Chris is currently Creative Director for Comcast Spotlight's Portland office, where he writes and produces televison commercials. Previously, he was a Broadcast Copywriter at CB&S/Kroger Advertising. In addition, he has written a variety of material, including feature films, commercials, narrative, fiction, non-fiction, cartoons, scripts, educational, and the like for a variety of outlets and purposes. Here's a sampling.
Commercials and Videos:
Simple Truth Organic Fair Trade Certified Coconut Water
ZERO Hunger | ZERO Waste - Kroger Family of Companies
Kroger's Richmond Community's Involvement
Zero Hunger | Zero Waste TV spot
ClickList TV Spot
Customer 1st Campaign - Kroger: Louisville, KY & Fry's Food Stores: Phoenix, AZ
This is a campaign I'm particularly proud of. We interviewed real associates and created a concept on how to show that the commitment to customers transcended department. To do this, we interviewed a number of associates about their specific jobs and experience and "Why it Mattered." We crafted these stories into television commercials, radio spots, short digital videos and more.
Pharmacy Flu Shot Donations TV spots
A commercial for Kroger in the Columbus area, highlighting local connections to the community.
Kroger Community Involvement and Partnerships.
Kroger Co. USO involvement
Fresh & Local for Kroger
Taste of Spain Event for Fred Meyer
ClickList Commercial for Fred Meyer
Black Friday Commercial for Fred Meyer
Halloween Commercial for Fred Meyer
Commercial for Kroger Fuel
Farm & Ranch Profiles
Commercial for Kroger
Commercial for The Little Clinic
Videos for the Taste of Italy Event
Taste of Italy Commercial for Kroger
Commercial for Kroger
Commercial for Smith's
Commercial for Smith's
On the Road video series - Red, White & Barbecue
Kroger & Scott's Valentine's Day commercial.
Commercial for Kroger
Back-to-School Commercial for Fred Meyer
A commercial written for Greencard Productions.
Here's a short that I wrote for Shawn Zeytinoglu (Zeyschwey). It's based on David After Dentist, which you've probably already seen. The ad was promoting the Worldwide Short Film Festival put on by the CFC. Produced by Douge & Serge, inc.
A short film directed by Brad McLaughlin (co-written with Todd Naylor):
MR. LAST YEAR TEACHER
I'm in the process of writing the final chapter. I've edited, polished, and rewritten various chapters - now I'm finishing the last 20 pages.
The book follows the last 6 months of teaching high school. It's told through weekly installments in a year that encountered the good times, frustrations , cheating scandals, detentions, and the occasional profound moments of teaching.
Here's an excerpt:
15 weeks to go...
“Tell a story of you.”
It’s my favorite assignment of the year. I pass out a paper with only these words written on it. I explain that nothing will be turned in and that a presentation is required - but that what and how they do it is up to them.
Expectations are unknown. I’ve had other teachers criticize me for not giving a rubric. The teacher that believes in demons once got upset with me because it wasn’t structured, and “these kids need structure.” He asked if I was just trying to cause them stress and unhappiness. Son of a gun, I thought, I just asked the kid to tell a story.
I don’t grade them. I have the students grade themselves when the whole thing is over. They’re told to give themselves a grade based on things like how genuine they were, reflection, and creativity. Surprisingly, only one or two a year gives themselves a better grade than I would have.
So the first presentation is Kirk - Kirk from the meltdown/referral fiasco. He takes up his guitar, and hands a maraca to a friend who begins to lay down a beat. Kirk plays a song about how it’s all “too much to handle,” how he needs to take a step back and realize everything’s going to be okay. He ties in Dharma, Karma, Allah, and all the other main points of the year. Way to go Kirk. He was nervous, wearing glasses, talking quickly, and often looking at the lights.
Laura walked to the front of the room. She’s one of the most confident students in the senior class. Within a minute, she was in tears - talking about fourth grade, when she was in the “cool group.” The other girls in her clique started to make fun of the bald girl, taking her hat. That girl died of cancer four days later. Laura now can’t stand it when people make fun of others.
Kristen described a funeral she’d attended for a ten year old. The boy had a rare illness, and his twin sister gave the final eulogy. Eight hundred people attended, instructed to wear green or blue – the boy’s favorite colors. Sixty people rowed out into the ocean to deposit the ashes in the Pacific. She said when the boy died, she couldn’t believe in God anymore, but at the funeral found the idea reconcilable. “It was the perfect way to remember a ten year old.”
It’s odd to see a person change in front of you, from a carefree student who doesn't seem to care into to a compassionate, living being that cares about things like a ten year old’s funeral.
Mike explained that this summer he’s going to hike the John Muir Trail. He talked about everything he has to do to get ready.
Alan gave a slideshow of photos of an Orphanage in Africa his parents began. He kept calling it his “Life ambition.” Nobody had known. He’s the good-looking star running back of the football team. He’s from South Africa, and has thick accent. Nobody had heard his accent until his presentation. The kids get nervous and their voices shake. So do their personas. They shake to the floor as they talk about things passionate to them.
Elizabeth walked to the front. She’s a visual artist, so I was surprised she walked to the front without a painting. Four minutes later, we all knew that her grandfather ran out on her grandma once pregnancy settled in. She found out when molestation allegations came to light. She was never touched, she said. Her conclusion: “Family is what you want it to be.”
At some point throughout the presentations, it became the norm to keep off the lights. They felt more comfortable talking when fluorescent lights weren’t showing their imperfections. Everyone was equal.
In between classes, I made a powerpoint slide that was a black background with a big white circle. We had a spotlight.
Every presentation since, the spotlight shines in the middle of front of the room, while everyone presents to the side. It’s a nice thing, I’ve decided, to not have to stand in the spotlight. After seven months together, we’ve finally just become people talking.
A boy named Will talked about how hard it was last year when his friend Jake’s father died. They’d been friends growing up, and now only Will had a dad. Will said his own dad helped out at their friend’s house, until he died six days later.
Jake and Will sit next to each other in class. Will said that he used to feel sorry for himself until someone told him how people look up to him because of his ability to handle all the pressures he’s faced over the past year. Later that day, another teacher told me that Will skipped his next two classes because he was a bit emotional. Will explained that he’d never talked to anyone about this, at least in a public sort of way.
Brian, an odd one that wears tie-dye at every chance, has a knit cap, head-phones out of every shirt, and seemingly is straight from the Eighties got up to speak. He often blurts out the greatest indiscretions; he’s the one that mooned the class a number of weeks ago.
“A lot of people think I smoke pot,” he began, and took a deep breath. Brian had asked about the content of his speech every day for the past week. He didn’t want “Them” to know, he’d explain, motioning towards the administration building. I told him the things I’d have to report, and the things I wouldn’t have to report. He nodded. Then I said the biggest danger wasn’t me, but the kids. “They talk,” I said, “and I can’t control that.”
So he sat in a folding chair in the front of the room. He was hard to see for the first time all year. He usually sits on the desktop of his desk in the back corner, as visible at any time as the teacher. Now he was in the front of the room, and the lights were off. Just a large white circle projected against the board.
Brian talked about his introduction to marijuana. He was in Seventh Grade. In Eighth he had a serious bout of alcohol poisoning and gave up both for the next two years. Sophomore year hit hard, so he’d starting drinking and by Junior year came to school every day, he said, stoned.
The following summer he’d picked up two possession tickets and another for littering cigarette ashes when he was pulled over. He’d done community service, and is now drug tested every three weeks. He talked about the problems he’s got now, and why he doesn’t smoke anymore. Everyone was surprised. Here’s the pot head, explaining that he doesn’t smoke pot.
When he was done, he asked everyone to respect the fact that he didn’t want people to know about his troubles. There was noticeable nodding throughout the room. He approached me afterwards. “Was that okay?”
I nodded. “That was okay, Brian.” Jeez, that was amazing.
Eric, the big kid came up to me before the next class. “I really don’t want to do this,” he said. “Can I just get a zero?” he asked.
So he presented. He was a Boy Scout, he said. He’d arranged a canoe trip to Catalina – a twenty six mile trek. There were about sixty people going, in three or four canoes.
The day they left it was foggy. “We should never have left.” He said with a regretful tone.
Not too far out, a container ship struck one of the canoes. The canoe broke apart; the scouts were in the water. Eric jumped in and fished out two. He then talked about the propellers of such ships. The size of the room, he said. He looked uncomfortable. We all feared the worst. “How come I’ve never heard of the Boy Scout canoe disaster?” we all thought.
A speedboat came just in time. He wasn’t sure from where. Picked up the rest of them. No one died. He received something like a five thousand dollar fine. He dropped out of the Boy Scouts, he said, because of this and something else. He wouldn’t elaborate what the other part was.
He said he still felt terrible. I told him not to, but he wouldn’t believe me, he kept reiterating that it was irresponsible. At the time of the accident, Eric had been fourteen years old. I had the class chant “We love you, Eric!” until he cracked a smile, then we gave him a standing ovation for personally saving the lives of two students. He smiled back. To the class, he was a real life hero.
Perhaps the crowd favorite came in the form of David. David’s the odd one in the room. He always tries to secretly read Wizard and Dungeon novels under his desk while the rest of class is going on. If you call him on it, he gets really testy, then puts the book quickly in his bag, acts confused and produces his religion book as the book he was reading. Even if you’re standing directly over him, watching the suspect hide the contraband. He also loves Mountain Dew. He’s a loner because he has a unibrow-in-training, a terrible temper, and nearly no social skills to speak of. But he's also kind of lovable because he's unapologetically himself.
David lived for a number of years in Romania. When he was four, his parents bought him a motorbike. They told him not to ride it until his fifth birthday. He explained that in Romania, they don’t have kids’ sized bikes, so the motorbike was perfect.
When he turned five, he was given a brand new pair of light up Power Rangers tennis shoes. When he took a step, red lights shot out the sides. He felt invincible, he explained. So invincible that when he saw a nail protruding from a board on the ground, he figured he could stomp it into oblivion. He lifted his leg as high as he could and stepped down with all his might. He had to be carried back to their apartment and had to get a Tetanus shot. I imagined the whole scene unfolding like a scene in Kieslowski’s Decalogue.
I polled the class on who would be willing to bring in three dollars apiece, in or- der to buy David a new pair of Power Ranger tennis shoes. Everyone raised their hands. Four people were assigned to do research into where such shoes could be found. David now wears a size mens, ten and a half. I did a little preliminary search, and for some reason such invincible making footwear is reserved, I’m afraid, exclusively for children.
Once he was finished, a cheerleader turned to her friend and said, “I didn’t know David was so funny!”
At the beginning of the assignment, the kids ask what’s the point of the assignment. Isn’t this just them not learning a thing? Perhaps, or perhaps it’s the most important thing. It’s a chance, the way I see it, to make the topics we cover in religion tie themselves to their realization of each other’s lives - tragic figures, salvation, redemption, and maybe even forgiveness. A text two thousand years old speaks not as intimately; it seems, as a seventeen year old without a father.
Sometimes it seems they don’t know that they matter, that their thoughts, fears, doubts and such hold weight beyond the writings of a man named Kant - or Matthew, Mark, Luke or Siddartha - at least in terms of meaning to them.
So we’ll hear stories for the next week about who knows what from who knows whom, and other teachers will gripe that I’m not providing a rubric, which is something all teachers, they say, must do. “To cover yourself,” they say, “in case a kid complains.”
These are the only classes of the year in which no one talks out of turn, no one works on other work, and no one is generally a jerk. These are the only classes when the people are genuine. When they shine like pieces of potential, when they show the person they think they are, their friends know them to be, and most teachers never imagine they really are or even could be.
And truth be told, this is a wonderful week to be a teacher. Wonderful to hear the lives of the kids come out from the shadows; for them to reveal secret passions or fears, vulnerabilities and weaknesses and memories from the past. It seems, right now, they’re all ceasing to be students – which perhaps makes them and me most able to learn and to teach. Stigmas be damned.
Meanwhile, the search for the Power Ranger shoes continues. That one thing that despite all their weaknesses - past and present and future – will at least make them feel so powerful, invincible and able to at least always try.
A father and son house painting team in 1950s Spain gets the assignment of painting Pablo Picasso's house. While it's all business for the father, the son's artistic ability catches the eye and interest of a world-class mentor.
HENRY KILLS CHARLIE
A lonely alcoholic postman befriends a recent college grad whose friends have all moved away. At then end, the postman (Henry) kills Charlie. (co-written with Ben York Jones)
POOR MR. WILLIAMS
Mr. Williams, a religion teacher at a Catholic high school tries to impress his coworkers by winning a radio contest searching for "America's real role model," put on by a conservative religious radio station. He has to make his family look perfect, despite his wife wanting a separation and his son revealing that he's gay.
DEATH IN GUJARAT
Anaund is a shopkeeper in the city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat - Gandhi's home state. When he finds out his son was murdered in a random act of violence, Anaund searches for the killer - in vain. When the fundamentalist Hindu extremists tell him to pick "any Muslim" to blame and let his son be a Martyr, Anaund starts down a dark road, seeking meaning for his son's death.