News Feb. 2013: One of my 8th graders just got a 2270 on the real SAT--perfect 800 on Critical Reading!
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, "Beyond Rangoon," 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 and Music, 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, focusing especially on the Verbal sections of the SAT. My innovative approach is showing outstanding results.
I take the SAT seriously. Rather than viewing it as an annoying hurdle a student must simply endure, I consider the SAT a brilliant word game designed to test a student's critical thinking skills. Since these skills are essential in the world today, I believe that a serious program in mental training which can produce real results on the test can also pay huge dividends in school--and for the rest of your life!
During the regular school year I maintain hours at a well-established test center in Ventura County, and in the summer I lead a Critical Reading Boot Camp in La Crescenta, but I am always happy to work with new students, most of whom have had impressive results.
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 AP History, English, and I have also 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.
Apart from my intellectual pursuits, I am an avid photographer, and worked professionally for a number of years; the highlight was two tours with the Irish rock band, U2.
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