Dec. 2014: Best of luck to all on finals! After a fantastic fall of Shakespeare, Chaucer, Homer, Euro, US History
, college essays, ACT
(special congrats to M and L) and more, I'm off to the South Pacific for 12 days on two tiny Fijian islands with no cars, phones, or internet
! Happy Holidays! Back December 28.
Sept. 24, 2014. Back from a trek in the Peruvian Andes and walks in the Amazon Rain Forest. Already busy!
May, 2014: Congratulations Marcia on acceptance at Claremont-Mckenna! Congratulations Rachel on full tuition at UC SD!
March, 2014: CONGRATULATIONS, GOR ON ACCEPTANCES AT YALE, PRINCETON, WILLIAMS, COLUMBIA, U. PENN and U.C
March, 2014: Congratulations Rachel on acceptances at UC Davis and UC San Diego!
February, 2014: Congratulations Erica on $40G scholarship to NYU!
Oct. 24, 2013: Congratulations to Gor on perfect 800s on both SAT
Sept. 30, 2013: Back from a 200 mile monsoon trek through Tsum, Kutang, and Nupri/Manaslu in the Nepal Himalayas and already busy.
June 2013: Congratulations Marcia on 5s -- AP US History
and AP English Language
. Congratulations Rachel on a 4 -- AP U.S. History
June 2013: Congratulations J. on transfer to Carnegie Mellon!
March, 2013: Congratulations Ryan on acceptance to UCLA!
Feb. 2013: One of my 8th graders just got a 2270 on the real SAT--perfect 800 on Critical Reading!
Great test scores are terrific-- and I love helping kids get them-- but if students devote their teen years only to cramming for tests, when are they going to have time to become remarkable individuals, unique, creative, and fun? Indeed, when are they going to become the kind of students top colleges actually want?
The truth is, one of the best ways to score well on standardized tests is to be a person with great intellectual curiosity, with wide interests, who reads a broad range of challenging subjects. The best kind of tutoring isn't about narrowing a student into a robot, but about opening him/her up into a thinker.
After graduating in English from Harvard, I worked for a talent and literary agency in Hollywood, reading screenplays for the agents of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Ridley Scott. Later, I was in charge of literary development for a producer at 20th Century-Fox, where I worked with the writers of plays like "The Producers" and scripts like "Spiderman." Meanwhile, I was developing my own skills as a writer, eventually launching a film
of my own, starring Patricia Arquette and Oscar-winner Frances McDormand, which was released by Columbia Pictures and nominated for the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
I moved to Europe for 13 years, where I worked as a translator for Art
History books and for television. I continued to work in the film industry; for five years I was under contract to New Line Cinema, writing for the Executive Producer of "Lord of the Rings." Returning to the States, I have spent the past several years developing an original drama about Robert Kennedy in consultation with several of the late Senator's closest friends and colleagues.
In order to have the means necessary to write independently of a film studio, three years ago I launched a second career as an educator. I am now Associate Professor at Columbia College Hollywood, a good film school, where I teach Writer's Workshops and courses in the Humanities. I have also taught at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Hollywood, where I gave popular classes in cultural history, including Romanticism in Literature
, Great Directors (Hitchcock, Fellini, Bergman), and Greek
and Roman Theater in Context.
Having been blessed with great students, I have been blessed in return with some wonderful letters from them. Here are some that almost make me blush:
"You took us beyond just reading and writing, to a degree of discussion and understanding." "You happen to be one of the most intelligent, well-spoken, and funny teachers I have ever had the privilege of studying under." "Your class was aimed to raise creative blending and thinking." "Since taking your class I can honestly say that I am a better person, intellectually and spiritually." "You inspired me to try many new things!"
Alongside my college lecturing, I have developed a thriving tutoring business
. In 2012 I was one of the top 100 tutors at Wyzant-- out of 40,000 nationwide.
I do not teach "tricks." I expect the student to be ready to work. The SAT is not an intelligence test; it is a test of a set of intellectual skills which can be developed by the average student. These skills are not especially "difficult" on a cognitive level, but a certain degree of motivation and application is essential. I have had good results especially with athletes, which I found surprising at first, until I began to understand that the same steady drive which guides them to success on the playing field can be applied to a mental game as well.
Alongside teaching the SAT, I tutor ACT, AP History
, English, Art History
, and have had excellent results providing editing
/consultation for my students' College Applications. I will not write your essays, but I can steer you towards a presentation which can give you your best shot. In my own case, I was not rejected from any of the colleges to which I applied, and was accepted by Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, Stanford, and U.C. Berkeley. (O.K, I was wait-listed at Princeton.)
I am fluent in Italian
and work regularly as a translator. My clients have included major film/TV producers and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
I am an avid photographer, and have worked professionally; the highlight was two tours with the Irish rock band, U2. I've traveled extensively in the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Pacific and Asia, in 2013 completing one of the first circuits of the remote and rugged Tsum Valley/Manaslu regions of the Himalayas during the monsoon.