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Sept. 2014: I will be trekking in Peru from Sept. 10-22. Please be aware that most of the time I won't have internet access.
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. BERKELEY!
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 Critical Reading and Writing!!!
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 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. 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.
Apart from my intellectual pursuits, 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.
I have over five years experience counseling students on the college application process, from test prep to college selection, as well as guidance on the essay. I consider the college selection process as a part of education itself. When a student views the many programs of study available, it can open him/her up to the many possibilities life itself offers.
Too often today students are not even aware of the tradition of liberal arts education, falling into a pattern of applying only to "brand names" they or their parents are already familiar with.
That said, students I have advised have been accepted at Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Amherst, Williams, U. Penn, Columbia, Carnegie-Mellon, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Claremont McKenna, and other top schools.
My photographs have appeared in numerous publications, including TIME, PREMIERE, THE NEW YORK TIMES, ROLLING STONE, and CONDE NAST TRAVELER. My photographs of the Indian subcontinent and the Himalayas of Nepal were exhibited in a one-man show at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena. I've worked on film sets and music videos with Oscar winner Frances McDormand, Emmy winner Patricia Arquette, Aerosmith, Madonna, Val Kilmer, Grace Jones, U2, and many others. One of my photos of Bono is included in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Also, my photography of U2 is a significant part of the beautiful coffee table book: U2 SHOW.
As a production still photographer, I have worked on film sets from Italy to Malaysia. These days I mostly shoot nature, most recently (2011/2012) in the Greek Islands, Swiss Alps, Burgundy, the Eastern Sierra, and the Yasawa Islands, Fiji. I'm a good teacher-- and have led several filmmaking classes with kids for Star Education, a leading provider of Enrichment Services and Gifted/Talented programs.
Perfect Tutor — William tutored me in SAT critical reading and writing, and after our studying together I achieved a score of 800 on both sections. It is a pleasure working with him. He taught me specific and effective test-taking techniques that improved my score tremendously. I would strongly recommend him to all of my friends and family. ...
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