Beyond Blind Website

beyond-blind

I had a bunch of fun creating BeyondBlindInteractive.org, a tool to help students learn about blindness and other visual impairments. The site, envisioned by Matt Lauterbach and designed by Holle Andersen features an interactive interview with a visually impaired person, FAQs about blindness, science guides about 6 different visual impairments, an etiquitte game created by Jenna Caravello and a ton of other resources.

New Protect Our Defenders Website

pod-site

I was proud recently to work on a major site refresh for Protect Our Defenders, a great nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating rape and sexual assault in the military. In particular they’ve done great work trying to reform the military’s sexual assault justice system. I’m proud to have worked with them since the organization was founded since they were founded in 2012.

Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign: Andina, the Opera that Never Was

Recently I’ve been hard at work on my own little project, a quixotic quest to resurrect my great grandfather’s long lost opera and give the show a world premiere, 80 years after it was written. Check out the Kickstarter campaign for Andina I’ve created if you’re at all interested to see what I’ve been up to. We were chosen as a Staff Pick which is kind of neat.

New Radical Grace Film Website

I’m super excited to launch the new Radical Grace documentary film website that I built for Interchange Productions. I had a lot of fun working to meet our deadline, which was the day that Hot Docs announced this documentary about American nuns staring down a Vatican reprimand was going to screen there. The beautiful art for this site was done by Tyler Deal who I enjoyed working with and who is doing the design for the film as well.

Illumitex LED Lighting Promo Videos

I had a great time recently shooting video for a Texas-based company called Illumitex. They make super efficient LED lights that are used in indoor growing environments for vertical farms. Their light is optimized for a specific part of the color spectrum which is why they’re such a neat purple color.

For the video above (a Green Spirit Farms case study), I mostly shot it but did not edit it. And for the video below, I shot the sit down interviews and most of the b-roll but didn’t edit it or shoot the footage with the Illumitex CEO.

Experience Salon Success Website

salonsuccess

I built the Experience Salon Success website for a new client, TeleTime Video. It’s an e-commerce website where you can purchase DVDs or pay to unlock streaming video business education series tailored towards salon and span owners.

In the past I’ve used PayPal (ugh, it doesn’t even merit a link) and Square Market as payment processors but this time I tried a new payment processor for selling digital goods: Gumroad. Gumroad’s backend is really clean and satisfying to use– and I can’t tell you how refreshing that is when you’re used to the gigantic mess that is PayPal. Within minutes I had uploaded some files, added artwork, a description and was selling the files on the site– and within the first 24 hours we had made several sales! What a fantastic experience!

Chicago Marathon Highlight Video

video

Last week I had a blast co-producing the official 2014 Chicago Marathon video for my friends over at Storyview with my friend Nick Nummerdor of Little Cabin Films. To see how last year’s video turned out (which I also co-produced), click the image link above to watch it on the Bank of America website. It’s always a blast to work with those folks and the end result is always fantastic. Marathon runners never cease to amaze me with their dedication and super-human abilities.

Prisoner of Her Past Website

prisoner

Prisoner of Her Past is a great documentary by the esteemed team over at Kartemquin Films. This is the second site I’ve built for them (the first being ’63 Boycott), I always enjoying working with the folks over there.

The site features an extensive screening history and host-your-own screening materials, as well as updates about the film’s outreach tour and various multi-media materials.

Client: Kartemquin Films

Otus Plus landing page


This is a small landing page I built in a few hours for an educational iPad app company that’s rebranding. It has some features as well as a lead collecetion mechanism. Turned out nicely for only a few hours of work.

Client: Otus / Amdur Spitz & Associates

About The Daily Background

The Daily Background was a progressive political blog I started in 2005 as a freshman in college, it received more than 1 million hits across 7,450 posts. I stopped regularly posting in 2010 about a year after I graduated and began working full time. I’ve now retired the blog and the domain thedailybackground.com redirects here to prevent it from becoming a target of spammers, due to its high pagerank, since I no longer have time to fend them off.

The Daily Background was the first real website I created and set me on a path of web development. The blog had a number of high points, including exclusive stories being picked up by the New York Times, Associated Press, and even referenced in the syndicated comic strip Dilbert.

Visit the homepage to scroll through more of my work over the years.

US National Archives Photo Contest

A few years ago, I entered a contest sponsored by the US National Archives. The challenge was to take one of their historic photos and visit the location where the photo was taken (decades ago), and re-contextualize that image within the contemporary environment. In other words, basically just to take a new photo at the site of an old photo, while holding the old one up. The entries were judged by a panel at NARA, and winners chosen with help of the Archivist of the United States himself.

Two of my photos were chosen to be published in a book of postcards sold at the National Archives gift shop. Pretty neat! Here are a few of my entries taken here in Chicago.

Above: The site of Al Capone’s soup kitchen is now a parking lot.

’63 Boycott Documentary Website

I recently built a website for Kartemquin Films, the prominent Chicago documentary nonprofit organization. ’63 Boycott is a documentary in progress about the largest demonstration in Chicago history; the 1963 Chicago Public Schools boycott over segregated classrooms.

One of the neat features on this site is the ability for visitors who participated in the boycott some 50 years ago to actually tag marchers that they recognize, so the filmmakers can interview them for the documentary. Check it out!

Client: Kartemquin Films

“Sister” Fundraising Microsite

This is the fundraising microsite I built for Rebecca Parrish of Interchange Productions documentary film “Sister” (working title) was about to begin production in Rome. Their trip was pre-planned but it just happened to co-incide with the announcement of the new pope. Crazy timing!

Impressively, Rebecca’s goal of $25,000 has almost been met! The film is about progressive nuns being investigated by the Vatican. I’ve also been involved in some of the post production work and archival research for the project. Check it out!

Short Documentary: “Waiting for Michael”

This is a short, limited scope documentary about Michael Reese Hospital that I produced while a student at Columbia College Chicago in 2009. While news cameras were stationed outside during the closure of the historic hospital, I gained exclusive access to the inside exclusively of the hospital, gathering a more candid, personal version of a hospital’s closure. You can read more about it at the film’s website.

One Hope United Website

This is a website I built for One Hope United, the foster care/child welfare nonprofit.

They have some unique challenges because the organization is geographically spread out across four states with different but similar programs in each state. So our team had to come up with a solution to make that clear– something their old site didn’t do so well. I think the solution we came up with works quite well. Like a lot of other sites I’ve built, this site was designed by the Beth Keller Stein.

Client: One Hope United/Amdur Spitz & Associates

The Navajo Water Quality Website

The Navajo Water Quality Website is a website I built with a team of Northwestern University folks who digitized hundreds of EPA water samples taken on the Navajo Nation. Since the Navajo reservation is spread out, people don’t have access to running water by and large.

The wells and springs folks down there often rely on are unfortunately contaminated due to Cold War-era uranium mining that was never real cleaned up properly, so this site helps to provide health risk data for various sites. I also shot part of the video you see below.

Client: Northwestern University/Groundswell Educational Films, NFP

The Cleanup DePue Website & Video Campaign

CleanupDePue.org is a website I built for the village of DePue, Illinois, one of the worst environmental superfund disaster sites in the United States. The town was left with hundreds of tons of toxic waste thanks to ExxonMobil and CBS/Viacom shutting down their factories. The site was a lot of work to build but fun too. A team of interns at Northwestern University helped enter the data by hand.

Some of my favorite features of the site besides the interactive contamination map are a virtual video tour of the town and an “ask residents” virtual interview (inspired by a similar mechanism I built on the Protect Our Defenders website).


Incidentally I also shot most of the video that appears on the site and edited it too.

Client: Village of DePue, Illinois/Northwestern University/Groundswell Educational Films, NFP

The Return of Navajo Boy Website

This is a website I built for a documentary called The Return of Navajo Boy. The site includes online ordering of the film on DVD, the first time I’d done any e-commerce stuff. You can also view clips about the film and read news articles. Although it came out in the year 2000, the film has had an amazingly long shelf life, a testament to the power of a strong outreach campaign.

Client: Groundswell Educational Films, NFP

Food Patriots Website

Food Patriots is a website I built for Groundswell Educational Films, a Chicago-based documentary nonprofit organization. The site was designed by Six, a British design firm. Food Patriots is an upcoming documentary by Groundswell that I’ve also been involved in helping to shoot and do post production work on. More on this later. It will be released in 2013.

Client: Groundswell Educational Films, NFP

Protect Our Defenders Website

Protect Our Defenders, whose website I built, is a nonprofit organization that seeks to reform the way rape and sexual assault are handled within the US military. It’s shocking not only how widespread of a problem it is but also how poorly it’s handled under the current system where commanding officers are basically acting as the judge and jury. And all too often their promotions are based on whether or not any sexual assaults are recognized to have occurred under their watch, meaning it’s to their best interest to sweep abuse under the rug.

For the Protect Our Defenders website, which was conceived of by the team at Interchange Productions, I built some pretty interesting features including a forum for survivors, a video library, a virtual interview with survivors, and a national directory of services available to military sexual assault survivors.

Client: Protect Our Defenders/Interchange Productions

Mrs Judd’s Games Videos

Frances Judd is a really cool retired kindergarden master teacher. I’ve shot and edited some videos for Mrs Judd’s Games (subsidiary of the Chicago-based game company KBooM! Games). The impact of technology on education is pretty interesting.

The first time I can really remember using a computer in a classroom was in fifth grade– this would have been probably 1997, and I remember it being a treat to be able to use them. There was a row of five computers, probably Mac Performas, along the wall of the room and we used to get to play The Oregon Trail and program our own little stuff in an educational suite called Microworlds. Things have changed a lot.

Client: Mrs Judd’s Games/Amdur Spitz & Associates

The Forgotten History Blog

The Forgotten History Blog is a little blog I started as a hobby project a few years ago with some curious anecdotes I never learned in school. Research is one of my passions so writing little items for it is pretty fun for me. Interestingly it’s had a few hundred thousand hits and was even linked to from the Scientific American website.

Introducing AssetGarage.com

AssetGarage.com is a cute little website I built which helps creative types find free music, images and footage to use in their work. It has a search engine, although at the moment the browse feature is probably more useful because there’s only about 50 sources indexed. Users can also submit a website if they know of a resource that I don’t know of yet.

It was inspired by a conversation with Rebecca Parrish of Interchange Productions and I built it because people often ask me for where they can find stuff like free music to use in their web videos and I got tired of having to list a bunch of sites I use for this sort of thing.