Kyle was born and raised in San Diego, CA and studied film at USC. After college, he co-founded the sketch group Good Neighbor with his friends, Beck, Nick and Dave. The group has performed across the country, and their online videos have been viewed several times by several people. He has been on TV shows like 'Parks and Recreation' and “Wilfred,” and will be appearing regularly in the fall on the new HBO series “Hello Ladies,” alongside Stephen Merchant. Kyle performs often in Los Angeles, but usually not as himself. Watch some of his videos at youtube.com/kyle.
Marine naturalist, scuba diver, and award-winning wildlife filmmaker, Adam Ravetch has been involved in a myriad of projects that has taken him to the far corners of the earth. Dedicated to creative filmmaking, he strives to bring to the screen the unforgettable details of animals' lives and their relationship to mankind.
Since 1996, Ravetch and his company Arctic Bear Productions have produced seven incredible TV films for National Geographic Television and PBS, including “Toothwalkers,” “Tooth Titans,” the Emmy-nominated “Battle of the Arctic Giants,” and the Emmy Award-winning series “The Living Edens: Arctic Oasis” and “Ultimate Explorer: On Thin Ice.”
Ravetch’s interest is to tell amazing and important narratives about the natural world, inspiring discussion about social and cultural issues that affect our world.
Nick Rutherford is a Los Angeles-based comedian, writer and actor. As a comic, he was named a "Fresh Face Of Comedy" at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, and was recently named one of the "Top Ten Comics on the West Coast" by Splitsider Magazine. His comedy group Good Neighbor has had its videos featured on Tosh.0 and Attack of the Show, and they are currently developing a television show with Comedy Central.
Rutherford made his network television premiere on "The Office," and recently made his motion picture debut at Sundance this year in "Kings of Summer" starring Nick Offerman and Megan Mullaly. This summer he is shooting another feature-length comedy "Intramurals."
Nick has written for Adult Swim's "Loiter Squad," MTV's "MegaDrive" and currently is a writer for the upcoming FOX Saturday night animation block "Friends Night." He and Beck Bennett have also sold and are developing their own animated show at FOX tentatively titled "The Olympians."
Scot M. Safon is Executive VP, CNN Worldwide/General Manager, HLN, where he is responsible for the management of the HLN television and digital brands. HLN is home to some of the fastest-growing news and information programming on television, including NANCY GRACE and DR DREW. Prior to running HLN, Safon served as CNN Worldwide’s Chief Marketing Officer, overseeing marketing, promotion and branding campaigns. His team’s promotional campaign for the top-rated God’s Warriors was awarded the first-ever national Emmy Award for news tune-in promotion in 2007. Safon and his staff also led the charge on CNN’s groundbreaking Inauguration Day partnership with Facebook, which resulted in CNN.com hosting the largest online live video event in Internet history.
In late 2002, Safon was senior vice president of marketing for TNT. Safon was also in advertising, working on campaigns for CBS Sports, CBS News and CBS International. Safon earned a BA in economics and history from the University of Virginia and a master’s of business administration from Cornell University.
Rob Sorcher is Chief Content Officer for Cartoon Network, responsible for driving the network's original content. He also oversees Cartoon Network Studios (CNS) in Burbank, CA.
Mr. Sorcher's innovative approaches to development have unleashed a new wave of contemporary animation. Pop culture hits such as the Primetime Emmy® Award-winning “Regular Show” and the Emmy®-nominated “Adventure Time” have been developed alongside other original properties cultivated from an array of new storytelling sources, including the YouTube-inspired “Annoying Orange” and the hit series “LEGO Ninjago.”
Most recently, he served as Executive Producer for AMC, and is credited with leading the network to tremendous growth and critical acclaim by introducing scripted original programming to the network, including the Golden Globe® and Emmy®-winning television dramas “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” and the Emmy®-winning mini-series Broken Trail.
Freddie Wong is the co-creator of the FreddieW YouTube Channel. His online shorts have received over one billion video views, with over five million subscribers from around the world. He graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in 2008, had a brief stint at 20th Century Fox production coordinating horrible licensed video games, was a freelance visual effects artist, and, briefly, a pro gamer. He along with Matt Arnold co-created Video Game High School, a feature length webseries that is now available on Netflix, as well as online on YouTube and their site RocketJump.com. They are knee-deep in post production for the second season, set to release later this summer.