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About Paul

Paul 1_edited.jpg

I have had an eclectic background: In my early 20s, I spotted weights for Martha Stewart on her TV show, filmed an execution in Virginia, shot an interview of the Dalai Lama, cast MTV’s Spring Break shows, and wrote overnight newscasts for both Fox News and CNN

FILM PRODUCTION

Having grown up in Montreal, Canada, I had honed my fluency in French. Even as a young kid, I did my own thing (see top center photo of me standing in a baking pan), setting the stage for a varied career, working across assorted domains: in producing and directing; in strategy and business development; in marketing and messaging. At times I managed teams. At times I worked solo, lecturing and leading workshops at conferences and Universities.

 

After graduating cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996, I worked at rag-tag documentary pioneer Globalvision, (headed by Danny Schechter the News Dissector), and then with the avant-garde Guerrilla News Network (GNN)*, closely observing and learning to distinguish between formidable leaders and ineffectual ones. 

 

In my own work as a consultant and video-journalist with Bravo, CBC, and MuchMusic,  I became adept at story-telling and empowering the crews I assembled. 

LEADERSHIP

In 2003, I was a recipient of a prestigious fellowship with the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation, a one-year resident program assembling 12 highly motivated young people exhibiting exceptional leadership potential from around the globe. I remained closely connected to the Foundation, mentoring a host of future leaders on their own budding entrepreneurial activities, and now have a network of them from over 70 countries.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Bothered by the indifference of my peers in participating in our democracy, I was driven to co-found the Canadian non-profit (now a national charity), Apathy Is Boring in 2004. The relevance of the organization continues to grow.

Years later, applying my skills as an effective organizer, self-starter, and interviewer with infectious enthusiasm, I spear-headed the first trans-media tv program in Quebec, a cross-platform show designed for the shorter attention span of internet users. 

Calling it The Street Speaks *, I approached and spontaneously interviewed hundreds of strangers on the street about a wide range of topics. It was rewarding to me that I was able to earn the trust of the interviewees in mere seconds. This was the first English program to appear on the French channel, MaTV. For 3 seasons, it garnered topnotch reviews and hundreds of thousands of viewers, yielding the highest retention on the network.

Past Experiences In:

Media

  • Videotron / MaTV

  • Scapegoat Carnivale Theatre

  • PBS

  • NFB

  • CBC

  • Bravo

  • Guerrilla News Network

  • Globalvision

  • Fox News Channel

  • CNN

  • Amnesty International

  • Viacom / MTV

  • The Real News

  • Much Music

  • CKUT Montreal

Government & Non-Profit

  • UN (Millennium Develpment Goals)

  • Concordia University

  • Institute in Managment and Community Development

  • Jeanne Sauvé Foundation

  • Apathy Is Boring

  • JW McConnell Family Foundation

  • CLSC

  • Droits et Démocratie

  • Government of Canada

  • Government of Burkina Fasso

  • Witness

  • iEarn Sierra Leone

  • Seeds of Peace

  • GPI Atlantic

  • Coop La Maison Verte

Corporate & Technology

  • Rock Doc

  • Tizzme

  • Prosperity IP

  • Snappers

  • Groundwork Coffee

  • Jesta Group

  • Building Trades of Alberta

Confessions

  • GNN: In 2000, I joined my brother and his partners’ startup as a Producer and Canada Bureau Chief for their GUERRILLA NEWS NETWORK, the Internet’s first open source news network. GNN’s news videos won numerous awards, and the company attracted over 1 million monthly, unique users, with no advertising, all before social media. GNN shut its doors in 2006, but in the current post-truth era, a relaunch of GNN as a Web 3.0 platform for investigative journalists, coupled with the creation of AI tools that can verify news stories, could be a critical use of tech for our future.

  • MaTV:  In 2017, after 3 seasons and despite some of the highest ratings on the Videotron MaTV network in Quebec, my one-man band TV show, “The Street Speaks” had completed its mandate. I realize today that it had been the pre-cursor to TikTok, featuring short performances by musicians, storytellers and comics , as well as interviews with countless ordinary individuals opining on current issues of the day. With its short segments, and each episode lasting 28 minutes, it was a great fit for an audience with diminishing attention spans. As well, it was a perfect format to be applied to multiple cities, and could’ve transitioned to an exclusively web-based broadcasting strategy.

  • PAT:  In 2022, I created a Participation Activation Terminal I call PAT: a kiosk that can be placed on street corners or in parks, or in office buildings and banks, where citizens can tap on buttons to indicate their likes and dislikes regarding a particular issue designed for that particular venue. It was my effort to facilitate direct democracy for the masses, while making it fun, with a built-in reward system for the participant. Despite surrounding myself with experts in their fields throughout the visioning, construction and attempts to secure spaces to test the prototype, I ran into many obstacles. Still, I continue to believe it could be a profitable data collection tool to revive a culture of participation and help to renew democracy. 

Lessons Learned

  • GNN: I learned that timing and leadership are everything. Having a great idea and a great product doesn’t always lead to a sustained success. 

  • MaTV:  I learned that traditional broadcasters are not adept at responding to changing media consumption habits. I learned that people generally feel more powerless and detached from decisions made about their communities. And again, that timing is so important: I had created TikTok before the citizenry was ready for TikTok.

  • PAT:  I learned that it was nearly impossible to collaborate with the City of Montreal to solve a problem that even the administration agreed was a problem. And I learned that designing, manufacturing and scaling the production of a physical device was hard.

Odds & Ends

  • Lived and worked in Alaska. On a salmon fishing boat.

 

  • Led countless canoe trips all over northern Ontario and Quebec.

 

  • Taught political cartoon workshops at Seeds of Peace for teenagers from war zones (Israelis and Palestinians, Indians and Pakistanis, Balkans).

  • Consulted governments and NGOs on hyper-localizing democracy initiatives. 

  • Trained two college students in filmmaking, while filming a documentary about the dwindling Jewish community of the Dominican Republic.

  • Served as a member of the Canada Green Building Council. Generated a 400-page document for NYC-based real estate developers to educate them about green building practices, advantages and tax incentives in NY and NJ.

  • After co-founding the national charity Apathy is Boring, produced a Public Service Announcement that appeared in all Cineplex Odeon theatres country-wide in the 4 weeks leading up to the federal election.

  • Produced provincial campaigns raising awareness about Caregiving, Elder Abuse and Healthy Sex: designed and produced 1000 dolls manufactured by a Fair Trade sewing collective of single mothers in Colombia. (MyAfterSexBuddy.com). All sold out online and were promoted in a feature segment for TV’s “World’s Smartest Inventions” on US cable channel truTV​​

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